American democracy has a lineage of written records that we can trace to show the development of our nation, and how each document builds on those before it to make our foundation of freedom stronger. In this video, documents conceived in the years when America was trying to heal the wounds of the Civil War and prosper are examined. Educators from noted American universities share their insights on: Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) -- This second Fort Laramie Treaty (the first was 1851) was made between the U. S. government and different bands of the Sioux Indian Nation and the Arapahoes. The treaty assigned them land and concessions from the government.The Civil Rights Act of 1875 (1875) -- This act prohibited businesses that serve the public, such as hotels and transportation facilities, from discriminating against African-Americans. Southern Democrats opposed the act. The Compromise of 1877 (1877) -- In exchange for Democrats accepting Rutherford B. Hayes as president, Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South. Reconstruction governments, set up following the Civil War, weakened and fell. Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) -- Many Americans saw immigrants as a threat to employment because of their willingness to work cheaply. Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which denied citizenship to the Chinese and prohibited immigration of Chinese laborers.Dawes General Allotment Act (1887) -- This act theoretically gave Native American families 160 acres of land for farming. Many Indians, however, were cheated out of their allotments. The Interstate Commerce Act (1887) -- To protect farmers, this act prohibited railroads from giving secret rebates, or refunds, to large shippers and from charging more for short hauls than long hauls over the same route. The act created the Interstate Commerce Commission.The Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) - As big businesses grew in power, some created monopolies and trusts. Congress responded in 1890 with the Sherman Antitrust Act, which outlawed all monopolies and trusts that restrained trade. The law proved too difficult to enforce.Grade Level: 7+. 30 minutes.
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