Today, as we celebrate the Independence of the United States of America, we, at Brag Social, are here to narrate the whole story of America’s history. Let’s read:
Discovered by Christopher Columbus, the United States of America is a federal republic of 50 states. Also called the United States, byname America, it stands to be the fourth largest country in the world in the area. The national capital of the U.S.A. is Washington. Everyone may know a lot about the United States, its physical environment, highly diverse population, ethnic and cultural diversity, and urban concentration.
A high degree of this diverse population is a result of immense and sustained global immigration. Most probably, no other country in the world has a wider range of ethnic, racial, and cultural types as compared to the United States. Let us begin with the history of this great land, history from scratch.
Before the voyages of Christopher Columbus, the territory of the continental United States had been discovered several times. But, when he arrived, he found the New World inhabited by humans who, according to Columbus, had originally come from the continent of Asia some 20,000-35,000 years before by the way of Bering Strait. By the time the first Europeans appeared in the place, the early comers had already spread and occupied all portions of the New World.
There is a lot to know about the food habits of the ancient humans residing there and the type of houses they dwelled in, depending upon the areas in which they lived, and the climates they survived. With the respective native groups, clothing, weapons, crafts, and social, economic, and religious customs differed. The protracted and brutal westward-moving conflict caused by “white” expansionism and Indian resistance constitutes one of the most tragic chapters in the history of the United States.
In the book of the European expansion throughout the globe, English colonization forms a chapter in the large story. Portuguese influence began expanding to the New World by the time Pedro Cabral stumbled across the coast of Brazil. However, beginning in the 16th century, French fishermen established an outpost in Newfoundland. Jacques Cartier explored The Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1534. By 1543, the French people had ceased their efforts to colonize the northeast portion of the New World. Although in the latter half of the 16th century, France attempted to conquer colonies in Florida and Brazil, each of these efforts failed, and by the end of the 16th century, Spain and Portugal remained the only two European nations to have established successful colonies in America.
England relied on private trading companies of the country. Their major interest was in commercial rather than territorial expansion, to defend its interests in the expanding European world. The settlement of the English was a long period.
British policy toward the American colonies was inevitably affected by their domestic politics, because of some similarities of the unstable politics. During the first half-century of British colonization, it was very difficult for England to establish an intelligent colonial policy because of the disorganization of the colonies themselves. It was nearly impossible for England to predict what role would the mini-colonies like Virginia, Maryland, Rhode Island, and many others would play in the overall scheme of the empire because of the wide diversity of the aims and governmental structures of those colonies. Then the British took steps to establish their rule by placing legislations like the Navigation Act laying trade barriers and conditions. Several other acts were passed to safeguard the British Empire.
To campaign against colonialism is like barking up a tree that has already been cut down. – Andrew Cohen
Some historians call this the process of Anglicization, which was successful in bringing the economic activities of the colonies under closer crown control. British were partially successful in imposing greater political and commercial order on the American colonies during the period from the late-17th to the mid-18th century.
In some colonies, royal governors were installed to protect the crown’s interests, the first one was Massachusetts in 1650. By the 18th century, the colonial legislatures gained control over their parliamentary prerogatives, achieved primary responsibility for legislation affecting taxation and defense, and ultimately took control over the salaries paid to royal officials. By the mid-18th century, most political powers in America the provincial rather than royal officials. These provincial leaders undoubtedly represented the interests of their constituents more faithfully than any royal official could.
By 1733, there were 13 colonies, out of which NYC, Philadelphia, Charleston, and Boston were the largest cities and main ports for trade at that time. England and France were at war from 1756 to 1763. It was the Seven Years’ War or the French and British war. Their land in America was the motive behind the war. The British won the war. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued after the war stating that the colonists could not live west of the Appalachian Mountains.
After the war was over, there was discontent among the colonists caused by the w taxes imposed by the British, which they expressed as “No taxation without representation,” asking for the right to vote in the British Parliament, otherwise, they would not pay taxes. Then, the country witnessed events like the Boston Massacre, followed by the Boston Tea Party (1773), which was marked by the dumping of hundreds of boxes of tea into the sea by the group of colonists known as Sons of Liberty.
During the American Revolutionary War (which began in 1775), people from 13 colonies agreed to the United States Declaration of Independence, declaring that they were free and independent states, and were not part of England anymore. A major victory of the American soldiers under George Washington in 1777 at Saratoga, led to the joining of France and Spain on the American side of the war. The war finally ended in 1781 with America’s victory, implying independence from British rule.
The Federal Period (1781-1815)
The colonies formed a confederation of states in 1781 under the Articles of Confederation, which lasted for six years only. It gave little powers to the central government and almost all the powers to the states. The Confederation did not have a President and nobody had the power to remove the Native Americans or the British from the frontier. After the mob uprising of Shay’s Rebellion, many people thought that the Articles of Confederation did not work. As a result of this, a constitution was written in 1787. The American Constitution created a stronger national government with three head branches namely the executive, legislative, and judicial. With the adoption of the constitution, the government was made a republic.
The First President Washington was elected in 1789, who retired after two terms. In 1796, it was the first time when two parties fought the American election, marked by John Adams becoming the second President of the United States. Between the period 1789-1800, there were events like the Whiskey Rebellion and the Alien and Sedition Acts. When James Maddison was the President of the US, there was a war of 1812 when the US started attacking the Canadian provinces. But, the British and Canadians successfully defeated the borders.
Expansion, industrialization, and slavery (1815–1861)
Slavery was one of the serious problems in America, which meant that they worked for some other person, but had no freedom and received no money in return for their work. A few slave rebellions were organized to fight against slavery, but all of these failed. By 1861, over three million African-Americans were enslaved in the South. After the war of 1812, the Federalist Party faded away, leaving behind an era in which only one party was important.
The American System
Congress introduced this system. Under this system, money spent on transportation, banking, and communication, helped in building bigger cities and more factories. By the 1860s, there were numerous transportation projects, railroads, and telegraph lines, out of which, Erie Canal was a remarkable one.
The Industrial Revolution came to America in the early 19th century. During the revolution, many factories were built in the Northern cities, out of which, most of which were cloth factories. Despite large-scale industrialization, America was still a nation of farmers.
In the early and mid-1800s, America saw a sudden uprising of some religious movements like the Second Great Awakening, the Holiness Movement, etc. who thought they could bring about a Golden Age in America through religion. This led to two reforms in in-laws and behavior to make society better, out of which, one was the Temperance Movement, and the other was abolitionism, which tried to end slavery. By 1820, slavery was very rare in the North but continued in the South.
Cult of domesticity –
This was a feminist movement by the women and for the women of America. Since most of the married American women were expected to stay at home and raise children. Unmarried ones were allowed to work in clothing factories or as maids. Some women like Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton raised the voice for women. In 1848, many of these women met and agreed to fight for more rights for women, including voting. Many of the women involved in the movement for women’s rights also joined the movement to end slavery.
Andrew Jackson, the first elected president of the Democratic Party, changed the government in many ways. He provided government jobs to poor people because, at that time, only people who earn a good income could vote. Many other changes took place, out of which, some faced much criticism from the citizens.
Many new states were added to the first thirteen before and after the Civil War. During this period, Native Americans lost large portions of their land. They had lost some military battles to the Americans. In the 1830s, Indians were being pushed out of the Midwest and South during events such as the Trail of Tears and the Black Hawk War. By the 1840s, most Native Americans had to move to the west of the Mississippi River.
The Mexican – American War:
Texas joined the United States in 1845 after it left Mexico. Mexico did not like this deed was done by Texas, and the Americans wanted land which Mexico had on the West Coast. This demand led to the Mexican-American War, during which, the U.S. captured the cities of Los Angeles, Mexico City, San Francisco, Monterrey, and Veracruz. As a consequence of the war, the U.S. won the land in California and much of the American Southwest.
Slavery – looks like a mere word, but this seven-lettered word became the reason behind the Civil War in the 19th century. The Civil War took place between the people of the Northern States and the Southern States, because the latter wanted slavery, while the former opposed it. This disagreement grew up in the 1840s and 1850s. People in the government tried to make deals to stop a war. Some deals were the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, but they did not work to keep the Union together. In the state of Kansas, people from both parts started killing each other over slavery. This event was marked as the “Bleeding Kansas”.
In the election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected as the President. Many Southern states left the Union, eventually 11 of them. They tried to start a new country called the Confederate States of America, or the “Confederacy”. A war started between the Union (North) and the Confederacy (South). President Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation in the middle of the war freeing all slaves in the Confederacy. In 1865, the Unions forced the Confederates to give up the fight at Appomattox.
Reconstruction and the Gilded Age
President Lincoln was shot and killed in April 1865. The proceeding president, Andrew Johnson made some amendments to the Constitution for freeing slaves, making them citizens, and giving them the right to vote. This period saw massive immigration from several countries to the United States, such as Italy, China, Germany, Ireland, and Eastern Europe. They were used as political machines. Politicians gave them jobs and money in exchange for votes. These political machines chose most of the politicians. And, they were corrupt. After the war, people continued migrating towards the West where they received free land due to the Homestead Act of 1862.
The Transcontinental Railroad contributed to the development by helping in the transportation of people and goods from the West to the rest of the country. With time, Chicago became the center of trade between West and East because many rail lines met there. Some opposition against Indians always existed in the country. This led to the killings of many Indians during numerous battles. Almost all the Indians’ lost their lands due to the laws like the Dawes Act. There even go on strikes against the high pricing of railroads because many citizens thought it seemed so expensive that they made the farmers poor. They formed groups that resulted in the Populist Movement. They demanded reforms such as an income tax and direct election of Senators. After 1896, the Populist Party died out. Reforms related to many of their demands were met during the Progressive Era.
Progressive Era and Imperialism
The above-mentioned terms play a vital role in the development of the country. Progressive is the belief that the government should have a larger role in the economy to provide good living standards for people, especially workers. Imperialism was the belief that the U.S. should build a stronger navy and conquer the land. The U.S. started becoming more active in foreign affairs during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Spanish-American War took place in 1898, where the United States won and gained Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guantanamo.
Trading gates opened with China through the Open Door Policy. President Theodore Roosevelt introduced a foreign policy called the Big Stick in 1901. It allowed having a large navy and exercise control over Latin America. He also initiated the work on the Panama Canal, which served as a link between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that made travel around the world much faster.
The next few years witnessed the Pure Food and Drug Act as an answer to the concerns of muckrakers. Trust-busting practices started carrying out to fulfill the joint aim of the power of big business, the condition of poor people, and the unclean practices in factories. President Woodrow Wilson fought the triple wall of privilege namely big businesses, taxes, and fees on goods coming into the country. During his era, the system of federal income tax and direct election of U.S. Constitutional amendments gave way for Senators.
World War I
The U.S. did not enter the war intentionally. It wanted to sell weapons to both the parties of the war. In 1915, a ship called Lusitania was carrying Americans, which was attacked by German submarines. This angered Americans, and Germany stopped attacking passenger ships. In January 1917, Germany started doing the same again and sent the Zimmerman Telegram to Mexico for invading the U.S. The United States joined the war against Germany, which ended a year later. An international organization was created called the League of Nations. The main goal of the League was to prevent wars. However, the United States did not join it because isolationists rejected the offered peace treaty. At the end of the war, a flu pandemic killed millions of people in the U.S. and Europe. After the war, the United States was one of the richest and most powerful nations in the world.
The Great Twenties
The 1920s witnessed immense growth and increased wealth in the United States. Americans began demanding consumer products and the companies started focusing on advertising and branding. During this time, many black people moved to large cities such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and St. Louis. They became the reason behind the title of Jazz Age given to the 1920s as they brought Jazz music with them. This era became famous as the Prohibition Era because of the approval of the Eighteenth Amendment Act. Alcohol consumption was declared illegal. In the 1920s, Racism was also very strong. Catholics, Jews, blacks, and immigrants were attacked. People blamed the immigrants and labor leaders for the war and business environmental problems.
After World War I, the U.S. adopted an isolationist foreign policy, implying that it did not want to enter another global war. It passed laws and treaties that supposedly would end war forever and refused to sell weapons to its former allies.
Under the presidency of Warren G. Harding, the government became business-friendly as it cut-off taxes and reducing regulations. The biggest problem in Harding’s presidency was the Teapot Dome over oil drilling in the Navy Oil Reserve.
The Great Depression
The Great Depression hit the United States in 1929 when the stock markets crashed and the banks ran out of money. At the end of the third year, over a quarter of the population had no jobs, and much of the nation became poor or unemployed. The storm known as the Dust Bowl multiplied the effects of the depression. Which directly affected the farmers badly. President Franklin D. Roosevelt effectively solved the issue.
President Roosevelt created the new deal. It was a series of government programs that gave relief to the people who were hurt by the bad economy. This was to make the economy better, and reforms to make sure that depression never happens again. The New Deal was also famous as saved capitalism. It helped America from not becoming a Communist or Fascist State. Although the New Deal improved the economy, it did not end the Great Depression. World War II ended the Great Depression.
World War II
The entrance of the U.S. in World War II ended the state of the Great Depression because the war created many jobs. In the initial stages of World War II, the U.S. was away from it. Most of the Americans thought the country should remain neutral, while others thought that the United States should enter the war on the side of the Germans. Eventually, the United States did try to help the Allied Powers with the Lend-Lease Act. They supplied a lot of money and guns to the Allies for use of air bases throughout the world.
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked a U.S.Naval base in Hawaii, Pearl Harbour. Angered by this, The U.S. declared war on the Axis Powers, marking its entrance into World War II. While some of the battles the U.S. fought in were air and naval battles with Japan, the U.S. mainly fought in Europe and Africa. In 1945, President Roosevelt died, and Harry Truman became president. The country decided to drop two atomic bombs on Japan, after which, Japan gave up and the war ended.
Postwar Era (1945-1991)
After World War II, the two most powerful countries of the world were the Soviet Union and the United States. There was a period of the cold war between the two countries with tensions over ways of life. The two countries tried to get other countries on their sides. Where the Soviet Union tried to get countries to become Communist, the U.S. tried to stop them from becoming Communist. Since it was just a cold war, the soldiers of the two countries never met on battlefields. They fought indirectly in the Korean War (the 1950s) and the Vietnam War (1950s-1970s)
Both wars happened between a Northern Communist government, with the help of the Soviet Union and Communist China, and a Southern government, with the help of the U.S. The Korean War was a short-term war but led to the American soldiers remaining there forever. The Vietnam War lasted for years. Initially, there were a few American troops. But, by the end of the war, thousands of American troops were sent for help. The Americans wanted to end the Vietnam War, so the United States left, making Vietnam, a Communist Vietnam. The Korean War led to the split of the country. During this war, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred marking the arguments between the U.S. and the Soviet Union for the place for nuclear weapons, which grew serious enough for both countries to come close to attack each other with nuclear weapons.
But, when did the cold war begin? It began with the arms race between the two countries, the United States and the Soviet Union. This started when the Soviet Union became the second country to develop an atomic bomb. In the United States, this started a system called the “Military Industrial Complex”, which meant business and government working together to spend a lot of money on large-scale weapons projects. Both parties helped each other to get more money and more power. Marshall Plan was a part of this system. The middle class grew with this Complex, but the cold war kept ongoing.
Besides this, there was a space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, which began with the launching of the satellite Sputnik by the Soviet Union in 1957. With this, the Americans became worried that the U.S. would lag behind the Soviet Union, so they made their schools focus more on subjects like mathematics and science. Within a few years, both the United States and the Soviet Union had sent people, satellites, and animals into orbit. In 1969 the Apollo 11 mission put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon.
Finally, in the 1970s and 1980s, the two countries signed a peace treaty to stop the use of weapons and declared a policy of detente. Violence broke out in Latin America when the United States sent money and troops to many Latin American governments to stop them from being Communist under Nixon and Reagan. During this time, the U.S. economy weakened. The United States normalized relations with China. The Cold War ended as Communist governments in the Soviet Union and other countries fell apart.
Domestic and Social Issues:
The United States was back on the path of poverty once again. Millions of white people moved out of the cities and into the suburbs, and Southern and Western states known as the “Sunbelt”. The demand for cars and television sets increased. The birth rate in the 1940s and 1950s rose. This era was famous as the “Baby Boom”. The “Space Age” in the prosperous years inspired “Googie” style art and architecture. A large portion of the population turned middle class, but still, there were a large number of poor people, out of which, African-Americans formed a major part. Most of them lived in Northern cities, or in the South where they faced racism and “Jim Crow” segregation.
These conditions led to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s, led by Martin Luther King Jr. and others of the same ideology. In 1954, the Supreme Court found school segregation illegal in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Even then, the segregation ended years after. Soon after, Congress passed laws declaring that segregation was illegal. Great Society was there to help poor people and minorities. With such movements gaining recognition and power, Gays and lesbians also started to ask for rights. They began their movements with the Stonewall riots in 1969.
The time is always right, to do what’s right. -Martin Luther King Jr.
Many other sections of the society fought for their rights such as the Native Americans, Native Americans, consumers, old people, and people with disabilities. Women inspired most of these groups. Though women had had jobs during World War II, most of them went back home after the war. Women disliked the policy of unequal pay. They also had fewer opportunities than men. Groups such as the National Organization for Women came up to try and solve these problems. NOW and other groups wanted an Equal Rights Amendment that would guarantee them equality in all areas including employment and education. In the 1970s and 1980s, many more women received jobs and opportunities.
In the 1960s, the counterculture formed in the country. Some of the followers of the counterculture were called hippies. They had long hair, and lived communally, smoking marijuana and practicing free love. Most of them were college students and groups against the Vietnam War. It also included the groups that listened to new music known as rock and roll.
In 1980, President Ronald Reagan won 44 out of 50 American states. During his presidency, the country went through a phase of inflation, a bad economy, and the American foreign policies were not as good. He lowered the taxes for corporations by signing the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. He also expanded the American economy and moved it from 4.5% to 7.2%. During his second term, he focused on ending the Cold War by holding meetings and conferences.
Post-Cold War Era and the 21st Century (1991 – Present)
The World Trade Center suffered a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, killing thousands of people. After that, the government made attempts to find Osama Bin Laden. Who they believed had planned the attack. The next sad event of that decade was Hurricane Katrina that caused large-scale destruction. After the end of Bush’s presidency, the United States underwent the worst recession since the Great Depression.
The first African-American President of the U.S., Barak Obama worked for the development of health-care and banking. He made plans to support the economy during the recession and prevented industries from falling. There was a large oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a sweeping overhaul of the health care system.
The Tea Party Movement opposed Obama’s health care plans and other policies. The Occupy movement happened after this. President Obama helped in crafting the Paris Climate Agreement, a major global commitment to fighting climate change. He also opened relations with Cuba for the first time in fifty years.
Every country has gone through a lot of improvement policies, laws, wars, and protests in the past. Setting all these things behind, the United States emerged as the largest and the most powerful economy. The history of the country and its Presidents is a motivational story that can inspire many under-developed and developing countries.
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Have a look at the précised form of History of the United States.