Seven Southern slave states rebelled and created the foundation of the Confederacy. Confederate defeat led to the impoverishment of the South and the abolition of slavery. In the Reconstruction Era — , legal and voting rights were extended to freed slaves.
History of the United States
The national government emerged much stronger, and because of the Fourteenth Amendment in , it gained the explicit duty to protect individual rights. However, when white Democrats regained their power in the South in , often by paramilitary suppression of voting, they passed Jim Crow laws to maintain white supremacy , and new disfranchising constitutions that prevented most African Americans and many poor whites from voting.
This continued until gains of the Civil Rights Movement in the s and passage of federal legislation to enforce constitutional rights were made. The United States became the world's leading industrial power at the turn of the 20th century due to an outburst of entrepreneurship in the Northeast and Midwest and the arrival of millions of immigrant workers and farmers from Europe. The national railroad network was completed and large-scale mining and factories industrialized the Northeast and Midwest. Mass dissatisfaction with corruption, inefficiency and traditional politics stimulated the Progressive movement , from the s to s, which led to many reforms including the 16th to 19th constitutional amendments, which brought the federal income tax, direct election of Senators, prohibition , and women's suffrage.
Initially neutral during World War I , the United States declared war on Germany in and funded the Allied victory the following year. Women obtained the right to vote in , with Native Americans obtaining citizenship and the right to vote in After a prosperous decade in the s, the Wall Street Crash of marked the onset of the decade-long worldwide Great Depression. Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt ended the Republican dominance of the White House and implemented his New Deal programs, which included relief for the unemployed, support for farmers, Social Security and a minimum wage.
The New Deal defined modern American liberalism. Its involvement culminated in using newly invented nuclear weapons on two Japanese cities to defeat Imperial Japan in the Pacific theater. During the Cold War , the two countries confronted each other indirectly in the arms race , the Space Race , proxy wars , and propaganda campaigns.
The purpose of this was to stop the spread of communism. In the s, in large part due to the strength of the Civil Rights Movement, another wave of social reforms was enacted by enforcing the constitutional rights of voting and freedom of movement to African-Americans and other racial minorities. The Cold War ended when the Soviet Union was officially dissolved in , leaving the United States as the world's only superpower. The beginning of the 21st century saw the September 11 attacks by Al-Qaeda in , followed by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In , the United States had its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression , which was followed by slower-than-usual rates of economic growth during the s.
It is not definitively known how or when the Native Americans first settled the Americas and the present-day United States. The prevailing theory proposes that people migrated from Eurasia across Beringia , a land bridge that connected Siberia to present-day Alaska during the Ice Age , and then spread southward throughout the Americas. The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during the early modern period.
While technically referring to the era before Christopher Columbus ' voyages of to , in practice the term usually includes the history of American indigenous cultures until they were conquered or significantly influenced by Europeans, even if this happened decades or even centuries after Columbus' initial landing. Native American cultures are not normally included in characterizations of advanced stone age cultures as " Neolithic ," which is a category that more often includes only the cultures in Eurasia, Africa, and other regions.
They divided the archaeological record in the Americas into five phases;  see Archaeology of the Americas. The Clovis culture , a megafauna hunting culture, is primarily identified by use of fluted spear points. Artifacts from this culture were first excavated in near Clovis, New Mexico. The culture is identified by the distinctive Clovis point , a flaked flint spear-point with a notched flute, by which it was inserted into a shaft. Dating of Clovis materials has been by association with animal bones and by the use of carbon dating methods.
Recent reexaminations of Clovis materials using improved carbon-dating methods produced results of 11, and 10, radiocarbon years B. According to the oral histories of many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they have been living on this continent since their genesis, described by a wide range of traditional creation stories. Other tribes have stories that recount migrations across long tracts of land and a great river, believed to be the Mississippi River. Archeological and linguistic data has enabled scholars to discover some of the migrations within the Americas.
The Folsom Tradition was characterized by use of Folsom points as projectile tips, and activities known from kill sites, where slaughter and butchering of bison took place. Linguists, anthropologists and archeologists believe their ancestors comprised a separate migration into North America, later than the first Paleo-Indians. They were the earliest ancestors of the Athabascan - speaking peoples, including the present-day and historical Navajo and Apache.
They constructed large multi-family dwellings in their villages, which were used seasonally. People did not live there year-round, but for the summer to hunt and fish, and to gather food supplies for the winter. Since the s, archeologists have explored and dated eleven Middle Archaic sites in present-day Louisiana and Florida at which early cultures built complexes with multiple earthwork mounds ; they were societies of hunter-gatherers rather than the settled agriculturalists believed necessary according to the theory of Neolithic Revolution to sustain such large villages over long periods.
Poverty Point culture is a Late Archaic archaeological culture that inhabited the area of the lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf Coast. Poverty Point is a 1 square mile 2. Artifacts show the people traded with other Native Americans located from Georgia to the Great Lakes region.
This is one among numerous mound sites of complex indigenous cultures throughout the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. They were one of several succeeding cultures often referred to as mound builders. The term "Woodland" was coined in the s and refers to prehistoric sites dated between the Archaic period and the Mississippian cultures.
The Hopewell tradition is the term for the common aspects of the Native American culture that flourished along rivers in the northeastern and midwestern United States from BCE to CE. The indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast were of many nations and tribal affiliations, each with distinctive cultural and political identities, but they shared certain beliefs, traditions and practices, such as the centrality of salmon as a resource and spiritual symbol.
Their gift-giving feast, potlatch , is a highly complex event where people gather in order to commemorate special events. These events, such as, the raising of a Totem pole or the appointment or election of a new chief. The most famous artistic feature of the culture is the Totem pole, with carvings of animals and other characters to commemorate cultural beliefs, legends, and notable events.
The Hopewell tradition was not a single culture or society, but a widely dispersed set of related populations, who were connected by a common network of trade routes,  known as the Hopewell Exchange System. At its greatest extent, the Hopewell exchange system ran from the Southeastern United States into the southeastern Canadian shores of Lake Ontario. Within this area, societies participated in a high degree of exchange; most activity was conducted along the waterways that served as their major transportation routes.
The Hopewell exchange system traded materials from all over the United States. Native development in Hawaii begins with the settlement of Polynesians between 1st century to 10th century. Around AD Tahitian explorers found and began settling the area as well. This became the rise of the Hawaiian civilization and would be separated from the rest of the world for another years until the arrival of the British. Within five years of contact, European military technology would help Kamehameha I conquer most of the people, and eventually unify the islands for the first time; establishing the Kingdom of Hawaii.
After a period of exploration sponsored by major European nations , the first successful English settlement was established in Europeans brought horses, cattle, and hogs to the Americas and, in turn, took back to Europe maize, turkeys , potatoes, tobacco, beans, and squash. Many explorers and early settlers died after being exposed to new diseases in the Americas. The effects of new Eurasian diseases carried by the colonists, especially smallpox and measles, were much worse for the Native Americans, as they had no immunity to them. They suffered epidemics and died in very large numbers, usually before large-scale European settlement began.
Their societies were disrupted and hollowed out by the scale of deaths. Spanish explorers were the first Europeans with Christopher Columbus ' second expedition , to reach Puerto Rico on November 19, ; others reached Florida in In , Hernando de Soto undertook an extensive exploration of the Southeast. The colony served as a barrier to expansion from New England. Despite being Calvinists and building the Reformed Church in America , the Dutch were tolerant of other religions and cultures.
The colony, which was taken over by Britain in , left an enduring legacy on American cultural and political life. This includes secular broad-mindedness and mercantile pragmatism in the city as well as rural traditionalism in the countryside typified by the story of Rip Van Winkle. Roosevelt , Eleanor Roosevelt and the Frelinghuysens. New France was the area colonized by France from to There were few permanent settlers outside Quebec and Acadia , but the French had far-reaching trading relationships with Native Americans throughout the Great Lakes and Midwest.
French villages along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers were based in farming communities that served as a granary for Gulf Coast settlements. They became American citizens in with the Louisiana Purchase. The strip of land along the eastern seacoast was settled primarily by English colonists in the 17th century along with much smaller numbers of Dutch and Swedes. Colonial America was defined by a severe labor shortage that employed forms of unfree labor such as slavery and indentured servitude and by a British policy of benign neglect salutary neglect.
Over half of all European immigrants to Colonial America arrived as indentured servants. The first successful English colony, Jamestown , was established in on the James River in Virginia. Jamestown languished for decades until a new wave of settlers arrived in the late 17th century and established commercial agriculture based on tobacco. Between the late s and the Revolution, the British shipped an estimated 50, to , convicts to their American colonies.
New England was initially settled primarily by Puritans. The Pilgrims established a settlement in at Plymouth Colony , which was followed by the establishment of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in The Middle Colonies, consisting of the present-day states of New York , New Jersey , Pennsylvania , and Delaware , were characterized by a large degree of diversity. Sephardic Jews were among early settlers in cities of New England and the South. Many immigrants arrived as religious refugees: Many royal officials and merchants were Anglicans.
Religiosity expanded greatly after the First Great Awakening , a religious revival in the s led by preachers such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. American Evangelicals affected by the Awakening added a new emphasis on divine outpourings of the Holy Spirit and conversions that implanted within new believers an intense love for God. Revivals encapsulated those hallmarks and carried the newly created evangelicalism into the early republic, setting the stage for the Second Great Awakening beginning in the late s.
Each of the 13 American colonies had a slightly different governmental structure. Typically, a colony was ruled by a governor appointed from London who controlled the executive administration and relied upon a locally elected legislature to vote taxes and make laws. By the 18th century, the American colonies were growing very rapidly as a result of low death rates along with ample supplies of land and food. The colonies were richer than most parts of Britain, and attracted a steady flow of immigrants, especially teenagers who arrived as indentured servants.
The tobacco and rice plantations imported African slaves for labor from the British colonies in the West Indies, and by the s African slaves comprised a fifth of the American population. The question of independence from Britain did not arise as long as the colonies needed British military support against the French and Spanish powers. Those threats were gone by London regarded the American colonies as existing for the benefit of the mother country.
This policy is known as mercantilism. An upper-class, with wealth based on large plantations operated by slave labor, and holding significant political power and even control over the churches, emerged in South Carolina and Virginia. A unique class system operated in upstate New York, where Dutch tenant farmers rented land from very wealthy Dutch proprietors, such as the Rensselaer family. The other colonies were more equalitarian, with Pennsylvania being representative.
By the midth century Pennsylvania was basically a middle-class colony with limited deference to its small upper-class. A writer in the Pennsylvania Journal in summed it up:. The People of this Province are generally of the middling Sort, and at present pretty much upon a Level. They are chiefly industrious Farmers, Artificers or Men in Trade; they enjoy in are fond of Freedom, and the meanest among them thinks he has a right to Civility from the greatest.
The French and Indian War —63 was a watershed event in the political development of the colonies. It was also part of the larger Seven Years' War. The influence of the main rivals of the British Crown in the colonies and Canada, the French and North American Indians, was significantly reduced with the territory of the Thirteen Colonies expanding into New France both in Canada and the Louisiana Territory.
Moreover, the war effort resulted in greater political integration of the colonies, as reflected in the Albany Congress and symbolized by Benjamin Franklin 's call for the colonies to "Join or Die". Following Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America, King George III issued the Royal Proclamation of with the goal of organizing the new North American empire and protecting the native Indians from colonial expansion into western lands beyond the Appalachian Mountains.
In ensuing years, strains developed in the relations between the colonists and the Crown. The British Parliament passed the Stamp Act of , imposing a tax on the colonies without going through the colonial legislatures. The issue was drawn: Crying " No taxation without representation ", the colonists refused to pay the taxes as tensions escalated in the late s and early s. The Boston Tea Party in was a direct action by activists in the town of Boston to protest against the new tax on tea. Parliament quickly responded the next year with the Coercive Acts , stripping Massachusetts of its historic right of self-government and putting it under army rule, which sparked outrage and resistance in all thirteen colonies.
Patriot leaders from all 13 colonies convened the First Continental Congress to coordinate their resistance to the Coercive Acts. The Congress called for a boycott of British trade , published a list of rights and grievances , and petitioned the king for redress of those grievances. Ordinary folk became insurgents against the British even though they were unfamiliar with the ideological rationales being offered.
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They were highly sensitive to the issue of tyranny, which they saw manifested in the arrival in Boston of the British Army to punish the Bostonians. This heightened their sense of violated rights, leading to rage and demands for revenge. They had faith that God was on their side. The American Revolutionary War began at Concord and Lexington in April when the British tried to seize ammunition supplies and arrest the Patriot leaders.
In terms of political values, the Americans were largely united on a concept called Republicanism , that rejected aristocracy and emphasized civic duty and a fear of corruption. For the Founding Fathers, according to one team of historians, "republicanism represented more than a particular form of government. It was a way of life, a core ideology, an uncompromising commitment to liberty, and a total rejection of aristocracy.
The Thirteen Colonies began a rebellion against British rule in and proclaimed their independence in as the United States of America. In the American Revolutionary War —83 the Americans captured the British invasion army at Saratoga in , secured the Northeast and encouraged the French to make a military alliance with the United States. France brought in Spain and the Netherlands, thus balancing the military and naval forces on each side as Britain had no allies.
General George Washington —99 proved an excellent organizer and administrator, who worked successfully with Congress and the state governors, selecting and mentoring his senior officers, supporting and training his troops, and maintaining an idealistic Republican Army. His biggest challenge was logistics, since neither Congress nor the states had the funding to provide adequately for the equipment, munitions, clothing, paychecks, or even the food supply of the soldiers.
As a battlefield tactician, Washington was often outmaneuvered by his British counterparts. As a strategist, however, he had a better idea of how to win the war than they did.
The British sent four invasion armies. Washington's strategy forced the first army out of Boston in , and was responsible for the surrender of the second and third armies at Saratoga and Yorktown He limited the British control to New York City and a few places while keeping Patriot control of the great majority of the population. As the war ended, Washington watched proudly as the final British army quietly sailed out of New York City in November , taking the Loyalist leadership with them.
Washington astonished the world when, instead of seizing power for himself, he retired quietly to his farm in Virginia. In this sense, it was the first 'new nation'. On July 2, , the Second Continental Congress , meeting in Philadelphia , declared the independence of the colonies by adopting the resolution from Richard Henry Lee , that stated:. On July 4, they adopted the Declaration of Independence and this date is celebrated as the nation's birthday. Historian George Billias says:. Until this point, the nation was known as the "United Colonies of America" . The new nation was founded on Enlightenment ideals of liberalism in what Thomas Jefferson called the unalienable rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", and dedicated strongly to republican principles.
Republicanism emphasized the people are sovereign not hereditary kings , demanded civic duty, feared corruption, and rejected any aristocracy. In the s the national government was able to settle the issue of the western territories, which were ceded by the states to Congress and became territories. With the migration of settlers to the Northwest, soon they became states. Nationalists worried that the new nation was too fragile to withstand an international war, or even internal revolts such as the Shays' Rebellion of in Massachusetts. The delegates from every state wrote a new Constitution that created a much more powerful and efficient central government, one with a strong president, and powers of taxation.
The new government reflected the prevailing republican ideals of guarantees of individual liberty and of constraining the power of government through a system of separation of powers. The Congress was given authority to ban the international slave trade after 20 years which it did in A compromise gave the South Congressional apportionment out of proportion to its free population by allowing it to include three-fifths of the number of slaves in each state's total population.
This provision increased the political power of southern representatives in Congress, especially as slavery was extended into the Deep South through removal of Native Americans and transportation of slaves by an extensive domestic trade. To assuage the Anti-Federalists who feared a too-powerful national government, the nation adopted the United States Bill of Rights in Comprising the first ten amendments of the Constitution, it guaranteed individual liberties such as freedom of speech and religious practice, jury trials, and stated that citizens and states had reserved rights which were not specified.
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The major accomplishments of the Washington Administration were creating a strong national government that was recognized without question by all Americans. Hamilton and Washington presented the country in with the Jay Treaty that reestablished good relations with Britain. The Jeffersonians vehemently protested, and the voters aligned behind one party or the other, thus setting up the First Party System. Federalists promoted business, financial and commercial interests and wanted more trade with Britain.
Republicans accused the Federalists of plans to establish a monarchy, turn the rich into a ruling class, and making the United States a pawn of the British. The Whiskey Rebellion in , when western settlers protested against a federal tax on liquor, was the first serious test of the federal government. Washington called out the state militia and personally led an army, as the insurgents melted away and the power of the national government was firmly established. John Adams , a Federalist, defeated Jefferson in the election. War loomed with France and the Federalists used the opportunity to try to silence the Republicans with the Alien and Sedition Acts , build up a large army with Hamilton at the head, and prepare for a French invasion.
However, the Federalists became divided after Adams sent a successful peace mission to France that ended the Quasi-War of During the first two decades after the Revolutionary War, there were dramatic changes in the status of slavery among the states and an increase in the number of freed blacks. Inspired by revolutionary ideals of the equality of men and influenced by their lesser economic reliance on slavery, northern states abolished slavery. States of the Upper South made manumission easier, resulting in an increase in the proportion of free blacks in the Upper South as a percentage of the total non-white population from less than one percent in to more than 10 percent by By that date, a total of Jefferson's major achievement as president was the Louisiana Purchase in , which provided U.
Jefferson, a scientist himself, supported expeditions to explore and map the new domain, most notably the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He also distrusted the federal government and judges, and tried to weaken the judiciary. However he met his match in John Marshall , a Federalist from Virginia. Although the Constitution specified a Supreme Court , its functions were vague until Marshall, the Chief Justice —35 , defined them, especially the power to overturn acts of Congress or states that violated the Constitution, first enunciated in in Marbury v.
Thomas Jefferson defeated Adams for the presidency in the election. Americans were increasingly angry at the British violation of American ships' neutral rights in order to hurt France, the impressment seizure of 10, American sailors needed by the Royal Navy to fight Napoleon, and British support for hostile Indians attacking American settlers in the Midwest. They may also have desired to annex all or part of British North America.
The war was frustrating for both sides. Both sides tried to invade the other and were repulsed. The American high command remained incompetent until the last year. The American militia proved ineffective because the soldiers were reluctant to leave home and efforts to invade Canada repeatedly failed. The British blockade ruined American commerce, bankrupted the Treasury, and further angered New Englanders, who smuggled supplies to Britain. The Indian threat to expansion into the Midwest was permanently ended.
The British invaded and occupied much of Maine. Finally in early Andrew Jackson decisively defeated a major British invasion at the Battle of New Orleans , making him the most famous war hero. With Napoleon apparently gone, the causes of the war had evaporated and both sides agreed to a peace that left the prewar boundaries intact. Americans claimed victory on February 18, as news came almost simultaneously of Jackson's victory of New Orleans and the peace treaty that left the prewar boundaries in place. Americans swelled with pride at success in the "second war of independence"; the naysayers of the antiwar Federalist Party were put to shame and the party never recovered.
The Indians were the big losers; they never gained the independent nationhood Britain had promised and no longer posed a serious threat as settlers poured into the Midwest. As strong opponents of the war, the Federalists held the Hartford Convention in that hinted at disunion. National euphoria after the victory at New Orleans ruined the prestige of the Federalists and they no longer played a significant role as a political party. So, with the assistance of foreign bankers, they chartered the Second Bank of the United States in The Republicans also imposed tariffs designed to protect the infant industries that had been created when Britain was blockading the U.
With the collapse of the Federalists as a party, the adoption of many Federalist principles by the Republicans, and the systematic policy of President James Monroe in his two terms —25 to downplay partisanship, the nation entered an Era of Good Feelings , with far less partisanship than before or after , and closed out the First Party System.
The Monroe Doctrine , expressed in , proclaimed the United States' opinion that European powers should no longer colonize or interfere in the Americas. This was a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States. In , President Andrew Jackson , 7th President of the United States, ran for a second term under the slogan "Jackson and no bank" and did not renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States of America, ending the Bank in In , Congress passed the Indian Removal Act , which authorized the president to negotiate treaties that exchanged Native American tribal lands in the eastern states for lands west of the Mississippi River.
Jacksonian Democrats demanded the forcible removal of native populations who refused to acknowledge state laws to reservations in the West; Whigs and religious leaders opposed the move as inhumane. Thousands of deaths resulted from the relocations, as seen in the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
After the First Party System of Federalists and Republicans withered away in the s, the stage was set for the emergence of a new party system based on well organized local parties that appealed for the votes of almost all adult white men. The former Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican party split into factions. They split over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe , and the party faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren , became the Democratic Party.
As Norton explains the transformation in Jacksonians believed the people's will had finally prevailed. Through a lavishly financed coalition of state parties, political leaders, and newspaper editors, a popular movement had elected the president. The Democrats became the nation's first well-organized national party Opposing factions led by Henry Clay helped form the Whig Party.
The Democratic Party had a small but decisive advantage over the Whigs until the s, when the Whigs fell apart over the issue of slavery. Behind the platforms issued by state and national parties stood a widely shared political outlook that characterized the Democrats:. The Democrats represented a wide range of views but shared a fundamental commitment to the Jeffersonian concept of an agrarian society.
They viewed the central government as the enemy of individual liberty. The "corrupt bargain" had strengthened their suspicion of Washington politics. Jacksonians feared the concentration of economic and political power. They believed that government intervention in the economy benefited special-interest groups and created corporate monopolies that favored the rich.
They sought to restore the independence of the individual the "common man," i. Their definition of the proper role of government tended to be negative, and Jackson's political power was largely expressed in negative acts. He exercised the veto more than all previous presidents combined. Jackson and his supporters also opposed reform as a movement.
Reformers eager to turn their programs into legislation called for a more active government. But Democrats tended to oppose programs like educational reform mid the establishment of a public education system. They believed, for instance, that public schools restricted individual liberty by interfering with parental responsibility and undermined freedom of religion by replacing church schools. Nor did Jackson share reformers' humanitarian concerns.
He had no sympathy for American Indians, initiating the removal of the Cherokees along the Trail of Tears. The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant revival movement that affected the entire nation during the early 19th century and led to rapid church growth. The movement began around , gained momentum by , and, after membership rose rapidly among Baptist and Methodist congregations, whose preachers led the movement. It was past its peak by the s. It enrolled millions of new members in existing evangelical denominations and led to the formation of new denominations.
Many converts believed that the Awakening heralded a new millennial age. After the abolitionist movement redefined itself as a crusade against the sin of slave ownership. It mobilized support especially among religious women in the Northeast affected by the Second Great Awakening. William Lloyd Garrison , a radical abolitionist, published the most influential of the many anti-slavery newspapers, The Liberator , while Frederick Douglass , an ex-slave, began writing for that newspaper around and started his own abolitionist newspaper North Star in The American colonies and the new nation grew rapidly in population and area, as pioneers pushed the frontier of settlement west.
Native American tribes in some places resisted militarily, but they were overwhelmed by settlers and the army and after were relocated to reservations in the west. The highly influential " Frontier Thesis " of Wisconsin historian Frederick Jackson Turner argues that the frontier shaped the national character, with its boldness, violence, innovation, individualism , and democracy. Recent historians have emphasized the multicultural nature of the frontier. Enormous popular attention in the media focuses on the "Wild West" of the second half of the 19th century.
As defined by Hine and Faragher, "frontier history tells the story of the creation and defense of communities, the use of the land, the development of markets, and the formation of states". They explain, "It is a tale of conquest, but also one of survival, persistence, and the merging of peoples and cultures that gave birth and continuing life to America. The Hispanics in California " Californios " were overwhelmed by over , gold rush miners.
San Francisco by had become the economic hub of the entire Pacific Coast with a diverse population of a quarter million. From the early s to , the Oregon Trail and its many offshoots were used by over , settlers. Wagon-trains took five or six months on foot; after , the trip took 6 days by rail.
Manifest Destiny was the belief that American settlers were destined to expand across the continent. This concept was born out of "A sense of mission to redeem the Old World by high example After a bitter debate in Congress the Republic of Texas was annexed in , leading to war with Mexico, who considered Texas to be a part of Mexico due to the large numbers of Mexican settlers. The Mexican—American War —48 broke out with the Whigs opposed to the war, and the Democrats supporting the war.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war in Many Democrats wanted to annex all of Mexico, but that idea was rejected by southerners who argued that by incorporating millions of Mexican people, mainly of mixed race, would undermine the United States as an exclusively white republic. Simultaneously, gold was discovered in California in , attracting over , men to northern California in a matter of months in the California Gold Rush. A peaceful compromise with Britain gave the U. The central issue after was the expansion of slavery, pitting the anti-slavery elements in the North, against the pro-slavery elements that dominated the South.
A small number of active Northerners were abolitionists who declared that ownership of slaves was a sin in terms of Protestant theology and demanded its immediate abolition. Much larger numbers in the North were against the expansion of slavery, seeking to put it on the path to extinction so that America would be committed to free land as in low-cost farms owned and cultivated by a family , free labor, and free speech as opposed to censorship of abolitionist material in the South.
Southern whites insisted that slavery was of economic, social, and cultural benefit to all whites and even to the slaves themselves , and denounced all anti-slavery spokesmen as "abolitionists. Defenders of slavery argued that the sudden end to the slave economy would have had a profound and killing economic impact in the South where reliance on slave labor was the foundation of their economy. They also argued that if all the slaves were freed, there would be widespread unemployment and chaos. Religious activists split on slavery, with the Methodists and Baptists dividing into northern and southern denominations.
In the North, the Methodists, Congregationalists, and Quakers included many abolitionists, especially among women activists. The Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran denominations largely ignored the slavery issue. The issue of slavery in the new territories was seemingly settled by the Compromise of , brokered by Whig Henry Clay and Democrat Stephen Douglas ; the Compromise included the admission of California as a free state in exchange for no federal restrictions on slavery placed on Utah or New Mexico. Abolitionists pounced on the Act to attack slavery, as in the best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
The Compromise of was repealed in with the Kansas—Nebraska Act , promoted by Senator Douglas in the name of " popular sovereignty " and democracy. It permitted voters to decide on the legality slavery in each territory, and allowed Douglas to adopt neutrality on the issue of slavery.
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Anti-slavery forces rose in anger and alarm, forming the new Republican Party. Pro- and anti- contingents rushed to Kansas to vote slavery up or down, resulting in a miniature civil war called Bleeding Kansas. By the late s, the young Republican Party dominated nearly all northern states and thus the electoral college. It insisted that slavery would never be allowed to expand and thus would slowly die out.
The Southern slavery-based societies had become wealthy based on their cotton and other agricultural commodity production, and some particularly profited from the internal slave trade. Northern cities such as Boston and New York, and regional industries, were tied economically to slavery by banking, shipping, and manufacturing, including textile mills. By , there were four million slaves in the South , nearly eight times as many as there were nationwide in The plantations were highly profitable, due to the heavy European demand for raw cotton.
Most of the profits were invested in new lands and in purchasing more slaves largely drawn from the declining tobacco regions. For 50 of the nation's first 72 years, a slaveholder served as President of the United States and, during that period, only slaveholding presidents were re-elected to second terms. Slave rebellions, by Gabriel Prosser , Denmark Vesey , Nat Turner , and most famously by John Brown , caused fear in the white South, which imposed stricter oversight of slaves and reduced the rights of free blacks. The Fugitive Slave Act of required the states to cooperate with slave owners when attempting to recover escaped slaves, which outraged Northerners.
Formerly, an escaped slave that reached a non-slave state was presumed to have attained sanctuary and freedom under the Missouri Compromise. The Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford ruled that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional; angry Republicans said this decision threatened to make slavery a national institution. After Abraham Lincoln won the election , seven Southern states seceded from the union and set up a new nation, the Confederate States of America Confederacy , on February 8, It attacked Fort Sumter , a U.
Army fort in South Carolina, thus igniting the war.
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When Lincoln called for troops to suppress the Confederacy in April , four more states seceded and joined the Confederacy. A few of the northernmost " slave states " did not secede and became known as the border states ; these were Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. During the war, the northwestern portion of Virginia seceded from the Confederacy. Debs , Helen Keller , the Rev. Daniel Berrigan , Cindy Sheehan. My hero is not Theodore Roosevelt , who loved war and congratulated a general after a massacre of Filipino villagers at the turn of the century, but Mark Twain , who denounced the massacre and satirized imperialism.
I want young people to understand that ours is a beautiful country, but it has been taken over by men who have no respect for human rights or constitutional liberties. Chapter 1, "Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress" covers early Native American civilization in North America and the Bahamas, the genocide and enslavement committed by the crew of Christopher Columbus , and incidents of violent colonization by early settlers. Instead of restating the same history that has been presented for centuries, Zinn states that he prefers to tell history from the perspective of the Arawaks, which many people are not familiar with.
Zinn writes of the methods by which he says racism was created artificially in order to enforce the economic system. He argues that racism is not natural because there are recorded instances of camaraderie and cooperation between black slaves and white servants in escaping from and in opposing their subjugation. Chapter 3, "Persons of Mean and Vile Condition" describes Bacon's Rebellion , the economic conditions of the poor in the colonies, and opposition to their poverty. Zinn uses Nathaniel Bacon 's rebellion to assert that "class lines hardened through the colonial period".
Chapter 4, "Tyranny Is Tyranny" covers the movement for "leveling" economic equality in the colonies and the causes of the American Revolution. Zinn argues that the Founding Fathers agitated for war to distract the people from their own economic problems and to stop popular movements, a strategy that he claims the country's leaders would continue to use in the future.
Chapter 5, "A Kind of Revolution" covers the war and resistance to participating in war, the effects on the Native American people, and the continued inequalities in the new United States. When the land of veterans of the Revolutionary War was seized for non-payment of taxes, it led to instances of resistance to the government, as in the case of Shays' Rebellion.
Zinn wrote that "governments - including the government of the United States - are not neutral Chapter 6, "The Intimately Oppressed" describes resistance to inequalities in the lives of women in the early years of the U. Zinn writes that President James Polk agitated for war for the purpose of imperialism. Zinn argues that the war was unpopular, but that some newspapers of that era misrepresented the popular sentiment. Chapter 9, "Slavery Without Submission, Emancipation Without Freedom" addresses slave rebellions , the abolition movement , the Civil War , and the effect of these events on African-Americans.
Zinn writes that the large-scale violence of the war was used to end slavery instead of the small-scale violence of the rebellions because the latter may have expanded beyond anti-slavery, resulting in a movement against the capitalist system. He writes that the war could limit the freedom granted to African-Americans by allowing the government control over how that freedom was gained. Chapter 10, "The Other Civil War", covers the Anti-Rent movement , the Dorr Rebellion , the Flour Riot of , the Molly Maguires , the rise of labor unions , the Lowell girls movement, and other class struggles centered around the various depressions of the 19th century.
He describes the abuse of government power by corporations and the efforts by workers to resist those abuses. Chapter 11, "Robber Barons and Rebels" covers the rise of industrial corporations such as the railroads and banks and their transformation into the nation's dominant institutions, with corruption resulting in both industry and government. The Teller Amendment is discussed.
Zinn portrays the wars as racist and imperialist and opposed by large segments of the American people. Chapter 13, "The Socialist Challenge", covers the rise of socialism and anarchism as popular political ideologies in the United States. Du Bois , and the Progressive Party which Zinn portrays as driven by fear of radicalism. Chapter 14, "War Is the Health of the State" covers World War I and the anti-war movement that happened during it, which was met with the heavily enforced Espionage Act of Zinn argues that the United States entered the war in order to expand its foreign markets and economic influence.
Zinn states that, despite popular belief, the s were not a time of prosperity, and the problems of the Depression were simply the chronic problems of the poor extended to the rest of the society. Also covered is the Communist Party 's attempts to help the poor during the Depression. Chapter 16, "A People's War? Zinn, a veteran of the war himself, notes that "it was the most popular war the US ever fought,"  but states that this support may have been manufactured through the institutions of American society.
He cites various instances of opposition to fighting in some cases greater than those during World War I as proof. Zinn also argues that the US's true intention was not fighting against systematic racism, since the US had this itself, such as with the Jim Crow laws leading to opposition to the war from African-Americans. Another argument made by Zinn is that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not necessary, as the U. The chapter continues into the Cold War , which Zinn writes was used by the U. Zinn believes this was possible because both conservatives and liberals willingly worked together in the name of anti-Communism.
Chapter 17, "'Or Does It Explode? Zinn argues that the government began making reforms against discrimination although without making fundamental changes for the sake of changing its international image, but often did not enforce the laws that it passed. Zinn also argues that while nonviolent tactics may have been required for Southern civil rights activists, militant actions such as those proposed by Malcolm X were needed to solve the problems of black ghettos.
Chapter 18, "The Impossible Victory: Vietnam", covers the Vietnam War and resistance to it. Zinn argues that America was fighting a war that it could not win, as the Vietnamese people were in favor of the government of Ho Chi Minh and opposed the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem , thus allowing them to keep morale high. I recommend the book and thought that the Kindle format was very readable. It is a light, interesting read focusing on America's early history and the Civil War period.
The book is full of errors. He said Hamilton was not in Bermuda it was Nevis. Stated Booth was shot trying to escape from a bar it was a barn where was trapped. He refers to General J Johnson as Johnstone. Far too many inaccuracies. The information is no longer relevant due to new research through anthropologist and historian collaboration to the actual documents and transcripts taken from events during that time. Read this quite a while ago--very good. See all 30 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on May 23, Published on March 19, Published on February 16, Published on January 16, Published on November 16, Published on October 1, Published on February 21, Published on January 23, Published on December 27, What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
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