QUESTIONS: AMERICAN HISTORY 2
1.In the United States, the Congress is the legislative arm of thefederal government. Established in 1787, it consists of two housesnamely, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The constitutionprovides for a bicameral parliament in order to share power among thevarious units of the government. In addition to these, the lawrequires any piece of legislation to get positive votes from the twohouses before becoming law. This ensures there are enough checks andbalances preventing tyranny. The creation of bicameral house wasmeant to address the conflicts of states’ right, representation,and slavery that arose at the constitutional convention. Thefundamental purpose of the Senate is that it has the sole mandate ofratifying all the treaties as well as confirming presidentialappointees such as cabinet members, judges of federal courts andother high ranking officers. On the other hand, the House ofRepresentatives represent the will of the people and its fundamentalpurpose is to pass federal laws that affect the whole country, whichmust be approved by the Senate and accented to by the presidentbefore becoming laws.
2.The Electoral College is composed of 538 electors who vote to electthe president and the vice president of the United States. For anycandidate to win the presidency, he or she must get the majority ofthe electoral votes (270). The purpose of the Electoral College asenvisioned in the constitution was to protect the interest of everycitizen by preventing what was later dubbed “the tyranny of themajority.” It was to ensure that the president is elected bypeople who can analyze the abilities and qualifications suitable ofthe holder of the president’s office. Most critics argue that theElectoral College is losing relevance because the electors havebecome loyal members, but it is still important to preserve thepeople’s interests and check on the tyranny of the majority.
3.The relationship and the authority that exists between the federaland state governments is defined in the U.S constitution. The powersand actions of the federal government is limited to the duties andauthorities defined in the constitution. On the other hand, the sameconstitution also specifies the powers and jurisdictions of the stategovernments. The federal and the state governments enjoy a workingrelationship with the federal government having the mandate over thestate governments. The problems arising from this relationship isbalancing the power between the two levels of government.
4.In his farewell address, George Washington emphasized on the need ofnon-interference in European affairs. The speech was because he hadbecome pervasive of the divisions he witnessed between the Americanswho were backing England on one hand and the others who supportedFrance. These divisions crept into American political scene andthreatened the American political philosophy. He, therefore, warnedagainst European entangles and alliances.
5.Washington further urged against political parties that he arguedwould promote division and factionalism that was already encroachingin America. He noted that political parties would concentrate powerin the hands of a few individuals thus promoting self-interests.
6.Thomas Jefferson referred to the election of 1800 the revolution of1800 since it was historic as it marked the change of power from oneparty to another in the U.S history peacefully through elections. The1800 election was of great significant since it marked a shift ofauthority from Federalists to Democratic-Republicans. Besides itmarked the beginning of what was to be the dominance ofDemocratic-Republican and openness to democracy.
7.Alexander Hamilton, a very brilliant secretary of the treasury in theearly 1790s envisioned a country full of factories and banks thatwould bring wealth to the nation and her people in his reports. Headvocated for central authority where a central government was toprovide direction for businesses to prosper. He envisioned America asan Industrial power. On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson envisioned acountry where farmers enjoyed the liberties. Jefferson believed thatthe strength of any country was dependent on the nation’sagriculture thus advocated for the agricultural society. Contrary toHamilton he opposed strong central authority arguing that theultimate and sovereign power rested with the people. Even though boththeories had impacts in the course of history, Hamiltonians had agreater impact. Hamilton’s vision of industrial power came to passand is still visible today as well as the federal authority practicedtoday. Jefferson’s theory of power belonging to the people can beseen in the separation of powers and the right of citizens to electtheir leaders.
8.Marbury v. Madison is considered the most significant ruling in thehistory of the Supreme Court. This case is of significance because itgave the Supreme Court of United States the power of judicial review.Judicial review is the power the court to determine theconstitutionalism of the laws passed by Congress. This was importantas it gave more meaning to the constitution. In relation, to state v.federal power, judicial review is routinely applied to answerconstitutional questions relating to the two levels of government.This power also allows courts to force federal government officialsto act following the constitutional principles.
9.The agrarian ideal is a philosophy that values more the rural areasthan the urban society, this philosophy argues that the independentfarmers are superior to paid workers. This philosophy fits perfectlywith Jefferson’s idea of agrarian democracy where he argued thatdevelopment of urban industry was a threat to farmer’sindependence. The evidence of this is observable in the currentcountry’s agricultural sector.
10.Hartford Convention was an event that took place in United Statesbringing together the New England Federalists to discuss theirgrievances on the war of 1812 alongside the political setbacks thatarose from Federal government dominion by Virginia presidents. Thismeeting was important because it managed to bridge the sectionalismbringing to end the end federalist domination. The controversyaddressed the federalists’ dominion by Virginia presidents. TheHartford convention reflected the desire of the constitution toprotect the US interests.
11.The ‘American System’ were the policies advocated for by Monroeafter the economic collapse following 1812 war. This policy affectedthe Southerners who were opposed to the increase in prices paid forimports due to high tariffs the westerners were split over thetariff issue with a section from Northwest favoring it while thepeople of Southwest rejected it. The national banking was anotherpolicy that elicited resentment from the North. Westerners were thebiggest gainers since the banks advanced loans to farmers and landwas also sold cheaply. The worst hit were the southerners who reliedon cotton. The long term consequences would be a regional imbalancein economic development. The American system reveals the dominance ofone party in the political arena during this era.
12.Missouri crisis of 1820 was a crisis over slavery that erupted in themidst of 1819 financial crisis. It was perpetuated by Missouriapplication of statehood involving the slavery states west ofMississippi. It was related to the American System that advocated forsectionalism as the southerners carried the day though at a highprice. Missouri was admitted as a slave state alongside Maine forsectional balance. Being a congressional agreement political paritywas therefore, necessary to the compromise.
13.The American expansion into the west had diverse effects on theNative American people. This development led to war as the Americanstried relocating the residents from their lands, there were alsospread of diseases caused by population pressure from the immigrants.These attempts were responded to in three ways resist, where thenatives staged resistance to any move, assimilate where theyassimilated the newcomers and moved where some relocated. TheAmericans recognized the right of the natives on their own land dueto their contribution to commerce and settlement. The conflictbetween the desire for expansion and the rights of the Natives couldbe solved by systematically assimilating the natives into mainstreamAmerican culture without betrayal.
14.The 1828 election signaled significant changes in the Americanpolitics with political scientists and historians arguing that it wasthe turning point in American politics that saw the introduction ofprototype modern politics. It was the beginning of the two-partysystem akin to the present system. Andrew Jackson overwhelmingly wonthe elections on Democratic Party ticket. Jackson exemplified thespirit of democracy by strategically getting rid of autocracy anddemocratizing government institutions.
15. However, some of Jackson’s behaviors while in office contradictedthe ideals of American democracy for instance, he mandated forcefulrelocation of thousands of Native Americans. Jackson also had anauthoritarian rule which beats the tenets of democracy.
16.The Whigs were a group of people who were opposed to PresidentJackson’s administration which they termed authoritarian. Theycalled themselves Whigs which was an English antimonarchist party.The common thread among the Whigs is that they opposed theadministration of Andrew Jackson.
17.Nullification is the official suspension of federal laws fromoperating within the borders of a state by the state. Theseprinciples were adopted by the Hartford Convention of New Englandersas well as the south. This convention reached a crisis in 1832 whenSouthern representatives failed to moderate the barriers that hadbeen erected. The question began when South Carolina passed anullification ordinance and threatened secession on attempts by thefederal government to collect tariff duties. President Jacksonresponded by saying such a nullification as akin to treason anddispatched ships to the harbor of Charleston to strengthen theFederal reservations.
18.American Revolution that was an armed conflict to decide whether astate had the right to leave the union alongside slavery, economicand emotional issues encouraged the southerners into believing thatthey could withstand the attempts by northerners to restore the unionby force.This was because they felt much more organized and wereable to sustain the war.
19.Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation after the Battleof Antietam. This delay was as a result of some factors firstLincoln had to determine its constitutionalism. Secondly, he wasconvinced that doing so at a time when the Union military wasperforming dismally would be tantamount to desperation, and finally,his advisors had earlier rejected the idea. The issuance ofEmancipation Proclamation declared slaves free and made legit theslave war.
20.The Confederacy was able to withstand the overwhelming advantages ofthe Union forces for quite long since they needed not to make attacksbut rather just defend themselves. The unions had no options but toattack as a result suffering heavy casualties. Moreover, the firerifle musket power used in the battlefield favored the defender.