In 1492, Columbus set sail for Asia but found the Americas instead, exploring several islands of the Caribbean Sea. In the following years Columbus made three more voyages, and many other Spaniards explored the Caribbean islands and mainland. During the late Middle Ages, Mongols threatened Europe with pillage and destruction. However, they also unified much of Eurasia, creating trade routes and communication lines stretching from Middle East to China. A series of Europeans took advantage of these to explore eastwards.
The trade routes between Europe and Middle East, however, was almost completely controlled by traders from the Italian city states. Upon the collapse of the Mongol Empire, the trade routes to the east soon became far more difficul and dangerous. The Black Death would eventually also block travel and trade. The land route to the East was controlled by Mideterranean commercialists and Islamic empires that both controlled the flow and price of goods. The rise of the expansionist Ottoman Empire has also further limited the possibilities of European overland trade.
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The Age of Exploration has begun. During the Rennaisance, scholars rediscovered the works of the ancient Greeks and Roman geographers. Christopher Columbus came to believe that he could reach Asia in the East by sailing West. Instead, he found the New World. With the advances of navigation, military technology and shipbuilding, the Europeans started to explore the world by ocean searching for trading partners, particularly of gold, silver and spices. They sought a viable trade route which would be uncontested by those Mediterranean powers.
Similarities and lesser differences among the Southern Colonies The Virginia Company obtained a royal charter enabling each to found a colony, granting the right to coin money, raise revenue, and to make laws, but reserving much power to the king. The object of the lord proprietor, Baltimore, was twofold. He wished to found a state and become its ruler, for he was truly a man of the world; he loved power and he loved wealth. Second, he wished to furnish a refuge for the oppressed of his own faith; for the Roman Catholics, as well as the Puritans, were objects of persecution in England.
He was granted charter to Maryland. He was required by the charter to send the king two Indian arrows each year, as a token of allegiance to the Crown, and if any gold and silver were mined in Maryland, one fifth of it was to be paid to the king. But aside from this the proprietor was invested with almost kingly power. He could not tax his people without their consent, but he could coin money, make war and peace, pardon criminals, establish courts, and grant titles of nobility.
The charter, however, provided that the laws be made by the proprietor and the freemen—democracy was beginning to emerge. It was the first colony in which religious toleration had a place. South Carolina differs from most of the colonies in not having had to battle against impending dissolution during its first years of existence, and from all the others in depending largely on slave labor from the beginning. Popular assembly began to frame laws on the basis of libery.
The charter conferred the right of making laws on the proprietors only by and with the advice, assent, and approbation of the freemen. North Carolina was twin-born with South Carolina and both were not separated politically until 1729 and their histories run parallel for many years. The object in founding the colony in Georgia was threefold: to afford an opportunity to the unfortunate poor to begin life over again, to offer a refuge to persecuted Protestants of Europe, and to erect a military barrier between the Carolinas and Spanish Florida.
Georgia was the only colony of the thirteen that received financial aid by a vote of Parliament -- the only one in the planting of which the British government, as such, took a part. The colony differed from all others also in prohibiting slavery and the importation of intoxicating liquors. The settlers were to have their land free of rent for ten years, but they could take no part in the government. The trustees made all the laws; but this arrangement was not intended to be permanent; at the close of the proprietary period the colony was to pass to the control of the Crown. Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown, Virginia, located at Jamestown Island on the banks of James River, both of which were named after King James I of England, 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, was founded on May 14, 1607 by the Virginia Company—a group of London Entrepreneurs to whom were granted a charter to establish an English settlement in the Chespeake region of North America, and were instructed to find gold and water route to the Orient. The location was selected primarily because it offered a favorable strategic defensive position against other European forces which might approach by water.
However, the colonists soon discovered that the swampy and isolated site was plagued by mosquitoes and tidal river water unsuitable for drinking, anf offered limited opportunities for hunting and little space for farming. The area was also inhabited by native Americans, the Algonqiuan from whom the colonists found themselves under attacked. It appears that eventual structured leadership of Captain John Smith kept the colony from dissolving. By 1609, during the departure of Captain John Smith, only 60 of the original 214 settlers survived, and by June of that year, the settlers decided to bury the cannon and armor and abandon the town.
The arrival of the new governor general, Lord De La Ware, and his supply ships brought the colonist back to the fort. Although the suffering did not totally end for decades, some years of peace and prosperity followed the wedding of the daughter of the Algonquian chief, Pocahontas, to English entrepreneur John Rolfe. Jamestown became the first successful English settlement in what was to become the United States of America The Iroquois The Iroquois Confederacy, or simply Iroquois, also known as The League of Pecae and Power, is a group of Native Americans allied together in peace.
They were originally composed of five nations: the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, and the Seneca. They were later joined by the Tuscarora. They were collectively known as the Haudenosaunee, or People of the Longhouse, because of the types of houses they lived in. They became he strongest forces in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, having been involved in the Beaver Wars and the French and Indian Wars against the French, and having participated during the American Revolution. The Pilgrims
The Pilgrims, or The Pilgrim Fathers, is the name commonly applied to the early settlers of the Plymouth Colony. They were members of the Puritans, who were oppressed during the Protestant Reformation in Europe and began to seek a better freedom in the New World. They came to the America in mid November of 1620 aboard Mayflower and drafted the Mayflower Compact, which ensured rights for all the settlers and promised cooperation among settlers for the general good of the Colony. However, like the settlers in Jamestown, were bothered by attacks from the native Americans and suffered during the first winter.
They got help from friendlier natives who taught them their skills like woodcraft, hunting, how to make maple sugar, moccasins, canoes, and how to raise crops of maiz and tobacco, all of which helped them to survive. In the autumn of 1621, they produced their first successful harvest and celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Plymouth is said to be the second successful English settlement in North America. Issues and Conflicts In Colonial Politics Most of the original English colonies in North America were private ventures that were less supervised by the English government.
The institutions by the colonies' sponsors varied enormously with each other. Most governors in colonial territories were appointed by the Crown and were responsible for enforcing British trade laws and carrying out other directives, executing colonial laws, administeing justice, and appointing most officers. They were also responsible for provincial defense and diplomatic relations with the native Americans and other colonies. Colonists expected remarkably little from the British government.
Budget were low; paid full-time officials were few; civil, judicial, and police establishments were small, part-time and unprofessional; and military establishments were temporary. Politics provided little scope for the active involvement of the citizens. Leadership and institutional structures were weak and undefined, levels of political expertise and socialization low, and political conciousness undeveloped. Under such conditions, public life was volatile, and would-be leaders jockeyed with one another for power, wealth, and prestige.
In a few places for brief periods, this primitive politics of competition resulted in the triumph of restrictive oligarchies. The gradual conversion of these colonies into royal provinces helped to develop into roughly similar political systems between colonies, for most of the pattern were derived from English political institutions. However politics developed, public life became more settled. Levels of political socialization and consciousness rose, and institutional and leadership structures became more sharply articulated.
A more modern type of polity began to emerge around 1750 with the development of semi-permanent political parties. Factors that moved America towards Independence There were many factors that led Americans fight for their independence against Britain. There were growing grievances against the British authorities among the colonies, from which only one of the original thirteen colonies were formally founded by Britain, others were haphazardly founded by trading companies, religious groups or land speculators.
Republican sentiments were also growing, which, by its very nature, was opposed to heirarchical and authoritarian institutions like monarchy and aristocracy, from which Britain forms it government. Radical Whigs ideas were also widely read by the citizens of the colonies. The radical Whigs feared the threat to liberty posed by the arbitrary power of the monarch and representatives in Parliament and warned the citizens to be on guard against corruption and to be vigilant against possible conspiracies to strip them of their liberties.
The colonies were also used to participating in politics, Britain, however has left them alone for many years, denied them representation to the Parliament, while the citizens must obey British laws. Grievances were raised when the British government imposed taxes on their colonies, which eventually led to the Declaratory Act, from which Britain asserted its absolute authority over its colonies. The colonies, however, wanted a share of sovereignty. In 1774, colonists called for the Continental Congress to consider ways of redressing colonial grievances.
The Declaration of Rights was drawn, protesting Britain's colonial policies, and sent to the king of Britain. The Congress also called for the creation of The Continental Association. The Association, however, did not call for independence, only to repeal offensive legilation by Britain to its colonies. The Parliament rejection of the Congress' petitions prompted the Association to convene for a second Continental Congress in May 1775, which has eventually adopted the US Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.
The American Revolutionary War had officially begun upon the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The Seven Years War The Seven Years War involved all the major European powers and is a struggle against the French control of North America. It started in May 1756 with the official declaration of war by England against France and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on February 1763. The treaty ended France's position as major colonial power in the Americas and its position as leading power in Europe.
England's success, however, was costly and the Parliament's attempt to cover for its debts and to pay for continuing military presence in America by direct taxation of the colonists soon strained relations between mother country and colonies. The Merits and Menace of Mercantilism The British authoriies embraced a theory called mercantilism, that justified the control over the colonies. Mercantilism states that wealth was power and that a country's economic wealth could be measured by the amount of gold and silver in its treasury, and that the colonies exists for the benefit of the mother country.
The british expected the American colonies to furnish products needed by Britain, and to export and but foods exclusively from Britain. The British crown also reserved rights to nullify any legislation passed by the colonial assemblies if such laws worked against the mercantalist system. The merits of mercantilism includes that Britain paid a lot of money to colonial producers, tobacco planters also enjoyed a monopoly in the British market, and that the colonies also benefitted from the protection of the world's mightiest navy and strong, seasoned army of redcoats without paying any tax.
Mercantilism, however, stifled economic initiative since colonies could not buy and sell products they wanted to other countries, and Americans found it debasing—they felt used and kept in a state of economic adolescence, never allowed to come of age. Stamp Tax Uproar The Stamp Act of 1765 was passed in the Birtish parliament with the primary purpose to raise revenues to support military force due to the added defense requirements resulting from vast new territories acquired during the war and conflict with American Indians. The act required all legal documents, permits, contracts, newpapers, wills, pamphlets, etc.
, in the colonies to carry a tax stamp. It was opposed by Americans stating that the Act would hurt their liberty—that them being taxed without being granted Representation where the taxes are laid, then they are reduced from the character of free subjects to the miserable state of tributary slaves—and that they thought the British army is no longer needed. Any offenders had to be tied in Admiralty Courts and the burden of proof is upon the defendants, which meant that defendants were assumed guilty unless they could prove themselves innocent.
Common Sense and the Declarataion of Independence The opening paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence states that: “when in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
” Signatories of Declaration have agreed that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” and that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
” These claims of the Declaration were supported by Thomas Paine's Common sense, in which he states that the end of government is freedom and security; that government is necessary to enforce regulations or laws that were created to mitigate the problems of society, which were “produced by our wants” and “promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections. ” The Declaration claims that the King of Britain has refused his “Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for public good” Hamilton's Federalist and Jefferson's Republican The Federalist Party wanted a fiscally sound and strong nationalistic government.
Hamilton proposed that state governors would be appointed by the President; the President and Senators would hold office for life; and the Congress would retain exclusive authority to make all the laws of the country. His principles were based on the notion of “public good” and the superiority of a government which derived its power from the consent of the governed, and believed that only a talented few—understood to mean men drawn from the wealthy and aristocratic strata of society—had the wisdom and dispassionate foresight to implement the measures necessary for the public good.
He believed that the great majority of people operated primarily out of self-interest and could not be trusted to think or act judiciously in matters of state power. Hence, a proposal such as seating the President for life, so that he would not be subject to the whims of a fickle electorate. He emphasized on an “energetic government,” which means that government should be proactive in economic and military affairs, have the power the supersede lower governments—as at the state level—and be able to exercise authority directly on the people.
He points that only an energetic government would be able to provide the stability and order necessary to secure the blessings of liberty for the people. The Republicans, however, rejected the ideas of Hamilton. They feared that Federalism favored the interests of wealthy patricians over the great number of agrarian laborers, and would set the stage for a return to monarchy. Jefferson argued that the powers of the government should be exercised by by each representatives chosen for such short terms as should render secure the duty of expressing the will of their constituents.
He believed that the mass of the citizens is th safest depository of their own rights, for the evils flowing from the duperies of the people are less injurious than those from the egoism of their agents. He advocated that every people may establish what form of government they please and change it as they please, implying that the same is true with its leaders—the will of the nation is the only thing essential. Uneasy Missouri Compromise In 1818, the Missouri territory applied for statehood and wanted to allow slavery in their state.
Abolitionist sentiment was growing in the north, and there were, at the time, eleven free states and eleven slave states. If Missouri becomes a slave state, the tie would be broken and those who favor slavery would be a step closer to legalizing slavery, and the Northern members refused Missouri's admittance as a slave state because of this. However in 1819, Maine applied for statehood as a free state, which was, of course, threatened by the Southern members of the Congress to prevent its admittance.
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between pro and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, allowing Missouri to enter as a slave stae and Maine as a free state, and to avoid conflicts in the future, added that all future states north of Missouri's southern border be free states and the future south states be slave states. The compromise remained in effect until 1854, when the US Congress passed the Kansa-Nebraska Act. Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, or, shortly, Articles of Confederation, was the first governing constitution of the United stated of America. The thirteen states were independent until the articles' ratification was completed in 1781, whence the legal existence of the United States of America as a union with a confederation government yet retained sovereignty and every function of sovereignty not specifically deputed to the government of the federation.
Although the articles were started to be written in 1777 during the early part of the American Revolution, several years has passed before its ratification because of the states' fear of a powerful central government, the Continental Congress had been careful to give the states as much independence as possible and to specify the limited functions of the federal government. The Articles were enforced from March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1788, when the present Constitution of the United States went into effect. Second War of American Independence
On June 18, 1812, President James Madison signed the US Congress' official declaration of war against the United Kingdom to protect American ships bound to France from being stopped, searched and being asked to pay a fee on British ports before continuing. The war was called the “second war of independence” because it gave an opportunity for the Americans to defend their freedom and honor in the face of British disrespect. The war lasted until 1815, although a treaty was already signed on December of the previous year.
One of the battles, the Battle of Fort McHenry, inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem that eventually supply the lyrics for the “Star-Spangled Banner. ” Secession of Southern Colonies The co-existence of slave-owning South with an increasing anti-slavery Nroth made conflict inevitable. In 1858, Lincoln expressed his desire to “arrest the further spread of [slavery], and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction. ” Abolitionists emphasized on the Declaration of Independence's clause that all men are equal.
Southern states depended on slavery to support their economy. The Union was considered a “voluntary compact” entered into by independent sovereign states for as long as it served their purpose. The north needed a central government to build an infrastructure of roads and railways, protect its complex trading and financial interests, and control the national currency. The South, however, depended much less on the federal government than did other regions and felt no need to strengthen it.
Thy feared that a strong central government might interfere with slavery. Compromises were possible as long as niether side controlled the Senate. However, vast territories in the West and Southwest would soon be petitioning for statehood. North and South began a long and bitter struggle over whether the territories would enter the Union as free or slave states. The election of Lincoln, who was a dedicated Abolitionist, was the final trigger for the secession of the Southern States since they feared that the administration would threaten slavery.
Compromises were offered before the civil wars but failed to prevent it because of the flaws in the compromise. The Corwin Amendment, for example, would forbid to any attempt to subsequently amend the Constitution to empower the Federal government to abolish or interfere with the domestic institutions of the states, including persons “held to labor or service,” were objected by Abolitionists who claims that the Constitution, at that time, did not protect slavery.
The Crittenden Compromise offered the permanent reestablishment of the Missouri Compromise line but would also guarantee the permanent existence of slavery in the slave states which was, of course, rejected heavily by Abolitionists. Advantages of the Southern and Northern States during the Civil War The Southern states sought independence and would only have to defend itself against the Northern states who wanted to restore the Union, which meant it had to compel the seceded states to give up their hopes to found a new nation.
The Southern states would only then need to prolong the war to a point where the Northern States would consider the efforts too costly in lives and money to persist. If the North chose not to mount a military effort to coerce the seceded states back into the Union, the Southern states, who were known to become the Confederacy, would win independence by default. The Northern states, however, planned to apply pressure on the confederacy from all sides. A combined force of naval and army units would sweep down the Mississippi River, dividing the Confederacy’s eastern and western states.
At the same time, the Union navy would also institute a blockade to deny the Confederacy access to European manufactured goods. Manifest Destiny The Manifest Destiny was the belief that the United States was destined to expand from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. It holds that territorial expansion is not only inevitable but divinely ordained. Manifest Destiny eventually became a standard historical term for the expansion of the United States accross North American Continent. The Great Debate: Lincoln versus Douglas
The Lincoln-Douglas debates were a series of seven formal meetings during the Illinois senatorial campaign of 1858, in which Republican Abraham Lincoln argued the issue of slavery with the Democratic incumbent, Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas' Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise ban on slavery and replaced it with the doctrine of popular sovereignty, which meant that the people of a territory coud decide for themselves whether to allow slavery. Lincoln criticized that popular sovereignty would nationalize and perpetuate slavery.
Newspapers across the nation reprinted the full text of the debates, and after the election Licoln edited all the text and had them published in a book. The widespread of the original debates and the subsequent popularity of the book led eventually to Lincoln's nomination for the President of the United States by the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago. The Dred Scott Bombshell Dred Scott was a slave whose master took him north into free states where he lived for many years.
After his master's death, he sued for his freedom from his his new master, claiming that he had been in a free territory and was therefore free. Th Missouri Supreme Court agreed and Scott temporarily gained his freedom, but his new master appealed to the US Supreme Court. On March 6, 1857, the Dred Scott decision was handed down by the Supreme Court, declaring African Americans were not US citizens and therefore could not bring suit in federal court under diversity of citizenship rules, thus overruling the Missouri Court decision.
However, the real bombshell statement was that a legislature, including the Congress, cannot outlaw slavery as that would go against the 5th Amendment, stating that a person's property cannot be taken without due process of law. This statement would have been sufficient to declare that the Missouri Compromise had been unconstitutional. The decision would also eventually give rise to the American Civil Warin 1861.
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