America the Great Exception


The 1930s and 1970s was a political era which was referred to as the Great Exception in America. It was a period of an extended detour and sustained deviation from American cultural outlook, political practice and economic structure. The aftermath of World War II and the great depression realigned the America class relations and politics. American exceptionalism makes US unique as far as its ideologies on personal freedom and democracy are concerned. The purpose of this argumentative essay is to provide a discussion of the challenges of the federal government, the Industrial Revolution, and, most importantly, chattel slavery posed to American freedom and democracy. It will point out areas in which these issues were more challenging and the measures America took to restore power to the people. 

Discussion of the Challenges of the Federal Government, the Industrial Revolution, and, Chattel Slavery Posed To American Freedom and Democracy

The road to achievement of democracy and freedom was riddled with several obstacles that made it difficult for the federal government U.S to attain stability. The Northwest Ordinance, a congress Act of 1787, provided the Northwest Territory government with the capacity to establish a framework for subdivisions hence creating states (Onuf, 11). The Ordinance was a document that facilitated the appointment of judges and governors by Congress. It played a greater role during the expansion of the American republic and politics. Slavery was a rampant activity in America and many held different views in regard to its existence and freedom for all. The American internal slave trade can be traced back to half a century prior to the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. It caused social reorganization as many people were displaced, families separated and there was an increase in labor (Hudson, 62-98). There emerged stiff conflicts between southern traditionalists and northern abolitions as far as human rights are concerned. The Lowell, Massachusetts underwent a complete transformation during the industrial revolution. 

Industrial revolution influenced key changes in the society, health and medicine, economy, inventions and transportation in the history of Massachusetts (Small, and Josefina, 764-784). The living conditions of the American citizens were improved significantly as well as their standards of living. The early American society was predominantly rural. The industrial revolution increased the rate of urbanization while urban life was transformed exponentially (Bae, 24-39). The growth of urbanization in America was influenced by factors such as electric lighting, intra-city transportation, the rise of skyscrapers and improves communication (Bae, 24-39). An influx of the population became a challenge for the government to control and maintain order. 

The Missouri comprise was an important event in the history of America since it laid a foundation for slavery and issues related to slavery. The debate between anti-slavery and pro-slavery was so intense within the U.S. Congress prompting Missouri to request for admission into the Union as a slave state (Silverman, 160-162). The objective of the Missouri Compromise was to reduce political and sectional rivalries in America. Annexation, the process of incorporating or adding a territory that initially had a different jurisdiction, interfered with the process of democracy. Texas was annexed into the USA in 1844 (Wright, 43). The idea was to establish a political balance between the north and south by providing a strong foundation for slaves and immigrants.

The Compromise of 1850 involved five major laws that were passed in September 1850 to address the issue of territorial expansion and slavery in America. In 1849, California sent a request to be enjoined into the Union as Free State. Thus, the Fugitive Slave Act underwent amendment and the practice of slavery was abolished (Hamilton, 54-81). The Act gave freedom to Nebraska and Kansas people to decide whether they will allow slave trade within their territory. Many were against the Kansas-Nebraska Act because they believed that the Missouri Compromise served as a long-standing binding agreement (Malavasic, 78). The arguments forwarded by Dred Scott, were complex in nature but were clearly understood by those who followed it with great enthusiasm. As a Negro slave, Dred Scott had lived in Illinois where slavery was bidden, and Fort Snelling where slavery was under Missouri compromise regulations (Loveland, 57-76). In his bid to gain freedom, Scott argued that by the virtue of residing in a free state an individual should be granted freedom. 

The Gettysburg address was a speech delivered by President Abraham Lincoln.  The speech, commonly referred to an as monumental act, argues that the world will always embrace President Abraham Lincoln’s works as they addressed the challenges experienced in the battle (Rodrigue, 820). In addition, the Southern States (1865) and United States (1866) enacted the black code laws immediately after the civil war to compel African Americans to actively engage in the labor economy and earn a low salary or work under debt (Novak, 45). The laws were designed to restrict their freedom. In addition, the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments sought to emancipate slaves by fostering equality, banning slavery and involuntary servitude (Gormley, 621). 


The purpose of this argumentative essay was to provide a discussion of the challenges of the federal government, the Industrial Revolution, and, most importantly, chattel slavery posed to American freedom and democracy. Key challenges such as the black code, industrial revolution, the amendments and the Compromise of 1850 have been discussed in this essay.  


Bae, Chang-Hee Christine. Urban sprawl in western Europe and the United States. Routledge, 2017.

Gormley, W. Paul. “The Reconstruction Amendments’ Debates: The Legislative History and Contemporary Debates in Congress on the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.” DePaul Law Review 17.3 (2015): 621.

Hamilton, Holman. Prologue to Conflict: the Crisis and Compromise of 1850. University Press of Kentucky, 2015.

Hudson, Pat. “Slavery, the slave trade and economic growth: a contribution to the debate.” Emancipation and the remaking of the British imperial world. Manchester University Press, 2015.

Loveland, Ian D. “The Dred Scott Decision, in the Light of Contemporary Legal Doctrines 1.” Constitutional Law. Routledge, 2018. 57-76.

 Malavasic, Alice Elizabeth. The F Street Mess: How Southern Senators Rewrote the Kansas- Nebraska Act. UNC Press Books, 2017.

Novak, Daniel A. The wheel of servitude: Black forced labor after slavery. University Press of Kentucky, 2015.

Onuf, Peter S. Statehood and union: A history of the Northwest Ordinance. University of Notre Dame Pess, 2019.

Rodrigue, John C. “The Long Shadow of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 45.4 (2015): 820.    

Silverman, Aaron J. “Dividing the Union: Jesse Burgess Thomas and the Making of the Missouri Compromise by Matthew W. Hall.” Journal of Southern History 83.1 (2017): 160-162.

Small, Roy, and Josefina Syssner. “Diversity of new uses in post-industrial landscapes: diverging ideals and outcomes in the post-industrial landscapes of Lowell, Massachusetts and Norrköping, Sweden.” Journal of Urban Design 21.6 (2016): 764-784.

Wright, Brian. “Southern Whigs, a “British Conspiracy,” and the Annexation of Texas.” (2018).

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