American History essay




  1. Why are there two houses in the legislative branch? What conflict at the Constitutional Convention did the creation of a bicameral legislature address? What is the fundamental purpose of each branch?

Thelegislative branch has two houses to ensure sharing of power andequal representation of the states’ population. The constitutionalconvention created the bicameral legislature to address the perceivedtyranny challenge. For instance, the framers focus on checks andbalances idea, created the suspicion that unicameral legislaturewould empower one institution, therefore, the bicameral legislatureserves as checks against the authority of each other to preventtyrannical power gain by either. The bicameral legislature provides acompromise opportunity to address the fierce conflict overrepresentation that threatens to derail the whole ConstitutionalConvention. The house of representative initiates revenue bills,impeach federal officials and in case of electoral tie, it elects thepresidents. While the Senate confirms the appointments of thepresidents that requiring consent and ratifies treaties.

  1. What is the purpose of the Electoral College? Do we still need an Electoral College?

Inthe US, the Electoral College serves as compromise betweenpresident’s selection through Congress votes and the qualifiedcitizens votes. It serves as a buffer between population andpresidents election and as a government structure that gives power tosmaller states. The founding fathers were feared direct presidencyelection and were suspicious of tyrant’s manipulation of publicopinion and power control, thus created it.

TheElectoral College is not needed because its rules violates the moderndemocracy rule of “one person-one vote” as it adds two electorsto each state that leads to distortions of individual votes among thestates.

  1. What kind of a relationship does the Constitution define between the states and the central government? What problem(s) do you think could arise from this?

Theconstitution dictates political power sharing between central andstate governments. The state government has power hierarchy fromstate to provinces, while central government is in control of mostpowers and authorities. A central government is responsible forinternational diplomacy and security at national level, while stategovernment is responsible for local development and maintenance lawand order at local level.

Theproblems that could arise from this is that the central governmentbeing the centre of authority and power may exercise excessive powerand manipulate state government if the checks and balances and notwell checked.

  1. Why did Washington urge non-interference in European affairs in his Farewell Address?

Washingtonwarned against non-interference in Europeans affairs because ofinternal challenges and foreign dangers involved. He was frustratedby French interference with the politics of the US and wished todefend the neutrality and nationhood of America from any externalthreats as a result of permanent alliance with foreign policies.

  1. &nbspWhy did Washington urge against political parties?

Hebelieved that party loyalty and lines were based on publicdestructiveness and personal bitterness and thus could destroy theunity of the nation. Although, political parties played a crucialrole in election, he argued that they were destructive due to theirattempts to retain and manifest power and their attempts to revengeagainst the political opponents. He foresaw sectionalism dangers andurged that after gaining power, the political factions would obstructthe Congress law execution and prevent government functions andinterfere with people’s freedoms if not restrained. Politicaldomination of one party over others will make it enjoy more powersover the government and revenge on other parties using that power. Hewarned of formal and permanent despotism because of tendency towardatrocities by the out of power parties.

  1. Why did Jefferson call the election the “Revolution of 1800?” What is significant about the election of 1800?

Hecalled it the “Revolution of 1800” because it was the first USelection in history that saw the shift of power from federal todemocratic Republican government without any bloodshed. It was abloodless revolution that validated the work of constitution. Hisvictory in election was the Revolution of 1800 because according tohim, the victory proved that the change in politics and culture ispossible without violence.

Theelection of 1800 was important because it was the first peacefulelection that saw power transfer in the white house. It marked aturning point and the dominance of the Democratic Republican andshift towards increased democracy as Jefferson’s political beliefswere more democratic compared to those of Washington and Adams.

  1. What kind of a country did the Hamiltonians envision? What kind of a country did the Jeffersonians envision? Which of the two visions proved to have a greater impact on the course of US history? Where can these competing visions be identified in the modern United States?

Hamiltonbelieved in strong central authority and favored a strong governmentfor provision of order for business and industry growth. Heenvisioned US as an industrial power and sought for national bankestablishment and funding the nation debt to create a strong nationalcredit base. For Hamilton, the educated and wealthy runs thegovernment and not the mob. He opposed French revolution involvementand claimed that Jeffersonian were too cozy with Britain.

Jeffersonenvisioned a country whose strength lie in the roots of agriculture.He envisioned an agrarian nation with reversed state powers. Heopposed central authority and saw people as the final governmentauthority. He supported and encourages French Revolution.

Hamiltonvision had great impacts in the US history as it saw the greatindustrial power of US and its ability to sustain itself in earlycenturies for instance Sayes rebellion. This was possible because ofstrong central authority. The competing vision can be seen in themodern US government that adopted the federal systems of Hamilton andthe reversed states power as advocated by Jefferson. The US is anindustrial power as Hamilton envisaged. Hamilton and Jefferson’svisions were critical in factions’ formation that resulted in dualparty system that operated by modern US.

  1. What is the significance of Marbury vs. Madison? What is Judicial Review and why is it important? What does this have to do with the issue of State vs. Federal power?

Marburyverse Madison case significance lies in the judicial review power,the case ruling gave to the US Supreme Court. Judicial Review entailsJudicial Branch power and ability to determine the constitutionalityof a law. Thecase&nbspiscentral to the central to the formation of federal governments thattook over the state government because it gave federal powers to theSupreme Court.

  1. Discuss the Agrarian Ideal. How does it fit with the national vision of the Jeffersonians? What became of Jeffersons vision? Where can we see evidence of it in the modern US?

Theagrarian ideal is the political vision of a country that ispredominantly agrarian- a society with small and self sufficientfarmers. It suits the Jefferson’s vision in that he envisioneda country whose strength lie in the roots of agriculture. Heenvisioned an agrarian nation with reversed state powers.

Jefferson’svisions was embraced in the American society in that a century afterthe agrarian ideal formulation, political speeches, articles andliterature among other advanced the idea and the values were nurturedand cherished in the American farmers homes and field. Paints suchas Hudson River School and visionary images portrayed the ideal. Inthe modern US the evidence can be seen in the commercialization offarming and use of modern technology in agriculture.

  1. What is the importance of the Hartford Convention of 1814? What was the basis of the controversy addressed there? What does it tell us about the Constitution?

HartfordConvention was an attempt to discuss the 1812 War and the politicalchallenges as a result of Virginia President’s domination ofFederal Government. Some succession controversies were addressed, butthe primary focus was to oppose changes in the constitution to curbfuture crises. The convention was significance because it highlightedsectional differences (it drew support from north). It called forfederal government for New England protection and financial aidsupply for batter trade economy of England. It advancedconstitutional amendment recommendations such as the need of the twothirds majority vote for war declaration. The convention is areminder that the constitution did not serve the majority and thusneed some amendments and change to suite the new government climate.

  1. &nbspHow did each of the policies advocated by Monroe, that would later become known as the American System, affect each of the three regions of the country: North, South, and West? Which region gained the most? Which one gained the least? What could be among the long term consequences? What does the American System tell us about American politics and the Party system in this era?

TheAmerican systems anchored on various elements such as proactivetariffs establishment, national bank creation and internal growthinvestment for new roads, waterways and creation of transportationmean. The system created regional differences among the south, northand west based on the agreement with the policies. The north hadgreat befits because of the growth of industries and bettertransportation routes for supplies and products transportation. Thesouth lost because of little growth of industries and poor watertransport provided poor market access for farmers and planters. Thesystem shows the political differences, domination of power andmanipulation by powerful parties over others.

  1. How does the American System relate to the Missouri Crisis of 1820? Why is politicalparity essential to the compromise?

TheAmerican system created regional difference between the North and thesouth that called for Missouri Compromise. The US Congress passed theCompromise that allowed Missouri admission as the 24thstate. The Compromise marked the start of an enduring sectionconflict over slavery extension that resulted in Civil War inAmerican. Political parity was essential to create peace and allowequality in resources and power sharing among the states.

  1. Discuss the effects of American expansion into the west on Native American peoples. Consider the effect of each of three responses (Resist, Assimilate, and Move) on Native American cultures. Why did Americans not recognize the rights of Native Americans to their lands? How do you think Americans could have solved the conflicts between the desire for expansion and the rights of Native Americans?

Americanwestward expansion created conflicts over the land as the Americansconfiscated native lands. They assimilated the native’s culturesthrough Christianity doctrines, admission of their children inboarding schools and killing the bisons (the natives’ main foodsource. Those who resisted the American move engaged in constantcivil conflicts attacking installments of troops, and raiding theirsettlements. Others were forced to move to the reservation andgiven annuity (money) to buy food from American traders. TheAmericans did not recognize the Native Americans rights to their landbecause they were occupied the greatest desire to acquire fertilefarming lands and mineral wealth on the idle natives lands. Creatingdefined land boundaries and strong administrative laws to protectnatives land could solve the conflict between Americans expansiondesires and the natives’ rights.

  1. &nbspIn what ways does the election of 1828 signal a significant change in American politics? How does Andrew Jackson exemplify the new democratic spirit?

Thechanges in the participation, voting qualification and AndrewJackson’s election as well as the democratic party formation due toMartin Buren’s organizational skills contributed to thesignificance of the 1821 election and making president Jackson’scandidature a watershed in the American political system evolution.The 1828 campaign was critical in the two party systems developmentsimilar to the modern system. The presidential election resembles themodern political campaign and the 1828 campaign strengthened theexecutive branch powers.

  1. In what ways did President Andrew Jackson’s behavior in office contradict the ideals ofAmerican democracy?

PresidentJackson’s behavior contradicts the American ideals of democracy inthat he appeared as a political impulse anchored on slavery, theNative Americans subjugation and celebrated white supremacy.

  1. Who were the Whigs? Why did they call themselves Whigs? Where were they from? Whatdid they have in common?

TheWhigs are the Scotland, America and England political parties. It isshorted word for whiggamorethat means a horse driver. The word described the US party thatopposed the presidents Jackson’s Democratic Party. They supportedthe Congress supremacy over presidency and preferred economicprotection and modernization program.

  1. How does the Nullification Crisis relate to the Hartford Convention of 1814? What major constitutional question drives both events? Where does this question arise from? In what ways did the resolution of the crisis present victories for both sides? How does the resolution of the crisis pave the way for further conflict?

TheNullification Crisis is an official suspension by the federal law ofthe state within states borders was a concept by Madison andJefferson to oppose the Alien and Sedition Acts. The principlerelated to the Hartford Convention of 1814 in the New England and thesouthern leaders as the protection against encroachments of rights bythe federal system. It was the point of contention until the 1832crisis.

  1. How did the American Revolution encourage southerners to believe that they could withstand the northern attempt to restore the Union by force?

TheAmerican Revolution was citizen’s revolution against the oppressionof the rulers and transformed the southerner’s assertion intouniversal freedom and liberty call. The revolution frightened thenortherners and inspired the southerners’ actions and convincedthem that a peaceful emancipation would restore the Union by force.

  1. &nbspWhy did Lincoln wait until after the Battle of Antietam to issue the Emancipation Proclamation? What was his fundamental reason for doing so? What does this tell us about the relationship between slavery and the causes of the war?

AlthoughLincoln had proposed the Emancipation Proclamation before, he did notdo so until the end of Antietam battled because William Seward hassuggested that he wait for the Victory of the Union and thegovernment approval that it can enforce the Proclamation. TheAntietam Battle resulted in a draw, the army of the Union managed toremove Confederate from Maryland. This was enough victory for Lincolnto issue Emancipation. Until 1862, the war focused on Unionpreservation, but with Emancipation and Proclamation, slaves’freedom became the legitimate aim of the war.

  1. Why was the Confederacy able to withstand the overwhelming advantages of the Union forces for so long?

TheUnion’s military, political and economic strength was immense thanthe confederacy strengths. Although the war lasted for so long, theconfederacy proved resilient in various stands. During the war, therewas constant shift of tides and so were the military, political andeconomic strengths of both sides. Both sides had its militaryachievements share, but at the end, the powerful economy, centralgovernment and great manpower of the Northern side eventually made itvictorious. Although each side had its share of military successes,in the end, the superior Northern economy, centralized government andoverwhelming manpower would eventually lead to victory.