Reconstruction and Age of American Imperialism documents a historical period that saw America strive to revive itself economically, socially, and politically and to project its political and economic power all over the world. According to Norton, Kamensky, Sheriff, Blight, Chudacoff, Logevall, and Michals (2014) the United States Government acted like the traditional imperial power in the first half of the twentieth century where the country was determined to exercise its full power and gain control in the political and international economic arena. To understand this period in depth, the essay analyzes, and then compares two primary sources which have proven to be most relevant in the understanding of the events that occurred in America at the time. These are Jacob A. Riis’s How the other Half Lives (1890) and Theodore Roosevelt’s Annual address to Congress, 3 December 1901 (1901).
Jacob August Riis (3rd May 1849 – 26th May 1914) was a Danish-American author, social documentary photographer, journalist, and social reformer whose principal works revolved around the subject of the impoverished people in New York. In How the other Half Lives, Riis endorses the model of tenements to bring out the central idea of discrimination and economic disparity between the affluent and the less affluent in the society. The book was created to show the effects that poverty and inequality had on the American society.
Riis argues that the world is divided into two halves whereby the half on the higher side does not know how the lower half lives mainly because they do not care about them. According to Norton et al. (2014), the American Society of the past was divided along racial and economic lines. Riis (1890) shows just how big this chasm was, and is therefore, the major conflict addressed in the book.
Theodore Roosevelt (27th October 1858–6th January 1919) was an American author, soldier,...