Wednesday, July 4, 2012

American History Timeline Essay

1. Native Americans prior to European Colonization- The Native American people were known as hunters-gatherers. They practiced agriculture and aquaculture, used farms, and managed to sustain cities with their own architecture. There is much argument with regards to the size of the population at this time, with estimates ranging from 1 to 18 million people.

2. The Effects of British Colonization on the Native American People- In 1775, the British Empire consisted of 20 territories in North America.  Thirteen of these colonies are now known as the United States. Up until 1810, an estimated 400 thousand black slaves were exchanged for guns, gun powder and rum. Poor Europeans also served as slaves during the establishment of the British Thirteen Colonies. Between 1492- 1612, the majority of the indigenous population of America (Native Americans) had been due to epidemic diseases brought over by the European and Asian communities. With little freedom, the Native Peoples resorted to suicide and abortion as a form of self-protection.

3. Protestant Christianity and Colonial Social Life- The 18th century saw many changes in the way Christians acted amongst themselves, and their involvement in religious affairs. Events such as the Great Awakening, the American Revolution, and the debates surrounding the Church and the State were the cause of separation and denomination among the sects of religion in the early 19th century. The secularized society of the time challenged Christian orthodoxy and liberal Christianity became prominent among the people.

4. The Seven Years’ War-1756-1763- The war resulted in almost 1.5 million deaths to the participants’ nations, which included Prussia, Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Austria, France, Russia, Sweden and Saxony. Although the war had officially begun in 1756, two years prior, the American and Canadian colonies had began battle with each other. The final battle in North America saw the French submit the rights to eastern North America to the British, in turn giving control to the prized fur trade of the subjected territories.

5. God Given Freedom of the Individual- The Protestant Reformation, beginning in 1517, resulted in a huge amount of innocent bloodshed. But it left a legacy which gave the right for a prince to choose the religion of the state. The effects of the scientific revolution (17th Century) brought the American Enlightenment, which took reasoning and applied it to religion. Coupled with the Great Awakening and the Declaration of Independence, these events resulted in the American people living with the freedom to choose his or her own path in life.

6. The Evolution of the Socio-political and Cultural Milieu- This evolution saw a lot of contributors and contributions. Much of it can be understood by analyzing the events surrounding the formation of the Declaration of Independence, the formation of the Constitution and the its amendments, including the Bill of Rights.

a. Declaration of Independence- On July 4th, 1776, the 13 United States of America had declared their independence from the British rule and King George III of Great Britain. The declaration of rights included the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. The person most responsible for the declaration is Thomas Jefferson, who paved the way for individual human rights in America. 

b. Constitution- 1787-1788- The constitution serves as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation, which was used as an advisor to the national government and its operations. The constitution divided the national government into three branches: legislative, executive, and judiciary, a means to the end of preventing tyranny.

Bill of Rights- 1789-1791- This document serves as a list of amendments to the constitution, with the purpose of limiting the governments influences on personal freedoms. In 1789 James Madison made the first amendments. The document was ratified in 1791.

7. George Washington- 1789-1797- This was the term of the first president of the United States. Vice president, John Adams succeeded George Washington as presdient. He pioneered the concept of a cabinet system and the delivery of inagurual address. He is known as the father of the Us, a contributor to the US constitution, and a leader who created a government that was accepted by Americans all over the country. His leadership, strong-will, military experience, and self-sacrifice served as a model for presidents who came after and for the citizens of the country from that point onwards.

8. The Evolution of Jeffersonian Democracy- 1800-1820- Named after the 3rd president of the US, the name refers to a philosophy that empowers republicanism against British imperialism. The development of Jeffersonian democracy was based on the ideal that the citizens of the US had the power to prevent the corruption of government. The group of Jeffersonians, which included James Madison, Nathaniel Bacon, Albert Gallatin, and John Randolph, preached freedom of speech, a separation between church and state, civic duty, and the right to be informed, in the name of the American citizen. 

a. Louisiana Purchase- 1803- This event refers to the purchase of over 800 square miles of land, known as the territory of Louisiana, from France. The U.S. paid $217 USD in today’s currency for a piece of land that was double the size of the United States. The acquisition was received with criticism, as it seemed to oppose the Jeffersonian philosophy. Simultaneously, it created an opportunity for a power shift for the United States over England. Thomas Jefferson’s main motivation for acquiring the land was to maintain access and control over New Orleans, which possessed the most utilized port for import and export goods in the United States.

b. The Second Great Awakening- 1790- 1840- This was a great religious movement which caused new reform denominations of Christian people to be realized. The religious upheaval had positively important effects on people, which included a change to the attitudes of the middle class people via a promotion of strong work ethic, temperance, and ridding the people of suffering and injustice. Slaves and slaveholders were included together in participation of conversions and speeches. 

c. The Embargo Act- 1807-1809- Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, in order to prevent war and protect American interests, imposed The Embargo Act. The act restricted Americans from participating in foreign trade during a French-British conflict over European control. The idea was to influence the French and the British using economic means rather than war, and put an end to their conflict. The act failed due to loopholes, created a financial imbalance for the U.S., and the U.S. was forced into war that same summer. 

d. Issues with the Courts- Thomas Jefferson and the Jeffersonians confronted Federalist judges and courts. While many Jeffersonians wanted to abolish the federal judiciary system, Jefferson did not. He did however combat the attempts to increase the power of national courts. In a very controversial sequence of events, several judges impeached and convicted.

9.  The War of 1812- 1812-1815- The U.S. had declared war against the British Empire. Reasons included trade restrictions and “the press” of Americans into the Royal Navy. The war between the Americans and the British involved the invasion of Upper and Lower Canada, via sea, warships and privateers. Neither of the participants won ground on each other and the relationship between Britain and the U.S. got better. Many parts of British North America were demilitarized, British impressments ceased, and in the Treaty of 1818, border negotiations were made. 

10. The Monroe Doctrine- 1823- First stated by James Munroe, the doctrine addressed an issue that was a concern to Great Britain and Spain, as well as the U.S. Its goal was to ensure that no European power would attempt to further colonize any parts of the U.S., deeming this effort as an act of aggression. The doctrine was unexpectedly successful and had a lasting effect for nations seeking independence over the next two centuries.

11. The Evolution of Jacksonian Democracy- 1828-1850- Contrary to Jeffersonian Democracy, president Andrew Jackson preached power to the executive branch of the government while minimizing Congress. Among Jackson’s more notable actions (and non-actions) was the inclusion of all white males into the people entitled to vote, the avoidance of controversy regarding slavery, and the rewriting multiple state constitutions. 

a. The Nullification Crisis- 1832- South Carolina’s Ordinance of Nullification was the catalyst for this crisis. The ordinance challenged the federal tariffs of 1828 and 1832, which forces southerners to pay higher prices on goods they did not produce, in order to protect the northerners. The end result saw reductions in tariff rates, which satisfied the opposition in the South.

b. The Bank Crisis- 1832-1833- Andrew Jackson held a strong opposition to the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson declared that the bank needed to be overruled and eradicated because it concentrated the nation’s wealth into one institution, it exposed government to the threat of control by foreign powers, made the rich richer and the poor poorer, favored states geographically, and held too much power over Congress. Jackson was successful as he withdrew U.S. funds and redistributed it among other banks, land sales, cotton production, as well as other areas.

c. The Trail of Tears- 1831-1837- Catalyzed by the relocation of the Choctaw Nation to Cherokee in 1831, the Trail of Tears refers to the forced removal of tens of thousands of Native Americans from southeastern states, freeing 25 million acres of land.

d. The Manifest Destiny- 1845- John O’Sullivan coined this term while discussing expansion plans of the James Polk administration. The Manifest Destiny refers to the belief that the U.S. should expand across the whole continent of North America, and was even used as an excuse for the upcoming Mexican-American war. The idea was not well received, especially by those who would have rather focused on strengthening the economy instead of expanding territory.

e. The Causes and Effects of the Mexican War- 1846-1848- This war was a result of a miscommunication between the two countries, in regards to the annexation of Texas. Mexico, despite the Texas Revolution of 1836, saw Texas as part of its territory. American military invaded and overpowered Mexican territory, forcefully exchanging $15 million for the territories of California and New Mexico.

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