American civilization 1607-1877

Published: 07th May 2010
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ABSTRACT:

The United States of America is the world's biggest economy in addition to this it is also the world's solo superpower. The United States of America has had a very rich and entertaining history. This paper aims at looking at some of the country's significant historical events. In addition to this, the paper aims at looking how these events have helped create one of the world's best democracies.

COLONIAL PERIOD:

The United States colonial period refers to the time between when the land later to be called the United States of America was inhabited or occupied by Europeans up to the time that the land gained independence from Britain in 1776. The United States of America was occupied by many European powers including the United Kingdom, France, and Spain.

The colonialism of America is not different from that of many other regions that were colonized like Asia and Africa. There were mixed reasons for the colonialism of the United States of America. Some of these reasons included the fact that due to increasing industrial work in Europe especially shipbuilding helped the spread of Europeans to distant lands. In addition to this, the fact that there was increasing population within the European nations the need to relocate to distant lands also helped the process of colonialism. Thirdly, increasing commerce forced some European nations to seek colonies to guarantee themselves a ready market for their goods.

THE IMPERIAL CRISIS OF THE 1760S AND 1770S:

The imperial crisis of the 1760s and the 1770s were part of the reasons that led to the American Revolution as well as the ultimate attainment of independence. The American Revolution or the American war for independence was a war that was fought not only within the thirteen colonies territory but also abroad. This war was mainly between the American colonies and their British colonialists. This war was precursory to American independence. Before this war, there were some other wars the imperial wars, which gave the American natives some experience on how to wage this war.

The crisis was mainly because of increasing control by the colonial administration on the natives. The French and Indian wars as well as the seven years war had a very devastating effect on the colonies. As a result, the public finances of the colony had been greatly strained. In addition, the colony was becoming increasingly chaotic especially after the decision by the colonial authorities to increase taxes in order to reduce the strain on the public coffers. This angered the natives since they could not understand why a foreign government would impose taxes on them without their consent.

The introduction of higher taxes led to increased riots that started in Boston and in 1775, the colonies had mobilized a militia to fight the British combat troops. In 1776 representatives of the thirteen colonies unanimously voted to adopt the declaration of independence that formed the United States of America.

In 1778, the Americans formed an alliance with France. This alliance strengthened the American militias especially their naval strength, this led to the capturing of two British armies at Saratoga and Yorktown. This greatly reduced British power given the fact that American patriots already controlled over 70 percent of the mainland. Despite the French factor, the Americans were all united against British domination especially after the increasing of local taxes. Although there were different factions, they all had a common enemy that was the British. War was finally ended with the signing of the Paris treaty that effectively ended British domination. All land east of the Mississippi and south of the great lakes was declared American land. In addition, the experience gained during the four chapters of the French and Indian wars were greatly instrumental in fighting the British. In addition, the following factors led to the escalation of the crisis.

the boston massacre:

The Boston massacre was a situation in 1770 that was the main cause for sparking the revolutions violence. Prior to the Boston massacre, no bloodshed had been experienced although tensions were still very high. This massacre led to the death of five American civilians. These civilians had been killed by British troops. The legal outcome of this massacre is what initially led to the escalation of the violence and the spread of anti-British sentiments to all the thirteen colonies. The massacre arose after a rioting crowd attacked British military personnel only for the soldiers to react with muskets to quell the violence.

the stamp act:

The stamp act of 1765 was the fourth successive stamp act to be passed by the British parliament on the American colonies. This law required that all newspapers, pamphlets, permits, commercial contracts, and any other legal document as well as playing cards carry a tax stamp.

The main purpose of the stamp act was to increase funding for the military personnel that was responsible for protecting the American colonies. In addition to this, the money was to be used to pay for war debts incurred during the French and Indian wars.

The stamp act met with great resistance from all the colonies and it was still part of the reason for the escalation of the revolt. The act was never effectively implemented since the Americans were not ready to pay for taxes as they claimed without representation.

the declaratory act:

The declaratory act was an act of the British government in 1766. This act was mainly aimed at regulating the behavior of the colonies. It was because of the formation of the stamp act congress that arose after the imposition of the stamp act. This congress was questioning the legitimacy of a distant power (Great Britain) to tax the American colonies.

the role of john adams:

John Adams was the first vice president of independent United States and later the second president of the republic. He was a key sponsor of the revolution in Massachusetts. In addition to this, he was also a key rebel to British rule and a key diplomat.

He also negotiated with the Amsterdam market for money to wage the American revolutionary war.

the townshend acts:

The Townsend acts were some British legislation that were supposed or intended to raise additional revenue. They were also intended to increase British authority over the American colonies. These acts were intended to levy import duties on paper, paint, lead, tea and glass.

the boston tea party:

The Boston tea party was an act of protest by American civilians in Boston. The act was perpetrated on the Boston harbor where the American colonists destroyed crates of tea bricks. It was also a major driving force for the American Revolution.

the gaspee affair:

The Gaspee affair was a situation where the British vessel HMS Gaspee ran into shallow waters while chasing a packet boat. American patriots led by Abraham Whipple took advantage of the situation, attacked the vessel, and stole valuables from the ship.

THE PERIOD OF CONSTITUTION WRITING:

The United States constitution is the highest governing document or the republics supreme law of the United States. It was adopted as the supreme law in 17 September 1787 by the constitutional convention held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was later to be ratified by the people of the republic in all the constituent states to start with the phrase "we the people". Since its drafting, ratification and subsequent amendments it has withstood the tests of time to end up being one of the best constitutions in the world today.

The process of writing the constitution started in earnest in 1786. In September of that year 5 commissioners from five different states met during the Annapolis convention with the intention of discussing adjustments to the articles of confederation in order to improve commerce. Thus, they invited state representatives to the Philadelphia convention in order to discuss federal government issues. The decision reached to revise the articles of confederation was later altered and a proposal was made instead to formulate a written constitution.

ANTEBELLUM AMERICA:

Antebellum America refers to the immediate time preceding the American civil war. The American civil war was a war that was fought between the years 1861-1865. This war was between the united states called the 'union' and eleven slave states in the south. The eleven southern states claimed that they had a right to secede from the federation, and went ahead and formed the 'confederate states of America'.

The United States administration under president Abraham Lincoln was opposed to slavery, especially if the slave industry was practiced in territories owned by the United States of America. This was the reason that prompted the commencement of the civil war on 12 April 1861. The American civil war went on until 1865 when it was unanimously declared through the emancipation proclamation that stated that all slaves in the confederate states were free. Through state action and through the thirteenth amendment to the American constitution all slaves in the union and the Border States were freed.

During this time, there was widespread sectionalism as the confederate states were preparing to secede from the union in order to continue practicing their slave based economies. The period is sometimes claimed to have started after the war of 1812 although in other contexts it is claimed to have started at the onset of the Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854.

RECONSTRUCTION:

The process of reconstruction took place between the years 1863 and 1877. The reconstruction process was an attempt by the United States to resolve issues arising from the effects of the American civil war. Thaw reconstruction was an attempt to return the seceded confederacy states back into there union. It also took into issue matters of the constitution as well as the legal state of the Negro.

The process of reconstruction came in three different phases. The first phase was the presidential reconstruction that took place between the years of 1863 and 1866. This phase was under the control of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. The main goal of this first phase was the quick reunification of the country. The moderate programs that were suggested by the two presidents were highly opposed by the radical republicans.

The second phase of the reconstruction was under the leadership of the republicans. This phase called the congressional reconstruction took place after the presidential elections of 1866. This phase took place between the years of 1866 and 1873. This phase concentrated on civil rights as well as the issue of voting rights of the freedmen.

The third phase of the reconstruction phases took place between the years 1873 and 1877. This phase was called the redemption. This phase started after the redeemers defeated the republicans and took control of the so-called southern states. This change of events marked the end of the reconstruction process.






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