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U.S. History Summary
Transcript of U.S. History Summary
By Ellie Barton
The American Revolution
The Declaration of Independence was created by the Americans during the Revolutionary war to officially declare their independence from Britain. The task to write the document was taken on by five men, mainly including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. After much debate, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July fourth, a date now celebrate by Americans as the birth of their independence. On July eighth, the Declaration was shared with the public for the first time. The declaration consisted of four parts, the preamble, or introduction, explained its goals. The Natural rights, which comes next, explains the God-given rights that every human has and says what a government should be. Following this is the Grievances, or formal complaints, where the reasoning behind independence is described. Finally, the conclusion, this wraps up what was said and Declares America as a new, independent nation.
The Declaration of Independence
The Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia in the Summer of 1787. Around fifty-five delegates from twelve states came to share and fight for their ideas on what the new government needed to be like. The convention took place because the Articles of Confederation that were running America at the time were not working, and needed to be replaced. One of the Articles main problems was that it gave to much power to the states. On the third day on the Convention, the Virginia Plan was introduce. This idea called for a strong, central government and also brought in three branches of government, the Legislative, which would make the laws, the Executive, which would carry out the laws, and the Judicial, which would interpret the laws. The Legislative would contain two houses, an upper house and a lower house. More debate came concerning the upper and lower houses. This was solved by the Great Compromise. The Great Compromise made it so one house would have each state send two delegates to represent, giving smaller states more power, and the other house would have the number of delegates being sent, determined by the population, giving larger states more power. These are just two of the ideas debated and revised by the delegates. It took a while for people to accept the idea, but eventually, in 1788, Virginia became the final state to ratify the Constitution.
George Washington was the first president of the United States of America under the brand new Constitution.His inauguration was held on April 30, 1789. Washington understood when he took office that his actions as the first president would be an example followed by the upcoming presidents in the future. Washington's new government was tested in 1791 by the Whisky Rebellion, this was where a lot of farmers rebelled on the new tax placed on beer. Washington quickly responded by sending 13,000 troops out against them, this forceful response showed that armed rebellion was not acceptable. During his presidency, two political parties emerged.One of them, the Republicans, was led by Thomas Jefferson, who believed the people should have more political power, favored strong state government, believed agriculture to be important, favored strict interpretation of the constitution, and so forth. The other party, Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, believed wealthy and educated should lead, favored strong central government, emphasized manufacturing, shipping, and trade, and also favored loose interpretation of the constitution and so forth. George Washington helped fix up the government majorly by creating a functioning federal government, the economy was improving, Washington had avoided war with France and Britain, and finally the British had been forced to leave the North-west territory, making it safe for American settlement. When he left office in 1796 after serving two terms, an example to be followed by others, he wrned America against two things. The first point he made was to avoid political parties, which could divide the nation. His second point was to avoid entangling alliances in Europe, since it could lead to a war that America was not ready for.
Washington's Election and Presidency
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The American Revolution took place because of various taxes and laws that were placed on colonists. One of the first rebellions was the Boston Massacre, where colonists threw rocks and sticks at a squad of British soldiers, in response the soldiers opened fire and killed a couple of them. The Boston Tea Party was because of one of the new laws placed, this was where colonists dumped imported tea from Britain into the ocean. Due to the Boston Tea Party, Britain passed the Intolerable Acts, which placed even more restrictions. The thirteen colonies united to fight against Britain with the help of France. The Revolution began in 1775 with the Battle of Lexington and Concord. In April, around 700 British soldiers marched into Lexington on a mission, only to find around 77 minutemen waiting for them. After a moments hesitation, the first shot was fired, which is known as "the shot heard around the world". further into the war, George Washington took command of the Continental Army and led them to victory. The Declaration of Independence was first read publicly in July, 1776. This document officially separated the United states from Britain. George Washington's army finally got Britain to agree to this after the Battle of Yorktown. Because of this battle, Britain agreed to American independence in then Treaty of Paris.
The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
Jefferson's Election and Presidency
The War of 1812
The Missouri Compromise
North and South
The Kentucky Resolutions, written by Thomas Jefferson, and the Virginia Resolutions, written by James Madison, were drafted around 1798 and 1799. Both of the documents were in response to the Federalist-controlled government passing the Alien and Sedition acts, which harmed the Republican party and new immigrants coming into the country. Jefferson and Madison gave their state the power to nullify laws within their borders that they believed to be unconstitutional. No other states supported Kentucky and Virginia, but the Alien and Sedition acts died out on their own anyways. The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, however, were far more important than the laws that provoked them. The to resolutions boosted the idea of states rights, which is the idea that the union holding together the states is an agreement between the states and, because of that, they could overrule federal law.
The election of 1800 was very rough, at the time, the law was that the person who received the most votes was the president and the second most would be vice president. When the votes came in, Jefferson was tied with his running mate, Aaron Burr. The election then went to the House of Representatives, who finally decided on the thirty-sixth vote. Thomas Jefferson ended up becoming president of the United States of America in 1801, with Aaron Burr as his vice president. Jefferson started off his presidency by making the point that a government should have simple customs, he had people shake his hand instead of bow and he walked to his inauguration. During his presidency, the supreme court was given judicial review through the case of Marbury versus Madison. Jefferson also wanted to buy New Orleans from the French, because it was such a key trading port. Napoleon ended up offering Jefferson much more land with a heap price of fifteen million dollars. Jefferson was hesitant at first, because he was unsure if the Constitution permitted a president to purchase land, but ended up taking the French up on their offer. He sent Lewis and Clark to explore the new territory. It took the party a long time to complete the expedition, but when they returned, they brought awesome stories about how rich and beautiful the new extension of America was. France and England soon went to war with each other, and did not like how America remained neutral, so they began seizing American ships. Jefferson then used an Embargo to force the two nations to accept American neutrality.
The War of 1812 was caused by many different things, but some of the main reasons were because Britain was restricting U.S. trade because they wanted to make sure that their enemy, France, would not get any more supplies or aid from America. The British were also kidnapping American seamen and forcing them to join their military, and the final reason was the United State's desire for expansion. America lost a lot to the British, including their allies, the Native Americans and Canadians who were loyal to England. One of their more notable losses was in 1814 when the British captured and burnt down the capital in Washington D.C. The president's wife, Dolley Madison, managed to salvage important things from the White House on her way out. Shortly after, Baltimore’s Fort McHenry survived hours of bombardment by the British Navy. The following morning, the fort’s soldiers put up an enormous American flag, a sight that inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem he titled “The Star-Spangled Banner.” American troops were able to fight off attacks at New Orleans, New York, and Baltimore, which boosted the nations confidence. The war was ended with the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent in 1815. Unaware that peace had been made, British forces attacked New Orleans, only to be defeated by Andrew Jackson, the future president, and his army. The war began the "era of good feelings," and made the Federalist party look bad because of their resistance to war and the Hartford Convention, where it was suggested that New England states should secede.
In the Union, there was an equal amount of slave states and free states, but when Missouri requested to join the U.S as a slave state, tension grew between the North and South. The solution was made by Henry Clay, who would be later known as "the Great Pacificator" because of this. Is solution, called the Missouri Compromise, consisted of two parts. The first part would be that Missouri would be admitted as a slave state and Maine would join as a free state. The second part was the Missouri compromise line which went through the U.S at a latitude of 36°30′. All states that wanted to join that were above the line, North of it, would join as a free state, and states that were South of it, or below it, were going to be slave states. This compromise passed by Congress would be criticized by Southerners, who believed that the government should not control slavery, and promoted by Northerners, who believed that the government was finally putting restrictions on slavery. The Missouri compromise would hold the Union together for another thirty years.
The Jacksonian Democracy began in 1829 when Andrew Jackson was elected president. Jackson was known and loved for his history of service as a solider in the Revolutionary War and most famous moment of victory in the Battle of New Orleans at the end of the War of 1812. During a march with his troops in 1812, one of his soldiers gave him the nick name Old Hickory, which perfectly described his toughness, bravery and strength. His popularity showed through when he received almost seventy percent of the votes cast in electoral college during his election. He believed himself to be the champion of the common man, and believed that their interests were ignored by the aggressive national economic plans made by more powerful men such as Clay and Adams. Andrew Jackson despised economic elites and things that benefited them such as the Bank of the United States. His presidency brought back the two-party system, including the Whigs and Jackson's party, the Democrats. Jackson began his presidency by replacing government officials with his supporters. This would later be called the Spoils System. Jackson got rid of the Bank of the United States when he refused to renew its charter, because he felt it helped the economic elites and hurt the common man. A tariff was passed in 1828 which raised the prices of iron, textiles, and other products. It helped manufacturers in the North, but the South felt that the government was forcing them to obey unfair law. John Calhoun best expressed the view of the South and said that they had the power to nullify an unconstitutional law, which would weaken the power of the federal government. In 1832, congress passed another tariff, causing South Carolina to call a convention, where they voted to nullify the tariffs, they also threatened to leave the union. Andrew Jackson responded by putting troops in South Carolina and threatened to fight if them if they left. With tension high, Calhoun resigned as vice president and South Carolina repealed its tariff nullification.
Manifest destiny was the belief that America was meant to extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The country received its first major expansion earlier on with the Louisiana Purchase made by Thomas Jefferson. In 1808, John Jacob Astor sent the first fur-trading trading expedition to Oregon and ended up making a fortune, inspired, many Americans began to venture out west. The Texas Territory was owned by Mexico, and invited Americans in, only asking that they convert to Roman-Catholicism and become a citizen of Mexico. The area overflowed with Americans, Mexico tried to close it off, but Americans would not stop coming. When Santa Anna took over and threw out the Mexican Constitution and began a dictatorship, Texans declared independence and became the Lone Star Republic. Santa Anna responded with force laid siege on the Alamo, where around 185 Texan soldiers were gathered. He ended up killing all of them when they finally came out to fight. When Texans heard of this, they were united by Sam Houston ho used the line "remember the Alamo" as a way to motivate his troops. Sam Houston eventually led Texans to victory and requested to join the United States. After much dispute, Americans let Texas and Oregon join the Union, which expanded the U.S. even more. California also rebelled against Mexico and called themselves the Bear Flag Republic. America was divided on whether or not to go to war with Mexico, however, the U.S eventually went to war in order to achieve Manifest Destiny. After a long battle, Mexico recognized Texas Annexation, and gave up the territory known as the Mexican Cession. In return, the U.S. paid Mexico eighteen million dollars. This was all done under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The U.S. also made the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 for ten million dollars. Manifest Destiny was complete.
The North was known for being against slavery, especially around the time of the civil war. The North was very industrial and contained most of America's factories and railroads. People in the North typically favored a strong central government. In the factories, however, conditions were terrible. There were no child labor laws or laws regulating how long people could work or what conditions they were to work in. The North also received a lot of immigrants, because the North provided easy jobs that did not require much skill. In the South, almost everyone who was white was pro-slavery. They considered their slaves to be their property. Around the Industrial Revolution, they did not have any of the factories really, but mainly their cotton fields. People became very rich from their cotton, and the more land and cotton they wanted, the more slaves that they wanted. The South behaved like European nobility, due to the fact that people with money and power controlled politics and people with no money and the slaves were like the peasants of society.