U.S.History up to 1877
Americanhistory began after its discovery by Christopher Columbus, an Italianexplorer in the year 1492. Before the prospective foreign visitors,native Americas practiced traditional economic, social and politicallife. Native Americans practiced corn, yam, pumpkin and potatoesfarming which they consumed as their primary diet. They also believedto have practiced medicine using natural herbs which were widely usedby people to treat of various illness and injuries. Native Americansalso practiced mining of some useful minerals which was done usingancient methods. They also relied on animals` meat for food and usedthe skin and hides for manufacturing of clothing. The AmericanIndians were the primary occupants among the natives (Pease “Culturesof United States Imperialism “).
Inthe year 1600, European colonialists started arriving in America.Visitors from Europe began settling in various parts of America. Mostof the settlers were from England. They began colonizing the nativeinhabitants by imposing rules and policies that were to be followed.Virginia was the first colony to be permanently settled by theEnglish colonialists and thus the founding of America. In the year1764, the British parliament passed a bill that aimed at raising therevenue from the American colonists in all the colonies (Pease“Cultures of United States Imperialism “). The act proposed bythe colonial masters on sugar and sugar products such as molassessignificantly impacted on the manufacture of rum back in New England.The tax increase was to be used by the British colonialist to paytheir soldiers and also help them acquire new firearms andammunition. The people who were unable to pay the tax imposed weresubject to various forms of punishments. The British colonialist alsoengaged them in trade. Ships from England would trade goods inexchange for slaves. Slaves were highly valued as they provided theBritish colonies with labor in the sugar plantations. In the year1765, the British government imposed a tax on the transfer ofdocuments in all the American colonies which created resentment amongthe natives leading to the emergence of rebellion (Pease “Culturesof United States Imperialism “).
Inthe year 1766, a revolution among the residents emerged, which led tothe formation of association revolting against the colonialleadership. In August of the same year, violence broke up between theBritish colonial soldiers and members of the rebel group sons ofliberty in New York. The Rebels fought colonial officials in all thethirteen colonies of the United States of America. Under theleadership of George Washington, and with the help from France,America was able to rebel against the British colonial forces leadingto revolutionary war in which they emerged as the victors, liberatingAmerica from the colonial rule of the British. Later that year theEnglish parliament voted to go into a war against America but thenwithdrew. A preliminary peace treaty was subsequently agreed upon byboth parties in Paris recognizing America independence from theBritish (Bellah 2).
Inthe year 1779, George Washington became the first US president. Bythis time, the United States was comprised of thirteen states whichincluded Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut,Delaware, New York, South Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, NorthCarolina, Virginia, and Rhode Island. In the mid-1776 and late 1777,a document named as the articles of confederation was drafted as thefirst constitution of the United States and ratification by all thethirteen states was completed on 1981. Independence gave America andthe American people a new dawn and a sense of leadership as a newstate (Bellah 4). George Washington was chosen to become the Union`sfirst president while Alexander Hamilton became his adviser. Underthe leadership of George Washington an influential central governmentwas formed, which expand its authority to include several morestates. The United States population at that time was small comparedto the vast size of the country, but with time, the populationstarted to grow steadily. The economy of the United States grewtremendously with the population increase. The economic growthexperienced in the United States was boosted by the availability offertile agricultural land that also promoted economic, social andpolitical development (Bellah 5).
Inthe year 1845, James Knox Polk became the United States eleventhpresident. In the same year, the states of Texas and Florida joinedthe United States. In the year 1846, America went into a war withMexico, which lasted for a duration of two years. In the year 1848,Peace treaties were signed, and the war ended. The agreements signedincluded the treaty of Cahuenga and the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.During James Knox Polk reign, Wisconsin was admitted to the UnitedStates and gold was discovered in California. In the year 1861,Abraham Lincoln became the United States sixteenth president. DuringAbraham Lincoln reign, Andrew Johnson became the vice-president, thestate of Kansas was admitted to the United States followed by WestVirginia. Later that year the American civil war began between theUnited States and the Confederate States. Several wars followed thatincluded the Battle of the Gettysburg and Sand Creek Massacre.
Inthe year 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and Andrew Johnsonwho was his vice at that time succeeded him as the seventeenthpresident of America. During Andrew reign, the state of Nevada andNebraska were admitted to the United States and the civil war came toan end. The end of the civil war came with the victory for the UnitedStates which resulted in significant territorial integrity,dissolution of the Confederacy, abolishment of slavery and thebeginning of the reconstruction era. The reconstruction period beganwhich aimed more on the southern part where most of the damages hadoccurred. The southern part, which was mainly composed of Americansof white descend, was not in good terms with the north part. TheSouth was accused as the primary cause of the war. Therefore, RadicalRepublicans felt it was appropriate to punish the south. The liberalRepublicans gained the black community support by declaring that theblacks had the right to vote. The Republicans also controlled thesouth and improvised strategies to prevent Americans of whites’race from voting. A law was passed that banned anyone who hadparticipated in the rebellion from voting. Congress also madesignificant policies that protected the voting rights of the black.During the reconstruction period, roads, schools, and hospitals whichhad been destroyed during the civil war were constructed. Thetransport sector that included the railway and the education sectorwas also significantly improved. (Friedman et al. “A monetaryhistory of the United States”).
Inthe year 1866, the Civil Rights Act was enacted, which grantedcitizenship rights to all the American citizens, without consideringany of their acts or political stand (Amar “America`sConstitution”). The act also provided the right of all people bornin the United States to be declared as citizens of America regardlessof their ethnicity, religion or color. The act also enabled freemovement of people and goods from one state to the other within theUnited States. The act also provided that every person within theUnited States should enjoy equal protection under the law. The actalso made it clear that anyone who exposes another person to tortureor unnecessary pains except in punishment for a crime of which theparty shall have been duly convicted. It also provided protection anddiscouraged discrimination of either color or race. The act also hadother clauses which governed the citizens of the United States andthe United States government. It also enacted legislation governingthe court, refugees, and duties of senior government officers, thepresident, and the national government.
Asthe reconstruction of the United States was taking place, the rivalrybetween the northern parts, southern parts, and the Republicansescalated, and sects started forming and emerging. One good exampleof such a sect/groups were the Ku Klux Klan, a secret organizationformed by a set of Allied veterans that grew into a paramilitaryforce (Foner “Give Me Liberty! An American History”). The sects’motives were to hinder the central government’s effort toreconstruct the various facilities and infrastructure destroyedduring the civil war, and to reunite the American people in thesouth, particularly laws that gave rights to the African Americaninhabitants, such as voting rights. These groups/sects then beganusing violence to promote their agenda mainly the white superiorityand pushing back reconstruction in the United States. The violencethat began gave rise to a war that led to the mass loss of life anddestruction of property. The United States was followed by severalother wars such as the Red clouds war in the year 1866 which occurredin the Powder River State, which led to the United States losing itslegal control of the Powder River to Native Americans. In the year1875, the United States and Mexican militia fought in the Las CuevasWar brought about by cattle stealing bandits (Foner “Give MeLiberty! An American History”).
Thehistory of America illustrates that despite the many social, economicand political challenges experienced by America and which were mostlycharacterized by wars, with the right leadership and governance anation can be successful regardless of its past. The American peoplehad to pass through long and challenging circumstances that includedindividual sacrifices to achieve what was regarded best for thenation. The freedom motif encourages incoming generations bydirecting and showing them that freedom, which is a right and a basicneed to all Americans, came through an unending struggle to ourfounding fathers, who in most cases most lost their lives withoutachieving it. Freedom was a target that required a lot of struggleand sacrifice for the best interest of the nation, but often withlittle or no success. Neither has there been a straight-line progressof sovereignty in the American history. Freedoms won can also belost. The freedom struggle puts both learners and modern generationsin mind that freedoms are always at risk, without watchfulness andawareness.
Amar,Akhil Reed. America`sConstitution: A Biography.Random House, 2012.
Bellah,Robert N. "Civil religion in America." Daedalus(1967): 1-21.
Foner,Eric. GiveMe Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition.WW Norton & Company, 2013.
Friedman,Milton, and Anna Jacobson Schwartz. Amonetary history of the United States, 1867 1960.Princeton University Press, 2008.
Pease,Donald E. Culturesof United States Imperialism.Duke University Press, 1993.