generic news, history

1890s, early 1900s vs now

It is amazing how many modern issues have not changed in the past hundred years. This post is going to briefly point out the similarities and differences between the issues being dealt with at the rise of the industrial revolution and the issues we are dealing with now.

Issue 1: Birth control
Then: Margaret Sanger and American Birth Control League vs. The social gospel movement led by Christians.
Now: Planned Parenthood vs. USCCB, Focus on the Family, and other Christian activist groups.
Notes: Same crowds, new titles.

Issue 2: Immigration
Then: Chinese.
Now: Mexicans.
Notes: The U.S. government banned immigration of the Chinese (with a large handful of exceptions) into the U.S. for about fifty years.

Issue 3: Patent wars
Then: Thomas Edison and his new company G.E. vs. his competitors.
Now: Apple vs. Microsoft and every other smart-phone-producing company.
Notes: Edison’s ideas were frequently being stolen and put on the market for cheaper than what it cost Edison to develop them. Also, technically the names listed after “Now” could be replaced by numerous different businesses, but I just picked the most well known fights.

Issue  4: Big businesses
Then: Tycoons vs. the working class
Now: Corporations vs. the consumer
Notes: Sam crowds, new fight. Big business has always somehow managed to tick off the American public in one way or another.

Issue 5: Government Expansion
Then: Progressives vs. Conservatives
Now: Liberals vs. Conservatives
Notes: Though it appears the Conservatives haven’t changed their name, the standpoint associated with them has shifted from truly conservative – not wanting government change – to more libertarian. However, they have always been right-wing and pro-business even when the current political parties did not support their views.

Those are, in my opinion, the top five major issues (though not in any particular order). There are several other issues, and most of them fall into similar categories, so I haven’t bothered to discuss them. This article is just a little reminder that “the more things change the more they stay the same.”


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