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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

Colonial America

The Republic until 1877

The Republic 1877 to 2000

2000 to the Present

Appendices

Keywords (People, Events, etc)

Licensing and Contributors



Preface

This textbook is based on the College Entrance Examination Board test in Advanced Placement United States History. The test is a standard on the subject, covering what most students in the United States study in high school and college, so we treat it as the best reference.

The text was reorganized and edited in November 2008 to be closer to the content and organization the college board requires. The content was carefully chosen for significance and interest. We welcome reader feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Enjoy! The AP Course Description can be found here.



Colonial America

Introduction

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Brief overview of European history (before 1492)

The peoples of Europe have had a tremendous effect on the development of the United States throughout the course of U.S. history. Europeans "discovered" and colonized the North American continent and, even after they lost political control over its territory, their influence has predominated due to a common language, social ideals, and culture. Therefore, when endeavoring to understand the history of the United States, it is helpful to briefly describe their European origin.

Greece and Rome

See also: Ancient History/Greece and Ancient History/Rome
The Roman Empire

The first significant civilizations of Europe formed in the second millennium BCE. By 800 BCE, various Greek city-states, sharing a language and a culture based on slavery, pioneered novel political cultures. In the Greek city of Athens, by about 500 BCE, the male citizens who owned land began to elect their leaders. These elections by the minority of a minority represent the first democracy in the world. Other states in Greece experimented with other forms of rule, as in the totalitarian state of Sparta. These polities existed side by side, sometimes warring with each other, at one time combining against an invading army from Persia. Ancient Athens is known for its literary achievements in drama, history, and personal narrative. The individual city-states did not usually see themselves as a single entity. (The conqueror Alexander the Great, who called himself a Greek, actually was a native of the non-Greek state of Macedon.) The city-states of Greece became provinces of the Roman Empire in 27 BCE.

The city of Rome was founded (traditionally in the year 753 BCE). Slowly, Rome grew from a kingdom to a republic to a vast empire, which, at various points, included most of present-day Britain (a large part of Scotland never belonged to the empire), France (then known as Gaul), Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iraq, Palestine (including the territory claimed today by the modern state of Israel), Northern Arabia, Egypt, the Balkans, and the entire north coast of Africa. This empire was maintained through free-born or adoptive citizenship, citizen education and indoctrination, a large and well-drilled army, and taxes directed by a large bureaucracy directed by the emperor. As each province produced more Roman citizens, the state became hard to maintain. Whole kingdoms in the north and east, and the invading peoples we know as the Germanic tribes (the Ostrogoths and Visigoths and the Franks) sat apart from the system.

After the death of one emperor in 180 CE, power struggles between the army and a succession of rulers of contested origins produced anarchy. Diocletian (243 - 316) reinstated the Empire by 284. Rome regained territory until 395, when the Empire was so large that it had to be divided into two parts, each with a separate ruler. The two halves sat uneasily together. The East, which considered itself the heir of Alexander the Great, spoke Greek or a dialect, while the West spoke Latin. The Eastern Empire survived until 1453, but the system to maintain the Western Empire broke apart. Plagues and crop failures troubled the world. In 476, Germanic tribes deposed the boy who was then the Emperor. Roman roads fell into disrepair, and travel became difficult. Some memories remained in the lands which had once known Roman rule. The supreme rulers of various tribes called themselves king, a distortion of the Roman word Caesar.

The Roman Empire to the Holy Roman Empire

A mitred Adhémar de Monteil carrying the Holy Lance in one of the battles of the First Crusade

After Rome's fall, monks from Ireland (which had never known Rome) spread Catholic Christianity and the culture and language of the Western Roman Empire across Europe. Catholicism eventually spread through England (where the Germanic tribes of the Angles and the Saxons now lived)and to the lands of the post-Roman Germanic tribes. Among those tribes, the Franks rose to prominence.

Charlemagne (742 - 814), the King of the Franks, conquered great portions of Europe. He eventually took control of Rome. The senate and the political organs of Rome had disappeared, and Charlemagne did not pretend to become the head of the Church. Charlemagne's domain, a confederation of what had been Roman Gaul with Germanic states, was much smaller than Diocletian had known. But prestige came with identity with the past, and so this trunk of lands became The Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne's descendants, as well as local rulers, took their sanction from the Church, while the Church's pope influenced both religious and political matters.

The result of political stability was technological advance. After the year 1000, Western Europe caught some of the East's discoveries, and invented others. In addition to vellum, Europeans now started making paper of rags or wood pulp. They also adopted the wind and water mill, the horse collar (for plows and for heavy weights), the moldboard plow, and other agricultural and technological advances. Towns came into being, and then walled cities. More people survived, and the knights and kings over them grew restive.

Viking Exploration of North America

Danish seamen, painted mid-12th century.

In the eighth century, pushed from their homes in Scandinavia by war and population expansion, Norsemen, or Vikings, began settling parts of the Faeroe, Shetland, and Orkney Islands in the North Atlantic. They went where ever treasure was, trading as far as Byzantium and Kiev in the East. In the West they raided from Ireland and England down to the Italian peninsula, sailing into a port, seizing its gold, and murdering or enslaving its people before fleeing. They began settling Iceland in approximately 874 CE. A Viking called Erik the Red was accused of murder and banished from his native Iceland in about 982. Eric explored and later founded a settlement in a snowy western island. Knowing that this bleak land would need many people to prosper, Eric returned to Iceland after his exile had passed and coined the word "Greenland" to appeal to the overpopulated and treeless settlement of Iceland. Eric returned to Greenland in 985 and established two colonies with a population of nearly 5000.

Leif Erikson, son of Erik the Red, and other members of his family began exploration of the North American coast in 986. He landed in three places, in the third establishing a small settlement called Vinland. The location of Vinland is uncertain, but an archeological site on the northern tip of Newfoundland, Canada (L'anse aux Meadows) has been identified as the site of a modest Viking settlement and is the oldest confirmed presence of Europeans in North America. The site contains the remains of eight Norse buildings, as well as a modern reproduction of a Norse longhouse. But the settlement in Vinland was abandoned in struggles between the Vikings and the native inhabitants, whom the settlers called Skraelingar. Bickering also broke out among the Norseman themselves. The settlement lasted less than two years. The Vikings would make brief excursions to North America for the next 200 years, though another attempt at colonization was soon thwarted.

By the thirteenth century, Iceland and Greenland had also entered a period of decline during the "Little Ice Age." Knowledge of their exploration, in the days before the printing press, was ignored in most of Europe. Yet the Vikings are now considered the true European discoverers of North America. The influence of their people outlasted even the terrible raids, and their grandchildren became kings and queens. For example, a branch of Viking descendants living in France, the Normans, conquered England from the Anglo-Saxons in 1066.

The Great Famine and Black Death

The Little Ice Age led to European famines in the years 1315-1317 and in 1321. In the year 1318 sheep and cattle began to die of a contagious disease. Farmers could not support the growing population. And then, in 1347, some Genoese trading ships inadvertently brought a new, invasive species of rat to Europe. These rats carried bubonic plague.

Plague was also called the Black Death, from the darkened skin left after death and from its deadly reach. It had three strands: bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic.[1] In bubonic plague fleas carried by the rats would leave their hosts and bite people. The masses of bacteria would flow through the human system, killing cells and leaving their refuse in lymph nodes in the armpit, groin, and neck. These nodes would swell and turn black, creating bubos. Infection could also spread into the lungs, so that a person might cough or sneeze the germ into the air. This created pneumonic plague, spreading disease into spaces where people gathered and where rats dared not go. It also spread through contamination of food. The last form of disease, and its most deadly, was septicemic. This attacked the blood, leaving stretches of pale skin looking black, and killing the person within hours.

Surviving laws of cities and guilds regulate public cleanliness and penalize adulteration of food. They cannot show how strictly these laws were applied. And they show no knowledge, of course, of germ theory and the need for sterilization. Older systems such as the few public baths which remained from the days of colonial Rome were seen as sinful and dangerous, invitations to the plague. The dwelling places of survivors of pre-Christian Rome, the Jews who were forced to live apart, were attacked by mobs who attributed the Black Death to their poisoning Christians' wells.

The responses to plague can be seen in the records left by survivors -- one third of the population of Europe died in repeated waves of disease -- and in the subsequent changes in society. Airplanes and satellites show the foundations of plague-era towns which were emptied by the disease. In just one square mile of pre-plague Europe there are reports of there being 50,000 people.[2] In large cities, families would flee or lock themselves away, trying to keep themselves from death. Other families were locked in by city authorities. This is the beginning of the modern system of quarantine.[3] Some branches of the family would not be among those so helped. The Black Death seemed erratic, sometimes taking people deemed good and pious, sometimes not. One priest or church prelate might die, and another survive. And a living priest might give no aid to other survivors. Some critiques of the Church which had become spread through most of Europe date from this era.

Although some lands became waste through lack of tilling, those people who survived grasped the property of those who had not. Europe then had a land-based economic system. Rich people became richer. There began a labor shortage: the farmers who survived needed hands to take in their crops. The wages of farm hands began to rise. In the surviving towns they needed people to guard the gates: in the courts they began to look for rising young men. Cities became more powerful in the depleted lands, and authority grew more centralized.

Education

During the Middle Ages Western society and education were heavily shaped by Christianity as expressed through the Roman Catholic Church. Towns, courts, and feudal manors had their priests, monasteries and nunneries had their scriptora or libraries, and after the 11th century CE, a few cities had Universities, schools to educate men to be high-ranking clerics, lawyers, or doctors. Where children had schools, their parents paid a fee so that they might learn Latin, the language St. Jerome had used for his translation of the Bible. Latin was the language of the Church. It was also learned, along with military tactics and the rules of chivalry, by men who trained to be knights. A smattering of Latin was necessary, along with Math, even for the elementary schools which sprang up in some cities. There both boys and girls were taught literacy and math, prerequisite for acceptance as an apprentice in many Guilds. Latin across Europe created a European-wide culture: a doctor from Padua could talk to his fellow from Oxford in Latin.

As in the Greek and Roman eras, only a minority of people went to school. There were not enough books, little travel, and no means of spreading standardized education. Schools were attended first by persons planning to enter religious life. Occasionally a cleric would reach out to educate a very bright peasant boy. This was one of the few ways peasants could rise in the world. But the vast majority of people were serfs who served as agricultural workers on the estates of feudal lords. They were, in effect, tied to the fate of the land. From the serf up to some high princes, the vast majority of people did not attend school, and were generally illiterate.

In the rise of the Universities in the 11th century, the Church translated several manuscripts of the ancient Greek writer Aristotle into Latin. From Aristotle's emphasis upon human reason, philosophy and science, and the Church's emphasis upon revelation and the teachings of Christ, medieval scholars developed Scholasticism. This was an philosophical and educational movement which attempted to integrate into an ordered system both the natural wisdom of Greece and Rome and the religious wisdom of Christianity. It was dominant in the medieval Christian schools and universities of Europe from about the middle of the 11th century to about the middle of the 15th century, though its influence continued in successive centuries. The idea of Man in the middle of ordered nature, and yet dominant over nature, bore fruit in the observation of natural phenomena, the beginnings of what the Western World knows as science. It also led to the exultation of system over observation, and the persistence of the Ptolemaic theories such as geocentrism among formally educated people.

Noble girls were sometimes sent to live in nunneries in order to receive basic schooling. Nuns would teach them to read and write and the chores necessary to run their establishments, including spinning and weaving. (Cloth-making was a major national industry in the Middle Ages.) They taught them their manners and their prayers. Some of these girls later became nuns themselves.

Christianity, Islam, Judaism

During the centuries after the fall of Rome, various flavors of Christian churches spread from Northern Africa and Armenia westward. This changed after Mohammed established Islam in 610 CE. Like Christianity, it spread through conversion and conflict. At its height it was also a faith of Europe, from Spain to Albania and Bosnia and their sister states. Both Prince and Caliph held that their state must have one faith, and no other belief was encouraged. When Jerusalem was reconquered by the Seljuq Turks, Christians were no longer able to go on religious pilgrimages to the Holy City.

At the end of the eleventh century, Pope Urban II inaugurated the Crusades, urging Western European kings and great nobles to begin what would be a century and a half of warfare. Christian armies fought first to reconquer and then to hold part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The Crusaders ultimately failed in the face of resurgent Muslim forces. Western Europeans within Church and State argued for and against the Crusades.

Despite the failure of the Crusades, militant Western Christianity persisted in Spain in an effort known as the Reconquista (the "reconquest"), which purged the land of the Muslims who had arrived there in 711. By the fifteenth century, the Muslims were confined to the kingdom of Granada, which bordered the Mediterranean Sea in the southern side of the Iberian Peninsula. Granada finally fell in 1492 to the Spanish Christians, ending the reconquista.

Rome had destroyed Israel in 70 CE, but allowed a remnant of her people to survive. Fortified by rabbinic culture and centered on the Torah, they became a resilient group. They survived as the known world became Christian. They spread, as traders, through East and West. However, Christian relationships with Jews were punctuated by hatred. They were held to be guilty of Jesus' death, and they were supposed to be evil because they had not converted to Christianity. They were forced into the notorious ghettos, usually built on waste or undesirable land. They were forced to wear strange clothing which marked them off, and to pay heavy taxes.[4] Christians spread rumors that Jewish officials sometimes kidnapped and killed young boys for their sacrifices. Sometimes a mob might break into the ghetto, killing some people. Individuals were sometimes forced to convert. One of the effects of European nationalism was the expulsion of a country's Jewish population. England was the first, in the 13th century; later, a reviving France; later still, Spain and Portugal. Some men crewing the ships in the Age of Exploration were Jews, often practicing their faith in hiding.

For a period in the late Twelfth century there two sets of Popes, a line in Rome and another in the French city of Avignon under the sway of that Court. In reaction against this, the Church centralized its powers in parallel to what nations were doing. There had been dissension before, in medieval England's Lollards and later with the Czech priest John Hus. However, it was only in an age after the printing press, when people began printing the Bible in their own languages, when Martin Luther founded the Protestant church. England's King Henry VIII, who had won the title "Protector of the Faith" for a work defending the Pope, later left it to become the head of the Church of England. This division of Western Christianity created religious minorities, who were persecuted throughout Europe. Among these were the Pilgrims, who helped settle America.

The Renaissance

See also: European History

Another, more humble result of the plague was the accumulation of rags left over from clothing. These were quickly used to make paper. Books were very rare during the Middle Ages, and the monks who made them chained them to their shelves. It took one year for a man to make one book. In that climate Bibles took priority: we have only one copy of Democritus's most famous work surviving from this period. As rag paper replaced velum, books began to become more plentiful. The supply was augmented by Europe's adoption of Johannes Gutenberg 's fixed-type printing press in the 15th century.[5]

There had been earlier leaps in culture, including the wave of population and technological adaptation in the 12th century. This left its mark in increased population and the Roman Catholic Church's adoption of Aristotle. Yet the press made it possible for knowledge to have a foothold in society. Inventions in one place could be explained and adopted across a continent. The Greeks fleeing the fall of Byzantium brought their knowledge of ancient Greek culture to the West. The Bible, the basic book of Christendom, could be pored over by laypeople, and reading it could be learned by more people than ever before. Learning was no longer solely the province of the Church.

If the Bible was first off of the presses, pseudo-science and science followed soon after. The European witch trials were one result of the new medium. The questioning of scientific consensus was another. Andreas Vesalius published his observations about the circulatory system. Books discussing the theories of Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei demolished the old geocentric theory of the cosmos. The arts were not neglected. Giorgio Vasari's biographical Lives introduced such new artists as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti to the larger world.

A later time called this growth of knowledge the Renaissance. They said it began in the Italian city-states, spreading throughout most of Europe. The Italian city of Florence was called the birthplace of this intellectual movement.

Books spread the Crusader's newly found experience and knowledge of the Mediterranean, a region whose technology was at that time superior to that of western Europe. Books written about traders, adventurers, and scholars spread knowledge of Chinese technology such as gunpowder and silk. They spread writings of the ancient world which had been lost to Europe, and nurtured a taste for new foods and flavors. They spread pictures of ancient Greek statues, Moorish carpets, and strange practices.

In the fifteenth century, the Mediterranean was a vigorous trading area. European ships brought in grains and salts for preserving fish, Chinese silks, Indian cotton, precious stones, and above all, spices. White cane sugar could be used to preserve fruit and to flavor medicine. Cinnamon was medicine against bad humors as well as preservative and flavoring, part of the mysterious poudre douce, and now available even to some European common people.

Toward Nation-States

The great age of exploration was undertaken by nation-states, cohesive entities with big treasuries who tended to use colonization as a national necessity. When such nations as Portugal, England, Spain, and France became stronger, they began building ships.

The Rise of Portugal

The Italian peninsula dominated the world because of its position in the Mediterranean Sea. Universities in Padua, Rome, and elsewhere taught men from East and West. Above all, principalities such as the Republic of Venice and Florence controlled trade. Genoa and Venice in particular ballooned into massive trading cities. Yet there was at yet no nation of Italy, so each city's riches belonged only to that city. Individual cities used their monopoly to raise the price of goods, which would have been expensive in any case, because they were often brought overland from Asia to ports on the eastern Mediterranean. The mad prices, in turn, increased the desire of purchasers to find other suppliers, and of potential suppliers to find a better and cheaper route to Asia.

Portugal was just one of many potential suppliers, with a location which extended its influence into the Atlantic and down, south and east, to Africa. Prince Henry, son of King John I, promoted the exploration of new routes to the East. He planned Portugal's 1415 capture of Ceuta in Muslim North Africa. He also sponsored voyages that pushed even farther down the West African coast. By the time of his death in 1460, these voyages had reached south to Sierra Leone.

Under King John II, who ruled from 1481 to 1495, Bartolomeu Dias finally sailed around the southernmost point of Africa to the Cape of Good Hope (1487-1488). In 1497-1499 Vasco da Gama of Portugal sailed up the east coast of Africa to India.

The Portuguese colonized and settled such islands in the Atlantic as Madeira, Cape Verde, the Azores, and Sao Tome. These islands supplied them with sugar and gave them territorial control of the Atlantic. West Africa was more promising, not only unearthing a valuable trade route to India, but also providing the Portuguese with ivory, fur, oils, black pepper, gold dust, and a supply of dark skinned slaves who were used as domestic servants, artisans, and market or transportation workers in Lisbon. They were later used as laborers on sugar plantations on the Atlantic.

France, England, And The Hundred Years' War

King Harold of England faced William the Norman usurper after defeating the last Viking forces holding the North of England. And when William the Norman became William the Conqueror, he held England by consolidating the nation. His army was ruled from newly built castles, and had the best technology of the time. His sons and their sons fought the original inhabitants of their country in Scotland and Wales, pushing their boarders. They also claimed the right to their ancestral Normandy, in what is now France. (There had long been rivalry between England and France over the wool trade.) By a English king's marriage to an former queen of France, Eleanor of Aquitaine, the king subsequently claimed Aquitaine. During the years of 1337 to 1453, the kings of England claimed the whole of France and beyond, fighting The Hundred Years' War there and in the Low Countries. For some years the English threatened Paris, and there was a question whether the small area of France proper would be entirely conquered. The early stages of the war marked by English victory against a demoralized French people and their Prince. But around 1428, a young peasant girl from Lorriene, France named Joan of Arc approached a garrison of the French army. She told them that Saint Michael, Saint Catherine, and Saint Margaret had told her to lead the army to victory. She said that God had come to her in a dream, and told her how to defeat the English. She claimed that God said Prince Charles of France needed to be crowned in order for France to claim victory over the English.[6] After gaining the new French king, support of the populace, and several key victories, Joan was sold to the English for treason and as an appeasement. Yet France had been renewed. It pushed back against the invaders, and took back most of the land. In the next few centuries it was to remove England from Continental Europe.

The Hundred Years' War devastated both countries. But it ultimately turned both of them into stronger, colonial powers. The Hundred Years' War created opportunities for wealth and advancement for the knights of both countries. The Chivalric code showed great influence during this period. France absorbed Aquitaine, Castile, and Normandy itself, prosperous areas. The twin strokes of the plague and the Inquisition weakened opposition to the French king's rule. And English centralization continued as its own royalty sought service of serf and Baron. A group of new dialects, Middle English, came out of the tug between Norman lord and Anglo-Saxon peasant. If the nation could not get new land in Europe, it could use its ships to sail elsewhere.

Review Questions

1. Explain how one of these late medieval devices affected prosperity: the wind mill; the horse collar; the printing press.

2. How did the plague infect individuals? How did mass death affect society?

3. What was the importance of these four men to the Renaissance? Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus, Andreas Vesalius, Leonardo Da Vinci.

References

  1. Massachusetts Medical Society, New England Surgical Society. Boston medical and surgical journal, Volume 149, Issue 2. 1903
  2. Gottfried, Robert S. The Black Death: Natural and Human Disaster in Medieval Europe. Simon and Schuster, 1985. 64.
  3. Hunter, Susan S. Black death: AIDS in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 115.
  4. (Charing pg. 18-23). Charing, Douglas. Judaism. New York, NY: DK Pub., 2003.
  5. Elizabeth Eisenstein, The printing press as an agent of change: communications and cultural transformations in early modern Europe (2 vols. ed.). Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press. 1979. ISBN 0-521-22044-0
  6. Warner, Marina. Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism. University of California Press, 1999

Pre-Columbian America (before 1492)

Human civilization in the Americas probably began in the last ice age, when prehistoric hunters crossed a land bridge between the Asian and North American continents. Civilizations in North America, Central America, and South America had different levels of complexity, technology, and cohesiveness.

Some of the most powerful and organized societies occurred in South and Central America. These cultures developed writing, allowing them to spread and dominate. They created some of the largest cities in the Ancient world.

North American cultures were more fragmented and less unified. The tribe was often the major social unit, with exchanges between tribes creating similar societies over vast distances. Tribal dwellings as large as European towns flourished in the rugged desert of southwestern North America.

European-descended historians have difficulty referring to these cultures as a whole, as the native people did not have a unified name for themselves. At first, Europeans called natives "Indians". This term came from the belief by Christopher Columbus that he had discovered a new passage to India. Despite Amerigo Vespucci ascertaining that the Americas were not actually India, Indian continued to be used as the 'de facto' name for native inhabitants until around 1960. Starting in the 1960s, the term "Native American" was used. Yet this term may be too vague: isn't anyone born in America a Native American? There is also "American Indian". This is too general a term for a group having little in common other than skin tone and non-European language. In Canada, the term "First People" is used. All these terms for the native people of America show just how diverse Pre-Columbian America was and the disagreement continues between scholars today about this period.

Early Inhabitants of the Americas

American history does not begin with Columbus's 1492 arrival. The Americas were settled long before the first European arrived. Civilization began during the last ice age, some 15 to 40 thousand years ago. Huge ice sheets covered the north, so sea levels were much lower, creating a land bridge between Asia and North America. This was the Bering land bridge, a gap in two large ice sheets creating a connection from lands near present day Alaska, through Alberta, and into the continental United States.

Beringia - late wisconsin glaciation.png

Nomadic Asians following herds of wild game traveled into the continental United States. A characteristic arrow point was found and first described near the present day town of Clovis, NM. Specialized tools and common burial practices are seen in many archaeological sites through North America and into South America.

The Clovis people are one of North America's earliest civilizations. It is not clear if the finds represent one unified tribe, or many tribes with a common technology and belief. Their trek across 2000 rugged miles is one of the great feats of pre-history. Their culture disappears dramatically from the archaeological record 12,900 years ago, with widespread speculation about what caused their disappearance. Theories range from the extinction of the mammoth, to sudden environmental changes caused by a comet hitting the earth, to flooding caused by the break of a massive freshwater lake, Lake Agassiz.

There is controversy about Pre-Clovis settlement of North and South America. Comparisons of culture and linguistics offer evidence of the influence of early America by several different contemporary cultures. Some genetic and time-dating studies point to the possibility that ancient Americans came from other places and arrived earlier than at the Clovis sites in North America. Perhaps some ancient settlers to the hemisphere traveled by boat along the seashore, or arrived by boats from the Polynesian islands.

As time went on, many of these first settlers settled down into agricultural societies, complete with domesticated animals. Groups of people formed stable tribes and developed distinct languages of their own, to the point that more distant relatives could no longer understand them. Comparative linguistics -- the study of languages of different tribes -- shows fascinating diversity, with similarities between tribes hundreds of miles apart, yet startling differences with neighboring groups.

At times, tribes would gain regional importance and dominate large areas of America. Empires rose across the Americas that rivaled the greatest ones in Europe. For their time, some of these empires were highly advanced.

Early Empires of Mesoamerica

Meso-American civilizations are among some of the most powerful and advanced civilizations of the ancient world. Reading and writing were widespread throughout Meso-America, and these civilizations achieved impressive political, artistic, scientific, agricultural, and architectural accomplishments. Many of these civilizations gathered the political and technological resources to build some of the largest, most ornate, and highly populated cities in the ancient world.

The aboriginal Americans settled in the Yucatan peninsulas of present-day Mexico around 10,000 BCE. By 2000 BCE, the Mayan culture had evolved into a complex civilization. The Mayans developed a strong political, artistic and religious identity among the highly populated Yucatan lowlands. The classic period (250-900 AD) witnessed a rapid growth of the Mayan culture and it gained dominance within the region and influence throughout present-day Mexico. Large, independent city-states were founded and became the political, religious, and cultural centers for the Mayan people.

Mayan society was unified not by politics, but by their complex and highly-developed religion. Mayan religion was astrologically based, and supported by careful observations of the sky. The Mayans had a strong grasp of astronomy that rivaled, and, in many ways, exceeded that of concurrent European societies. They developed a very sophisticated system for measuring time, and had a great awareness of the movements in the nighttime sky. Particular significance was attached to the planet Venus, which was particularly bright and appeared in both the late evening and early morning sky.

Mayan art is also considered one of the most sophisticated and beautiful of the ancient New World.

The Mayan culture saw a decline during the 8th and 9th century. Although its causes are still the subject of intense scientific speculation, archaeologists see a definite cessation of inscriptions and architectural construction. The Mayan culture continued as a regional power until its discovery by Spanish conquistadores. In fact, an independent, non-centralized government allowed the Mayans to strongly resist the Spanish conquest of present-day Mexico. Mayan culture is preserved today throughout the Yucatan, although many of the inscriptions have been lost.

The Aztec culture began with the migration of the Mexica people to present-day central Mexico. The leaders of this group of people created an alliance with the dominant tribes forming the Aztec triple alliance, and created an empire that influenced much of present-day Mexico.

The Aztec confederacy began a campaign of conquest and assimilation. Outlying lands were inducted into the empire and became part of the complex Aztec society. Local leaders could gain prestige by adopting and adding to the culture of the Aztec civilization. The Aztecs, in turn, adopted cultural, artistic, and astronomical innovations from its conquered people.

The heart of Aztec power was economic unity. Conquered lands paid tribute to the capital city Tenochtitlan, the present-day site of Mexico City. Rich in tribute, this capital grew in influence, size, and population. When the Spanish arrived in 1521, it was the fourth largest city in the world (including the once independent city Tlatelco, which was by then a residential suburb) with an estimated population of 212,500 people. It contained the massive Temple de Mayo (a twin-towered pyramid 197 feet tall), 45 public buildings, a palace, two zoos, a botanical garden, and many houses. Surrounding the city and floating on the shallow flats of Lake Texcoco were enormous chinampas -- floating garden beds that fed the many thousands of residents of Tenochtitlan.

While many Meso-American civilizations practiced human sacrifice, none performed it to the scale of the Aztecs. To the Aztecs, human sacrifice was a necessary appeasement to the gods. According to their own records, one of the largest slaughters ever performed happened when the great pyramid of Tenochtitlan was reconsecrated in 1487. The Aztecs reported that they had sacrificed 84,400 prisoners over the course of four days.

With their arrival at Tenochtitlan, the Spanish would be the downfall of Aztec culture. Although shocked and impressed by the scale of Tenochtitlan, the display of massive human sacrifice offended European sensitivity, and the abundant displays of gold and silver inflamed their greed. The Spanish killed the reigning ruler, Montezuma in June 1520 and lay siege to the city, destroying it in 1521, aided by their alliance with a competing tribe, the Tlaxcala.

With the ascension of Manco Capac to emperor of a tribe in the Cuzco area of what is modern-day Peru around 1200 BCE, the Incan civilization emerged as the largest Pre-Columbian empire in the Americas.

Religion was significant in Inca life. The royal family were believed to be descendants of the Inca Sun God. Thus, the emperor had absolute authority, checked only by tradition. Under the emperors, a complex political structure was apparent. The Incan emperor, regional and village leaders, and others were part of an enormous bureaucracy. For every ten people, there was, on average, one official. The organization of the Empire also included a complex transportation infrastructure. To communicate across the entire empire, runners ran from village to village, relaying royal messages.

In 1438, the ambitious Pachacuti, likely the greatest of the Incan emperors, came to the throne. Pachacuti rebuilt much of the capital city, Cuzco, and the Temple of the Sun. The success of Pachacuti was based upon his brilliant talent for military command (he is sometimes referred as the "Napolean of the Andes") and an amazing political campaign of integration. Leaders of regions that he wanted to conquer were bribed with luxury goods and enticed by promises of privilege and importance. As well, the Incans had developed a prestigious educational system which, not incidentally, just happened to extol the benefits of Incan civilization. Thus, much of the expansion throughout South America was peaceful.

At its height of power in the late 15th century, Incan civilization had conquered a vast patchwork of languages, people and cultures from present-day Ecuador, along the whole length of South America, to present-day Argentina.

Machu Picchu, the "Lost city of the Incas".

Cuzco the capital city, was said by the Spanish to be "as fine as any city in Spain". Perhaps the most impressive city of the Incan empire, though, was not its capital, Cuzco, but the city Machu Picchu.

This mountain retreat was built high in the Andes and is sometimes called the "Lost City of the Incas." It was intended as a mountain retreat for the leaders of the Incan empire and demonstrates great artistry -- the abundant dry stone walls were entirely built without mortar, and the blocks were cut so carefully that one can't insert a knife-blade between them.

The Spanish discovered the Inca during a civil war of succession and enjoyed great military superiority over the slow siege warfare that the Incan empire had employed against its enemies. Fueled by greed at the opportunity to plunder another rich civilization, they conquered and executed the Incan emperor. The Incan empire fell quickly in 1533, but a small resistance force fled to the mountains, waging a guerrilla war of resistance for another 39 years.

The Meso-American Empires were undoubtedly the most powerful and unified civilizations in the new world. Writings were common in Meso-America and allowed these cultures to spread in power and influence with far more ease than their counterparts in north America. Each of these civilizations built impressive urban areas and had a complex culture. They were as 'civilized' as the Spanish who conquered them in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Early Empires of the Southwest

Native Americans adapted the arid desert southwest. A period of relatively wet conditions saw many cultures in the area flourish. Extensive irrigation was developed that were among the biggest of the ancient world. Elaborate adobe and sandstone buildings were constructed. Highly ornamental and artistic pottery was created. The unusual weather conditions could not continue forever, though, and gave way, in time, to the more common drought of the area. These dry conditions necessitated a more minimal way of life and, eventually, the elaborate accomplishments of these cultures were abandoned.

One prominent group were the Anasazi, who lived in the present day Northeastern Arizona and surrounding areas. The geography of this area is that of a flat arid, desert plain, surrounded by small areas of high plateau, called mesas. Softer rock layers within the mesas eroded to form steep canyons and overhangs along their slopes.

The Anasazi culture used these cave-like overhangs in the side of steep mesas as shelter from the brief, fierce southwestern storms. They also found natural seeps and diverted small streams of snow melt into small plots of maize, squash and beans. Small seasonal rivers formed beds of natural clays and dried mud. The Anasazi used hardened dry mud, called adobe, along with sandstone, to form intricate buildings that were sometimes found high in the natural overhangs of the mesas. The Anasazi people were also skilled at forming the natural clays into pottery.

Between 900 - 1130 CE a period of relatively wet conditions allowed the Anasazi people to flourish. Traditional architecture was perfected, pottery became intricate and artistic, turkeys were domesticated, and trade over long distances influenced the entire region. Following this golden period was the 300 year drought called Great Drought. The Anasazi culture was stressed and erupted into warfare. Scientists once believed the entire people vanished, possibly moving great distances to avoid the arid desert. New research suggests that the Anasazi dispersed; abandoning the intricate buildings and moving towards smaller settlements to utilize the limited water that existed.

Bordering the Anasazi culture in the north, a separate civilization emerged in southern Arizona, called the Hohokam. While many native Americans in the southwest used water irrigation on a limited scale, it was the Hohokam culture that perfected the technology (all without the benefit of modern powered excavating tools). The ability to divert water into small agricultural plots meant that the Hohokam could live in large agricultural communities of relatively high population density. This was particularly true in the Gila River valley, where the Gila River was diverted in many places to irrigate large fertile plains and numerous compact towns. The bigger towns had a 'Great House' at their centers, which was a large Adobe/stone structure. Some of these structures were four stories in size and probably were used by the managerial or religious elites. Smaller excavation or pits were enclosed by adobe walls and used as primary residences. Smaller pit rooms and pits were used for many different functions.

The successful use of irrigation is evident in the extensive Casa Grande village. Situated between two primary canals, the Casa Grande site has been the focus of nearly 9 decades of archaeological work. The original town was built around a Great House and incorporated open courtyards and circular plazas. By the 10th century neighboring settlements had been built to accommodate a large, highly developed region. The scale of this community can be seen in the results of one excavation of part of it in 1997. The project identified 247 pit houses, 27 pit rooms, 866 pits, 11 small canals, a ball court, and portions of four adobe walled compounds.

The Hohokam culture disintegrated when they had difficulty maintaining the canals in the dry conditions of the drought. Small blockages or collapses of the canal would choke the intricate irrigation networks. Large towns and extensive irrigation canals were abandoned. The people gave up their cultural way of life and dispersed into neighboring tribes.

Early Empires of the Mississippi

Native Americans in the Eastern Continental United States developed mound-building cultures early in North American History. Groups of native Americans became more stratified as time went on and developed into tribes. These tribes participated in long networks of trade and cultural exchanges. The importance of trade routes developed urban cities of great influence.

The mound-building people were one of the earliest civilization to emerge in North America. Beginning around 1000 BCE cultures developed that used mounds for religious and burial purposes. These mound-building people are categorized by a series of cultures that describe distinctive artwork and artifacts found in large areas throughout the present-day eastern United States.

The burial mound was the principle characteristic of all of these societies. These large structures were built by piling baskets of carefully selected earth into a mound. Mounds were pyramid shaped with truncated tops. Sometimes small buildings were built on top of them. Some of these mounds were quite large. The Grave Creek Mound, in the panhandle of present day West Virginia, is nearly 70 feet tall and 300 feet in diameter. Other mounds have even been shown to be oriented in a way that allows for astronomical alignments such as solstices and equinoxes.

Mound building cultures spread out in size and importance. The first culture, the Adena, lived in present-day Southern Ohio and the surrounding areas. The succeeding cultures united to create an impressive trade system that allowed each culture to influence the other. The Hopewell exchange included groups of people throughout the continental Eastern United States. There began to be considerable social stratification within these people. This organization predates the emergence of the tribe as a socio-political group of people that would dominate later eastern and western native American civilization.

The climax of this civilization was the Mississippian culture. The mound-building cultures had progressed to social complexity comparable to Post-Roman, Pre-Consolidation Tribal England. Mounds became numerous and some settlements had large complexes of them. Structures were frequently built on top of the mounds. Institutional social inequalities existed, such as slavery and human sacrifice. Cahokia, near the important trade routes of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, became an influential and highly developed community. Extensive trade networks extended from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Cahokia was one of the great centers of Mississippian culture and its largest settlement of Mississippi. The focal point of the settlement was the ceremonial mound called Monk's Mound. Monk's Mound was the largest mound ever constructed by mound-building people and was nearly 100 feet tall and 900 feet long. Excavation on the top of Monk's Mound has revealed evidence of a large building - perhaps a temple - that could be seen throughout the city. The city was spread out on a large plain south of Monks mound.

Monk's Mound located at the Cahokia site near Collinsville, Illinois.

The city proper contained 120 mounds at a varying distances from the city center. The mounds were divided into several different types, each of which may have had its own meaning and function. A circle of posts immediate to Monk's Mound marked a great variety of astronomical alignments. The city was surrounded by a series of watchtowers and occupied a diamond shape pattern that was nearly 5 miles across. At its best, the city may have contained as many as 40,000 people making it the largest in North America.

It is likely the Mississippian culture was dispersed by the onslaught of viral diseases, such as smallpox, which were brought by European explorers. Urban areas were particularly vulnerable to these diseases, and Cahokia was abandoned in the 1500's. The dispersal of tribes made it impractical to build or maintain mounds and many were found abandoned by European explorers.

Contact with European Culture

European contact brought immediate changes in many tribes of North America. One of the most significant changes to all Indian tribes was the introduction of viral diseases and epidemics. Smallpox was probably the single biggest scourge to hit North America. Infected contagious Indians spread the plague far inland almost immediately after early encounters with European settlers. Historians estimate that over 80% of all Native Americans died from diseases soon after first contact. The effects traumatized many powerful and important cultures. Urban areas were particularly vulnerable and Native American culture adapted by becoming more isolated, less unified, and with a renewed round of inter-tribal warfare as tribes seized the opportunity to gain resources once owned by rivals.

On the other hand, Europeans brought invasive plants and animals. The horse was re-introduced to America (as original paleo-American populations of wild horses from the Bering land bridge were extinct) and quickly adapted to free range on the sprawling great plains. Tribes of nomadic Native Americans were quick to see the horse's value as an increase in their mobility; allowing them to better adapt to changing conditions and as a valuable asset in inter-tribal warfare. Along with Europeans bringing plants and animals, the Europeans were able to take several plants such as corn back to their native countries.

Review Questions

1. Give two names for the indigenous peoples living in America, and name the circumstances behind each name.

2. What evidence do we have for the Inca, Mayan, and Aztec cultures?

3. What in the climate contributed to the rise and fall of the indigenous peoples of South-West North America?



Vikings (1000-1013)

Who were the Vikings?

Map showing area of Scandinavian settlements during the 9th to 10th centuries. Also the trade and raid routes, often inseparable, are marked.

The Norsemen (Norwegians) who lived around the beginning of the second millennium are today more commonly known as Vikings. The Vikings were farmers who "traded" during the slow months. Now, "trading" doesn't mean "I'll give you five sheep for that cow." It means "I'll give you five sheep for that cow. If you don't want to trade, I'll kill you." These people loved to travel in boats from one place to another, and this led to the second discovery of North America (Native Americans first, Vikings second, and Columbus third). Although Irish monks, most famously Brendan, and other European explorers had voyaged in the western waters, the Vikings established a settlement, the remains of which can be seen today at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.

Proported Ancestry and Descendants

The Norse are believed by some to have descended from the Huns, a people of uncertain ancestry. The Norse are believed by some to be the ancestors of the Goths and of modern Germans. There is no proof for these claims.

Snorri Sturluson

Snorri Sturluson (1178 – September 23, 1241) was an Icelandic historian, poet and politician. He was two-time elected lawspeaker at the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He was the author of the Prose Edda or Younger Edda, which consists of Gylfaginning ("the fooling of Gylfi"), a narrative of Norse mythology, the Skáldskaparmál, a book of poetic language, and the Háttatal, a list of verse forms. He was also the author of the Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with legendary material in Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. For stylistic and methodological reasons, Snorri is often taken to be the author of Egils saga.

As a historian and mythographer, Snorri is remarkable for proposing the theory (in the Prose Edda) that mythological gods begin as human war leaders and kings whose funeral sites develop cults (euhemerism). As people call upon the dead war leader as they go to battle, or the dead king as they face tribal hardship, they begin to venerate the figure. Eventually, the king or warrior is remembered only as a god. He also proposed that as tribes defeat others, they explain their victory by proposing that their own gods were in battle with the gods of the others

Snorri Sturluson was born into the wealthy and powerful Sturlungar family of the Icelandic Commonwealth, a sovereign nation, about 1178. His parents were Sturla Þórðarson[2] of Hvamm and Guðný Böðvarsdóttir. He had two older brothers, Þórðr Sturluson (the oldest) and Sighvatr Sturluson.

By a quirk of circumstance he was raised from the age of three (or four) by Jón Loftsson, a relative of the Norwegian royal family, in Oddi, Iceland. As Sturla was trying to settle a lawsuit with Father Páll Sölvason, the latter's wife lunged suddenly at him with a knife, intending, she said, to make him like his hero Odin (one-eyed), but bystanders deflected the blow to the cheek. The resulting settlement would have beggared Páll. Loftsson intervened in the Althing to mitigate the judgement and to compensate Sturla, offered to raise and educate Snorri.

Snorri therefore received an education and made connections that he might not otherwise have made. He attended the school of Sæmundr fróði, grandfather of Loftsson, at Oddi. He never returned to his parents' home. His father died in 1183 and his mother as guardian soon wasted Snorri's share of the inheritance. Loftsson died in 1197. The two families then arranged a marriage in 1199 between Snorri and Herdís, the first daughter of Bersi. From her father, Snorri inherited an estate at Borg and a chieftainship. He soon acquired more property and chieftainships.

Snorri and Herdís were together for four years at Borg. They had a few children. The marriage succumbed to Snorri's philandering, and in 1206 he settled in Reykholt as manager of an estate there, but without Herdís. He made significant improvements to the estate, including a hot outdoor bath (Snorralaug). The bath and the buildings have been preserved to some extent. During the initial years at Reykholt he had several more children by different women: Gudrun, Oddny and Thuridur.

Eric "the Red" and his Children

Eric "the Red" fled Norway to Iceland to avoid facing a murder charge, and later was banished from Iceland for yet another murder. His children would have great impact on the discovery and explorations of North America.

Bjarni Ericson

Bjarni travelled around trading in his little knarr. A knarr is a small Norwegian boat that only fits about three to five people. Bjarni sighted Vinland (modern Newfoundland).

An interesting fact is that Leif Ericson bought Bjarni Herjólfsson's boat about ten years later, in about 995 C. E. This is the same boat in which Lief had discovered Vinland. Leif Ericson was about thirty years old (or thirty three, depending on whether one follows the "Eiríks saga rauða", i.e. the Saga of Eric the Red, or the "Grœnlendinga saga", or the Greenlanders Saga).

Thorvald Ericson

Explored from 1004 to 1005 AD.

Thorfinn Ericson

Traveled from 1008-1009 AD. He bravely took cattle with him on his knarr, hoping to settle in Greenland. "Greenland" is a misnomer, since it's covered in ice; his cattle died.

Freydis Erikidottir

Freydis was Eric's daughter, his fourth child. Since Freydis was a woman, there were many restrictions put upon her, but she wanted to make a name for herself. In 1013 AD, she explored with 2 Icelandic men, and killed them and their men upon arriving in Vinland (North America).

Leif Ericson

Leif Ericson did further exploration of Vinland and settled there. In 986, Norwegian-born Eirik Thorvaldsson, known as Eirik the Red, explored and colonized the southwestern part of Greenland. It was his son, Leiv Eiriksson, who became the first European to set foot on the shores of North America, and the first explorer of Norwegian extraction now accorded worldwide recognition.

The date and place of Leiv Eiriksson's birth has not been definitely established, but it is believed that he grew up on Greenland. The Saga of Eric the Red relates that he set sail for Norway in 999, served King Olav Trygvasson for a term, and was sent back to Greenland one year later to bring Christianity to its people.

Exploration (1266-1522)

The Triumph of Christopher Columbus

By the 15th Century European trade for luxuries such as spices and silk had inspired European explorers to seek new routes to Asia. The fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 had closed a crucial trade corridor. Trade throughout the Ottoman Empire was difficult and unreliable. Portugal was in the lead in exploration, slowly exploring the shores of the African Continent in search of a better route to the spices and luxuries of the Orient.

Then the Italian Christopher Columbus submitted plans for a voyage to Asia by sailing around the world. By the late 15th century most educated Europeans knew the world was round. The Greek mathematician Eratosthenes had accurately deduced that the world was approximately 25,000 miles in diameter. Many of the experts studying Columbus's plans on behalf of the European monarchies he approached for funding realized that this was too far for any contemporary sailing ship to go. Columbus contested the measurements, claiming that the world was much smaller than was widely believed.

After approaching the monarchies of several Italian city-states, and repeated appeals to the English and Portuguese monarchies, the Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella finally decided to give Columbus a chance. King Ferdinand thought Columbus might find something to compete with the neighboring kingdom of Portugal. Columbus set out on August 3rd, 1492. Five weeks later, after almost being thrown overboard by his own crew, the long voyage ended when land was sighted. This was an island called Guanahani (now known as San Salvador, in the island chain called the Bahamas). During this voyage Columbus also explored what is now considered the northeast coast of Cuba and the northern coast of Hispaniola. On his return to Spain, news of the new lands spread throughout Europe. Columbus was to make three more voyages to the New World between 1492 and 1503, exploring the Caribbean and the mainland of Central and South America. He imported sugar cane to the Americas, beginning an important industry.

Columbus was granted authority by the Spanish Monarchy to claim land for the Spanish, begin a settlement, trade for valuable goods or gold, and explore. He was also made governor of all the lands which he found. Columbus become an increasingly savage and brutal governor in the course of his four voyages. He enslaved and stole from the natives, at one point threatening to cut off the hands of any native who failed to give him gold. He was retired, and to the end of his life he believed that he had reached Asia.

It took another Italian explorer for Spain, Amerigo Vespucci, to correct this error. Amerigo described the lands around his islands and tried to deduce their proximity to Asia. From his voyages, Amerigo deduced that Columbus had found a new Continent. This new continent would be named America.

French Empire in North America

Christopher Columbus's voyages inspired other European powers to seek out the new world as well. Jacques Cartier, a respected mariner in his native France, proposed a trip to the North to investigate whether Asia could be reached from another route. His trip in 1534 retraced much of the voyages of the vikings and established contacts with natives in modern-day Canada. He explored some of northern Canada, established friendly relations with the American Indians, and discovered that the St Lawrence river region neither had abundant gold nor a northwest passage to Asia.

During the 16th century, the taming of Siberian wilderness by the Russians established a thriving fur trade which created a great demand for fur throughout Europe. France was quick to realize that the North held great potential as a provider of fur. Samuel de Champlain settled the first permanent settlement in present-day Canada and created a thriving trade with the Native Americans for beaver pelts and other animal hides.

Meanwhile, in the South, Early French Protestants, called Huguenots, had the opportunity to leave hostile European lands while advancing French claims to the new world. Settlements in present-day Florida and Georgia would create tension with Spanish conquistadors, who after conquering Caribbean lands would begin to expand their search for new lands. In contrast to these French Protestant colonies, in the 17th century French Jesuits organized a settlement in what would become Maine, and began missionary efforts in what would become lower Canada and upper New York State.

Spanish Empire in North America

The Spanish conquistador Ponce de Leon was an early visitor to the Americas, traveling to the new world on Columbus's second voyage. He became the first governor of the present-day area of Puerto Rico in 1509. However, upon the death of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish did not allow Christopher's son to succeed. Like his father, he had committed atrocities against the Native Americans of the Caribbean. The two governors were released and replaced with successors from Spain.

Ponce De Leon, freed of his governorship, decided to explore areas to the north, where there was rumored to be a fountain of youth that restored the youth of anyone drinking from it. Ponce de Leon found a peninsula on the coast of North America, called the new land 'Florida' and chartered a colonizing expedition. His role was brief: attacked by Native American forces, he died in nearby Cuba.

By the early 16th century, Spanish conquistadors had penetrated deep into the Central and South American continents. Native American cultures had collected large troves of gold and valuables and given them to leaders of these prosperous empires. The conquistadors, believing they held considerable military and technological superiority over these cultures, attacked and destroyed the Aztecs in 1521 and the Incas in 1532.

The wealth seized by the Spanish would lead to piracy and a new wave of settlements as the other colonial powers became increasingly hostile towards Spain. Many areas that had been colonized by Spain were inundated with French and English pirates.

By 1565, Spanish forces looked to expand their influence to the New World by attacking the French settlement of Fort Caroline. The Spanish navy overwhelmed 200 French Huguenot settlers, slaughtering them even as they surrendered to Spain's superior military might. Spain formed the settlement of St. Augustine as an outpost to ensure that French Huguenots where no longer welcome in the area. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city in North America.

Catholicism was introduced to the American colonies by the Spanish settlers in what is now present day Florida (1513) and the South West United States.[1] The first Christian worship service was a Catholic mass held in modern day Pensacola Florida in 1559. Spain established the first permanent European Catholic settlement in St. Augustine, Florida in 1565, to help the settlers complete the "moral imperative" which was to convert all the Native peoples to Christianity, and to also to help support the treasure fleets of Spain.[2] During the time period of 1635-1675 Franciscans operated between 40 and 70 mission stations, attempting to convert about 26,000 "Hispanicized" natives who organized themselves into 4 provinces, Timucua, in central Florida, Guale, along the coast of Georgia, Apalachee on the northeastern edge of the Gulf of Mexico, and Apalachicola to the west.

British Empire in North America

England funded an initial exploratory trip shortly after Christopher Columbus's first voyage. Departing England in 1501, John Cabot explored the North American continent. He correctly supposed that the spherical shape of the earth made the North, where the longitudes are much shorter, a quicker route to the New World than a trip to the South islands Columbus was exploring. Encouraged, he asked the English monarchy for a more substantial expedition to further explore and settle the lands which he had found. The ships departed and were never seen again. England remained preoccupied with political affairs for much of the 16th century. This was despite the insistence of the author Richard Haklyt, who translated some of the accounts of exploration into English. He wrote that England ought to seek colonies in America, specifically in Virginia.

By the beginning of the 17th century, England, Scotland, and other English possessions had formed the nation of Great Britain and was becoming a formidable foe on the world's stage. The quickly expanding British navy was preparing for a massive strike upon the Spanish armada.

Sir Walter Raleigh, who had gained considerable favor from Queen Elizabeth I by suppressing rebellions in Ireland, sought to establish an empire in the new world. His Roanoke colony would be relatively isolated from existing settlements in North America. He funded the colony with his own money, unlike the previous explorers funded and sponsored by monarchies. It is assumed that the colony was destroyed during a three year period in which English was at war with Spain and did serious damage to the Spanish navy.

The war left the British monarchy so drained of money and resources that the monarchy sold a charter containing lands between present-day South Carolina and the US-Canada border to two competing groups of investors, the Plymouth Company and the London Company. The two companies were given the North and South portions of this area, respectively. There was an overlapping aria of development in the middle of the two Companies, a place both could exploit provided one Company's settlement wasn't within a hundred miles of the other's settlement. The Northern Plymouth settlement in Maine failed and was abandoned, but the London company established a Jamestown settlement in 1606.

Virginia and Jamestown

Founded in 1607 with a charter from the Virginia Company of London, Jamestown was the first permanent English colony in the Americas. However, the swampy terrain was a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which carried dysentery, malaria, and smallpox, diseases that the English did not know. Many of the settlers fell sick and died shortly after.

In addition, Virginia's first government was weak, and its individuals frequently quarreled over policies. The colonists frantically searched for gold, silver, and gems, ignoring their own sicknesses. Indian raids further weakened defense and unification, and Jamestown began to die off. By the winter of 1609-1610, also known as the Starving Time, only 60 settlers remained from the original 500 passengers.

Two men helped the colony to survive: John Smith and John Rolfe. Smith, who arrived in Virginia in 1608, introduced an ultimatum: those who did not work would not receive food or pay. The colonists at last learned how to raise crops and trade with the nearby Indians, with whom Smith had made peace. In 1612, the English businessman Rolfe discovered that Virginia had ideal conditions for growing tobacco. This discovery, and the breeding of a new, "sweeter" strain, led to the plant becoming the colony's major cash crop. Tobacco was then used as medicine against the plague. With English demand for tobacco rising, Virginia had found a way to support itself economically.

In 1619, Virginia set up the House of Burgesses, the first elected legislative assembly in America. It marked the beginnings of self-government, replacing the martial law that was previously imposed on the colonists. However, at the same time Virginia was declared a "crown colony." Its charter was transferred from the Virginia Company to the Crown of England, which meant that Jamestown was now a colony run by the English monarchy. While the House of Burgesses was still allowed to run the government, the king also appointed a royal governor to settle disputes and enforce certain British policies.

Review Questions

1. Name the areas associated with these explorers: Christopher Columbus, Jacques Cartier, John Cabot, Sir Walter Raleigh.

2. Name three motives behind Columbus's voyages.

References

  1. Death in Early America. Margaret M. Coffin. 1976
  2. American Catholics, James Hennesey, S.J. 1981

Early Colonial Period (1492 - 1607)

The Arrival of Columbus

Christopher Columbus and three ships - the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria - set sail on August 3, 1492. On October 12, a lookout cried out that he had sighted land. The crew set foot on an island that day, naming it San Salvador. It is unknown which exact island was discovered by Columbus. (Note that the island presently called San Salvador is so-called in honor of Columbus' discovery; it is not necessarily the one on which Columbus set foot.)

The Native Americans inhabiting the islands were described as "Indians" by Columbus, who had believed that he had discovered the East Indies (modern Indonesia). In reality, he had found an island in the Caribbean. He continued to explore the area, returning to Spain. Columbus' misconception that he found Asia was corrected years later by the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, after whom America may be named.

The Protestant Reformation

In Europe, the power of the Pope and the influence of Catholicism was undoubted. The Catholic religion affected every aspect of politics on the continent. However, in the sixteenth century, the conditions were ripe for reform. Gutenberg's printing press made the spread of ideas much easier. The influence of nationalism grew, and rulers began to resent the power possessed by the Pope.

The Protestant movement may have commenced earlier, but the publication of Ninety-Five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517 spurred on the revolution within the Church. Luther attacked the Church's theology, which, he believed, misrepresented The Bible and placed too much authority in the hands of the clergy, and wished to reform the Church. After being excommunicated, Luther published many books on Reform. Luther's works were most influential in Germany and Scandinavia.

Persons other than Luther championed the cause of Reform. In Switzerland, Huldreich Zwingli advanced Protestant ideas, which mostly affected his home country. Similarly, Frenchman John Calvin helped the spread of Protestantism in France and the Netherlands.

English Protestantism resulted from the direct influence of the British monarch. Henry VIII (1509-1547) sought to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, because she had failed to produce a viable male heir to the throne. When his divorce led to excommunication by the Pope, Henry simply declared the entire country free of Catholic domination and a bastion of Protestantism. Henry reasoned that England could survive under its own religious regulation (Anglican) and he named himself head of the church.

Elizabethan England

Elizabethan Succession

After Henry VIII died, he was succeeded by his son Edward VI (1547-1553) who reigned briefly before dying. Edward's death led to the ascension of Henry's daughter by Catherine, Mary I (1553-1558). A staunch Catholic, Mary sought to return England back to the Catholic church. Her religious zeal and persecution of Protestants earned her the nickname, "Bloody Mary." After a short reign, she was succeeded by her half-sister, Elizabeth. Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was the daughter of Henry's second wife, Anne Boleyn. Her ascendency to the throne resulted when neither of her half siblings, Edward and Mary, produced an heir to the throne.

Religious Reform

Under her siblings' reign, the nation constantly battled religious fervor as it sought to identify itself as either Protestant or Catholic. Henry VIII had severed ties with the Roman Catholic Church upon his excommunication after divorcing Catherine of Aragon. He established the Church of England (the precursor to the Anglican Church) as the official state religion and named himself, not the Pope, as its head. Under Mary, the country returned to Catholic rule. The Elizabethan Age brought stability to English government. Elizabeth sought a compromise (the Elizabethan Settlement) which returned England to a nation governed by Protestant theology with a Catholic ritual. Elizabeth called Parliament in 1559 to consider the Reformation Bill that re-established an independent Church of England and redefined the sacrament of communion. Parliament also approved the Act of Supremacy, establishing ecclesiastical authority with the monarch.

Economic Reform

Elizabeth's far more important response was to stabilize the English economy following the 1551 collapse of the wool market. To respond to this economic crisis, Elizabeth used her power as monarch to shift the supply-demand curve. She expelled all non-English wool merchants from the empire. Her government placed quotas on the amount of wool that could be produced while also encouraging manors to return to agricultural production. She also started trading directly with the Spanish colonies in direct violation of their tariff regulations. This maritime violation would later result in an attack on England by the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Queen Elizabeth was a very popular monarch. Her people followed her in war and peace. She remained unmarried until her death, probably through a reluctance to share any power and preferring a series of suitors. This gave her the name, the Virgin Queen, and in honor of her, a colony was named Virginia a few years after her death.

In the aftermath of the Armada's overwhelming defeat and building on the development of a strong fleet started by Henry VIII, England began to gain recognition as a great naval power. Nationalism in England increased tremendously. Thoughts of becoming a colonial power were inspired. These thoughts were aided by the fact that the defeated Spanish lost both money and morale, and would be easy to oppose in the New World.

Early Colonial Ventures

Richard Hakluyt

In 1584, Richard Hakluyt proposed a strong argument for expansion of English settlement into the new world. With his Discourse Concerning Western Planting, Hakluyt argued that creating new world colonies would greatly benefit England. The colonies could easily produce raw materials that were unavailable in England. By establishing colonies, England would assure itself of a steady supply of materials that it currently purchased from other world powers. Second, inhabited colonies would provide a stable market for English manufactured goods. Finally, as the economic incentives were not enough, the colonies could provide a home for disavowed Englishmen.

Roanoke

The English had already begun the exploration of the New World prior to the Armada's defeat. In 1584, Queen Elizabeth granted Sir Walter Raleigh a charter authorizing him to explore the island of Roanoke, which is part of what is now North Carolina.

Between 1584 and 1586, Raleigh financed expeditions to explore the island of Roanoke and determine if the conditions were proper for settlement. In 1586, about a hundred men were left on the island. They struggled to survive, being reduced to eating dogs. They were, however, rescued- except for fifteen men whose fate remained a mystery.

After another expedition in 1587, another group of men, women, and children- a total of more than one-hundred people- remained on the island. Governor John White of the Roanoke colony discovered from a local Native American tribe that the fifteen men who were not rescued were killed by a rival tribe. While attempting to gain revenge, White's men killed members of a friendly tribe and not the members of the tribe that allegedly killed the fifteen men.

Having thus strained relations with the Natives, the settlers could not survive easily. John White decided to return to England in 1587 and return with more supplies. When he returned, England faced war against Spain. Thus delayed, White could not return to Roanoke until 1590. When he did return, White discovered that Roanoke was abandoned. All that gave clue to the fate of the colony was the word Croatan, the name of a nearby Native American tribe, carved out on to a tree. No attempt was made to discover the actual cause of the disappearance until several years later.

There are only theories as to the cause of the loss of Roanoke. There are two major possibilities. Firstly, the settlers may have been killed by the Natives. Second, the settlers may have assimilated themselves into the Native tribes. But there is no evidence that settles the matter beyond doubt.

Review Questions

Use the content in this chapter and/or from external sources to answer the following questions. Remember to properly cite any sources used.

  1. Identify or explain the significance of the following people:
    (a) Christopher Columbus
    (b) Martin Luther
    (c) King Henry VIII
    (d) Richard Hakluyt
    (e) Elizabeth I
    (f) Sir Walter Raleigh
  2. What primary factor(s) led to the shift from Catholicism to Protestant belief in England?
  3. Why did King Henry VIII establish the Church of England? How did this influence the English Reformation?
  4. Differentiate between Elizabeth I's policies and Henry VIII's. What attitudes did the English have toward Elizabeth and her rule?
  5. What did the defeat of the Spanish Armada symbolize to all of Europe?
  6. What difficulties did the colonists of Raleigh face between 1584 and 1587? What was the fate of the colony?

The English Colonies (1607 - 1754)

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Patterns of Colonization

The islands of Great Britain went through centuries of turmoil in the Renaissance, resulting in the political and religious foundation of the Church of England, the British Civil War, and total transformation of economic, political, and legal systems. Yet through this time, despite pressure from other nations and America's own Natives, English colonies were planted and thrived. These colonies were founded, organized, and maintained as a set of diverse states with integral ties.

American colonization was funded in three different ways. In one plan, corporate colonies were established by joint stock companies. A joint stock company was a project in which people would invest shares of stock into building a new colony. Depending on the success of the colony, each investor would receive profit based on the shares he bought. This method of investing proved to be less risky than starting a colony from scratch, and in the process each investor could have some influence on how the colony was run. These investors often elected their own public officials. (An example of a joint stock company on another continent was the British East India Company.) Virginia was settled in this way.

Proprietary colonies were owned by a person or family, who could make laws and appoint officials as he or they pleased. The colony's development was often a direct result of this ownership. Charles II granted William Penn the territory now known as Pennsylvania. Penn gave refuge to Quakers, a group of millenialist Protestants who opposed the Church of England, in his new colony. (Quakers did not have ministers and did not hold to civil or religious inequality, making them a dangerous element in hierarchical societies.) Penn was an outspoken Quaker and had written many pamphlets defending the Quaker faith. He also invited settlers from other countries and other Protestant minorities, and even some Catholics.

Finally, royal colonies were under the direct control of the King, who usually appointed a Royal Governor. The resulting settlement was not necessarily identical to England. For example, England broke with Catholicism during the reign of Henry the Eighth, and the Old Faith was seen not only as religious heresy but the prelude to domination by other countries. Yet Maryland's grant of toleration of Catholics was granted as a boon from the British Crown. In 1634, Lord Baltimore appointed George Calvert of England to settle a narrow strip of land north of Virginia and south of Pennsylvania as a Catholic colony via a royal charter. Fifteen years later, in 1649, he signed the Act of Toleration, which proclaimed religious freedom for its colonists. Despite the original charter, Protestants later became the majority faith. After Lord Baltimore's death several years later, Margaret Brent, the wife of an esteemed landowner in Maryland, executed his will as governor of the colony. She defied gender roles in the colonies by being the first woman of non-royal heritage to govern an English colony.

Massachusetts Bay Colony

The Massachusetts Bay Colony, another corporate colony, was founded as a place far from England where its religious dissenters could live. The Puritans, a group of radical Protestants who wanted what they called a return to the faith of the Bible, suffered torture and execution because they disagreed with the official Church of England. In 1620, forty-one Puritans (who called themselves Pilgrims) sailed for the new world. Their own contemporary accounts show that the Pilgrims originally intended to settle the Hudson River region near present day Long Island, New York. Once Cape Cod was sighted, they turned south to head for the Hudson River, but encountered treacherous seas and nearly shipwrecked. They then decided to return to Cape Cod rather than risk another attempt to head south. After weeks of scouting for a suitable settlement area, the Mayflower's passengers finally landed at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts on December 26, 1620.

Passengers of the Mayflower signing the "Mayflower Compact"

William Bradford, who was selected as a governor after the death of John Carver, wrote a journal that helps us to better understand the hardships colonists endured, encounters with the Native Americans, and ultimately, the success of the colony. The Pilgrims agreed to govern themselves in the manner set forth in the Mayflower Compact, which signed on the Pilgrims' ship, The Mayflower. After two years they abandoned the communal form of partnership begun under the Compact and in 1623 assigned individual plots of land to each family to work.

Ten years later, the joint-stock Massachusetts Bay Company acquired a charter from King Charles of England. The colony of Plymouth was eventually absorbed by Massachusetts Bay, but it remained separate until 1691.

A large group of Pilgrims later migrated to the new colony of Massachusetts Bay. In keeping with its mother Church of England, the colony did not provide religious freedom. It only allowed (male) Puritans the right to vote, established Puritanism as the official religion of the colony in The Act of Toleration, and punished people who did not go to their Church.

New York

Other countries used the joint-stock company to fund exploration. In 1609, the Dutch East India company discovered a territory on the eastern coast of North America, from latitude 38 to 45 degrees north. This was an expedition in the yacht Halve Maen ("Half Moon") commanded by Henry Hudson. Adriaen Block and Hendrick Christiaensz explored the territory from 1611 until 1614. In March of 1614 the States General, the governing body of the Netherlands, proclaimed exclusive patent for trade in the New World. The States General issued patents for development of New Netherland as a private commercial venture. Ft. Nassau was swiftly built in the area of present day Albany to defend river traffic and to trade with Native Americans. New Netherland became a province of the Dutch Republic in 1624. The northern border was then reduced to 42 degrees north, as the English had encroached north of Cape Cod.

According to the Law of Nations, a claim on a territory required not only discovery and charting but settlement. In May 1624 the Dutch completed their claim by landing thirty Dutch families on Noten Eylant, modern Governors Island.

In the next few decades incompetent directors-general ran New Netherland. The settlers were attacked by Native Americans, and British and Dutch conflicts seemed destined to destroy the colony. All that changed when Peter Stuyvesant was appointed Director-General in 1647. As he arrived he said, "I shall govern you as a father his children". He expanded the colony's borders. He oversaw conquest of the one settlement of northernmost Europe, New Sweden, in 1655. He resolved the border dispute with New England in 1650. He improved defenses against Native American raids, and the population of the colony went from 500 in 1640 to 9,000 by 1664. But in August of 1664, four English warships arrived in New York Harbor demanding the surrender of the colony. At first, Stuyvesant vowed to fight, but there was little ammunition and gunpowder. He received weak support from the overwhelmed colonists, and was forced to surrender.

In an attempt to gain supremacy over trade, and in following mercantilist ideas, the English waged war against the Dutch in 1664. The English took control over the Dutch harbor of New Amsterdam on the Atlantic coast of America. James, the brother of King Charles II, received the charter for New Amsterdam and the surrounding Dutch territory.

In 1673 the Dutch, lead by Michiel de Ruyter, briefly reoccupied New Netherland again, this time naming it New Orange. After peace was made, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War, they agreed to return it to the English.

Patterns of Colonization in the Other Early Colonies

The territory of Carolina was granted as a proprietary colony to eight different nobles. The proprietors divided Carolina into two separate colonies -- North and South Carolina.

Four colonies were formed by division from already extant larger territories. When New Holland was taken to become New York, King James granted a portion of the territory, present-day New Jersey, to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Cartaret, while retaining present-day New York for himself as a proprietary colony. Another portion of the territory became the crown colony Connecticut. A corner of Pennsylvania which was not peopled by Quakers separated in 1704 to become the colony of Delaware.

Rhode Island was a unique experiment in religious and political freedom. Massachusetts banished Roger Williams after he began asserting that Jesus Christ meant for the Church to be separate from the governing authority. This dissenter from the Church of England, and then from the Puritans, became the first American Baptist. After many adventures in other colonies, he bought land from the Narragansett Indians for a new settlement. Providence was meant to be a colony free from religious entanglements and a refuge for people of conscience. He was later followed by Anne Hutchinson. She had outraged Boston divines because she was a woman who preached, and because she believed that one's works were not always tied to grace, unlike the Puritans. She also bought land from the Indians. On this was the settlement subsequently named Portsmouth, and afterward a dissident sister town, Newport.

Georgia was another proprietary colony, with a charter granted to James Oglethorpe and others in 1732. It was intended as a "buffer" colony to protect the others from attacks from the Florida Spanish and the Louisiana French. Because of this, Georgia was the only colony to receive funds from the Crown from its founding. The laws in Great Britain put people in prison for debt. Many of these people were shipped from overcrowded jails to freedom in the wilds of Georgia colony. America was already seen as a land of prosperity, and Oglethorpe hoped that the ex-prisoners would soon become honest and rich. However, few of the prisoners of London jails knew how to survive in the new wilderness.

Portrait of the British Colonies

The Colonies are often considered as three groups: New England (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut), the Southern Colonies (Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia), and the Middle Colonies (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware). Sometimes the Carolinas and Georgia are counted as separate from the Chesapeake Colonies.

Each group had geographic and economic characteristics. New England's rocky soil only encouraged small farms, and its agricultural opportunities were limited. Thus it focused on fishing, forestry, shipping, and small industry to make money.[1]

Richer land in the Southern colonies was taken over by individual farmers who grasped acreage. This created large plantation farms that grew tobacco, and later cotton. Farms in the Carolinas also farmed sugar, rice, and indigo. In the 17th century, these were farmed by indentured servants, people who would work for a period of years in return for passage to America and land. Many of these servants died before their indentures ended. A group of indentured servants rose up in Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. After Bacon's Rebellion, plantations began using African slaves instead. Even after release from indenture, many of these white people remained in the economic lower classes, though not subject to the slave codes, which became more harsh as time passed, denying almost all liberty to slaves in the southern colonies. By the American Revolution, one in five colonists was an African slave. And the products produced by slavery in the South were consumed and traded by towns in the Middle Colonies and New England. Few people questioned the slave economy.

The Middle Colonies had medium-sized farms. These colonies also had people from many different cultures with many different beliefs. Individuals in these states used indentured servants, and later slaves, but there was not the concentration of masses of slave labor found in the Southern colonies.

Another distinction lies in religious practices. New England was mostly Congregationalist, with some admixture of Presbyterian congregations and the religious non-conformists who called themselves Baptists. These were all descendants of dissenters before and during the British Civil War. The South was mostly Anglican, cherishing religious and secular traditions and holidays. The Middle Colonies held small groups of people from Holland, German lands, and even Bohemia, and they brought a welter of Catholic and Protestant faiths.

Among the whites sent to the colonies by English authorities were many Scots-Irish people from Ulster. These had been Calvinist Protestants in the middle of a Irish Catholic majority, at odds both with them and with England. This minority settled in the frontier region of the Appalachian Mountains and eventually beyond in the Ohio and Mississippi country. In America their desire for land and freedom pushed the colonial boundary westward at little cost to the government, and provided an armed buffer between the eastern settlements and Native American tribes which had been driven away from the seaboard. Colonial frontiersmen endured a very harsh life, building their towns and farms by hand in a dense wilderness amid economic deprivation and native attack.

Each colony developed its own areas of edification and amusement, depending upon the local faith and the local capacities. The culture of the South recorded early interest in musical theater, with Charleston, South Carolina and Williamsburg, Virginia as hubs of musical activity. A performance of Richard III, the first professional production of Shakespeare in America, took place in New York City in 1750. And preachers, lecturers, and singers entertained the colonists.

Their commonalities were stronger than their differences. All three regions shared a population mostly derived from the British Isles. All had terrible roads, and all had connections to the Atlantic Ocean as a means of transportation. And all were tied to the Atlantic economy. Atlantic merchants used ships to trade slaves, tobacco, rum, sugar, gold, silver, spices, fish, lumber, and manufactured goods between America, the West Indies, Europe and Africa.[2] New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Charleston were the largest cities and main ports at that time.[3]

Early Technology

The first wave of colonists used hand labor to cultivate their farms, and established such land-based crafts such as pottery and tanning. As later ships brought cattle and horses, draft animals became part of the economy. Indentured servants, and then slaves kidnapped from Africa, were imported. This was when larger plantations began to be founded. In the latter part of the eighteenth century small-scale machine-based manufacturing began to appear. Individuals started to dig for coal and iron ore. New England used the latter to begin making building tools and horseshoes. A new textile industry arose, dependent in part upon Southern cotton. Powered by coal and fed by the need for strong metal, household forges pioneered new techniques of iron-making. The blacksmith and the tinsmith became part of large settlements. Colonies started making mechanized clocks, guns, and lead type for printing.

Mercantilism, Salutary Neglect and British Interference

The American colonies, entirely new societies separated by an ocean from Great Britain, believed they had the right to govern themselves. This belief was encouraged by the Glorious Revolution and 1689 Bill of Rights, which gave Parliament the ultimate authority in government. A policy of relatively lax controls or Salutary Neglect ended in increased British regulation resulting from the policy of mercantilism, and seen through the Lords of Trade and the later Navigation Acts.

Mercantilism

Parliament placed controls on colonial trade in obedience to the economic policy of mercantilism. This was the idea that a nation's economic power depended on the value of its exports. A country could use its colonies to create finished goods, rather than raw materials. These could be traded to other countries, thus increasing the strength of the colonizing nation. This policy had been put forth by a Frenchman named Jean-Baptiste Colbert. It seemed tailor-made for Great Britain. Spain had American gold as its economic base, and France had American furs. England had neither of these. But it had American cotton, molasses, and tobacco, as well as its state-of-the-art ships. Prior to the mid-1700s, the colonies had enjoyed a long period of "salutary neglect", where the British largely let the colonies govern themselves. This now ended.

The Lords of Trade

In an attempt to enforce mercantilist policies, King Charles II created the Lords of Trade as a new committee on the Privy Council. The Lords of Trade attempted to affect the government of the colonies in a manner beneficial to the English, rather than to the colonists.

The Lords of Trade attempted to convert all American colonies to royal ones so that the Crown could gain more power. Under King James II, the successor to Charles II, New York, New Jersey, and the Puritan colonies were combined into the Dominion of New England in 1687.

However, the Dominion only lasted a brief time. King James II, a Catholic, was seen as a threat by British Protestants. James was overthrown (he was technically held abdicated by Parliament) in the bloodless Glorious Revolution of 1688. In 1689, James' daughter Mary II and her husband William III took the throne as joint rulers. However, the British Parliament actually held the power. The Dominion of New England was dissolved, the various separate colonies were reestablished, and the Lords of Trade were abandoned (replaced by a Board of Trade, a purely advisory body).

Navigation Acts

Beginning in 1660, the Parliament of England passed the Navigation Acts to increase its benefit from its colonies. The Acts required that any colonial imports or exports travel only on ships registered in England. They forbid the colonies to export tobacco and sugar to any nation other than England. And the colonies could not import anything manufactured outside England unless the goods were first taken to England, where taxes were paid, and then to the colonies.

In the 1730s, The Sugar Act established a tax of six pence per gallon of sugar or molasses imported into the colonies. By 1750, Parliament had begun to ban, restrict, or tax several more products. It tried to curtail all manufacture in the the colonies. This provoked much anger among the colonists, despite the fact that their tax burdens were quite low, when compared to most subjects of European monarchies of the same period.

Colonists hated the navigation acts because they believed they would be more prosperous and rich if they had a free-enterprise and no boundaries. They also believed that some vital resources would not be found in Britain. Navigation acts was tree branch of mercantilism.

Indians in the 1700s

Indians of the Great Plains:

Today, the area where the Indians of all the Great Plains lived is located from the Rocky mountains to the Mississippi River. During the 1700s, there were about 30 tribes that lived on the Great Plains. These tribes tended to rely on buffalo as their food source as well as other daily needs, such as clothing. Not only did Indians, specifically women, make their clothing out of buffalo, but also out of deer. Women would soak the deer or buffalo and scrape off the hair of the dead animal.[4]

Also, Indian tribes traded with one another. The amount of horses an individual owned was a sign of wealth; Indians would trade their horses for food, tools, weapons(such as guns), and hides. Since the tribes spoke many different languages from one another, they had to use sign language to be able to trade with each other.[4]

Philadelphia Election Riot

A riot broke out on election day in Philadelphia in 1742 as a result of the Anglican population disagreeing with the Quaker majority. The riot stemmed over a power struggle between the Anglican and Quaker population. The Quakers had a history of political dominance over Philadelphia. The German population backed the Quaker vote because of the Quaker Pacifism which would protect from higher taxes and ultimately the draft. On election day, the Anglicans and sailors fought with the Quakers and Germans. The Quakers were able to seek shelter in the courthouse and complete the election. The Anglican party lost the election and 54 sailors were jailed following the riot.

Education

As the people in the colonies through the 1700s were made up of people with different interests, they provided different sorts of education for their children. Although there were commonalities -- a rich family in any of the three regions might send a son to Europe for his education -- people in different colonies tended to educate in differing ways.

New England's motives for education were both civil and religious. The good citizen had to know his or her Bible. This was the Pilgrim ethos, set up in opposition to what they saw as the ignorance imposed by tyrants. Both boys and girls were often taught to read the Bible by their parents, perhaps with the aid of a horn book, an alphabet and syllabary covered by horn. A law was passed in 1647 in Massachusetts that stated that if more than 50 families lived in a community, a schoolteacher must be hired. (This was the beginning of the American grammar school, which initially taught Latin, but later included practical subjects such as navigation, engineering, bookkeeping, and foreign languages.)[5] Education became mandatory in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1642. Most of the schools opened in the colonial era were private. [6] The second motive was that a Christian ought to be able to govern in his society. (Government was the province of godly, property-holding men, rather than women.) To obtain this youths had to gain a classical education -- that is, one based thoroughly on Latin. The first public-supported school in the United States was the Boston Latin School in 1635. It had a rigorous education, and as a result, few students. Harvard was the first university in America, founded in 1636 and originally intended to teach Protestant clergy. Because of the small number of people graduating from the classical curriculum, attendance was low. Some people jumped directly from the classical curriculum to the University, sometimes entering Harvard as young as 14 or 15 years old. Cotton Mather graduated Harvard at 15, an exception only because of his extreme precocity. In private schools, boys and girls learned penmanship, basic Math, and reading and writing English. These fed the various trades, where older children were apprenticed. Girls who did not become servants were often trained for domestic life, learning needlework, cooking, and the several days-long task of cleaning clothes.

Like New England, the Middle Colonies had private schools which educated children in reading and writing. However, the basics were rarer. The further west one lived, the less likely one was to be able to go to school, or to read and write at all. Ethnic and religious sub-groups would have their own private schools, which taught their own children their own folk-ways. In none of the colonies was higher education certain. Secondary schools were very rare outside of such major towns as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.[7]

The Chesapeake experience was different again. Children could only could only read and write if their parents could.[8] And the South had few schools, of any kind, until the Revolutionary era. Children in wealthy families would study with private tutors. Though wealthy girls might learn 'the womanly arts,' they would not have the same curriculum as their brothers. Martha Washington's granddaughter Eliza Custis was laughed at by her stepfather when "[I] thought it hard they would not teach me Greek and Latin because I was a girl -- they laughed and said women ought not to know those things, and mending, writing, Arithmetic, and Music was all I could be permitted to acquire."[9] Middle class children might learn to read from their parents, and many poor children, as well as all black children, went unschooled. The literacy rates were lower in the South than the North until about the 19th century.[10]

In 1693 the College of William & Mary was founded, Virginia's first University. As the 18th century wore on, it specialized not in theology for clergymen but in law.[11] In 1701, the Collegiate College was founded. In 1718 it received funds from a Welsh governor of the British East India Company, Elihu Yale, and was renamed Yale College. These were later joined by several other universities, including Princeton in 1747. In the 18th century, astronomy, physics, modern history and politics took a bigger place in the college curriculum. Some colleges experimented with admitting Native American students in the 18th century, though not African-Americans.[12]

In 1640, The whole Booke of Psalms Faithfully Translated into English Metre, commonly known as the Bay Psalm Book, was printed in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the first book written in the new world. The Bay Psalm Book was the first metrical English translation of the Biblical psalms.[13] This famous and influential songbook was succeeded by a whole New England publishing industry. Sometime after 1687 the first New England Primer was published as an aid to childhood reading and spelling.

An alternative to the classical curriculum emerged in Benjamin Franklin's American Academy, founded in Philadelphia in 1751. This body represented something closer to the modern American high school, offering vocational education. This sort of school later outnumbered the classical secondary school. However, Franklin's Academy was private as well, making such learning open only to those who could afford it.

During this period colonists attempted to convert Native Americans to Christianity.[14]

Review Questions

1. Choose one of the following colonies: New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Georgia. In which of the three areas is it located? Why and how was it initially colonized? How did its immigrants and the religions they adhered to affect it?

2. Why did the British interfere with the colonies?

References

  1. Morison, Samuel Eliot (1972). The Oxford History of the American People. New York City: Mentor. pp. 199–200. ISBN 0451-62600-1. 
  2. Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. New York: Walker. ISBN 0-8027-1326-2. 
  3. U.S. Census Bureau. "Earliest Population Figures for American Cities". http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0027/tab02.txt. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  4. a b Englar, Mary. The Great Plains Indians: Daily Life in the 1700s. Mankato, MN: Capstone, 2006. Print.
  5. A People and a Nation, Eighth Edition
  6. http://www.excite.com/education/education/history-of-american-education
  7. A People and a Nation Eighth Edition
  8. A People and a Nation Eighth Edition
  9. Edmund S. Morgan. Virginians At Home: Family Life in the Eighteenth Century. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1962(1952). P. 17
  10. A People and a Nation, Eighth Edition
  11. Morgan, p. 27.
  12. A People and a Nation, Eighth Edition
  13. Farris, Jean Americans Musical Landscape, Volume 5
  14. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2536600517.html

Road to Revolution (1754 - 1774)

The French and Indian War

(The following text is from Wikipedia)

The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was the North American chapter of the Seven Years' War. The name refers to the two main enemies of the British, the royal French forces and the various American Indian forces allied with them. This conflict, the fourth such colonial war between the kingdoms of France and Great Britain, resulted in the British conquest of all of New France east of the Mississippi River, as well as Spanish Florida. France ceded control of French Louisiana west of the Mississippi to its Spanish ally, to compensate it for its loss of Florida. By the end of this war France kept only the tiny islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon north of the Caribbean. These colonies today still allow France access to the Grand Banks.

In Great Britain and France, the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War war usually has no special name, and so the entire worldwide conflict is known as the Seven Years' War (or the Guerre de sept ans). The "Seven Years" refers to events in Europe, from the official declaration of war in 1756 to the signing of the peace treaty in 1763. These dates do not correspond with the actual fighting in North America, where the fighting between the two colonial powers was largely concluded in six years, from the Jumonville Glen skirmish in 1754 to the capture of Montreal in 1760.[1]

Elsewhere the conflict is known by several names. In British North America, wars were often named after the sitting British monarch, such as King William's War or Queen Anne's War. Because there had already been a King George's War in the 1740s, British colonists named the second war in King George's reign after their opponents, and thus it became known as the French and Indian War.[2] This traditional name remains standard in the United States, although it obscures the fact that American Indians fought on both sides of the conflict.[3] American historians generally use the traditional name or the European title (the Seven Years' War), and have also invented other, less frequently used names for the war, including the Fourth Intercolonial War and the Great War for the Empire.[4] Canadian francophones and English speakers both refer to it as the Seven Years' War (Guerre de Sept Ans) or the War of the Conquest (Guerre de la Conquête), as the war in which New France was conquered by the British and became part of the British Empire. This war was also known as the Forgotten War.

Reasons for war

The French and Indian War began less than a decade after France and Great Britain had fought on opposing sides in the European War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748). One cause for the conflict was territorial expansion. Newfoundland's Grand Banks were fertile fishing grounds and coveted by both sides. Both sides also wanted to expand their territories for trapping furs to trade, and for other pursuits that aided their economic interests. Both the British and the French used trading posts and forts to claim the Ohio Country, the vast territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. English claims resulted from royal grants with no definite western boundaries. La Salle had claimed the Mississippi River for France: its drainage area includes the Ohio River Valley. Both Great Britain and France took advantage of Native American factions to secure these claims, to protect their territories, and to keep the other from growing too strong.

A second cause was political & religious ideology. The English Protestant colonists feared papal influence in North America. New France was administered by French governors and Roman Catholic hierarchy. French missionaries included Armand de La Richardie. English history was told as a story of freedom from Catholic (i.e., foreign) influence. French control over North America represented a threat to Great Britain. In their turn, the French feared English anti-Catholicism, in a time when Catholics were still being persecuted under English law.

Declaration and Action Anticipating the War

Céloron's expedition

In June 1747 the Governor-General of New France, the Marquis de la Jonquière, ordered Pierre-Joseph Céloron to lead an expedition to the Ohio Country to remove British influence from the area. Céloron was also to confirm allegiance of the Native Americans in the Ohio territory to the French crown.

Céloron's expedition consisted of 213 soldiers of the Troupes de la marine (French Marines) transported by twenty-three canoes. The expedition left Lachine on June 15, 1749, and two days later reached Fort Frontenac. It then continued along the shoreline of present-day Lake Erie. At Chautauqua Portage (Barcelona, New York), it moved inland to the Allegheny River.

The troop headed south to the Ohio River at present-day Pittsburgh, where Céloron buried lead plates engraved with the French claim to the Ohio Country. Whenever British merchants or fur-traders were encountered by the French, they were informed of the illegality of being on French territory and told to leave the Ohio Country. When the expedition arrived at Logstown, the Native Americans there informed Céloron that they owned the Ohio Country, and they would trade with the British, despite anything the French said.[5]

Céloron continued the expedition. At its farthest point south, it reached the junction between the Ohio River and the Miami River, just south of the village of Pickawillany. Here lived the old Chief of the Miami tribe, whom Céloron called "Old Britain." When Céloron arrived at Pickawillany, he informed the elderly Chief of "dire consequences" of continuing to trade with the British. "Old Britain" ignored the warning. After this meeting, Céloron and his expedition began the trip home, reaching Montreal only on November 10, 1749. In his report, Céloron wrote: "All I can say is that the Natives of these localities are very badly disposed towards the French, and are entirely devoted to the English. I don't know in what way they could be brought back."[6]

Langlade's expedition

On March 17, 1752, Governor-General de la Jonquière died. His temporary replacement was Charles le Moyne de Longueuil. It was not until July 1, 1752 that Ange Duquense de Menneville arrived in New France to take over the post.

In the spring of 1752, Longueuil dispatched an expedition to the Ohio River area. The expedition was led by Charles Michel de Langlade, an officer in the Troupes de la marine. Langlade was given 300 men, some French-Canadians, and others members of the Ottawa tribe. His objective was to punish the Miami of Pickawillany for continuing to trade with the British. At dawn on June 21, 1752, the war party attacked the British trading center at Pickawillany, killing fourteen people of the Miami nation, including "Old Britain." The expedition then returned home.

Marin's expedition

In the spring of 1754, Paul Marin de la Malgue was given command of a 2,000 man force of Troupes de la Marine and Aboriginals. His orders were to protect the Ohio from the British. Marin followed the route that Céloron had mapped out four years before. However, where Céloron had buried lead plates, Marin was constructing and garrisoning forts. The first fort that was constructed by Paul Marin was at Presque Isle (Erie, Pennsylvania) on Lake Erie's south shore. He then had a road built to the headwaters of Rivière aux Boeuf (now known as Waterford, Pennsylvania). Marin then constructed a second fort at Le Boeuf, designed to guard the headwaters of the Rivière aux Boeuf.

Tanaghrisson's proclamation

On September 3, 1753, Tanaghrisson (d. 1754), Chief of the Mingo, arrived at Fort Le Boeuf. One tradition states that Tanaghrisson hated the French because they had killed and eaten his father. Tanaghrisson told Marin, "I shall strike . . .",[7] threatening the French. The show of force by the French had alarmed the Iroquois in the area. They sent Mohawk runners to William Johnson's manor in Upper New York. Johnson, known to the Iroquois as "Warraghiggey", meaning "He who does big business", had become a respected member of the Iroquois Confederacy in the area. In 1746, Johnson was made a colonel of the Iroquois, and later a colonel of the Western New York Militia.

At Albany, New York, there was a meeting between Governor Clinton of New York and Chief Hendrick, as well as other officials from a handful of American colonies. Chief Hendrick insisted that the British abide by their obligations and block French expansion. When an unsatisfactory response was offered by Clinton, Chief Hendrick proclaimed that the "Covenant Chain", a long-standing friendly relationship between the Iroquois Confederacy and the British Crown, was broken.

Dinwiddie's reaction

The earliest authenticated portrait of George Washington shows him wearing his colonel's uniform of the Virginia Regiment from the French and Indian War. However, this portrait was painted years after the war in 1772.

Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia found himself in a predicament. Many merchants had invested heavily in fur trading in Ohio. If the French made good on their claim to the Ohio Country and drove out the British, then the Virginian merchants would lose a lot of money. Dinwiddie could not possibly allow the loss of the Ohio Country to France. In October 1753 he wrote a letter to the commander of the French forces in the Ohio Country, Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, demanding an immediate French withdrawal. To deliver it he delegated Major George Washington of the Virginia militia. Major Washington left for Fort Le Boeuf on the 31st of October, along with his interpreter Jacob Van Braam and several other men.

A few days later, Washington and his party arrived at Wills Creek (Cumberland, Maryland). Here Washington enlisted the help of Christopher Gist, a surveyor who was familiar with the area. They arrived at Logstown on November 24, 1753. At Logstown, Washington met with Tanaghrisson, who was angry over the French military encroachment upon his land. Washington convinced Tanaghrisson to accompany his small group to Fort Le Boeuf.

On December 12, 1753, Washington and his men reached Fort Le Boeuf. Commander Saint-Pierre invited Washington to dine with him that evening. Over dinner, Washington presented Saint-Pierre with the letter from Dinwiddie. Saint-Pierre was civil in his response, saying, "As to the Summons you send me to retire, I do not think myself obliged to obey it."[8] The French explained to Washington that France's claim to the region was superior to that of the British, as René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de a Salle (1643–1687) had explored the Ohio Country nearly a century earlier.[9]

Washington's party left Fort Le Boeuf early on December 16, 1753. By January 16, 1754, they had arrived in Williamsburg, Virginia. In his report, Washington stated, "The French had swept south."[10] They had constructed and garrisoned forts at Presque Isle, Le Boeuf and Venango.

War

The French and Indian War was the last of four major colonial wars between the British, the French, and their Native American allies. Unlike the previous three wars, the French and Indian War began on North American soil and then spread to Europe, where Britain and France continued fighting. Britain officially declared war on France on May 15, 1756, marking the beginnings of the Seven Years' War in Europe. Native Americans fought for both sides, but primarily alongside the French (with one exception being the Iroquois Confederacy, which sided with the American colonies and Britain). The first major event of the war was in 1754. Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, then twenty-one years of age, was sent to negotiate boundaries with the French, who did not give up their forts. Washington led a group of Virginian (colonial) troops to confront the French at Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh). Washington discovered the French troops at the Battle of Jumonville Glen (about six miles or ten kilometers North-West of soon-to-be-established Fort Necessity). In the ensuing skirmish, a French Officer, Joseph Coulon de Jumonville, was killed. Washington pulled back a few miles and established Fort Necessity. The French forced Washington and his men to retreat. Meanwhile, the Albany Congress was taking place as means to discuss further action.

Edward Braddock led a campaign against the French at Fort Duquesne in 1755. Washington was again among the British and colonial troops. Braddock employed European tactics -- bold, linear marches and firing formations -- and employed heavy cannon. This led to disaster at the Monongahela. The French and natives were heavily outmanned and outgunned. But they used superior tactics, taking cover behind trees and bushes to gun down and rout the British. Braddock was killed. Despite four close calls, Washington escaped unharmed and led the survivors in retreat. This stunning British defeat heralded a string of major French victories over the next few years, at Fort Oswego, Fort William Henry, Fort Duquesne, and Carillon, where veteran Montcalm famously defeated five times his number. The sole British successes in the early years of the war came in 1755, at the Battle of Lake George, which secured the Hudson Valley; and in the taking of Fort Beauséjour (which protected the Nova Scotia frontier) by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Monckton. A consequence of this last battle was the subsequent forced deportation of the Acadian population of Nova Scotia and the Beaubassin region of Acadia.

In 1756 William Pitt became Secretary of State of Great Britain. His leadership, and France's continued neglect of the North-American theater, eventually turned the tide in favor of the British. The French were driven from many frontier posts such as Fort Niagara, and the key Fortress Louisbourg fell to the British in 1758. In 1759, the Battle of the Plains of Abraham gave Quebec City to the British, who had to withstand a siege there after the Battle of Sainte-Foy a year later. In September of 1760, Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal, the King's Governor of New France, negotiated a surrender with British General Jeffrey Amherst. General Amherst granted Vaudreuil's request that any French residents who chose to remain in the colony would be given freedom to continue worshiping in their Roman Catholic tradition, continued ownership of their property, and the right to remain undisturbed in their homes. The British provided medical treatment for the sick and wounded French soldiers, and French regular troops were returned to France aboard British ships with an agreement that they were not to serve again in the present war.

Summary of the war in America In 1752 the French and their Native allies raided a trading outpost sited at modern day Cleveland rid the area of Pennsylvanians. In 1754 General George Washington attacked French soldiers and then became trapped in his poorly built, Fort Necessity in Great Meadows Pennsylvania and more than one-third of Washingtons's men shortly became casualties. Twenty-two year old Washington and his men surrendered and were allowed to leave back to Virginia. In July 1755, a few miles south of Fort Duquensne in Pennsylvania, the combined forces of French and Natives attacked British colonial troops that were preparing a to assault the fort. The aftermath that ensued would result in a British defeat and General Edward Braddock would be killed. Once London heard of this Britain declared war upon France and formally began the seven years war. After this the British feared that France would attempt to retake Nova Scotia and that the 12,000 French Nova Scotians would break their neutrality, so the British military forced around seven thousand French Nova Scotians from their homeland. This was history's first large-scale modern deportation, the French would be sent from Louisiana to the Caribbean and families would become torn apart. In July of 1758 The British had recaptured the fort at Loiusberg winning control of the St. Lawerence River. This would cut the major French supply route and open up more supply lines for the British. In the fall of 1758 the Shawnee and Delaware Natives accepted peace offerings from the British and the French abandoned Fort Duquesne. A decisive attack would happen in the fall of 1759 when General James Wolfe's forces defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham and thus taking Quebec. A year after this event the British would capture Montreal and the North American stage of the war would be over.

Outcome

The descent of the French on St. John's, Newfoundland, 1762.

Though most of the North American fighting ended on September 8, 1760, when the Marquis de Vaudreuil surrendered Montreal — and effectively all of Canada — to Britain (one notable late battle allowed the capture of Spanish Havana by British and colonial forces in 1762), the war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763. The treaty sealed France's loss of all its North American possessions east of the Mississippi except for Saint Pierre and Miquelon islands off Newfoundland. All of Canada was ceded to Britain. France regained the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, which had been occupied by the British. The economic value of these islands to France was greater than that of Canada at the time, because of their rich sugar crops; and the islands were easier to defend. However, the British were happy to take New France: defense was not an issue, and they had many sources of sugar. Spain gained Louisiana, including New Orleans, in compensation for its loss of Florida to the British.

French Canada contained approximately 65,000 French-speaking Roman Catholic residents. Early in the war, in 1755, the British had expelled French settlers from Acadia. (Some of these eventually fled to Louisiana, creating the Cajun population.) Now at peace, and eager to secure control of its hard-won colony, Great Britain made concessions to its newly conquered subjects with the Quebec Act of 1774. The history of the Seven Years' War, particularly the siege of Québec and the death of British Brigadier General James Wolfe, generated a vast number of ballads, broadsides, images, maps and other printed materials, which testify to how this event continued to capture the imagination of the British public long after Wolfe's death in 1759.[11]

The European theatre of the war was settled by the Treaty of Hubertusburg on February 15, 1763. The war changed economic, political, and social relations between Britain and its colonies. It plunged Britain into debt, which the Crown chose to pay off with tax money from its colonies. These taxes contributed to the beginning the American Revolutionary War.

Battles and expeditions

United States
    • Battle of Jumonville Glen (May 28, 1754)
    • Battle of Fort Necessity, aka the Battle of Great Meadows (July 3, 1754)
    • Braddock Expedition (Battle of the Monongahela aka Battle of the Wilderness) (July 9, 1755)
    • Kittanning Expedition (climax September 8, 1756)
    • Battle of Fort Duquesne (September 14, 1758)
    • Battle of Fort Ligonier (October 12, 1758)
    • Forbes Expedition (climax November 25, 1758)
  • Province of New York
    • Battle of Lake George (1755)
    • Battle of Fort Oswego (August, 1756)
    • Battle on Snowshoes (January 21, 1757)
    • Battle of Fort Bull (March 27, 1756)
    • Battle of Sabbath Day Point (July 26, 1757)
    • Battle of Fort William Henry (August 9, 1757)
    • Attack on German Flatts (1757) (November 12, 1757)
    • Battle of Carillon (July 8, 1758)
    • Battle of Ticonderoga (1759)
    • Battle of La Belle-Famille (July 24, 1759)
    • Battle of Fort Niagara (1759)
    • Battle of the Thousand Islands, 16-25 August, 1760
  • West Virginia
    • Battle of Great Cacapon (April 18, 1756)
Canada
  • New Brunswick
    • Battle of Fort Beauséjour (June 16, 1755)
  • Nova Scotia
    • Battle of Louisburg (July 27, 1758)
  • Ontario
    • Battle of Fort Frontenac (August 25, 1758)
    • Battle of the Thousand Islands, 16-25 August, 1760
  • Quebec
    • Battle of Beauport (July 31, 1759)
    • Battle of the Plains of Abraham (September 13, 1759)
    • Battle of Sainte-Foy (April 28, 1760)
    • Battle of Restigouche, July 3-8, (1760)
  • Newfoundland
    • Battle of Signal Hill September 15, 1762

Proclamation of 1763

(The following text is taken from the Wikipedia article)

A portion of eastern North America; the 1763 "Proclamation line" is the border between the red and the pink areas.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7, 1763 by George III following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the Seven Years' War. The purpose of the proclamation was to make sure Britain could control its new territory for its The Proclamation in essence forbade Americans from settling or buying land west of the Appalachians. Colonists were angry because many already had land in that area. Additionally, the Proclamation gave the Crown a monopoly in land bought from Native Americans.

Native land

In the fall of 1763, a royal decree was issued that prohibited the North American colonists from establishing or maintaining settlements west of an imaginary line running down the crest of the Appalachian Mountains. The proclamation acknowledged that Native Americans owned the lands on which they were then residing and white settlers in the area were to be removed.

However, provision was made to allow specially licensed individuals and entities to operate fur trading ventures in the proscribed area. There were two motivations for this policy:

To avoid warfare with the Indians. This aim had little to do with affection for the tribes, but simply reflected the facts that Indian conflicts were very expensive and that the British had not yet deployed sufficient soldiers in the west to keep the peace. Some Indians welcomed this policy, believing that the separation of the races would allow them to resume their traditional lifeways; others realized that the proclamation, at best, would only provide some breathing room before the next onslaught of settlers.

To concentrate colonial settlements on the seaboard where they could be active parts of the British mercantile system. The first priority of British trade officials was to populate the recently secured areas of Canada and Florida (see Treaty of Paris), where colonists could reasonably be expected to trade with the mother country; settlers living west of the Appalachians would be highly self-sufficient and have little opportunity to trade with English merchants. The reaction of colonial land speculators and frontiersmen was immediate and understandably negative. From their perspective, risking their lives in the recent war had been rewarded by the creation of a vast restricted native reserve in the lands they coveted. Most concluded that the proclamation was only a temporary measure and a number ignored it entirely and moved into the prohibited area. Almost from its inception, the proclamation was modified to suit the needs of influential people with interests in the American West. This included many high British officials as well as colonial leaders.

Beginning in 1764, portions of the Proclamation Line were adjusted westward to accommodate speculative interests. Later, in 1768, the first Treaty of Fort Stanwix formally recognized the surrender of transmontane lands claimed by the Iroquois.

The Proclamation of 1763 was a well-intentioned measure. Pontiac’s Rebellion had inflicted a terrible toll on the frontier settlements in North America and the British government acted prudently by attempting to avoid such conflict in the foreseeable future.

The colonists, however, were not appreciative and regarded the new policy as an infringement of their basic rights. The fact that western expansion was halted at roughly the same time that other restrictive measures were being implemented, made the colonists increasingly suspicious


Almost immediately, many British colonists and land speculators objected to the proclamation boundary, since there were already many settlements beyond the line (some of which had been temporarily evacuated during Pontiac's War), as well as many existing land claims yet to be settled. Indeed, the proclamation itself called for lands to be granted to British soldiers who had served in the Seven Years' War. Prominent American colonists joined with land speculators in Britain to lobby the government to move the line further west. As a result, the boundary line was adjusted in a series of treaties with Native Americans. The Treaty of Fort Stanwix and the Treaty of Hard Labor (both 1768) and the Treaty of Lochaber (1770) opened much of what is now West Virginia and Kentucky to British settlement.

Organization of new colonies

Besides regulating colonial expansion, the proclamation dealt with the management of newly ceded French colonies. It established government for four areas: Quebec, West Florida, East Florida, and Grenada. All of these were granted the ability to elect general assemblies under a royally appointed governor or a high council, which could then create laws and ordinances specific to the area in agreement with British and colonial laws. In the meantime, the new colonies enjoyed the same rights as native-born Englishmen, something that British colonists had been fighting over for years. An even bigger affront to the British colonies was the establishment of both civil and criminal courts complete with the right to appeal--but those charged with violating the Stamp or Sugar Act were to be tried in admiralty court, where the defendant was considered guilty until he or she could prove his or her innocence.

Legacy

The influence of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 on the coming of the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) has been variously interpreted. Many historians argue that the proclamation ceased to be a major source of tension after 1768, since the aforementioned treaties opened up extensive lands for settlement. Others have argued that colonial resentment of the proclamation contributed to the growing divide between the colonies and the Mother Country.

In the United States, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 ended with the American Revolutionary War, because Great Britain ceded the land in question to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1783). Afterwards, the U.S. government also faced difficulties in preventing frontier violence, and eventually adopted policies similar to those of the Royal Proclamation. The first in a series of Indian Intercourse Acts was passed in 1790, prohibiting unregulated trade and travel in Native American lands. Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court case Johnson v. M'Intosh (1823) established that only the U.S. government, and not private individuals, could purchase land from Native Americans.

The Royal Proclamation continued to govern the cession of aboriginal land in British North America, especially Upper Canada and Rupert's Land. The proclamation forms the basis of land claims of aboriginal peoples in Canada – First Nations, Inuit, and Metis. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is thus mentioned in Section Twenty-five of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Stamp Act and other Laws

In 1764, George Grenville became the British Chancellor of the Exchequer (minister of finance). He allowed customs officers to obtain general writs of assistance, which allowed officers to search random houses for smuggled goods. Grenville thought that if profits from smuggled goods could be directed towards Britain, the money could help pay off debts. Colonists were horrified that they could be searched without warrant at any given moment. Also in 1764, with persuasion from Grenville, Parliament began to impose several taxes on the colonists. The Sugar Act of 1764 reduced the taxes imposed by the Molasses Act, but at the same time strengthened the collection of the taxes. It also provided that British judges, and not juries, would try cases involving that Act.

The next year, Parliament passed the Quartering Act, which required the colonies to provide room and board for British soldiers stationed in North America; the soldiers would serve various purposes, chiefly to enforce the previously passed acts of Parliament.

Following the Quartering Act, Parliament passed one of the most infamous pieces of legislation: the Stamp Act. Previously, Parliament imposed only external taxes on imports. But the Stamp Act provided the first internal tax on the colonists, requiring that a tax stamp be applied to books, newspapers, pamphlets, legal documents, playing cards, and dice. The legislature of Massachusetts requested a conference on the Stamp Act; the Stamp Act Congress met in October that year, petitioning the King and Parliament to repeal the act before it went into effect at the end of the month, crying "taxation without representation."

The act faced vehement opposition throughout the colonies. Merchants threatened to boycott British products. Thousands of New Yorkers rioted near the location where the stamps were stored. In Boston, the Sons of Liberty, a violent group led by radical statesman Samuel Adams, destroyed the home of Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson. Parliament did indeed repeal the Stamp Act, but additionally passed the Declaratory Act, which stated that Great Britain retained the power to tax the colonists, even without substantive representation.

Believing that the colonists only objected to internal taxes, Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend proposed bills that would later become the Townshend Acts. The Acts, passed in 1767, taxed imports of tea, glass, paint, lead, and even paper. The colonial merchants again threatened to boycott the taxed products, reducing the profits of British merchants, who in turn petitioned Parliament to repeal the Townshend Acts. Parliament eventually agreed to repeal much of the Townshend legislation. But Parliament refused to remove the tax on tea, implying that the British retained the authority to tax the colonies despite a lack of representation.

In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act, which exempted the British East India Company from the Townshend taxes. Thus, the East India Company gained a great advantage over other companies when selling tea in the colonies. The colonists who resented the advantages given to British companies dumped British tea overboard in the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773.

Boston Tea Party.jpg
The Boston Tea Party

In retaliation for the Boston Tea Party, Parliament passed the Coercive Acts, which were in the colonies known as the Intolerable Acts.Parliament reduced the power of the Massachusetts legislature and closed the port of Boston. Also, the Quartering Act was extended to require private individuals to lodge soldiers. Furthermore, Parliament allowed royal officials accused of crimes to be tried by a British, rather than a colonial, jury.

First Continental Congress

In order to debate a response to the Intolerable Acts, all American colonies except for Georgia sent delegates to the First Continental Congress at Philadelphia. The Congress met in September 1774 and issued a Declaration of Rights and Grievances. When the Congress adjourned, it stipulated another Congress would meet if King George III did not meet the demands of the Declaration. When the Second Congress did meet, the military hostilities of the Revolutionary War had already begun, and the issue of Independence, rather than a redress of grievances, dominated the debates.

Education

Literacy grew for both men and women during the 18th century. In New England and the Middle States, more middle-class girls were sent to school. However, as Science and the requirements for citizenship became more a part of education, girls were excluded from learning these topics.

Higher education continued to develop, with the 1746 opening of The College of New Jersey (later known as Princeton), and King's College (now Columbia) in 1754. All of these universities were meant exclusively for White men, though some of the colleges experimented by admitting Native Americans. In the public schools, vocational education expanded.[12][13][14]

Though what was lost by failing to educate the underclasses was incalculable, we can gauge the possibilities through such individuals as Benjamin Banneker and Phillis Wheatley. Mr. Banneker, a self-educated free African-American, observed the stars, wrote his own almanac, and was one of the surveyors of what would later become the District of Columbia. Miss Wheatley, an African-born slave educated and freed by her mistress, wrote a remarkable volume of poems published in the year 1773. Most of these had been published in The Newport Mercury, edited by Benjamin Franklin's brother James.

Questions For Review

1. What were the reasons for the French and Indian War?

2. What was the strategy of General Braddock against the French at Fort Duquesne? What was the strategy of the defending French and Indian forces?

3. Examine the succession of acts imposed upon the American Colonists in the wake of the war, beginning with the Sugar Act. What was the intended purpose of each act? What was its actual effect?

Footnotes

  1. Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Knopf, 2000. p. 747
  2. Anderson, Crucible of War. p. 747.
  3. Jennings, Francis. Empire of Fortune: Crowns, Colonies, and Tribes in the Seven Years War in America. New York: Norton, 1988. p. xv.
  4. Anderson, Crucible of War. P. 747
  5. Fowler, W. M. Empires at War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763. New York: Walker, 2005. P. 14
  6. Fowler, W. M. Empires at War. P. 14
  7. Fowler, Empires at War. P. 31
  8. Fowler, Empires at War. P. 35.
  9. Ellis, Joseph J. His Excellency George Washington. New York: Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, Inc., 2004. P. 5
  10. Fowler, Empires at War, p. 36
  11. Virtual Vault, an online exhibition of Canadian historical art at Library and Archives Canada
  12. A people and a nation eight edition
  13. Wikipedia.org\ education_in_the_Age_of_Enlightenment.
  14. American Education the colonial experience by Cremin A. Lawrence

Further reading

  • Eckert, Allan W. Wilderness Empire. Bantam Books, 1994, originally published 1969. ISBN 0-553-26488-5. Second volume in a series of historical narratives, with emphasis on Sir William Johnson. Academic historians often regard Eckert's books, which are written in the style of novels, to be fiction.
  • Parkman, Francis. Montcalm and Wolfe: The French and Indian War. Originally published 1884. New York: Da Capo, 1984. ISBN 0-306-81077-8.
  • Taylor, Alan. American Colonies: The Settling of North America. Penguin Books, 2001. Edited by Eric Foner. ISBN 0-670-87282-2.



The Republic until 1877

The American Revolution (1774 - 1783)

The British forces might at first glance seem to have every advantage. At the outset of the War they had stocks of cannon and ammunition. The Colonists had single-shot rifles from local forges, guns which took time to load and could easily misfire or explode. When Washington took command of the army in 1775, he learned that there was only enough gunpowder to provide nine rounds of ammunition per man.[1] The British had a large professional army drilled to a pitch like that of Ancient Rome, well-supplied with food, uniforms, and arms. But the American lack of training meant that they did not mass in the European style. Instead they relied on snipers, individuals hidden behind the trees who shot their bullet and then loaded again while their neighbors fired. They had learned this during the French and Indian War. Snipers helped strengthen the American odds.

The Beginning of the War (1775 - 1778)

Catholics in the Revolution

The complex situation of Catholicism in Great Britain had results in their Colonies. At the time of the American revolution, Catholics formed approximately 1.6% of the total American population of the original 13 colonies. If Catholics were seen as potential enemies of the British state, Irish Catholics, subject to British rule, were doubly-damned. In Ireland they had been subject to British domination. In America Catholics were still forbidden from settling in some of the colonies. Although the head of their faith dwelt in Rome, they were under the official representation of the Catholic Bishop of the London diocese, one James Talbot. When War began, Bishop Talbot declared his faithfulness to the British Crown. (If he had done otherwise, Catholics in England would have been in trouble. Anti-Catholic sentiment still ran high.) He forbade any Colonial priest to serve Communion. This made practice of the faith impossible. This created sympathy for the Colonial rebels. The Continental Army's alliance with the French increased sympathy for the faith. When the French fleet arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, the colony repealed the Act of 1664 and allowed citizenship to Catholics. (This anticipated the provision of the Constitutional Bill of Rights which would strike anti-Catholic laws from the books.) After the war, the Pope created an American Bishop, John Carroll -- a descendant of the same Carrolls who had helped found Maryland -- and an American Diocese communicating directly with Rome.

Lexington and Concord

The skirmish at Lexington.

The British government commanded General Thomas Gage to enforce the Intolerable Acts and shut down the Massachusetts legislature. Gage decided to confiscate a stockpile of colonial arms located in Concord. On April 19, 1775, Gage's troops marched to Concord. On the way, at the town of Lexington, Americans who had been warned in advance by Paul Revere and others of the British movements made an attempt to stop the troops. No one knows which side fired the first shot, but it sparked battle on Lexington Green between the British and the Minutemen. Faced against an overwhelmingly superior number of British regular troops in an open field, the Minutemen were quickly routed. Nevertheless, alarms sounded through the countryside. The colonial militias poured in and were able to launch guerrilla attacks on the British while they marched on to Concord. The colonials amassed of troops at Concord. They engaged the British in force there, and they were able to repulse them. They then claimed the contents of the armory. The British retreated to Boston under a constant and withering fire from all sides. Only a reinforcing column with artillery support on the outskirts of Boston prevented the British withdrawal from becoming a total rout. The following day the British woke up to find Boston surrounded by 20,000 armed colonists, occupying the neck of land extending to the peninsula the city stood on.

The Battle of Bunker Hill

The Battle of Bunker Hill.

The action changed from a battle to a siege, where one army bottles up another in a town or a city. (Though in traditional terms, the British were not besieged, since the Royal Navy controlled the harbor and supplies came in by ship.) General Artemas Ward, the head of the Massachusetts militia, had the initial oversight of the siege. He set up headquarters at Cambridge, Massachusetts and positioned his forces at Charlestown Neck, Roxbury, and Dorchester Heights. The 6,000 to 8,000 rebels faced some 4,000 British regulars under General Thomas Gage. Boston and little else was controlled by British troops. General Gage countered the siege on June 17 by attacking the colonists on Breed's Hill and Bunker Hill. Although the British suffered tremendous casualties compared to the colonial losses, the British were eventually able to dislodge the American forces from their entrenched positions. The colonists were forced to retreat when many colonial soldiers ran out of ammunition. Soon after, the area surrounding Boston fell to the British. However, because of the losses they suffered, they were unable to break the siege of the city. Despite the early defeat for the colonists, the battle proved that they had the potential to counter British forces, which were at that time considered the best in the world.

The Last Chance For Peace

The Second Continental Congress adopted the Olive Branch Petition, a petition for peace, on July 5, 1775. The Congress affirmed its allegiance to the Crown. It was received in London at the same time as it heard of the Battle For Bunker Hill. The King refused to read the petition or to meet with its ambassadors. Parliament reacted by passing the Prohibitory Act, which banned trade with the colonies.

Battle For Boston

Despite the British access to the ships, the town and the army were on short rations. Salt pork was the order of the day, and prices escalated rapidly. While the American forces had some information about what was happening in the city, General Gage had no effective intelligence of rebel activities.

On May 25, 1775, 4,500 reinforcements and three new generals arrived in Boston Harbor. The fresh leaders were Major General William Howe and Brigadiers John Burgoyne and Henry Clinton. Gage began planing to break out of the city.

On July 3, 1775, George Washington arrived to take charge of the new Continental Army. Forces and supplies came in from as far away as Maryland. Trenches were built at Dorchester Neck, extending toward Boston. Washington reoccupied Bunker Hill and Breeds Hill without opposition. However, these activities had little effect on the British occupation.

Henry Knox helped bring the Continental Army the artillery used to defeat the British.

In the winter of 1775– 1776, Henry Knox and his engineers under order from George Washington used sledges to retrieve sixty tons of heavy artillery that had been captured at Fort Ticonderoga. Knox, who had come up with the idea to use sledges, believed that he would have the artillery there in eighteen days. It took six weeks to bring them across the frozen Connecticut River, and they arrived back at Cambridge on January 24, 1776. Weeks later, in an amazing feat of deception and mobility, Washington moved artillery and several thousand men overnight to take Dorchester Heights overlooking Boston. General John Thomas fortified the area. The British fleet had become a liability, anchored in a shallow harbor with limited maneuverability, and under the American guns on Dorchester Heights.

When General Howe saw the cannons, he knew he could not hold the city. He asked that George Washington let them evacuate the city in peace. In return, they would not burn the city to the ground. Washington agreed: he had no choice. He had artillery guns, but did not have the gunpowder. The whole plan had been a masterful bluff. The siege ended when the British set sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 17, 1776. The militia went home, and in April Washington took most of the Continental Army forces to fortify New York City.

Ethan Allen and Fort Ticonderoga

Ethan Allen capturing Fort Tinconderoga.

The British had considered Fort Ticonderoga a relatively unimportant outpost in a conflict which had up to then been mostly based in Massachusetts. However, a veteran of the French and Indian War, Ethan Allen, had his eye on the fort. Allen had built up a Vermont territorial militia, the Green Mountain Boys, until it was an effective fighting force. Vermont was claimed by the New York colony, but Allen wanted more independence. In April of 1775, Allen was surprised by a visit by Commander Benedict Arnold of the Connecticut Militia. Arnold announced that he had been commissioned to seize the cannons of Fort Ticonderoga. A heated discussion between the two concluded with the agreement that the two militias would combine to attack the fort. This was for the best, for both forces together were small, well short of brigade strength. On May tenth, the combined American forces captured the fort. They seized the arms, including the cannons, which were then hauled by oxen all the way to Boston.

Strengthening The Cause

Through the media available in that day, the Revolution promoted the idea of honorable men in revolt against tyranny. Newspapers in North and South published incendiary stories and inspiring engravings. The theater contributed dramatic outcries, including those of Mary Otis Warren. Songs were played and sung to rally flagging spirits.

Thomas Paine's 1776

In January of 1776, the Englishman Thomas Paine published the pamphlet Common Sense. This anti-monarchical publication encouraged American independence, using examples from the Bible and republican virtues to argue that kings were never good for any free state. In late 1776 he began printing his series of pamphlets, The American Crisis, calling soldiers to mass to the cause of the Revolution. The first of these pamphlets begins with the stirring words, "These are the times that try men's souls."

The Declaration of Independence

Raising the first flag at Independence Hall. Copy of a painting by Clyde O. Deland.

As military hostilities built up, the Second Continental Congress appointed George Washington as General of the Continental Army. Washington gave up his salary for the position all through the war. (As he was among the richest men in the colonies, he could afford this choice.) In June of 1776, the Second Continental Congress felt it needed a spur for separation from Great Britain. It appointed a Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson became the principal author of this document.

Although the British king was no longer principally responsible for his dominion's policy, the Declaration of Independence called him a tyrant. It justified the rights of the rebellion with words the European Enlightenment would have hailed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal[.]" The Continental Congress signed the document on July 4, 1776. However, the signatures at this point showed that they wished independence: they could not alone achieve it.

Army Bands

One of the attributes of a well-drilled company of soldiers was its military band. The British and Hessian troops drilled to the beat of drums, which carried the rhythm of the march above the noise of musket fire, and provided a way to communicate on the battlefield. "By 1778 soldiers marched at seventy-five 24″ steps per minute in common time and nearly double that (120 steps per minute) when marching in quick time."[2] The music of the fife (a shrill flute) and drum helped build soldier morale.

If the Rebellion could not have good supplies, it would at least have high morale. With the Middle-brook Order, George Washington directed that every officer must provide military music for his troops. This was despite the limited number of instruments.[3] The bands were used to announce the beginning and end of the day, direct troops in battle, and uplift spirits.

Popular Music in the Revolution

One of the two major songs of the Revolution was the hymn Chester, first published in 1770 in "The New England Psalm Singer" and revised in 1778. Its author and composer, William Billings, created a combination of the biblical (Let tyrants shake their iron rod) and the topical (Howe and Burgoyne and Clinton too,/ With Prescot and Cornwallis join'd).

Another was the song Yankee Doodle, adapted from a tune of the Seven Years War. This was originally used by the British to laugh at the provincial manners of the Colonists, but was turned into a theme of the American upstarts.

Canada

In September of 1775, the Colonists, led by General Richard Montgomery, invaded Canada. At first the invasion proved successful, with Montgomery capturing Fort St. Jean and the city of Montreal. On December 30 he made the decision to launch an attack onto the British held city of Quebec. It proved disastrous, and Montgomery was killed in battle. This was the last major action in Canada, although Benidict Arnold and a number of other generals did attack the coasts or Canada, or launch raids across the border.

The Turning Point of the War

Despite the numerous defeats they faced in the early years of the war, the colonists were able to turn the tide around with several major victories.

New York and New Jersey

In July, 1776, General William Howe and thirty-thousand British troops arrived at Staten Island in New York. The large army attacked and defeated General George Washington's American forces in the Battle of Long Island. After nearly having his entire army captured, Washington led a skilled withdrawal out of New York. Eventually the Continental Army was forced to set up camp in Pennsylvania.

Howe could have ended the war by pursuing Washington's forces. But Howe was very cautious and took almost no risks. He feared losing too many men so far from home. Britain hired German mercenaries (Hessians) to guard the British fort at Trenton. Howe took advantage of these replacements and decided to wait until spring to attack the Continental Army again.

Washington also took advantage of the situation, though from a different perspective. He figured that the Hessians would be weakest on Christmas night, after heavy feasting and drinking. On the night of December 25, 1776, Washington led his troops 9 miles, and across the Delaware River to ambush the Hessians. Crossing the river was difficult. A hail and sleet storm had broken out early in the crossing, winds were strong and the river was full of ice floes. The crossing took 3 hours longer than expected, but Washington decided to continue the attack anyway. As Washington predicted, the mercenaries were completely caught off guard and had little time to respond. Within just a over an hour, on the morning of December 26, the Continental Army had won the Battle of Trenton. The Americans had just 4 wounded and 0 killed against 25 Hessians Killed, 90 wounded and 920 captured. The victory increased the troops' morale and eventually led to re-enlistments. Some historians even speculate Trenton saved the revolution.

On January 2, the British came to re-take Trenton, and did so with heavy casualties. Washington once again led a clever withdrawal, and advanced on Princeton. At the Battle of Princeton, the Continental Army attacked the rear-guard of the British Army, and forced them to retreat from New Jersey.

The Battle of Saratoga

Burgoyne surrendering the Continental Army.

In the summer of 1777, British General John Burgoyne and General Howe agreed to attack the colonial Army from two sides and defeat it. Howe marched north, winning the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown and eventually capturing Philadelphia. But Burgoyne was not so fortunate. Delayed by natural traps set up by the Continental Army, his troops slowly marched from Canada to Albany. By September of the year, his forces reached Saratoga, where an enormous American Army attacked the troops. In October, General Burgoyne surrendered all his forces to the Americans. General Howe resigned his post, thwarted despite his victories in Pennsylvania.

The Battle of Saratoga proved to be the major turning point in the war. It persuaded France that America had to overthrow Great Britain, and French aid now was introduced to the colonists. The battle was also the last time the British would advance North. By the summer of 1778, following the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey, all fighting would take place in the South.

Defeat of the Iroquois

The Iroquois Confederacy in its zenith had been the equal of the European Powers. But since the French and Indian war it had been in decline. The Tribes of the Confederacy disagreed on who to support in the Revolution. The Onedia and Tuscaroras supported the Americans, while the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, and the Seneca supported the British. The Confederacy managed to stay together until 1777, when following the Battle of Saratoga, the 4 Tribes supporting the British began to attack American settlements across New York and Pennslyvenia.

A back and forth battle followed. The Iroquois would attack American Forts and Towns, then the Americans would burn Iroquois villages. In 1779 George Washington sent General Sullivan to destroy the Iroquois Nation. After defeating the Iroquois at the Battle of Newtown, Sullivan's army then carried out a scorched earth campaign, methodically destroying at least forty Iroquois villages. The devastation created great hardships for the thousands of Iroquois refugees outside Fort Niagara that winter, and many starved or froze to death. The survivors fled to British regions in Canada and the Niagara Falls and Buffalo areas. Thus ended the 700-year history of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Conclusion of the War (1778 - 1781)

After the loss at Saratoga, the French, traditional rivals of the British, offered their aid in the Revolution. The United States allied itself with France in 1778. Spain and the Dutch Republic also joined the American side, both lending money to the United States and going to war with Britain.

On the Seas

War broke out on the seas as well. Americans granted commissions to "privateers" to attack and destroy all British ships, whether they were military or not. One of the most famous privateers, John Paul Jones, scored several victories at sea for the Americans, even attacking the shores of Britain itself.

Benjamin Lincoln accepting the British surrender at Yorktown, with Washington in the background.

The War Heads South

An attempted treachery was defeated when its architect, British Major John Andre, was captured in September of 1780. Benedict Arnold, one of the heroes of Fort Ticonderoga, had been placed in charge of Fort Clinton, New York (now called West Point). In response to a bribe, Arnold neglected maintenance of the fortification, and was then preparing to turn the fort over to the British. After he had learned of Andre's arrest he fled to join the British army.

Britain turned its attention from the North to the South, where more loyalists lived. They were at first very successful, defeating the Americans at Waxhaws, Charleston, and Camden. Lord Cornwallis, commander of the British forces in the south, was faced with the challenge of chasing down the Americans. Nathanael Greene had split his army into two, leaving one under the control of Daniel Morgan. Morgan drew Banastre Tarleton, who was commanding one half of the British Army, to Cowpens where they were they decisively defeated the British. The other half of the British Army, still under control of Cornwallis, defeated the Americans at the Battle of Guilford Court House. However, it was a bloody victory for Cornwallis and he was forced to withdraw to Yorktown Virginia to regroup.

After hearing that the British were in Yorktown, and there was a French Fleet arriving, Washington took the Continental Army, along with French Troops, to Yorktown and surrounded the British. By mid September the town was under siege. Cornwallis was assured by British Commander-in-Chief, Henry Clinton, who was in New York, that he would be relieved shortly. However, the British relief force was defeated by the French fleet. The British continued to hold off for a few more days, but the allied army moved in closer and closer to Yorktown, and their cannons destroyed many of the British defenses. On October 19, 1781, Cornwallis surrendered his entire army, over 7,000 men.

Scattered fighting continued, but back in Britain, the British were crushed by this defeat. Parliament voted to cease all offensive operations in "the colonies." Washington took his army to Newburgh, New York, where he stopped a mutiny in the Army.

At the conclusion of the war in 1783 large numbers of loyalists and their families relocated to the home country of England and in large part to Canada as well as to other British Colonies. They submitted claims for lost property and lands in America. Many of the claims were not accepted by the English government for lack of evidence of the losses or significantly reduced. The property and lands were acquired by the American communities and then resold to the highest bidders.

Due to the climatic effects of a 1782 eruption of an Icelandic volcano, the loyalists also experienced one of the coldest Canadian winters on record which contributed to poor crops in 1783-1784. Starvation, disease and hardship were rampant and many resolved to return to the United States despite the threats of retribution rather than subsist on their meager produce.

Treaty of Paris (1783)

The British lost hope of crushing the rebellion after Yorktown. They decided to negotiate peace with The United States, France, and Spain. The Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3rd, 1783. In it, the United States was recognized as an independent nation, with boundaries stretching from the Canadian border in the North, to the Mississippi River to the West, and the northern border of Florida in the South. Britain was forced to return Florida to Spain, but could still hold Canada. Congress was told to advise the states to restore property lost or stolen from the Loyalists. (However, many Loyalists had fled during the Revolution, and many of them did not return to claim their property.)

The Early Government of the New United States

[Copied from Wikipedia]

The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution.[4] Its drafting by the Continental Congress began in mid-1776, and an approved version was sent to the states for ratification in late 1777. The formal ratification by all 13 states was completed in early 1781. Even when not yet ratified, the Articles provided domestic and international legitimacy for the Continental Congress to direct the American Revolutionary War, conduct diplomacy with Europe and deal with territorial issues and Native American relations. Nevertheless, the weakness of the government created by the Articles became a matter of concern for key nationalists.

Footnotes

  1. McCullough, David. 1776. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005. p. 28
  2. Anon. "Middle-brook Order, June 4, 1777: What It Really Says about the Quality of Revolutionary War Field Music." Paper read at School of the Musician, Brigade of the American Revolution, April 4, 1989. Revised February 12, 2011. Copyright 1989, 2011 HistoryOfTheAncientsDotOrg. http://historyoftheancients.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/1195/
  3. Anon, "Middle-brook Order.
  4. Jensen, Merrill (1959). The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774–1781. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. xi, 184. ISBN 978-0-299-00204-6. 

Questions for Review

1. Who were these authors/composers, and what were they known for? (Mary Otis Warren, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, William Billings.)

2. How does the battle of Lexington and Concord show the early strengths and weaknesses of the American fighters?

3. Examine a copy of the Declaration of Independence in relation to this and the previous chapters. How does its rhetoric (choice of words) address the concerns of the American rebellion? How does it deviate from actual events to make a point?

A New Nation is Formed (1783 - 1787)

The Articles of Confederation

(The following text is taken from Wikipedia)

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, also the Articles of Confederation, was the governing constitution of the alliance of thirteen independent and sovereign states styled "United States of America." The Article's ratification (proposed in 1777) was completed in 1782, legally uniting the states by compact into the "United States of America" as a union with a confederation government. Under the Articles (and the succeeding Constitution) the states retained sovereignty over all governmental functions not specifically deputed to the confederation.

The final draft of the Articles was written in the summer of 1777 and adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777 in York, Pennsylvania after a year of debate. In practice the final draft of the Articles served as the de facto system of government used by the Congress ("the United States in Congress assembled") until it became de jure by final ratification on March 1, 1781; at which point Congress became the Congress of the Confederation. The Articles set the rules for operations of the "United States" confederation. The confederation was capable of making war, negotiating diplomatic agreements, and resolving issues regarding the western territories; it could mint coins and borrow inside and outside the United States. An important element of the Articles was that Article XIII stipulated that "their provisions shall be inviolably observed by every state" and "the Union shall be perpetual." This article was put to the test in the American Civil War.

The Articles were created by the chosen representatives of the states in the Second Continental Congress out of a perceived need to have "a plan of confederacy for securing the freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the United States." Although serving a crucial role in the attainment of nationhood for the thirteen states, a group of reformers, known as "federalists", felt that the Articles lacked the necessary provisions for a sufficiently effective government. Fundamentally, a federation was sought to replace the confederation. The key criticism by those who favored a more powerful central state (i.e. the federalists) was that the government (i.e. the Congress of the Confederation) lacked taxing authority; it had to request funds from the states. Another criticism of the Articles was that they did not strike the right balance between large and small states in the legislative decision making process. Due to its one-state, one-vote plank, the larger states were expected to contribute more but had only one vote. The Articles were replaced by the United States Constitution on June 21, 1788.

Background

The political push for the colonies to increase cooperation began in the French and Indian Wars in the mid 1750s. The opening of the American Revolutionary War in 1775 induced the various states to cooperate in seceding from the British Empire. The Second Continental Congress starting 1775 acted as the confederation organ that ran the war. Congress presented the Articles for enactment by the states in 1777, while prosecuting the American Revolutionary war against the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Ratification

Congress began to move for ratification of the Articles in 1777:

The articles can always be candidly reviewed under a sense of the difficulty of combining in one general system the various sentiments and interests of a continent divided into so many sovereign and independent communities, under a conviction of the absolute necessity of uniting all our councils and all our strength, to maintain and defend our common liberties...[1]

The document could not become officially effective until it was ratified by all of the thirteen colonies. The first state to ratify was Virginia on December 16, 1777. [2] The process dragged on for several years, stalled by the refusal of some states to rescind their claims to land in the West. Maryland was the last holdout; it refused to go along until Virginia and New York agreed to cede their claims in the Ohio River valley. A little over three years passed before Maryland's ratification on March 1, 1781.

Article summaries

Even though the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution were established by many of the same people, the two documents were very different. The original five-paged Articles contained thirteen articles, a conclusion, and a signatory section. The following list contains short summaries of each of the thirteen articles.

  1. Establishes the name of the confederation as "The United States of America."
  2. Asserts the precedence of the separate states over the confederation government, i.e. "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated."
  3. Establishes the United States as a league of states united ". . . for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them . . . ."
  4. Establishes freedom of movement–anyone can pass freely between states, excluding "paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice." All people are entitled to the rights established by the state into which he travels. If a crime is committed in one state and the perpetrator flees to another state, he will be extradited to and tried in the state in which the crime was committed.
  5. Allocates one vote in the Congress of the Confederation (United States in Congress Assembled) to each state, which was entitled to a delegation of between two and seven members. Members of Congress were appointed by state legislatures; individuals could not serve more than three out of any six years.
  6. Only the central government is allowed to conduct foreign relations and to declare war. No states may have navies or standing armies, or engage in war, without permission of Congress (although the state militias are encouraged).
  7. When an army is raised for common defense, colonels and military ranks below colonel will be named by the state legislatures.
  8. Expenditures by the United States will be paid by funds raised by state legislatures, and apportioned to the states based on the real property values of each.
  9. Defines the powers of the central government: to declare war, to set weights and measures (including coins), and for Congress to serve as a final court for disputes between states.
  10. Defines a Committee of the States to be a government when Congress is not in session.
  11. Requires nine states to approve the admission of a new state into the confederacy; pre-approves Canada, if it applies for membership.
  12. Reaffirms that the Confederation accepts war debt incurred by Congress before the Articles.
  13. Declares that the Articles are perpetual, and can only be altered by approval of Congress with ratification by all the state legislatures.

Still at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain, the colonists were reluctant to establish another powerful national government. Jealously guarding their new independence, members of the Continental Congress created a loosely-structured unicameral legislature that protected the liberty of the individual states. While calling on Congress to regulate military and monetary affairs, for example, the Articles of Confederation provided no mechanism to force the states to comply with requests for troops or revenue. At times, this left the military in a precarious position, as George Washington wrote in a 1781 letter to the governor of Massachusetts, John Hancock.


The end of the war

The Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended hostilities with Great Britain, languished in Congress for months because state representatives failed to attend sessions of the national legislature. Yet Congress had no power to enforce attendance. Writing to George Clinton in September 1783, George Washington complained:

Congress have come to no determination yet respecting the Peace Establishment nor am I able to say when they will. I have lately had a conference with a Committee on this subject, and have reiterated my former opinions, but it appears to me that there is not a sufficient representation to discuss Great National points.[3]

Function

The Articles supported the Congressional direction of the Continental Army, and allowed the 13 states to present a unified front when dealing with the European powers. As a tool to build a centralized war-making government, they were largely a failure, but since guerrilla warfare was correct strategy in a war against the British Empire's army, this "failure" succeeded in winning independence.[4] Under the articles, Congress could make decisions, but had no power to enforce them. There was a requirement for unanimous approval before any modifications could be made to the Articles. Because the majority of lawmaking rested with the states, the central government was also kept limited.

Congress was denied the power of taxation: it could only request money from the states. The states did not generally comply with the requests in full, leaving the confederation chronically short of funds. Congress was also denied the power to regulate commerce, and as a result, the states fought over trade as well.[citation needed] The states and the national congress had both incurred debts during the war, and how to pay the debts became a major issue. Some states paid off their debts; however, the centralizers favored federal assumption of states' debts.

Nevertheless, the Congress of the Confederation did take two actions with lasting impact. The Land Ordinance of 1785 established the general land survey and ownership provisions used throughout later American expansion. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 noted the agreement of the original states to give up western land claims and cleared the way for the entry of new states.

Once the war was won, the Continental Army was largely disbanded. A very small national force was maintained to man frontier forts and protect against Indian attacks. Meanwhile, each of the states had an army (or militia), and 11 of them had navies. The wartime promises of bounties and land grants to be paid for service were not being met. In 1783, Washington defused the Newburgh conspiracy, but riots by unpaid Pennsylvania veterans forced the Congress to leave Philadelphia temporarily.[5]

Signatures

The Second Continental Congress approved the Articles for distribution to the states on November 15 1777. A copy was made for each state and one was kept by the Congress. The copies sent to the states for ratification were unsigned, and a cover letter had only the signatures of Henry Laurens and Charles Thomson, who were the President and Secretary to the Congress.

But, the Articles at that time were unsigned, and the date was blank. Congress began the signing process by examining their copy of the Articles on June 27 1778. They ordered a final copy prepared (the one in the National Archives), and that delegates should inform the secretary of their authority for ratification.

On July 9, 1778, the prepared copy was ready. They dated it, and began to sign. They also requested each of the remaining states to notify its delegation when ratification was completed. On that date, delegates present from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina signed the Articles to indicate that their states had ratified. New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland could not, since their states had not ratified. North Carolina and Georgia also didn't sign that day, since their delegations were absent.

After the first signing, some delegates signed at the next meeting they attended. For example, John Wentworth of New Hampshire added his name on August 8. John Penn was the first of North Carolina's delegates to arrive (on July 10), and the delegation signed the Articles on July 21 1778.

The other states had to wait until they ratified the Articles and notified their Congressional delegation. Georgia signed on July 24, New Jersey on November 26, and Delaware on February 12 1779. Maryland refused to ratify the Articles until every state had ceded its western land claims.

The Act of the Maryland legislature to ratify the Articles of Confederation on February 2, 1781

On February 2, 1781, the much-awaited decision was taken by the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis[6]. As the last piece of business during the afternoon Session, "among engrossed Bills" was "signed and sealed by Governor Thomas Sim Lee in the Senate Chamber, in the presence of the members of both Houses… an Act to empower the delegates of this state in Congress to subscribe and ratify the articles of confederation" and perpetual union among the states. The Senate then adjourned "to the first Monday in August next." The decision of Maryland to ratify the Articles was reported to the Continental Congress on February 12. The formal signing of the Articles by the Maryland delegates took place in Philadelphia at noon time on March 1, 1781 and was celebrated in the afternoon. With these events, the Articles entered into force and the United States came into being as a united, sovereign and national state.

Congress had debated the Articles for over a year and a half, and the ratification process had taken nearly three and a half years. Many participants in the original debates were no longer delegates, and some of the signers had only recently arrived. The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were signed by a group of men who were never present in the Congress at the same time.

The signers and the states they represented were:

  • New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett and John Wentworth Jr.
  • Massachusetts Bay: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry, Francis Dana, James Lovell, and Samuel Holten
  • Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: William Ellery, Henry Marchant, and John Collins
  • Connecticut: Roger Sherman¹, Samuel Huntington, Oliver Wolcott, Titus Hosmer, and Andrew Adams
  • New York: James Duane, Francis Lewis, William Duer, and Gouverneur Morris
  • New Jersey: John Witherspoon and Nathaniel Scudder
  • Pennsylvania:Robert Morris², Daniel Roberdeau, Jonathan Bayard Smith, William Clingan, and Joseph Reed
  • Delaware: Thomas McKean, John Dickinson³, and Nicholas Van Dyke
  • Maryland: John Hanson and Daniel Carroll³
  • Virginia: Richard Henry Lee, John Banister, Thomas Adams, John Harvie, and Francis Lightfoot Lee
  • North Carolina: John Penn, Cornelius Harnett, and John Williams
  • South Carolina: Henry Laurens, William Henry Drayton, John Mathews, Richard Hutson, and Thomas Heyward Jr.
  • Georgia: John Walton, Edward Telfair, and Edward Langworthy


¹ The only person to sign all four great state papers of the United States: the Articles of Association, the United States Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution.
² One of only 2 people to sign three of the great state papers of the United States: the United States Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution.
³ One of only 4 people to sign both the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution.

Presidents of the Congress

The following list is of those who led the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation as the Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled. Under the Articles, the president was the presiding officer of Congress, chaired the Cabinet (the Committee of the States) when Congress was in recess, and performed other administrative functions. He was not, however, a chief executive in the way the successor President of the United States is a chief executive, but all of the functions he executed were under the auspices and in service of the Congress.

  • Samuel Huntington (March 1, 1781 – July 9, 1781)
  • Thomas McKean (July 10, 1781 – November 4, 1781)
  • John Hanson (November 5, 1781 – November 3, 1782)
  • Elias Boudinot (November 4, 1782 – November 2, 1783)
  • Thomas Mifflin (November 3, 1783 – October 31, 1784)
  • Richard Henry Lee (November 30, 1784 – November 6, 1785)
  • John Hancock (November 23, 1785 – May 29, 1786)
  • Nathaniel Gorham (June 6, 1786 – November 5, 1786)
  • Arthur St. Clair (February 2, 1787 – November 4, 1787)
  • Cyrus Griffin (January 22, 1788 – November 2, 1788)

For a full list of Presidents of the Congress Assembled and Presidents under the two Continental Congresses before the Articles, see President of the Continental Congress.


Revision and replacement

In May 1786, Charles Pinckney of South Carolina proposed that Congress revise the Articles of Confederation. Recommended changes included granting Congress power over foreign and domestic commerce, and providing means for Congress to collect money from state treasuries. Unanimous approval was necessary to make the alterations, however, and Congress failed to reach a consensus.

In September, five states assembled in the Annapolis Convention to discuss adjustments that would improve commerce. Under their chairman, Alexander Hamilton, they invited state representatives to convene in Philadelphia to discuss improvements to the federal government. Although the states' representatives to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia were only authorized to amend the Articles, the representatives held secret, closed-door sessions and wrote a new constitution. The new Constitution gave much more power to the central government, but characterization of the result is disputed. Historian Forrest McDonald, using the ideas of James Madison from Federalist 39, describes the change this way:

The constitutional reallocation of powers created a new form of government, unprecedented under the sun. Every previous national authority either had been centralized or else had been a confederation of sovereign states. The new American system was neither one nor the other; it was a mixture of both.[7]

Historian Ralph Ketcham comments on the opinions of Patrick Henry, George Mason, and other antifederalists who were not so eager to give up the local autonomy won by the revolution:

Antifederalists feared what Patrick Henry termed the "consolidated government" proposed by the new Constitution. They saw in Federalist hopes for commercial growth and international prestige only the lust of ambitious men for a "splendid empire" that, in the time-honored way of empires, would oppress the people with taxes, conscription, and military campaigns. Uncertain that any government over so vast a domain as the United States could be controlled by the people, Antifederalists saw in the enlarged powers of the general government only the familiar threats to the rights and liberties of the people.[8]

According to their own terms for modification (Article XIII), the Articles would still have been in effect until 1790, the year in which the last of the 13 states ratified the new Constitution. The Congress under the Articles continued to sit until November 1788,[9][10][11][12] overseeing the adoption of the new Constitution by the states, and setting elections.

Historians have given many reasons for the perceived need to replace the articles in 1787. Jillson and Wilson (1994) point to the financial weakness as well as the norms, rules and institutional structures of the Congress, and the propensity to divide along sectional lines.

Rakove (1988) identifies several factors that explain the collapse of the Confederation. The lack of compulsory direct taxation power was objectionable to those wanting a strong centralized state or expecting to benefit from such power. It could not collect customs after the war because tariffs were vetoed by Rhode Island. Rakove concludes that their failure to implement national measures "stemmed not from a heady sense of independence but rather from the enormous difficulties that all the states encountered in collecting taxes, mustering men, and gathering supplies from a war-weary populace."[13] The second group of factors Rakove identified derived from the substantive nature of the problems the Continental Congress confronted after 1783, especially the inability to create a strong foreign policy. Finally, the Confederation's lack of coercive power reduced the likelihood for profit to be made by political means, thus potential rulers were uninspired to seek power.

When the war ended in 1783, certain special interests had incentives to create a new "merchant state," much like the British state people had rebelled against. In particular, holders of war scrip and land speculators wanted a central government to pay off scrip at face value and to legalize western land holdings with disputed claims. Also, manufacturers wanted a high tariff as a barrier to foreign goods, but competition among states made this impossible without a central government.

Historical importance

The Articles are historically important for two major reasons: i) they were the first constitution or governing document for the United States of America and ii) they legally established a union of the thirteen founding states; a Perpetual Union. Early on, tensions developed surrounding the Union, not least because of the fact that with the US Constitution the basis of government was changed from that of confederation to federation. Thomas Jefferson and John C. Calhoun were in their time leading proponents of guaranteeing the constitutional rights of states in federal legislation. Over time, a legal view developed that if the union violated the constitutional rights of states they might rightfully seceed.[14] A significant tension in the 19th century surrounded the expansion of slavery (which was generally supported in agricultural Southern states and opposed in industrial Northern states). As the secessionist view gained support in the South, the opposing view in the North was that since the U.S. Constitution declared itself to be "a more perfect union" than the Articles, it too must be perpetual, and also could not be broken without the consent of the other states. This view was promoted by Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln. In 1861, these constitutional contracts were cited by President Lincoln against any claims by the seceding states that unilaterally withdrawing from the Union and taking federal property within those states was legal.[15]

The Northwest Ordinance

The Congress established the Northwest Territory around the Great Lakes between 1784 and 1787. In 1787, Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance banning slavery in the new Territory. Congressional legislation divided the Territory into townships of six square miles each and provided for the sale of land to settlers. The Northwest Territory would eventually become the states of Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

Problems with the Confederation

The Confederation faced several difficulties in its early years. Firstly, Congress became extremely dependent on the states for income. Also, states refused to require its citizens to pay debts to British merchants, straining relations with Great Britain. France prohibited Americans from using the important port of New Orleans, crippling American trade down the Mississippi river.

Shays' Rebellion

Due to the post-revolution economic woes, agitated by inflation, many worried of social instability. This was especially true for those in Massachusetts. The legislature's response to the shaky economy was to put emphasis on maintaining a sound currency by paying off the state debt through levying massive taxes. The tax burden hit those with moderate incomes dramatically. The average farmer paid a third of their annual income to these taxes from 1780 to 1786. Those who couldn't pay had their property foreclosed and were thrown into crowded prisons filled with other debtors.

But in the summer of 1786, a revolutionary war veteran named Daniel Shays began to organize western communities in Massachusetts to stop foreclosures, with force, by prohibiting the courts from holding their proceedings. Later that fall, Shays marched the newly formed "rebellion" into Springfield to stop the state supreme court from gathering. The state responded with troops sent to suppress the rebellion. After a failed attempt by the rebels to attack the Springfield arsenal, and other small skirmishes, the rebels retreated and then uprising collapsed. Shays retreated to Vermont by 1787.

While Daniel Shays was in hiding, the government condemned him to death on the charge of treason. Shays pleaded for his life in a petition which was finally granted by John Hancock on June 17, 1788. With the threat of treason behind him, Shays moved to New York and died September 25, 1825

US Presidents before George Washington

Who was the first president of the United States? Ask any school child and they will readily tell you "George Washington." And of course, they would be correct—at least technically. Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789, and yet, the United States continually had functioning governments from as early as September 5, 1774 and operated as a confederated nation from as early as July 4, 1776. During that nearly fifteen year interval, Congress—first the Continental Congress and then later the Confederation Congress—was always moderated by a duly elected president. This officer was known as the "President of the Continental Congress", and later as the "President of the United States, in Congress Assembled".

However, the office of President of the Continental Congress had very little relationship to the office of President of the United States beyond the name. The President of the United States is the head of the executive branch of government, while the President of the Continental Congress was merely the chair of a body that most resembled a legislature, although it possessed legislative, executive, and judicial powers. The following brief biographies profile these "forgotten presidents."

Peyton Randolph of Virginia (1723-1775)

A portrait of Peyton Randolph.

When delegates gathered in Philadelphia for the first Continental Congress, they promptly elected the former King's Attorney of Virginia as the moderator and president of their convocation. He was a propitious choice. He was a legal prodigy—having studied at the Inner Temple in London, served as his native colony's Attorney General, and tutored many of the most able men of the South at William and Mary College—including the young Patrick Henry. His home in Williamsburg was the gathering place for Virginia's legal and political gentry—and it remains a popular attraction in the restored colonial capital. He had served as a delegate in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and had been a commander under William Byrd in the colonial militia. He was a scholar of some renown—having begun a self-guided reading of the classics when he was thirteen. Despite suffering poor health served the Continental Congress as president twice, in 1774 from September 5 to October 21, and then again for a few days in 1775 from May 10 to May 23. He never lived to see independence, yet was numbered among the nation's most revered founders.

Henry Middleton (1717-1784)

America's second elected president was one of the wealthiest planters in the South, the patriarch of the most powerful families anywhere in the nation. His public spirit was evident from an early age. He was a member of his state's Common House from 1744-1747. During the last two years he served as the Speaker. During 1755 he was the King's Commissioner of Indian Affairs. He was a member of the South Carolina Council from 1755-1770. His valor in the War with the Cherokees during 1760-1761 earned him wide recognition throughout the colonies—and demonstrated his leadership abilities while under pressure. He was elected as a delegate to the first session of the Continental Congress and when Peyton Randolph was forced to resign the presidency, his peers immediately turned to Middleton to complete the term. He served as the fledgling coalition's president from October 22, 1774 until Randolph was able to resume his duties briefly beginning on May 10, 1775. Afterward, he was a member of the Congressional Council of Safety and helped to establish the young nation's policy toward the encouragement and support of education. In February 1776 he resigned his political involvements in order to prepare his family and lands for what he believed was inevitable war—but he was replaced by his son Arthur who eventually became a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, served time as an English prisoner of war, and was twice elected Governor of his state.

John Hancock (1737-1793)

John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The third president was a patriot, rebel leader, merchant who signed his name into immortality in giant strokes on the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The boldness of his signature has made it live in American minds as a perfect expression of the strength and freedom—and defiance—of the individual in the face of British tyranny. As President of the Continental Congress during two widely spaced terms—the first from May 24 1775 to October 30 1777 and the second from November 23 1785 to June 5, 1786—Hancock was the presiding officer when the members approved the Declaration of Independence. Because of his position, it was his official duty to sign the document first—but not necessarily as dramatically as he did. Hancock figured prominently in another historic event—the battle at Lexington: British troops who fought there April 10, 1775, had known Hancock and Samuel Adams were in Lexington and had come there to capture these rebel leaders. And the two would have been captured, if they had not been warned by Paul Revere. As early as 1768, Hancock defied the British by refusing to pay customs charges on the cargo of one of his ships. One of Boston's wealthiest merchants, he was recognized by the citizens, as well as by the British, as a rebel leader—and was elected President of the first Massachusetts Provincial Congress. After he was chosen President of the Continental Congress in 1775, Hancock became known beyond the borders of Massachusetts, and, having served as colonel of the Massachusetts Governor's Guards he hoped to be named commander of the American forces—until John Adams nominated George Washington. In 1778 Hancock was commissioned Major General and took part in an unsuccessful campaign in Rhode Island. But it was as a political leader that his real distinction was earned—as the first Governor of Massachusetts, as President of Congress, and as President of the Massachusetts constitutional ratification convention. He helped win ratification in Massachusetts, gaining enough popular recognition to make him a contender for the newly created Presidency of the United States, but again he saw Washington gain the prize. Like his rival, George Washington, Hancock was a wealthy man who risked much for the cause of independence. He was the wealthiest New Englander supporting the patriotic cause, and, although he lacked the brilliance of John Adams or the capacity to inspire of Samuel Adams, he became one of the foremost leaders of the new nation—perhaps, in part, because he was willing to commit so much at such risk to the cause of freedom.

Henry Laurens (1724-1792)

Henry Laurens, "father of our country."

The only American president ever to be held as a prisoner of war by a foreign power, Laurens was heralded after he was released as "the father of our country," by no less a personage than George Washington. He was of Huguenot extraction, his ancestors having come to America from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes made the Reformed faith illegal. Raised and educated for a life of mercantilism at his home in Charleston, he also had the opportunity to spend more than a year in continental travel. It was while in Europe that he began to write revolutionary pamphlets—gaining him renown as a patriot. He served as vice-president of South Carolina in1776. He was then elected to the Continental Congress. He succeeded John Hancock as President of the newly independent but war beleaguered United States on November 1, 1777. He served until December 9, 1778 at which time he was appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands. Unfortunately for the cause of the young nation, he was captured by an English warship during his cross-Atlantic voyage and was confined to the Tower of London until the end of the war. After the Battle of Yorktown, the American government regained his freedom in a dramatic prisoner exchange—President Laurens for Lord Cornwallis. Ever the patriot, Laurens continued to serve his nation as one of the three representatives selected to negotiate terms at the Paris Peace Conference in 1782.

John Jay (1745-1829)

John Jay, Chief Justice.

America's first Secretary of State, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, one of its first ambassadors, and author of some of the celebrated Federalist Papers, Jay was a Founding Father who, by a quirk of fate, missed signing the Declaration of Independence—at the time of the vote for independence and the signing, he had temporarily left the Continental Congress to serve in New York's revolutionary legislature. Nevertheless, he was chosen by his peers to succeed Henry Laurens as President of the United States—serving a term from December 10, 1778 to September 27, 1779. A conservative New York lawyer who was at first against the idea of independence for the colonies, the aristocratic Jay in 1776 turned into a patriot who was willing to give the next twenty-five years of his life to help establish the new nation. During those years, he won the regard of his peers as a dedicated and accomplished statesman and a man of unwavering principle. In the Continental Congress Jay prepared addresses to the people of Canada and Great Britain. In New York he drafted the State constitution and served as Chief Justice during the war. He was President of the Continental Congress before he undertook the difficult assignment, as ambassador, of trying to gain support and funds from Spain. After helping Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, and Laurens complete peace negotiations in Paris in 1783, Jay returned to become the first Secretary of State, called "Secretary of Foreign Affairs" under the Articles of Confederation. He negotiated valuable commercial treaties with Russia and Morocco, and dealt with the continuing controversy with Britain and Spain over the southern and western boundaries of the United States. He proposed that America and Britain establish a joint commission to arbitrate disputes that remained after the war—a proposal which, though not adopted, influenced the government's use of arbitration and diplomacy in settling later international problems. In this post Jay felt keenly the weakness of the Articles of Confederation and was one of the first to advocate a new governmental compact. He wrote five Federalist Papers supporting the Constitution, and he was a leader in the New York ratification convention. As first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Jay made the historic decision that a State could be sued by a citizen from another State, which led to the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution. On a special mission to London he concluded the "Jay Treaty," which helped avert a renewal of hostilities with Britain but won little popular favor at home—and it is probably for this treaty that this Founding Father is best remembered.

Samuel Huntington (1732-1796) An industrious youth who mastered his studies of the law without the advantage of a school, a tutor, or a master—borrowing books and snatching opportunities to read and research between odd jobs—he was one of the greatest self-made men among the Founders. He was also one of the greatest legal minds of the age—all the more remarkable for his lack of advantage as a youth. In 1764, in recognition of his obvious abilities and initiative, he was elected to the General Assembly of Connecticut. The next year he was chosen to serve on the Executive Council. In 1774 he was appointed Associate Judge of the Superior Court and, as a delegate to the Continental Congress, was acknowledged to be a legal scholar of some respect. He served in Congress for five consecutive terms, during the last of which he was elected President. He served in that office from September 28, 1779 until ill health forced him to resign on July 9, 1781. He returned to his home in Connecticut—and as he recuperated, he accepted more Councilor and Bench duties. He again took his seat in Congress in 1783, but left it to become Chief Justice of his state's Superior Court. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1785 and Governor in 1786. According to John Jay, he was "the most precisely trained Christian jurists ever to serve his country."

Thomas McKean (1734-1817) During his astonishingly varied fifty-year career in public life he held almost every possible position—from deputy county attorney to President of the United States under the Confederation. Besides signing the Declaration of Independence, he contributed significantly to the development and establishment of constitutional government in both his home state of Delaware and the nation. At the Stamp Act Congress he proposed the voting procedure that Congress adopted: that each colony, regardless of size or population, has one vote—the practice adopted by the Continental Congress and the Congress of the Confederation, and the principle of state equality manifest in the composition of the Senate. And as county judge in 1765, he defied the British by ordering his court to work only with documents that did not bear the hated stamps. In June 1776, at the Continental Congress, McKean joined with Caesar Rodney to register Delaware's approval of the Declaration of Independence, over the negative vote of the third Delaware delegate, George Read—permitting it to be "The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States." And at a special Delaware convention, he drafted the constitution for that State. McKean also helped draft—and signed—the Articles of Confederation. It was during his tenure of service as President—from July 10, 1781 to November 4, 1782—when news arrived from General Washington in October 1781 that the British had surrendered following the Battle of Yorktown. As Chief Justice of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, he contributed to the establishment of the legal system in that State, and, in 1787, he strongly supported the Constitution at the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention, declaring it "the best the world has yet seen." At sixty-five, after over forty years of public service, McKean resigned from his post as Chief Justice. A candidate on the Democratic-Republican ticket in 1799, McKean was elected Governor of Pennsylvania. As Governor, he followed such a strict policy of appointing only fellow Republicans to office that he became the father of the spoils system in America. He served three tempestuous terms as Governor, completing one of the longest continuous careers of public service of any of the Founding Fathers.

John Hanson (1715-1783) He was the heir of one of the greatest family traditions in the colonies and became the patriarch of a long line of American patriots—his great grandfather died at Lutzen beside the great King Gustavus Aldophus of Sweden; his grandfather was one of the founders of New Sweden along the Delaware River in Maryland; one of his nephews was the military secretary to George Washington; another was a signer of the Declaration; still another was a signer of the Constitution; yet another was Governor of Maryland during the Revolution; and still another was a member of the first Congress; two sons were killed in action with the Continental Army; a grandson served as a member of Congress under the new Constitution; and another grandson was a Maryland Senator. Thus, even if Hanson had not served as President himself, he would have greatly contributed to the life of the nation through his ancestry and progeny. As a youngster he began a self-guided reading of classics and rather quickly became an acknowledged expert in the juridicalism of Anselm and the practical philosophy of Seneca—both of which were influential in the development of the political philosophy of the great leaders of the Reformation. It was based upon these legal and theological studies that the young planter—his farm, Mulberry Grove was just across the Potomac from Mount Vernon—began to espouse the cause of the patriots. In 1775 he was elected to the Provincial Legislature of Maryland. Then in 1777, he became a member of Congress where he distinguished himself as a brilliant administrator. Thus, he was elected President in 1781. He served in that office from November 5, 1781 until November 3, 1782. He was the first President to serve a full term after the full ratification of the Articles of Confederation—and like so many of the Southern and New England Founders, he was strongly opposed to the Constitution when it was first discussed. He remained a confirmed anti-federalist until his untimely death.

Elias Boudinot (1741-1802) He did not sign the Declaration, the Articles, or the Constitution. He did not serve in the Continental Army with distinction. He was not renowned for his legal mind or his political skills. He was instead a man who spent his entire career in foreign diplomacy. He earned the respect of his fellow patriots during the dangerous days following the traitorous action of Benedict Arnold. His deft handling of relations with Canada also earned him great praise. After being elected to the Congress from his home state of New Jersey, he served as the new nation's Secretary for Foreign Affairs—managing the influx of aid from France, Spain, and Holland. The in 1783 he was elected to the Presidency. He served in that office from November 4, 1782 until November 2, 1783. Like so many of the other early presidents, he was a classically trained scholar, of the Reformed faith, and an anti-federalist in political matters. He was the father and grandfather of frontiersmen—and one of his grandchildren and namesakes eventually became a leader of the Cherokee nation in its bid for independence from the sprawling expansion of the United States.

Thomas Mifflin (1744-1800) By an ironic sort of providence, Thomas Mifflin served as George Washington's first aide-de-camp at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, and, when the war was over, he was the man, as President of the United States, who accepted Washington's resignation of his commission. In the years between, Mifflin greatly served the cause of freedom—and, apparently, his own cause—while serving as the first Quartermaster General of the Continental Army. He obtained desperately needed supplies for the new army—and was suspected of making excessive profit himself. Although experienced in business and successful in obtaining supplies for the war, Mifflin preferred the front lines, and he distinguished himself in military actions on Long Island and near Philadelphia. Born and reared a Quaker, he was excluded from their meetings for his military activities. A controversial figure, Mifflin lost favor with Washington and was part of the Conway Cabal—a rather notorious plan to replace Washington with General Horatio Gates. And Mifflin narrowly missed court-martial action over his handling of funds by resigning his commission in 1778. In spite of these problems—and of repeated charges that he was a drunkard—Mifflin continued to be elected to positions of responsibility—as President and Governor of Pennsylvania, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, as well as the highest office in the land—where he served from November 3, 1783 to November 29, 1784. Most of Mifflin's significant contributions occurred in his earlier years—in the First and Second Continental Congresses he was firm in his stand for independence and for fighting for it, and he helped obtain both men and supplies for Washington's army in the early critical period. In 1784, as President, he signed the treaty with Great Britain which ended the war. Although a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, he did not make a significant contribution—beyond signing the document. As Governor of Pennsylvania, although he was accused of negligence, he supported improvements of roads, and reformed the State penal and judicial systems. He had gradually become sympathetic to Jefferson's principles regarding State's rights, even so, he directed the Pennsylvania militia to support the Federal tax collectors in the Whiskey Rebellion. In spite of charges of corruption, the affable Mifflin remained a popular figure. A magnetic personality and an effective speaker, he managed to hold a variety of elective offices for almost thirty years of the critical Revolutionary period.

Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) His resolution "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States," approved by the Continental Congress July 2, 1776, was the first official act of the United Colonies that set them irrevocably on the road to independence. It was not surprising that it came from Lee's pen—as early as 1768 he proposed the idea of committees of correspondence among the colonies, and in 1774 he proposed that the colonies meet in what became the Continental Congress. From the first, his eye was on independence. A wealthy Virginia planter whose ancestors had been granted extensive lands by King Charles II, Lee disdained the traditional aristocratic role and the aristocratic view. In the House of Burgesses he flatly denounced the practice of slavery. He saw independent America as "an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repose." In 1764, when news of the proposed Stamp Act reached Virginia, Lee was a member of the committee of the House of Burgesses that drew up an address to the King, an official protest against such a tax. After the tax was established, Lee organized the citizens of his county into the Westmoreland Association, a group pledged to buy no British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed. At the First Continental Congress, Lee persuaded representatives from all the colonies to adopt this non-importation idea, leading to the formation of the Continental Association, which was one of the first steps toward union of the colonies. Lee also proposed to the First Continental Congress that a militia be organized and armed—the year before the first shots were fired at Lexington; but this and other proposals of his were considered too radical—at the time. Three days after Lee introduced his resolution, in June of 1776, he was appointed by Congress to the committee responsible for drafting a declaration of independence, but he was called home when his wife fell ill, and his place was taken by his young protégé, Thomas Jefferson. Thus Lee missed the chance to draft the document—though his influence greatly shaped it and he was able to return in time to sign it. He was elected President—serving from November 30, 1784 to November 22, 1785 when he was succeeded by the second administration of John Hancock. Elected to the Constitutional Convention, Lee refused to attend, but as a member of the Congress of the Confederation, he contributed to another great document, the Northwest Ordinance, which provided for the formation of new States from the Northwest Territory. When the completed Constitution was sent to the States for ratification, Lee opposed it as anti-democratic and anti-Christian. However, as one of Virginia's first Senators, he helped assure passage of the amendments that, he felt, corrected many of the document's gravest faults—the Bill of Rights. He was the great uncle of Robert E. Lee and the scion of a great family tradition.

Nathaniel Gorham (1738-1796) Another self-made man, Gorham was one of the many successful Boston merchants who risked all he had for the cause of freedom. He was first elected to the Massachusetts General Court in 1771. His honesty and integrity won his acclaim and was thus among the first delegates chose to serve in the Continental Congress. He remained in public service throughout the war and into the Constitutional period, though his greatest contribution was his call for a stronger central government. But even though he was an avid federalist, he did not believe that the union could—or even should—be maintained peaceably for more than a hundred years. He was convinced that eventually, in order to avoid civil or cultural war, smaller regional interests should pursue an independent course. His support of a new constitution was rooted more in pragmatism than ideology. When John Hancock was unable to complete his second term as President, Gorham was elected to succeed him—serving from June 6, 1786 to February 1, 1787. It was during this time that the Congress actually entertained the idea of asking Prince Henry—the brother of Frederick II of Prussia—and Bonnie Prince Charlie—the leader of the ill-fated Scottish Jacobite Rising and heir of the Stuart royal line—to consider the possibility of establishing a constitutional monarch in America. It was a plan that had much to recommend it but eventually the advocates of republicanism held the day. During the final years of his life, Gorham was concerned with several speculative land deals which nearly cost him his entire fortune.

Arthur St. Clair (1734-1818) Born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland during the tumultuous days of the final Jacobite Rising and the Tartan Suppression, St. Clair was the only president of the United States born and bred on foreign soil. Though most of his family and friends abandoned their devastated homeland in the years following the Battle of Culloden—after which nearly a third of the land was depopulated through emigration to America—he stayed behind to learn the ways of the hated Hanoverian English in the Royal Navy. His plan was to learn of the enemy's military might in order to fight another day. During the global conflict of the Seven Years War—generally known as the French and Indian War—he was stationed in the American theater. Afterward, he decided to settle in Pennsylvania where many of his kin had established themselves. His civic-mindedness quickly became apparent: he helped to organize both the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania militias, led the Continental Army's Canadian expedition, and was elected Congress. His long years of training in the enemy camp was finally paying off. He was elected President in 1787—and he served from February 2 of that year until January 21 of the next. Following his term of duty in the highest office in the land, he became the first Governor of the Northwest Territory. Though he briefly supported the idea of creating a constitutional monarchy under the Stuart's Bonnie Prince Charlie, he was a strident Anti-Federalist—believing that the proposed federal constitution would eventually allow for the intrusion of government into virtually every sphere and aspect of life. He even predicted that under the vastly expanded centralized power of the state the taxing powers of bureaucrats and other unelected officials would eventually confiscate as much as a quarter of the income of the citizens—a notion that seemed laughable at the time but that has proven to be ominously modest in light of our current governmental leviathan. St. Clair lived to see the hated English tyrants who destroyed his homeland defeated. But he despaired that his adopted home might actually create similar tyrannies and impose them upon themselves.

Cyrus Griffin (1736-1796) Like Peyton Randolph, he was trained in London's Inner Temple to be a lawyer—and thus was counted among his nation's legal elite. Like so many other Virginians, he was an anti-federalist, though he eventually accepted the new Constitution with the promise of the Bill of Rights as a hedge against the establishment of an American monarchy—which still had a good deal of currency. The Articles of Confederation afforded such freedoms that he had become convinced that even with the incumbent loss of liberty, some new form of government would be required. A protégé of George Washington—having worked with him on several speculative land deals in the West—he was a reluctant supporter of the Constitutional ratifying process. It was during his term in the office of the Presidency—the last before the new national compact went into effect—that ratification was formalized and finalized. He served as the nation's chief executive from January 22, 1788 until George Washington's inauguration on April 30, 1789.

Notes

  1. Monday, November 17 1777, Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. A Century of Lawmaking, 1774-1873
  2. "Articles of Confederation, 1777-1781". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 2007-09-15. http://web.archive.org/web/20070915075849/http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/ar/91719.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  3. Letter George Washington to George Clinton, September 11 1783. The George Washington Papers, 1741-1799
  4. "While Washington and Steuben were taking the army in an ever more European direction, Lee in captivity was moving the other way — pursuing his insights into a fullfledged and elaborated proposal for guerrilla warfare. He presented his plan to Congress, as a "Plan for the Formation of the American Army." Bitterly attacking Steuben's training of the army according to the "European Plan," Lee charged that fighting British regulars on their own terms was madness and courted crushing defeat: "If the Americans are servilely kept to the European Plan, they will … be laugh'd at as a bad army by their enemy, and defeated in every [encounter]… . [The idea] that a decisive action in fair ground may be risqued is talking nonsense." Instead, he declared that "a plan of defense, harassing and impeding can alone succeed," particularly if based on the rough terrain west of the Susquehannah River in Pennsylvania. He also urged the use of cavalry and of light infantry (in the manner of Dan Morgan), both forces highly mobile and eminently suitable for the guerrilla strategy. This strategic plan was ignored both by Congress and by Washington, all eagerly attuned to the new fashion of Prussianizing and to the attractions of a "real" army." - Murray N. Rothbard, Generalissimo Washington: How He Crushed the Spirit of Liberty excerpted from Conceived in Liberty, Volume IV, chapters 8 and 41.Template:Relevance
  5. Henry Cabot Lodge. George Washington, Vol. I. I. http://www.fullbooks.com/George-Washington-Vol-I4.html. 
  6. Friday, February 2 1781, Laws of Maryland, 1781. An ACT to empower the delegates
  7. McDonald pg. 276
  8. Ralph Ketcham, Roots of the Republic: American Founding Documents Interpreted, pg. 383
  9. Emory, Bobby (1993). "The Articles of Confederation". Libertarian Nation Foundation. http://libertariannation.org/a/f11e1.html#3. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  10. "Religion and the Congress of the Confederation, 1774-89 (Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, Library of Congress Exhibition)". Library of Congress. 2003-10-27. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel04.html. 
  11. "Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention". U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/360.html#360.2. 
  12. Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789 - To Form a More Perfect Union: The Work of the Continental Congress & the Constitutional Convention (American Memory from the Library of Congress)
  13. Rakove 1988 p. 230
  14. In his book Life of Webster Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge writes, "It is safe to say that there was not a man in the country, from Washington and Hamilton to Clinton and Mason, who did not regard the new system as an experiment from which each and every State had a right to peaceably withdraw." A textbook used at West Point before the Civil War, A View of the Constitution, written by Judge William Rawle, states, "The secession of a State depends on the will of the people of such a State."
  15. "First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln, Monday, March 4, 1861". http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/presiden/inaug/lincoln1.htm. "...no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void, and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances." 

References

  • R. B. Bernstein, "Parliamentary Principles, American Realities: The Continental and Confederation Congresses, 1774-1789," in Inventing Congress: Origins & Establishment Of First Federal Congress ed by Kenneth R. Bowling and Donald R. Kennon (1999) pp 76-108
  • Burnett, Edmund Cody. The Continental Congress: A Definitive History of the Continental Congress From Its Inception in 1774 to March, 1789 (1941)
  • Barbara Feinberg, The Articles Of Confederation (2002). [for middle school children.]
  • Robert W. Hoffert, A Politics of Tensions: The Articles of Confederation and American Political Ideas (1992).
  • Lucille E. Horgan. Forged in War: The Continental Congress and the Origin of Military Supply and Acquisition Policy (2002)
  • Merrill Jensen, The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774-1781 (1959).
  • Merrill Jensen: "The Idea of a National Government During the American Revolution", Political Science Quarterly, 58 (1943), 356-79. online at JSTOR
  • Calvin Jillson and Rick K. Wilson. Congressional Dynamics: Structure, Coordination, and Choice in the First American Congress, 1774-1789. (1994)
  • Forest McDonald.Novus Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution. (1985)
  • Andrew C. Mclaughlin, A Constitutional History of the United States (1935) online version
  • Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (1998).
  • Jackson T. Main, Political Parties before the Constitution. University of North Carolina Press, 1974
  • Jack N. Rakove, The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress (1982).
  • Jack N. Rakove, “The Collapse of the Articles of Confederation,” in The American Founding: Essays on the Formation of the Constitution. Ed by J. Jackson Barlow, Leonard W. Levy and Ken Masugi. Greenwood Press. 1988. Pp 225-45 ISBN 0313256101

Further reading

  • Klos, Stanley L. (2004). President Who? Forgotten Founders. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Evisum, Inc.. pp. 261. ISBN 0-9752627-5-0. 


External links

The Early Years of the Constitutional Republic (1787 - 1800)

Early Immigration to the Americas as of 1790

The following table is an approximation of the countries of origin for new arrivals to United States up to 1790.[1] The regions marked * were a part of Great Britain. The Irish in the 1790 census were probably mostly Irish Protestants and the French Huguenots. The total U.S. Catholic population in 1790 was probably less than 5%. [2]

Group Immigrants before 1790 Population 1790
Africa 360,000 (most as slaves) 800,000
England* 230,000 1,900,000
Ulster Scot-Irish* 135,000 300,000
Germany 103,000 270,000
Scotland* 48,500 150,000
Ireland* 8,000 (Incl. in Scot-Irish)
Netherlands 6,000 100,000
Wales* 4,000 10,000
France 3,000 50,000
Jews 1,000 2,000
Sweden 500 2,000
Other --- 200,000

James Webb, among others, has argued that not enough credit is given to early Scots-Irish for the role they played in early American history. These people formed a full 40% of the American Revolutionary army: their culture is now dominant in the American South, Midwest and Appalachian Region.

The Constitutional Convention

In 1787, a Convention was called in Philadelphia with the declared purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. However many delegates intended to use this convention for the purpose of drafting a new constitution. All states except for Rhode Island sent delegates, though all delegates did not attend. It was presided over by George Washington. At the convention, the primary issue was representation of the states. Under the Articles, each state had one vote in Congress. The more populous states wanted representation to be based on population (proportional representation). James Madison of Virginia crafted the Virginia Plan, which guaranteed proportional representation and granted wide powers to the Congress. The small states, on the other hand, supported equal representation through William Paterson's New Jersey Plan. The New Jersey Plan also increased the Congress' power, but it did not go nearly as far as the Virginia Plan. The conflict threatened to end the Convention, but Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed the "Great Compromise" (or Connecticut Compromise) under which one house of Congress would be based on proportional representation, while the other would be based on equal representation. Eventually, the Compromise was accepted and the Convention saved.

After settling on representation, compromises seemed easy for other issues. The question about the counting of slaves when determining the official population of a state was resolved by the Three-Fifths Compromise, which provided that slaves would count as three-fifths of persons. In another compromise, the Congress was empowered to ban the slave trade, but only after 1808. Similarly, issues relating to the empowerment and election of the President were resolved, leading to the Electoral College method for choosing the Chief Executive of the nation.

The Convention required that the Constitution come into effect only after nine states ratify, or approve, it. The fight for ratification was difficult, but the Constitution eventually came into effect in 1788.

The Federalist Papers and Ratification

During 1788 and 1789, there were 85 essays published in several New York State newspapers, designed to convince New York and Virginia voters to ratify the Constitution. The three people who are generally acknowledged for writing these essays are Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. Since Hamilton, Madison, and Jay were considered Federalists, this series of essays became known as "The Federalist Papers. One of the most famous Federalist Papers is Federalist No. 10, which was written by Madison and argues that the checks and balances in the Constitution prevent the government from falling victim to factions.

Anti-Federalists did not support ratification. Many individuals, such as Patrick Henry, George Mason, and Richard Henry Lee, were Anti-Federalists. The Anti-Federalists had several complaints with the constitution. One of their biggest was that the Constitution did not provide for a Bill of Rights protecting the people. They also thought the Constitution gave too much power to the federal government and too little to individual states. A third complaint of the Anti-Federalists was that Senators and the President were not directly elected by the people, and that the House of Representatives was elected every two years instead of annually.

On December 7, 1787, Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution. The vote was unanimous, 30-0. Pennsylvania followed on December 12 and New Jersey on ratified on December 18, also in a unanimous vote. By summer 1788, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia and New York had ratified the Constitution, and it went into effect. On August 2, 1788, North Carolina refused to ratify the Constitution without amendments, but it relented and ratified it a year later.

A number of states that ratified the Constitution also issued statements requesting changes to the constitution, such as a Bill of Rights. This led to the Bill of Rights being drawn up in the first few years of the federal government.

The Bill of Rights

George Washington was inaugurated as the first United States president on April 30, 1789. However, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Vermont had not ratified the Constitution. On September 26, 1789, Congress sent a list of twelve amendments to the states for ratification. Ten of the amendments would become the Bill of Rights. North Carolina ratified the Constitution in November of 1789, followed by Rhode Island in May 1790. Vermont became the last state to ratify the Constitution on January 10, 1791, becoming the 14th state in the Union.

The Bill of Rights was enacted on December 15, 1791. Here is a summary of the ten amendments ratified on that day:

  1. Establishes freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly, petition.
  2. Establishes the right to keep and bear arms as part of a well-regulated militia.
  3. Bans the forced quartering of soldiers.
  4. Interdiction of unreasonable searches and seizures; a search warrant is required to search persons or property.
  5. Details the concepts of indictments, due process, self-incrimination, double jeopardy, rules for eminent domain.
  6. Establishes rights to a fair and speedy public trial, to a notice of accusations, to confront the accuser, to subpoenas, and to counsel.
  7. Provides for the right to trial by jury in civil cases
  8. Bans cruel and unusual punishment, and excessive fines or bail
  9. Lists unrenumerated rights
  10. Limits the powers of the federal government to only those specifically granted by the constitution.

Washington Administration

George Washington, the first President of the United States

After George Washington had become the successful Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War, he became the first President of the United States, holding office from 1789 to 1797. Yet after leading the American victory, he refused to lead a military regime, though he was encouraged to do so by some of his peers. He returned to civilian life at Mount Vernon.

In 1788, the Electors unanimously chose Washington as president. A short time after he had helped bring the government together, rivalries arose between his closest advisors, particularly between Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Out of these developments evolved two new political parties: The Federalists, who shared the same name as the earlier pro-ratification party, and the Democratic-Republican Party, also known as the Jeffersonian party, or as the Anti-Federalists.

Washington's two-term administration set many policies and traditions that survive today. He was again unanimously elected in 1792. But after his second term expired, Washington again voluntarily relinquished power, thereby establishing an important precedent that was to serve as an example for the United States and also for other future republics. Washington also abjured titles. He didn't want to be called "Your Excellency" or "Your Majesty." He insisted on being called "Mr. President," and referred to as "The President of the United States". Because of his central role in the founding of the United States, Washington is often called the "Father of his Country". Scholars rank him with Abraham Lincoln among the greatest of United States presidents.

Domestic Issues: Strong or Weak Central Government?

The conflict between the Federalist party and the Democratic-Republican party can be seen in the debate on how to pay off Revolutionary War debts. Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists were for a strong central government. They wanted to put state debts and federal debts into one huge national debt. When the new federal government had succeeded in paying off this debt, it would increase confidence in the stability of the central government, encouraging foreign governments to loan money to the U.S. Hamilton also proposed a National Bank to help stabilize the national economy. This private Bank of the United States would serve as a place to put the government's money, increasing central financial power and economic control.

Jefferson did not agree with Hamilton's idea of a national bank. Jefferson's faction envisioned an America more similar to ancient Athens or pre-Imperial Rome, with independent farming households following their own interests and nurturing liberty. Jefferson believed America should teach people to be self-sufficient farmers, and he wanted the federal government to stop interfering in state matters. (However, some evidence suggests Jefferson did support Hamilton's plan for paying off state debts. He wanted leverage to pressure Hamilton's agreement to locate the government's permanent capital in the South, on the Potomac River in what would become Washington, D.C.)

Both President Washington and Congress agreed to Hamilton's Bank. Jefferson's plan was overruled, and he eventually resigned as Secretary of State.

Whiskey Rebellion (1794)

Washington was involved in one controversy during his presidency. This was the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. Hamilton had asked Congress to pass an excise tax on the sale of whiskey, but rural Pennsylvania farmers refused to pay the tax, and a mob of 500 men attacked a tax collector's house. In response, Washington and Hamilton led an army of 15,000 men to quell the rebellion. This army was larger than the army Washington commanded during the American Revolution. When the army showed up, the rebels dispersed. The whiskey tax was eventually repealed by the Democratic Republicans in 1801.

Foreign Affairs

The French Revolution

The French Revolution broke out in 1789, a few months after the American Constitution had gone into effect. At first, as France overthrew the monarchy and declared itself a republic, many Americans supported the revolution. They believed their own revolt against England had spurred France to republicanism. But as the Reign of Terror began, and thousands of French aristocrats went to the guillotine, many Americans were shocked at the revolution's excesses. By the mid-1790s, as France went to war against neighboring monarchies, the revolution polarized American public opinion. Federalists viewed England, France's traditional enemy, as the bastion of stable government against a growing tide of French anarchy. Members of the emerging Democratic Republican Party, on the other hand, who took their party's name in part from the French Republic, believed the Terror to be a temporary excess and continued to view England as the true enemy of liberty.

President Washington's policy was neutrality. He knew that England, France, or even Spain, would be happy to eat up American resources and territory. The United States in the 1790s was still new and frail. He hoped that America could stay out of European conflicts until it was strong enough to withstand any serious foreign threat. Yet both England and France found opportunities to each use American resources against the other.

Hamilton and Jefferson clashed here as well. The former argued that the mutual defense treaty that the United States had signed with France in 1778 was no longer binding, as the French regime that had made that treaty no longer existed. The latter disagreed. But Washington sided with Hamilton, issuing a formal Proclamation of Neutrality in 1793. Washington repeated his belief in neutrality and argued against factionalism in his Farewell Address of 1796.

That same year, Citizen Edmund Charles Genêt arrived as the French minister to the United States. He soon began issuing commissions to captains of American ships who were willing to serve as privateers for France. This blatant disregard of American neutrality angered Washington, who demanded and got Genêt's recall.

English and Spanish Negotiations

The Royal Navy, meanwhile, began pressing sailors into service, including sailors on American merchant ships. Many English sailors had been lured into the American merchant service by high wages and comparatively good standards of living, and England needed these sailors to man its own fleet, on which England's national security depended. This violation of the American flag, however, infuriated Americans, as did the fact that England had not yet withdrawn its soldiers from posts in the Northwest Territory, as required by the Treaty of Paris of 1783.

In response, President Washington sent Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay to negotiate a treaty with England. But Jay had little leverage with which to negotiate: the final treaty did require immediate English evacuation of the frontier forts, but it said nothing about the matter of impressments. The Jay Treaty provoked an outcry among American citizens, and although the Senate ratified it narrowly, the debate it sparked was the final blow which solidified the Federalist and Republican factions into full-scale political parties, Federalists acquiescing in the treaty, and Republicans viewing it as a sell-out to England (and against France).

Spain, meanwhile, viewed the Jay Treaty negotiations with alarm, fearing that America and England might be moving towards an alliance. Without being certain of the treaty provisions, Spain decided to mollify the United States and give ground in the southwest before a future Anglo-American alliance could take New Orleans and Louisiana. Spain thus agreed to abandon all territorial claims north of Florida and east of the Mississippi, with the exception of New Orleans, and to grant the United States both the right to navigate the Mississippi and the right of commercial deposit in New Orleans. This would give westerners greater security and allow them to trade with the outside world. This Treaty of San Lorenzo, also called Pinckney's Treaty after American diplomat Charles Pinckney, was signed in 1795 and ratified the following year. Unlike Jay's treaty, it was quite popular.

If Jay's Treaty alarmed Spain, it angered France, which saw it as a violation of the Franco-American mutual defense treaty of 1778. By 1797, French privateers began attacking American merchant shipping in the Caribbean.

Election of 1796

The first election where the presidency was not a foregone conclusion produced four candidates: Washington's Federalist Vice President John Adams, Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson, the Federalist Thomas Pinckney, and the Democratic-Republican Aaron Burr. (Burr was in fact hoping to become Vice President if the other Democratic-Republican were to win.) There were no Vice Presidential candidates, for under the original draft of the Constitution, the Vice President would be the candidate with the second-largest number of votes.

This was also the election testing the Constitution's Electoral College. Voters in each state did not directly elect candidates. Instead, their choices directed the two votes cast by the state's Electors.

In the election of 1796, John Adams won the required majority, but Thomas Jefferson came in second place. The President and the Vice President were in two different parties. The Constitutional role of the Vice President was defined in relation to the President: there was little else for him to do. Jefferson was isolated from an administration which supported strong government and a central Bank, and his contrary views were not consulted in the Adams administration.

The XYZ Affair

Newly-elected President John Adams sent a delegation to Paris, resolving to negotiate a settlement with France. However, the delegates found it impossible even to secure an appointment with Talleyrand, the French foreign minister. The delegates were approached by three minor functionaries who insisted that the Americans pay a bribe to inaugurate negotiations, warning them of "the power and violence of France" if they refused. The delegates refused. ("The answer is no; no; not a sixpence," one of them retorted. This was popularly rendered as "Millions for defense, not a penny for tribute.") When Adams made the correspondence public, after replacing the names of the French functionaries with X, Y, and Z, American sentiment swung strongly against France. Under the control of the Federalists, Congress initiated a military buildup, fielding several excellent warships and calling Washington out of retirement to head the army. (Washington agreed only on condition that he not command until the army actually took the field. The army was never marshaled.)

The result was a Quasi-war, or an undeclared naval war with France. It consisted of combat between individual ships, mostly in the Caribbean, from 1798 to 1800. Eventually the United States and France agreed to end hostilities and to end the mutual defense treaty of 1778. Adams considered this one of his finest achievements.

Alien and Sedition Acts

Under Adams, the Federalist-dominated congress pushed passage of a series of laws under the cover of overcoming dangerous "aliens." In fact, they four acts were used to silence domestic political opponents.

  1. The Alien Act authorized the president to deport an alien deemed "dangerous."
  2. The Alien Enemies Act authorized the president to deport or imprison any alien from a country that the United States was fighting a declared war with.
  3. The Sedition Act made it a crime to criticize government officials and publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or its agents.
  4. The Naturalization Act changed the residency requirements for aliens to become citizens from 5 to 14 years.

Although it was openly deemed to be a security act, it provided powerful tools to the ruling Federalist party to quiet opposition from the growing Democratic-Republican Party. By extending the time required to become a citizen, they decreased the number of new voters that might choose to support the minority party. However, these acts were rarely enacted against political opponents due to the possibility of conflict such actions could create.

Education

In well off families both boys and girls went to a form of infant school called a petty school. However only boys went to what you call grammar school. Upper class girls and sometimes boys were taught by tutors. Middle class girls might be taught by their mothers. Moreover during the 17th century boarding schools for girls were founded in many towns. In the boarding schools girls were taught subjects like writing, music and needlework. In the grammar schools conditions were hard. Boys started work at 6 or 7 in the morning and worked to 5 or 5.30 pm, with breaks for meals. Corporal punishment was usual. Normally the teacher hit naughty boys on the bare butt with birch twigs. Other boys in the class would hold the naughty boy down. (2) In the 17th and early 18th centuries women were not encouraged to get an education. Some people believed that if women were well educated it would ruin their marriage prospects and be harmful to their mind. Protestants believed that women as well as men should be able to read the bible. Only the daughters of the wealthy or nobility could get an education. By the mid 17th century young women were allowed to go to school with their brothers. Sometimes if you had the money you would be placed within a household of a friend and within the household and you would be taught various things. Some of the things you would learn would be to read and write, run a household, and practice surgery. (2) After the signing of the Declaration of Independence, several states had their own constitutions and there were sections in them that had information pertaining to education. But Thomas Jefferson had the thought that education should be left up to the government. He believed that education should not have a religious bias in it and believed that it should be free to all people not matter what their social status was. It was still very hard to make the concept of public schools easy for people to accept because of the vast number of people who were immigrating, the many different political views, and the different levels of economic difficulties.[3]

Technology

In the 1790s certain New England weavers began building large, automated looms, driven by water power. To house them they created the first American factories. Working the looms required less skill and more speed than household laborers could provide. The looms needed people brought to them; and they also required laborers who did not know the origin of the word sabotage. These factories sought out young women.

The factory owners said they wanted to hire these women just for a few years, with the ideal being that they could raise a dowry for their wedding. They were carefully supervised, with their time laid out for them. Some mill owners created evening classes to teach these women how to write and how to organize a household.

The factories provided a cheaper source of cotton cloth. For the first time some people could afford more than two outfits, work and Sunday best. They also provided an outlet for cotton from the slave states in the South. Cotton was at that time one among many crops. Many slaves had to work to separate cotton from the seeds of the cotton plant, and to ship it to cloth-hungry New England. This was made simpler by Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin in 1793. Cotton became a profitable crop, and many Southern farms now made it their only crop. Growing and picking cotton was long, difficult labor, and the Southern plantation made it the work for slaves. Northern factories became part of the economy of slavery.

This renewed reliance on slavery was going against the trend in other parts of the country. Vermont had prohibited it in its state constitution in 1777. Pennsylvania passed laws for the gradual abolition of the condition in 1780, and New York State in 1799. Education, resources, and economic development created the beginnings of industrialization in many Northern states and plantations and slavery and less development in states in the Deep South.

Review Questions

1. Identify, and explain the significance of the following people:

(a) James Madison
(b) William Paterson
(c) Alexander Hamilton
(d) Patrick Henry
(e) Thomas Jefferson
(f) George Washington
(g) John Adams
(h) Edmund Genet
(i) Charles Pinckney

2. What was accomplished during the Constitutional Convention in terms of states' representations in the national government?

3. How did Hamilton take measures to ensure the ratification of the Constitution?

4. Name two problems or complaints the Anti-Federalists had with the Constitution.

5. What precedents did George Washington set in his two terms in office?

6. On what issues did Jefferson and Hamilton differ? How did this affect policies during the Washington administration?

7. What was the Whiskey Rebellion? Why was it significant?

8. What did Jay's Treaty and Pinckney's Treaty accomplish?

9. How did the United States respond to the French Revolution?

10. What was the XYZ Affair? What was its result?

11. What was the original purpose of the Alien, Sedition, and Naturalization Acts? How did their purpose change?

References

  1. Meyerink, Kory L., and Loretto Dennis Szucs. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy.
  2. Meyerink and Szucs. The ancestry of the 3.9 million population in 1790 has been estimated by various sources by sampling last names in the 1790 census and assigning them a country of origin. This is an uncertain procedure, particularly in the similarity of some Scot-Irish, Irish, and English last names. None of these numbers are definitive and only "educated" guesses.
  3. A People and a Nation, Eighth Edition.


Jeffersonian Republicanism (1800 - 1824)

The Election of 1800

John Adams' Presidency was not popular. Adams and Congress enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, which restricted the free speech of the opposing Democratic-Republicans. Anti-Federalists in Virginia and Kentucky responded by passing the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, written by Jefferson and Madison, which tried to invalidate the Alien and Sedition Acts. Adams even angered his own party by disregarding his cabinet's advice. By 1800, Adams was clearly vulnerable.

The Constitution originally called for the individual with the most votes in an election to become President, and for the runner-up to become Vice President. George Washington, who had approved of this system, had justified it by the belief that it worked against factionalism in political parties. However, it had already resulted in the alienation of Vice President Thomas Jefferson under the Adams administration.

In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr ran against Adams and his running mate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. The two Anti-Federalist candidates would have preferred for Jefferson to become President and Burr to become Vice President. But the Electoral College vote was tied between the two of them. The Federalist-controlled House of Representatives was called upon to chose between them. It had to vote thirty-six times before Jefferson was chosen to be President, and then only with the reluctant agreement of Alexander Hamilton. Congress later approved a Constitutional amendment allowing for separate balloting for President and Vice President in the Electoral College. (Vice President Aaron Burr bore a grudge against Hamilton for this. In 1804, when the two ran for Governor of New York, they dueled, and Burr killed Hamilton.)

Jeffersonian Democracy

Jefferson's first term was called the Revolution of 1800, because of the many changes to America. The peaceful transition of power effectively capped the demise of the Federalists, but not before the Federalists had established a strong, working central government structured and principled as described in the Constitution, instituted a sound financial system, and began diversifying the economy. An indirect legacy of the Federalists, via the Judiciary Act of 1801 and the ensuing Marbury v. Madison, was the doctrine of judicial review, or the power of the federal judiciary to invalidate federal laws on constitutional grounds.

Jefferson differed from the Federalists in that he saw government as a threat to individual freedom; the only protection against that threat was democracy and strong protections of personal liberties. He did not, however, reject wholesale the accomplishments of the Federalist administrations that preceded him, and his combination of them with his own beliefs came to be known as Jeffersonian democracy.

Important Supreme Court cases

In 1803, the U.S. Supreme Court established some principles that would have a profound effect in the life of America. The first was the issue of judicial review and the second was the controversial trial of Aaron Burr. The first trial Marbury v. Madison dealt with the court packing policies of the previous president John Adams. This trial introduced the concept of judicial review to the political scene.

Louisiana Purchase

The Purchase was one of several territorial additions to the U.S.

The French province of Louisiana included present-day North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri as well as most of Kansas, the western part of Minnesota, the eastern parts of Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming, and, of course, Louisiana. This big territory, lightly developed by the French, was recognized as a raw asset, and was the object of speculation by many nations.

After the French and Indian War, France ceded all of Louisiana east of the Mississippi to Britain, keeping back only the city of New Orleans. France gave New Orleans and the western part of Louisiana to Spain. It was a Spanish colony after 1762. The Treaty of Paris gave the British part of Louisiana to the United States. Napoleon Bonaparte obtained the return of Louisiana from Spain in 1800, under the Treaty of San Ildefonso. The treaty was kept secret, and Louisiana remained under Spanish control for an interval. The transfer of power finally took place on November 30, 1803, just three weeks before the colony was due to be ceded to the United States.

The port of New Orleans was crucial to trade on the Mississippi. President Jefferson sent James Monroe to Paris in 1802, seeking to negotiate a treaty with France that would allow the United States to benefit from New Orleans. Jefferson put forth four options: the purchase of only New Orleans, the purchase of New Orleans and Florida, the purchase of some Louisianan land allowing the US to build a port there, or the purchase of navigation rights on the Mississippi. But the French rejected all four options. It was all of Louisiana or nothing. Napoleon was preparing to invade Great Britain. The French faction who wanted funds for war had overruled those like de Talleyrand, who had hoped for French empire in North America. (It is also possible that the French knew that Jefferson was prepared to go to war rather than tolerate a strong French presence in America. Napoleon did not want to fight on two fronts at once.) The U.S. agreed to purchase Louisiana for $15 million. The Senate ratified the treaty in 1803, thus dramatically increasing the size of the United States.

Although Jefferson did make the Louisiana Purchase, he had to stretch the Democratic-Republican view of literal constitutionality. The Constitution did not give a president the right to buy land. Jefferson's excuse was that the land would greatly benefit Americans. The Federalists were opposed to the purchase, arguing that the interests of Louisiana territory settlers would conflict with the interests of the established States, threatening the Union.

The Lewis & Clark Expedition

After purchasing the Louisiana Territory, Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to survey the new land. The two men, and forty or so others, set out from St. Louis in 1804 and traveled northwest over the next two years. They had the the help of Sacajawea, a Shoshone Indian who served as their interpreter, and her husband Toussaint Charbonneau, a Canadian fur trapper. Along the way they traded a few goods with the Native Americans. By December 1805, the party had reached the mouth of the Columbia River as it spilled into the Pacific Ocean. The party split into two groups in 1806 -- one led by Lewis, the other by Clark -- eventually reconvening in Fort Mandan, in present-day North Dakota.

The expedition returned to St. Louis by September 1806, Lewis and Clark with journals in hand to report their findings to Jefferson. They had set up diplomatic relations with some of the people they had traded with. In their journals they recorded their native contacts, writing and drawing the shape of the landscape and the new creatures of this Western word. William Clark had also drawn a series of detailed maps, noting and naming rivers and creeks, significant points in the landscape, the shape of river shore, and spots where the expedition had spent each night or camped or portaged for longer periods of time.

The Pike Expedition

In 1805, the soldier Zebulon Pike set out to explore the new territory. Like Lewis and Clark, Captain Pike started in St. Louis, but unlike them he traveled directly west into the Rocky Mountains. He reached Santa Fe, where he was captured briefly by Spanish soldiers. Pike returned to Washington in 1807 to report the number of Spanish forces in the region. More important, however, was his description of the sparsely-vegetated territory, which he called "The Great American Desert." This name deterred settlers from "moving west" for the next thirty to forty years.

Embargo and Non-Intercourse Acts

In 1807, Britain and France, frustrated with America's refusal to help either of them in the Napoleonic Wars, were constantly seizing American merchant ships and taking their cargo and sailors.

The Chesapeake-Leopard Affair

Britain disregarded American neutrality. It seized American ships and forced their sailors to join the Royal Navy, often without regard for the sailors' nationality. This forced service was known as impressment. The British claim that these impressed sailors were "deserters" was not subject to review, and these sailors were often not really deserters from the Royal Navy. In June of 1807, the commander of the American ship Chesapeake had refused to let an encroaching British ship search it for British deserters. The British ship, Leopard, attacked in American waters. The Chesapeake lost, and four "deserters" were taken from its crew. President Jefferson demanded an apology for the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair from the British, and an end to impressment. Yet while the British government did apologize for the Affair, they did not stop searching American ships or end impressment. British impressment of American citizens, with subsequent personal loss to the families of these sailors and economic problems for their ships, was a major cause of the War of 1812.

The Embargo Act and its aftermath

On June 22, 1807, Jefferson called an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss continuing British and French disregard for American sea neutrality. The pro-British faction of Americans urged Jefferson to go to war with France. But the Congress kept to its principles in extremis, and on December 22 it passed the Embargo Act. This law stopped American merchants from trading by sea with any other nation. The originators of the law hoped that it would protect all merchant ships, and perhaps weaken the economies of both Great Britain and France. The embargo did indeed stop nearly all trade between America and Europe. But it severely damaged the economy of the United States. Merchants, who mainly belonged to the Federalist Party, howled in complaint. Smuggling flourished. And the embargo made neither Great Britain or France respect US neutrality.

In 1808 the Democratic-Republican candidate James Madison was elected. He was also a Virginian and had been Jefferson's Secretary of State. Yet the Democrat-Republicans suffered reverses in the House of Representatives. The Embargo Act was unpopular and had damaged the party. In 1809 Congress modified it with the Non-Intercourse Act, an addendum to the embargo which let merchants trade with any nation other than Britain and France. Although trade improved, British and French ships begin seizing American ships again.

A final change to the Embargo and Non-Intercourse acts was passed in 1810 with Macon's Bill No. 2. The bill said that if either Britain or France dropped trade restrictions against the U.S. and stopped seizing American ships, the United States would trade with them and not with the other. The French Emperor Napoleon consented to the conditions of the Bill. America agreed to trade with France and its colonies, rather than Great Britain and its colonies. The end of an American impartiality maintained for years was a prelude to The War of 1812.

Education

Another product of the Second Great Awakening in America was the appearance of Sunday Schools and adult education in New England and the Middle States. The Sunday School movement began in England, partly as a result of reaction to the Church of England's grip on the British educational system. In America it reached out to children in the cities, often too poor for private schools, and children on the frontier to whom the name of Washington was practically unknown. They taught literacy, primarily of the Bible, basic math, and some principles of cleanliness and decorum. In Northern mill towns such as Lowell, Massachusetts, as well as in the Middle States, the churches reached out to workers in the new factories, some of whom were illiterate. They began teaching adults on Sundays (their only day free), as part of denominational education, as well as in the late evenings. Workers believed that knowing how to read and write meant a chance at a better job, and a few more pennies in the weekly wage. Some factory owners began sponsoring these classes, thinking that an educated man would be a more Christian worker -- and, perhaps, a more docile worker. Yet these efforts would be overtaken by a national system of public elementary schools.

Thomas Jefferson's love of knowledge and hatred of religious denomination persisted through his life. As early as 1778 he had mooted a system of public education. On December 2nd, 1806, he pushed an amendment into congress that would legalize federal support for public education. Congress did not pass it, so Jefferson had it written into the constitution of his home state of Virginia. Jefferson made an understandable plan for education which included the elementary, high school, and college levels. Despite this, Virginia did not adopt his plan.

President Jefferson thought that elementary education was the most important form. He had six goals for education: to allow free-born men to deal with their own business, make them able to express their own opinions and ideas in writing, to better their thoughts and faculties through reading, to comprehend civic duties and the duties of their neighbors, to know their rights and how to use them, and to use what they knew in their social lives. He hoped that this would make all men “productive and informed voters.”

Questions For Review

1. Define Jeffersonian democracy.

2. Why did France sell America its portion in the Louisiana Purchase?

3. Macon's Bill Number 2, The Embargo Act, and The Non-Intercourse Act. Place these laws in their correct order. What were the reasons for and the effects of each of them?


Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny (1824 - 1849)

The Election of 1840

President Martin Van Buren was blamed for the Panic of 1837, but felt that he deserved to be reelected in 1840. Van Buren was a Democrat from New York who had continued the policies of Andrew Jackson. To oppose him the Whig Party joined to bring in a hero of the Indian wars, William Henry Harrison, "Old Tippecanoe." The ticket was balanced by the Vice Presidential candidate, a Southerner named John Tyler.

The Harrison campaign was thoroughly managed. The campaign song, "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," was headed with an image of the log cabin where Harrison had supposedly grown up. Paid staffers went to frontier towns rolling a huge canvas ball, inscribed, "Keep it rolling for Tippecanoe and Tyler Too." (The American idiom "Keep the ball rolling" comes from this usage.) The ball would stop in front of a local tavern, then a common meeting place of the community. There they would stage a rally, typically with some free cider. Another sign of Harrison's plain man status was his title as "the hard cider candidate." There was little discussion of the issues. For its part, Van Buren's campaign called Harrison a provincial, out-of-touch old man. (The latter was then sixty-eight years old, a rare age in those days.)

Harrison won, and gave an hours-long, polished inaugural speech to prove his sophistication. Three weeks afterward, he came down with a cold which turned into pneumonia. He died in April of 1841, and John Tyler was sworn in as President. Thus the Whig Party, predominately Northern and ambivalent about slavery, elected a Virginian advocate of slavery and opponent of the American System. This was a startling omen for those like Clay who believed in American unity.

John Tyler Presidency

Tyler's dislike of Jackson had moved him to change his party from Democrat to Whig. His government marked the only Whig presidency. His supporters included formerly anti-Jackson Democrats and National Republicans. He supported states' rights; so when many of the Whig bills came to him, they were never voted in. In fact, Tyler vetoed the entire Whig congressional agenda. The Whigs saw this as a party leader turning on his own party. He was officially expelled from the Whig party in 1841.

The Tyler presidency threw the Whig party into disarray. Because of divisions between the two factions in the party, the Whigs could not agree on one goal. Much of the public did not take Tyler's presidency seriously. They saw his lack of appeal in Congress and the embarrassing resignations of all of but one of Harrison's cabinet appointees in a single month. Yet Tyler's administration helped polarize the two parties. When he appointed John C. Calhoun, a staunch pro-slavery Democrat, as his Secretary of State, he confirmed a growing feeling that Democrats were the party of the South and Whigs the party of the North. In the election of 1844, Whigs voted by sectional ties. Because of these weakening divisions within the party, the Democratic candidate, James Polk, won. After one term, the Whigs were out of power.

Manifest Destiny

Many Western European-descended "White" Americans supported anti-Native American policies. The theme of conquest over the Indian was seen as early as John Filson's story of Daniel Boone in 1784. In the Nineteenth Century this was joined to the conviction that the United States was destined to take over the whole continent of North America, the process of Manifest Destiny articulated by John O' Sullivan in 1845.[source needed] America carried the Bible, civilization, and democracy: the Indian had none of these. Many European descendants believed other ethnic groups, including those people imported as slaves from Africa and their descendants, were childlike, stupid, and feckless. It was the duty of so-called superior groups to meet these inferior groups and to dominate them. So-called inferior ethnic groups could not advance technologically or spiritually. The idea of Manifest Destiny resulted in the murders and dislocation of millions of people. The Cherokee had been converted to Christianity, they were by-and-large peaceful, and they were using a self-invented alphabet to print newspapers. But their deportation, the "Trail of Tears," was justified by Manifest Destiny. The conviction was behind the Louisiana Purchase, the final shaking of French colonialism in what would become the Continental United States. It was behind the defeat of Spanish and Mexicans in a succession of skirmishes and wars. It helped send out pro- and anti-slavery factions across new areas, and still later brought about legislation such as the Homestead Act.

Amistad Case

In February of 1839, Portuguese slave hunters abducted a large group of Africans from Sierra Leone and shipped them to Havana, Cuba, a center for the slave trade. This abduction violated all of the treaties then in existence. Fifty-three Africans were purchased by two Spanish planters and put aboard the Cuban schooner Amistad for shipment to a Caribbean plantation. On July 1, 1839, the Africans seized the ship, killed the captain and the cook, and ordered the planters to sail to Africa. On August 24, 1839, the Amistad was seized off Long Island, NY, by the U.S. brig Washington. The planters were freed and the Africans were imprisoned in New Haven, CT, on charges of murder. Although the murder charges were dismissed, the Africans continued to be held in confinement as the focus of the case turned to salvage claims and property rights. President Van Buren was in favor of extraditing the Africans to Cuba. However, abolitionists in the North opposed extradition and raised money to defend the Africans. Claims to the Africans by the planters, the government of Spain, and the captain of the brig led the case to trial in the Federal District Court in Connecticut. The court ruled that the case fell within Federal jurisdiction and that the claims to the Africans as property were not legitimate because they were illegally held as slaves. The case went to the Supreme Court in January 1841, and former President John Quincy Adams argued the defendants' case. Adams defended the right of the accused to fight to regain their freedom. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the Africans, and 35 of them were returned to their homeland. The others died at sea or in prison while awaiting trial. The result, widely publicized court cases in the United States helped the abolitionist movement.

Technology

The canals had been a radical innovation. But they had their limitations. They could only overcome mountains with complicated, overland bypasses, and in winter they froze, stopping traffic completely. But an answer was found in the steam-driven, coal-powered engine. The steamboat was already bringing cotton and people up the rivers, erasing an age-old transportation problem. The development of railroad engines made travel and manufacture possible even in winter. It made the expensive canal obsolete: wherever you could run a rail, you could have a town. And the coal-fired, steam-powered engine could bring manufacturing to places without great rivers. The prosperity of the New England mill towns could be replicated elsewhere.

Coal and its byproducts became a major industry in America. (It was at about this time that some German cities became known for creating coal-based dyes to make bold-colored fabrics.) Iron works and glass plants built large furnaces, fueled by coke, a coal derivative. They were contained by huge buildings. Steam-boats burned coke. So did steam-driven works. Smoke and smut from industry and household coal fires poured into city air. In his 1842 tour of Pittsburgh, Charles Dickens looked at the haze and fire and called it "Hell with the lid off."

Canals, railroads, and the teletype system tied the country together in a way thought impossible in 1790. They increased the market for goods, and thus the demand. The Second Industrial Revolution produced faster ways of satisfying that demand. In 1855 Henry Bessemer patented a furnace which could turn iron into steel, in high quantity. Iron workers, "puddlers," had worked slowly and regularly, had been paid a high wage, and had been considered craftsmen. The new steelworkers did not need that skill. They could be paid more cheaply. In other industries, faster processes of work either made a mockery of the apprenticeship system or eliminated it altogether. Manufacturers faced the same situation of the New England cloth makers a generation before, and solved it another way. To find fresh, fast, cheap labor, you could often hire children. You didn't have to pay them as much, and they didn't complain. Where children used to work on the farm, they now worked in groups in factories for higher wages. These children were, at the best, expected to work long and hard. (It was cheaper to run big machines in shifts than to have them idle all night.) Boys and girls worked naked in the coal mines; boys got burned in the glassworks; boys got maimed or killed running heavy machinery. None of them went to school, so even the ones who survived to adulthood were unfit for jobs when they came of age.

The ideals of Thomas Jefferson were dead. Instead of craftsmen and farmers living by their own hands, the cities were being filled by people who owned little or nothing, getting on by the wages paid by often indifferent employers. This was true in New England and the Middle States, though not in the South (except for the Tregar Ironworks in Richmond, Virginia, itself partially manned by slaves). Politicians such as John C. Calhoun jeered at Northern "wage slaves," and dreamed of a South with the technology and government of Sparta.

Compromise of 1850

The Compromise of 1850 was an intricate package of five bills passed in September 1850. It defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North that arose following the Mexican-American War. The compromise, drafted by Whig Henry Clay and brokered by Democrat Stephen Douglas, quieted sectional conflict for four years. The calm was greeted with relief, although each side disliked specific provisions. Texas surrendered its claim to New Mexico, but received debt relief and the Texas Panhandle, and retained the control over El Paso that it had established earlier in 1850. The South avoided the humiliating Wilmot Proviso, but did not receive desired Pacific territory in Southern California or a guarantee of slavery south of a territorial compromise line like the Missouri Compromise Line or the 35th parallel north. As compensation, the South received the possibility of slave states by popular sovereignty in the new New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory, which, however, were unsuited to plantation agriculture and populated by non-Southerners; a stronger Fugitive Slave Act, which in practice outraged Northern public opinion; and preservation of slavery in the national capital, although the slave trade was banned there except in the portion of the District of Columbia that adjoined Virginia. The Compromise became possible after the sudden death of President Zachary Taylor, who, although a slave owner himself, tried to implement the Northern policy of excluding slavery from the Southwest. Whig leader Henry Clay designed a compromise, which failed to pass in early 1850. In the next session of Congress, Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois narrowly passed a slightly modified package over opposition by extremists on both sides, including Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.


Texas and Mexico

Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821. Weakened by more than a decade of struggle, the new Republic of Mexico attempted to attract settlers from the United States to the then-sparsely populated Mexican state of Coahuila y Texas. The first white settlers were 200 families led by Stephen F. Austin as a part of a business venture started by Austin's father. Despite nominal attempts to ensure that immigrants would be double penetrated with Mexican cultural values -- by requiring, for example, acceptance of Catholicism and a ban on slave holding -- Mexico's immigration policy led to the whites, rather than Mexicans, becoming the demographic majority in Texas by the 1830's, their beliefs and American values intact.

Due to past US actions in Texas, Mexico feared that white Americans would convince the United States to annex Texas and Mexico. In April 1830, Mexico issued a proclamation that people from the United States could no longer enter Texas. Mexico also would start to place custom duties on goods from the United States. In October 1835, white colonists in Texas revolted against Mexico by attacking a Mexican fort at Goliad, defeating the Mexican garrison. At about the same time, the Mexican president and dictator, Antonio López de Santa Anna, provoked a constitutional crisis that was among the causes of the revolt in Texas, as well as a rebellion in the southern Mexican province of Yucután. An official declaration of Texas independence was signed at Goliad that December. The next March, the declaration was officially enacted at the Texan capital of Washington-on-the-Brazos, creating the Republic of Texas.

A few days before the enactment of the declaration, a Mexican force led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna laid siege to the Alamo, a mission in present day San Antonio. Vastly outnumbered, fewer than 200 Texans at San Antonio de Béxa, renamed the Alamo, held out for 12 days, until the final attack at dawn on March 6, 1836. Santa Anna, as he had promised during the siege, killed the few prisoners taken in the capture. Though the Alamo had been garrisoned in contravention of orders from Sam Houston, who had been placed in charge of Texan armed forces, the delay their defense forced on the Mexican army allowed the Texan government some crucial time to organize.

The next month saw the battle of San Jacinto, the final battle of the Texas Revolution. A force of 800 led by Sam Houston, empowered by their rallying war cry of "Remember the Alamo!", defeated Santa Anna's force of 1600 as they camped beside the sluggish creek for which the 20-minute-long battle is named. Santa Anna himself was captured and the next day was tortured to sign the Treaties of Velasco, which ended Mexico-Texas hostilities. After the fighting had ended, Texas asked to be admitted to the Union, but Texas's request forced Congress to an impasse.

Evolution of the Mexican territory.

One of the most significant problems with the annexation of Texas was slavery. Despite Mexican attempts to exclude the practice, a number of white-Texans held slaves, and the new Republic of Texas recognized the practice as legitimate. In the United States, The Missouri Compromise of 1818 provided for an equality in the numbers of slave and non-slave states in the US, and to allow Texas to join would upset that power balance. For about ten years, the issue was unresolved, until President James Polk agreed to support the annexation of Texas. In 1845, Texas formally voted to join the US. The Mexicans, however, who had never formally recognized Texas's independence, resented this decision.

The southern boundary with Texas had never officially been settled and when the United States moved federal troops into this disputed territory, war broke out (assisted by raids carried out across the border by both sides). In the Mexican-American War, as this was called, the US quickly defeated the Mexican Army by 1848. The peace settlement, called the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ceded one-third of Mexico's territory to the United States. In addition to Texas, with the border fixed at the Rio Grande River, the United States acquired land that would become the present-day states of New Mexico, California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming; the US paid Mexico $15 million. However, the new territories posed even more problems relating to slavery: the balance between slave and non-slave states seemed threatened again.

Oregon

In 1824 and 1825 Russia gave up its claim to Oregon. The U.S. and Canada jointly made an agreement for occupation. However, disputes surfaced over the northwestern boundary of the US and the southwestern boundary of Canada. The US claimed that it owned land south of Alaska, while the British claimed that the boundary was drawn at present-day Oregon. President Polk, who had initiated the dispute, gave Great Britain an ultimatum -- negotiate or go to war. On June 15, 1846, Britain agreed to give up the land south of the 49th parallel, while keeping Vancouver Island and navigation rights to the Columbia River. Polk agreed. Comparing this incident to the president's aggressiveness toward Mexico, several individuals [whom?] concluded that Polk favored the causes of the South over those of the North.

Oregon Trail

Sometimes Native Americans and white settlers met in peace. During the twenty years after 1840, around 250,000 to 500,000 people walked the Oregon Trail across most of the continent on foot, with the trek taking an average of seven months. Many of these settlers were armed in preparation for Native attack, but the majority of the encounters were peaceful. Most of the starting points were along the Missouri River, including Independence, St. Joseph, and Westport, Missouri. Many settlers set out on organized wagon trains, while others went on their own. Settlers timed their departures so they would arrive after spring, allowing their livestock days of pasture at the end, and yet early enough to not travel during the harsh winter. Walking beside their wagons, settlers would usually cover fifteen miles a day. Men, women and children sometimes endured weather ranging from extreme heat to frozen winter in their 2,000 mile journey West. If a traveler became ill, he or she would have no doctor and no aid apart from fellow travelers. Only the strong finished the trail. Although most interactions between Native Americans and settlers were undertaken in good faith, sometimes things went bad. Eventually hostile relations would escalate into full blown war and many years of bloodshed.

California

When war broke out between the United States and Mexico in 1845, a few white settlers in the Sacramento Valley in the Mexican state of California seized the opportunity to advance white business interests by declaring independence from Mexico despite the wishes of many Mexicans and natives present in California. Before the arrival of Europeans, scholars place the population of California at 10 million natives. The sparsely populated Bear Flag Republic, as the new nation was called, quickly asked the US for protection from Mexico, allowing US military operations in the new Republic's territory. As skirmishes occurred in California, Mexicans suffered many abuses at the hands of the new white government.

When the war ended, the California territory and a large surrounding territory were ceded by Mexico to the US in exchange for $15 million. The territory included what would become present day California, Nevada, Utah, most of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado and a small part of Wyoming. The continental US was nearly complete. The final piece would come in 1853, when southern Arizona and New Mexico were bought from Mexico for $10 million. The land from the purchase, known as the Gadsden Purchase, was well suited for building a southern transcontinental railroad.

In 1848 gold was found at the mill of John Sutter, who lived in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, 40 miles east of Sacramento. Word of the gold on the American River (the river on which Sutter's mill was located on) spread, and hordes of people rushed into California to mine gold. The rush peaked in 1849, and those who came during that year were known as "forty-niners." The population of the northern California city of San Francisco exploded as a result of the immigration to the region.

Many immigrants that joined the Gold Rush did not find opportunity but rather discrimination at the hands of white prospectors and newly changed government. One of these, Joaquin Murrieta, known as the Mexican Robin Hood, had become a bandit and hero of those still loyal to Mexico. As a reaction the Governor of California, John Bigler, formed the California Rangers. This group went after and allegedly found Murrieta and his companions. They cut off his head, which was later put on display. Many still doubt whether the person the California Rangers decapitated was actually Murrieta or some other poor soul. Be that as it may, the memory of Murrieta is still much loved and respected by Mexican Americans today.

Apart from being gained by a handful of very lucky prospectors, a great deal of the wealth generated by the Gold Rush belonged to those who owned businesses that were relevant to gold mining. For example, Levi Strauss, a German Jew, invented denim pants for prospectors when he observed that normal pants could not withstand the strenuous activities of mining. Strauss eventually became a millionaire, and the Levi's brand still is recognized today.

Mormonism

The Birth of the Latter Day Saints

One continuation of the Second Great Revival is seen in the birth of an American faith, Mormonism, or The Church of God of the Latter Day Saints. Joseph Smith, a resident of New York State, said that he had found golden plates. The documents which he supposedly translated from these plates revealed what he said was a restoration of the faith which Jesus and the apostles had known, a new American-based order. In 1830 he organized what he designated The Church of Christ, or the Church of the Latter Day Saints. This body spread through conversion, its truth seen in its organization and its prosperity. It had several divergences from existing United States law, including the doctrine that men might have more than one wife. After Smith had been arrested in 1844 in Illinois, charged by civil officials with starting a riot and with treason, a crowd broke into the jail where he was being held and murdered him.

The Great Mormon Exodus

Yet the Latter Day Saints persevered. Smith's successor was another prophet, Brigham Young. Continued conflict between the U.S. Government, most signally the state of Illinois, and the Mormons led to the decision to leave the States and go to a less-settled place. The territory of Utah, obtained through the wars with Mexico, certainly counted as less-settled: a vast alkali desert, punctuated by grotesque mountains, and sparsely peopled by Spanish-speaking settlements and Indian tribes.

The Mormons began sending out a few pioneers for the new territory as early as 1846. In the two decades afterward, while conversion and population growth further increased the Mormons, about 70,000 people made the trek through difficult conditions. In some cases the migrants walked on foot through hostile landscapes, carrying all their goods with them in handcarts they pulled themselves.

When they reached Utah, they formed tightly-organized, top-down structures driven by doctrine and individual discipline. The settlers diverted mountain streams to their fields. In places which had been waste, they created fertile farms and productive vegetable gardens.

Continuing Skirmishes

Yet even in this new land, conflicts continued between Mormons and the U.S. government. In the spring of 1857, President James Buchanan appointed a non-Mormon, Alfred Cumming, as governor of the Utah Territory, replacing Brigham Young, and dispatched troops to enforce the order. The Mormons prepared to defend themselves and their property; Young declared martial law and issued an order on Sept. 15, 1857, forbidding the entry of U.S. troops into Utah. The order was disregarded, and throughout the winter sporadic raids were conducted by the Mormon militia against the encamped U.S. army. Buchanan dispatched (Apr., 1858) representatives to work out a settlement, and on June 26, the army entered Salt Lake City, Cumming was installed as governor, and peace was restored.

In 1890, the president of the Mormon Church, Wilford Woodruff, ruled that there would be no more plural marriages. Other distinctive practices which had become Church practice under Joseph Smith continued, including theocratic rule and declaration of people as gods. By 1896, when Utah became one of the United States, it was both Mormon and as American as Massachusetts or New York State.

Public Schools and Education

The Board of Education in Massachusetts was established in 1837, making it the oldest state board in the United States. Its responsibilities were and are to interpret and implement laws for public education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Public education in the Commonwealth was organized by the regulations adopted by the Board of Education, which were good faith interpretations of Massachusetts and federal law.[1] The Board of Education was also responsible for granting and renewing school applications, developing and implementing the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, submitting yearly budget proposals for public education to the Massachusetts General Court, setting standards for teachers, certifying teachers, principals, and superintendents, and monitoring achievements of districts in the Commonwealth.

There was a movement for reform in public education. The leader of this movement was Horace Mann, a Massachusetts lawyer and reformer. He supported free, tax-supported education to replace church schools and the private schools set up by untrained, young men. Mann proposed universal education, which would help Americanize immigrants. During Mann’s tenure as secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education from 1837 to 1848, Massachusetts led the common school movement brought training for teachers, lengthened school years and raised the teachers pay to attract people to that profession.[2]

In this period education began being extended more and more to women. Early elementary schools had separate rooms for boy students and girl students. Now some elementary classes became co-educational, and women began to be hired as teachers. The first woman's college, Mt. Holyoke, was founded in South Hadley, Massachusetts. It was created by Mary Lyon, and intended as a liberal arts college.

Dred Scott v. Stanford - 1857

Dred Scott was an African-American slave who first sued for his freedom in 1846. His case stated that he and his wife Harriet had been transported to both the state of Illinois and Minnesota territory. Laws in both places made slavery illegal. Dred and Harriet began with two separate cases, one for each of them. Slaves were not allowed legal marriage, but the two considered themselves married, and wanted to protect their two teenage daughters. As Dred became ill, the two merged their suit. At first it was the rule that state courts could decide if African-Americans in their jurisdictions were slave or free. After many years and much hesitation, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.[3] The United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of the slave master, citing precedent that found that neither Dred nor his wife could claim citizenship. As they were not citizens, they did not have a claim in Federal Court. The majority argument cited the Missouri Compromise of 1854 to state that a temporary residence outside of Missouri did not immediately emancipate them, since the owner would be unfairly deprived of property.

Ostend Manifesto

Southern slave owners had a special interest in Spanish-held Cuba. Slavery existed on the island, but a recent rebellion in Haiti had spurred some Spanish officials to consider emancipation. The Southerners did not want freed slaves so close to their shores, and other observers thought Manifest Destiny should be extended to Cuba. In 1854 three American diplomats, Pierre Soulé (the minister to Spain), James Buchanan (the minister to Great Britain), and John Y. Mason (the minister to France), met in Ostend, Belgium. They held in common the same views as many Southern Democrats. The diplomats together issued a warning to Spain that it must sell Cuba to the United States or risk having it taken by force. This statement had not been authorized by the Franklin Pierce administration and was immediately repudiated. Reaction, both at home and abroad, was extremely negative.

Women's History of the Period

Declaration of Sentiments

1848 marked the year of the Declaration of Sentiments; it was a document written as a plea for the end of discrimination against women in all spheres of Society. Main credit is given to Elizabeth Cady Stanton for writing the document. The document was presented at the first women's rights convention held at Seneca Falls, New York. Though the convention was attended by 300 women and men, only 100 of them actually signed the document which included; 68 women and 32 men.

Elizabeth Blackwell

In 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical degree. She attended Geneva College in New York and graduated on January 23, 1849. Even though she had her medical degree she was still banned from practicing in most hospitals. She then relocated to Paris, France and continued her training as a midwife instead of a physician. While in Paris she contracted an eye infection from a small baby that forced her to lose her right eye. It was replaced by a glass eye which ended her medical career.

Missouri v. Celia

This murder trial took place in Calloway County, Missouri beginning October 9, 1855. It involved a slave woman named Celia and her master Robert Newsome. After being purchased at the age of 14 in 1850 Celia bore two of her masters children. Soon after becoming intimate with another slave while still being sought after by her master Celia became pregnant. On June 23, 1855, feeling unwell from the pregnancy, Celia pleaded with her master to let her rest; when Newsome ignored her pleas she struck him twice in the head with a heavy stick. She then spent the night burning his corpse in her fireplace and grinding the smaller bones into pieces with a rock. Although Missouri statutes forbade anyone "to take any woman unlawfully against her will and by force, menace or duress, compel her to be defiled," the judge residing over the case instructed the jury that Celia, being enslaved, did not fall within the meaning of "any woman" thus since the "sexual abuser" was her master the murder was not justified on the claim of self-defense. Celia was found guilty of the crime on October 10, 1855 and was sentenced to be hanged. The case still remains significant in history because it graphically illustrates the dreadful truth that enslaved women had absolutely no recourse when it came to being raped by their masters.

Panic of 1857

The Panic of 1857 introduced the United States, at least in a small way, to the intricate dealings of the worldwide economy. On the same day that the Central America wrecked, Cincinnati's Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company ceased operation thanks to embezzlement. News of the twin disasters spread quickly, in part because of the telegraph now becoming common. Investors, including British investors, began to withdraw money from Wall Street in massive numbers. Bank failures increased, mostly in the industrial Northeast and New England states, while the West and South, still more dependent on agriculture, seemed to weather the storm better. There were many underlying causes for the Panic of 1857, and by the time the twin disasters occurred the United States was well on its way into the economic downturn. For 3 years the Crimean War had involved European and Asian countries which increase foreign dependence on American agriculture. The return of the men and land to agricultural production meant an abundance of crops in 1857 which led to falling prices for farm goods. Land speculation, too, had become rampant throughout the United States. This led to an unsustainable expansion of the railroads. As investment money dried up, the land speculation collapsed, as did many of the railroads shortly thereafter. Attempts were made by the federal government to remedy the situation. A bank holiday was declared in October, 1857 and Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb recommended the government selling revenue bonds and reducing the tariff (Tariff of 1857). By 1859 the country was slowly pulling out of the downturn, but the effect lasted until the opening shots of the Civil War.

Rebellion at Harper's Ferry, Virginia

John Brown

John Brown had been born in Connecticut on May 19, 1800. He grew up in Ohio, where his father worked as a tanner and a minister near Oberlin, Ohio. His father preached abolitionism, and John Brown learned from him. He married twice, his first wife dying while giving birth to their seventh child. He would ultimately father twenty children, eleven of them surviving to adulthood. He started several failed business ventures and land deals in Ohio and Massachusetts. For a while he settled in a community of both black and white settlers. He lived there peacefully until the mid-1850s. Then two of his sons who had moved to Kansas asked him for guns to defend themselves against Missouri Border Ruffians. After two failed defense efforts, Brown left the Kansas area to avoid prosecution for the Pottawatomie massacre. He was already gaining some mention in the press for his efforts. He moved back East and decided to plan a way to destroy slavery in America forever.

Brown's Raid On Harper's Ferry

After the troubles in Kansas Brown decided on a plan. A lightly-defended armory in Harper's Ferry, Northern Virginia, contained 100,000 muskets and rifles. An attacker would need some monetary investment to obtain a battalion of men, a similar number of rifles, and a thousand pikes. With the weapons seized at the armory, Brown planned on arming sympathizers and slaves freed by his personal army as it swept through the South. Harper's Ferry had no plantations, and Brown expected no resistance from the local townspeople. On October 16, 1859, Brown carried out his raid, which he planned as the beginning of his revolution. However, instead of his battalion of 450 men, he went in with a group of twenty, including two of his sons. They easily overtook the single nightwatchman and killed several townspeople on the way in, including a free African American man who discovered their plot. Brown had also underestimated the resolve of the local townspeople, who formed a militia and surrounded Brown and his raiders in the armory. After a siege of two days, the U.S. Army sent in a detachment of Marines from Washington, D.C., the closest available contingent. The marines, led by Robert E. Lee, stormed the armory, and in a three minute battle ten of Brown's men were killed. Brown and six others were taken alive and imprisoned for a swift trial. Brown and five of his raiders were hung before the end of the year. Three others were killed in early 1860.

Public Reaction

News of the rebellion spread rapidly around the country by telegraph and newspaper, though opinions differed about what it meant. The Charleston Mercury of November seven, 1859, represents one Southern view: "With five millions of negroes turned loose in the South, what would be the state of society? It would be worse than the 'Reign of Terror'. The day of compromise is passed."[4] The reaction was most mixed and vigorous among those who called themselves Christians. Abraham Lincoln typified the response of many others when he said that, though Brown "agreed with us in thinking slavery wrong," "[t]hat cannot excuse violence, bloodshed, and treason."[5] The Unitarian William Lloyd Garrison, already having swerved from his previously-held pacifism, on the day of Brown's death preached a sermon commemorating him. "Whenever there is a contest between the oppressed and the oppressor, -– the weapons being equal between the parties, –- God knows that my heart must be with the oppressed, and always against the oppressor. Therefore, whenever commenced, I cannot but wish success to all slave insurrections."[6] The Congregationalist Minister Henry Ward Beecher likewise supported Brown from the pulpit. In short, a faction of White people of faith both conservative and liberal began saying that only by violence could slavery be struck from America.

Election of 1860

The new-born Republican party supported Northern industry, as the Whigs had done. It also promised a tariff for the protection of industry and pledged the enactment of a law granting free homesteads to settlers who would help in the opening of the West. But by 1860, it had become the party of abolition. Many Republicans believed that Lincoln's election would prevent any further spread of slavery. It selected Abraham Lincoln of Illinois as its presidential candidate, and Hannibal Hamlin of Maine as its vice-presidential candidate.

The Democratic party split in two. The main party or the Northern Democrats could not immediately decide on a candidate, and after several votes, their nominating convention was postponed when the Southern delegates walked out. When it eventually resumed, the party decided on Stephen Douglas of Illinois as its candidate. The first vice-presidential candidate, Benjamin Fitzpatrick, dropped his name from consideration once his home state of Alabama seceded from the Union. His replacement was Herschel Johnson of Georgia. The Southern delegates from the Democratic party selected their own candidate to run for president. John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky with Joseph Lane of Oregon as their vice-presidential candidate.

Former Whigs and Southern Republicans who supported the Union in the slavery issue formed the Constitutional Union party. Tennessee senator John Bell was chosen as the Constitutional Union party presidential candidate, over former Texas governor Sam Houston. Harvard President Edward Everett was chosen as the vice-presidential candidate.

Abraham Lincoln won the election with only forty percent of the vote. But with the electorate split four ways, it led to a landslide victory in the Electoral College. Lincoln garnered 180 electoral votes without being listed on any of the ballots of any of the future secessionist states in the deep South (except for Virginia, where he received 1.1% of the vote). Stephen Douglas won just under 30% of the popular vote, but only carried 2 states for a total of 12 electoral votes. John Breckenridge carried every state in the deep South, Maryland, and Delaware, for a total of 72 electoral votes. Bell carried the border slave states of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, for a total of 39 electoral votes. Except for the split decision in the presidential election of 1824, no President in US History has won with a smaller percentage of the popular vote.

Lincoln's election ensured South Carolina's secession, along with Southern belief that they now no longer had a political voice in Washington. Other Southern states followed suit. They claimed that they were no longer bound by the Union, because the Northern states had in effect broken a constitutional contract by not honoring the South's right to own slaves as property.

Questions For Review

1. What affect did proslavery sentiments have on the Mexican War?

2. Reconstruct Brown's raid in terms of what happened first, second, and so on.

References

  1. A People and A Nation, Eighth Edition
  2. A People and A Nation, Eighth Edition
  3. "A People and A Nation" eighth edition
  4. reprinted at http://www.eastconn.org/tah/1011PJ1_RegionalReactionsJohnBrownRaidLesson.pdf
  5. Lincoln, Abraham. Speech in The Illinois State Journal of December 12, 1859, "in Leavenworth city on the 4th inst. as we find it in the Leavenworth Register. Basler, Roy P., editor; Marion Dolores Pratt and Lloyd A. Dunlap, assistant editors. Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press, 1953. Vol. 3, p. 502. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/lincoln3/1:166?rgn=div1;view=fulltext
  6. Reprinted at http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/garrison.htm.

Friction Between the States (1849 - 1860)

Ideas and Questions of the Time

The overriding question throughout the decade preceding the Civil War was, “Should slavery be allowed in the new territories of the United States?” Before 1848, the question had been hypothetical; however, with the new lands acquired during the Mexican War, it was time for America to make a firm decision regarding the expansion of slavery.

The central ideas dominating the debate were:

The Wilmot Proviso

On August 8, 1846, Representative David Wilmot, a Pennsylvania Democrat, presented a proposal expressing that “slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of any territory obtained from Mexico.” The Wilmot Proviso was never accepted as law, but it at long last put the issue forth on the political table.

The Calhoun Resolutions

John C. Calhoun, the South Carolina statesman, responded with the Calhoun Resolutions, which said that Congress had no right to stop any citizen with slaves in their possession from taking those slaves into one of the territories. If they did so, the Fifth Amendment, which states that no person can be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” would be violated. While this was not made formal legislation either, this belief became the standard in most of the south.

Popular Sovereignty

A third option, which appealed to many moderates, most prominently Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, was the idea of popular sovereignty. This was the idea of letting the settlers of a territory themselves decide whether slavery was to be allowed in it, by voting on state constitutions and other such measures. The primary merit of this initiative was that it took the debate out of Congress, which quickly grew tired of the issue, and put it into the hands of people it truly affected. There was also an unspoken understanding that most of the territories would end up being free, as most settlers that were already in those areas did not bring their slaves with them.

Compromise of 1850

America looked to the Senate for an answer to the question of slavery within the territories. Henry Clay, nicknamed the "Great Compromiser," constructed a compromise: California was admitted as a free state, but all other territories in the Mexican Cession were allowed to choose between becoming a free territory or a slave territory. Also, as part of the Compromise, the slave trade was banned in the District of Columbia, and a Fugitive Slave Act was passed to allow the capture of fugitive slaves.

The Fugitive Slave Act was a very controversial measure. Previously, many in the North felt that slavery merely occurred in the South and that they had nothing to do with it. But under the Fugitive Slave Act, Northerners were required to help return runaway slaves. Thus, the Northerners felt that they were being dragged into aiding the institution of slavery. Several Northern states passed laws prohibiting their officials from aiding the enforcement of the Act.

While the admission of California as a free state gave the free states the majority in Congress, the pro-slavery measures in the Fugitive Slave Act made the Compromise seem more favorable to the South.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published in 1852, is often called “the book that started the Civil War.” The melodramatic story of the evil overseer Simon Legree and his slaves Eliza and Uncle Tom painted an accurate picture of the horrors of slavery, and gave rise to much abolitionist feeling in the North. However, the effects were not easily visible from the start: because the country was growing tired of the sectional bickering over slavery, it took a while for the story to becoming embedded in the American imagination.

Nat Turner

Nat, commonly called Nat Turner, (October 2, 1800 – November 11, 1831) was an American slave whose slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, was the most remarkable instance of black resistance to enslavement in the antebellum southern United States. His methodical slaughter of white civilians during the uprising makes his legacy controversial, but he is still considered by many to be a heroic figure of black resistance to oppression. At birth he was not given a surname, but was recorded solely by his given name, Nat. In accordance with a common practice, he was often called by the surname of his owner, Samuel Turner.

Election of 1852

In one of the less spectacular elections in American history, Senator Franklin Pierce of the Democratic party defeated General Winfield Scott of the Whig party. The Whigs tried to rely on Scott’s heroics as a general during the Mexican war to get him elected, a strategy that proved unsuccessful. Pierce, of New Hampshire, ended up being largely an ineffective president, trying and failing to please both the North and the South.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act and its Effects

Throughout this time, plans were underway for a transcontinental railroad. A question arose as to what Eastern city should be the main terminus. Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois hoped to advance his own state’s interests by making Chicago the railroad hub. To do this, he suggested a piece of legislation known as the “Kansas-Nebraska Act,” requiring recognition of two new territories, Kansas and Nebraska, west of Missouri and Iowa, respectively. These territories would both help his railroad and solve the overdue issue of the territories in the remainder of the Louisiana Purchase.

But to get the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed, he would have to get the support of Southerners, who wanted a railroad along a more southern route. For this reason, Douglas included in the Act the provision of popular sovereignty in the territories.

This blatantly violated the Missouri Compromise of 1821, which stated that slavery would be prohibited above the 36º30’ line. Douglas therefore opened himself up to the verbal barrage of protests from the North, who denounced the cancellation of the Missouri Compromise as unfair. Yet the Act passed, to the indignation of many Northerners, with the support of President Pierce.

The North

Many in the North figured that if the Missouri Compromise was not an unbreakable law, neither was the Fugitive Slave Act, leading to many demonstrations against it. Boston witnessed the most remarkable of these, leading to many New Englanders turning against Pierce for his support of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Political Parties

The Whig party essentially buckled under the pressure of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, with the North condemning it and the South supporting it. Whigs from the North joined some Democrats and Free Soilers that united under the general principle of the Wilmot Proviso, eventually calling themselves the Republican Party and offering its first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont in 1856.

"Bleeding Kansas"

There was never much doubt that the settlers of Nebraska would, in the face of popular sovereignty, choose to bar slavery. Kansas, however, was another matter. Abolitionist and pro-slavery groups tried to rush settlers to Kansas in hopes of swinging the vote in the group's own direction. Eventually, both a free-state and a slave-state government were functioning in Kansas - both illegal.

Violence was abundant. In May 1856, a pro-slavery mob ransacked the chiefly abolitionist town of Lawrence, demolishing private property of the anti-slavery governor, burning printing presses, and destroying a hotel. Two days later, in retaliation, Abolitionist John Brown and his sons went to the pro-slavery town of Pottawatomie Creek and hacked five men to death in front of their families. This set off a guerilla war in Kansas that lasted through most of 1856.

Violence over the issue of Kansas was even seen in the Senate. Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner accused South Carolinian Andrew Butler of having "chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows - Slavery." Upon hearing these words, Butler's nephew, Representative Preston Brooks, walked onto the Senate floor and proceeded to cane Sumner in the head. Sumner suffered so much damage from the attack that he could not return to the Senate for over three years. Brooks was expelled by the House. Cheered on by southern supporters (many of whom sent Brooks new canes, to show approval of his actions), came back after a resounding reelection.

After much controversy and extra legislation, Kansas found itself firmly abolitionist by 1858.

Rachel v. Walker

Rachel v. Walker was a lawsuit involving a slave who, in 1834, sued for her freedom from John Walker in the Supreme Court of Missouri, and won. This result was cited in 1856 in the famous Dred Scott v. Sandford case before the Supreme Court of the United States.[1]

Dred Scott

The question of the constitutionality of Congressional Compromises was decided by the Supreme Court in 1856. In "Scott v. Sanford", the Court ruled against a slave, Dred Scott, who had sued to become free. The Court ruled 7-2 that Scott remained a slave, and there were nine written opinions. The Chief Justice of the United States, Roger Taney, decided that blacks were so inferior that they could not be citizens of the United States, and that, consequently, they could not sue for his freedom (a state issue)in diversity in federal court, and therefore the court lacked jurisdiction. Nevetheless (the biggest "nevertheless" in American history) in a supererogatory effort to settle the question of slavery once and for all, the Marylander Taney ruled that the Missouri Compromise (which had banned the expansion of slavery into the territories north of Missouri) among other laws, was unconstitutional because it restricted the Constitutional right to own property. Many felt that Taney had committed a legal error in his decision. First, Taney had ruled that Scott had no right to sue. The case should have ended there. Taney had ruled on the constitutionality of the Missouri Compromise, which had, under Taney's own ruling that Scott had no right to sue, no bearing upon the case. Thus, the outrage against the Dred Scott decision was increased even more.

Free and Slave States in 1869

John Brown’s Raid

John Brown, an extreme abolitionist last seen engineering the Pottawatomie Massacre in Kansas, came to the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia for his last fight. He planned to take over the arsenal, give weapons to the slaves that would support him, and make a center of black power in the Appalachian Mountains that would support slave uprisings in the south.

The raid did not go quite as planned. Brown did take over the arsenal and took a couple of hostages, but ended up being assaulted by Virginia militia and U.S. Marines under the command of Col. Robert E. Lee of the US 2nd Cavalry. He was tried, convicted, and hanged for treason to the State of Virginia.

However, his Raid left a profound impact. John Brown became a martyr for the abolitionist cause during the Civil War. In the South, his actions gave cause to rumors of Northern conspiracy supporting slave insurrections, engendering further suspicion of outsiders in the South. A later Northern marching song sang “John Brown’s body lies a-mouldering in the grave, but his soul is marching on.”

Lincoln

Lincoln Campaign Poster.jpg
Lincoln campaign poster

In 1860, four major candidates ran for President. The Whigs, adopting the name "Constitutional Union", nominated Tennessean Senator John Bell. The Northern Democrats nominated Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois and the Southern Democrats nominated the Vice President John Breckenridge of Kentucky. The more united Republican party nominated Abraham Lincoln, who spoke out against expansion of slavery. Though he assumed that, under the constitution, Congress could not outlaw slavery in the South, he assured all that he would work to admit only free states to the US. Due to divisions between the parties, Lincoln won the election by carrying every Northern State. Douglas won Missouri, Bell the Upper South, and Breckenridge the Deep South. The South was outraged. The North had a far larger population than the South, and thus had more electoral votes. The South had been out voted.

Intro to Secession

Secession and the Southern Confederacy

With the demise of the Whig Party and the split of the Northern and Southern branches of the Democratic Party, the opportunity afforded itself for the recently organized Republican Party to increase its political power in both chambers of Congress and to successfully elect Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency. Wendell Phillips acknowledged that the Republican Party was "a sectional party, organized against the South." Several other leading Republicans even went so far as to advocate civil war in order to keep the Southern States in a condition of subordination to a Northern majority.

Tariffs

Southern leaders, such as John C. Calhoun, had warned that if the North ever gained control of the federal Government the rights of the Southern people would be lost. In the Republicans' pledge to confine slavery within the existing States and to prevent its spread into the common Territories was perceived an intent to destroy the rights of the Southern people wholesale. Many Republicans, such as the former Whig and Henry Clay admirer, Abraham Lincoln, also openly advocated a high tariff and internal improvement system (which Clay had named, "The American System"). Historically, high tariffs benefited Northern industry and had adverse effects on the price of exported Southern cotton.

Why They Fought

Consequently, the conflict between the North and the South had much more to do with differing views on the relation of the States to the federal Government, the extent of State power, and economics rather than the issues of slavery or African-American rights. In fact, some of the Northern people deplored Abolitionism and were opposed to African-American equality. Even Lincoln openly declared himself in opposition to African-American citizenship. Most of the Northern States had various anti-African American laws on the books and Lincoln's own State of Illinois altered its constitution in 1862 to prohibit the immigration of free African Americans entirely.

Secession

Upon receiving news of Lincoln's election, the South Carolina Convention voted for secession on December 20, 1860. In the next few months, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas had all seceded and joined South Carolina in forming the Confederate States of America. The other four Southern States - Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas - originally voted against secession, but later joined the Southern Confederacy when Lincoln's call for 75,000 militia was issued on April 15, 1861.

Definition

Secession was generally accepted as a revolutionary, if not a constitutional right, by both North and South prior to the actual secession of the seven Gulf States. In fact, secession was first threatened in the early years of the Union by the State of Massachusetts, and the threat was repeated several times over the decades preceding the War Between the States. A Northern Confederacy of the New England States was proposed and nearly formed in protest of the War of 1812. Of course, Southern leaders such as Jefferson Davis believed that since the original thirteen States had voluntarily acceded to the Union, they could also rescind that accession and lawfully secede. This act of secession was to be voted upon and declared to the world by the same sovereign power which had brought the State into the Union - that of the people assembled in convention. According to this logic, those States which were admitted to the Union after 1789 also retained this right of secession, since the main ground of their admission was that they would stand "on equal footing" with the other States. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution was also appealed to with the claim that the several States never surrendered their sovereignty to the federal Government, and could therefore recall their delegated powers from their common agent by withdrawing from the Union.

Lincoln's View

Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, insisted that the relation of the States to the Federal Government was akin to that of counties to States. He believed that the Union preceded the States, rather than vice versa, and that State sovereignty was a myth. Consequently, secession was treason and could only result in anarchy. For these views, he relied upon Daniel Webster's speeches in the Senate in the early 1830s.

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis (June 3, 1808 – December 6, 1889) was an American soldier and politician, most famous for serving as the first and only President of the Confederate States, leading the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Before the Civil War, Davis served in the Mississippi Legislature, the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. He fought in the Mexican-American War as a colonel of a volunteer regiment. Later he became Secretary of War in the cabinet of U.S. President Franklin Pierce.


The Civil War (1860 - 1865)

Causes of the Civil War

The immediate cause of the Civil War was the election of Abraham Lincoln. Four other and more fundamental causes include deep disagreement between advocates of slave ownership and abolitionists, the conflict between North and South over the rights of a state in the Union, social and economic differences between North and South, and whether it was constitutional to secede from the Union. [1]

Dixie's Constitution

By the end of March, 1861, the Confederacy had created a constitution and elected its first and only president, Jefferson Davis. The Constitution of the Confederate States of America was the supreme law of the Confederate States of America, as adopted on March 11, 1861 and in effect through the conclusion of the American Civil War. The Confederacy also operated under a Provisional Constitution from February 8, 1861 to March 11, 1861.

In regard to most articles of the Constitution, the document is a word-for-word duplicate of the United States Constitution. The original, hand-written document is currently located in the University of Georgia archives at Athens, Georgia. The major differences between the two constitutions was the Confederacy's greater emphasis on the rights of individual member states, and an explicit support of slavery.

Fort Sumter and the Beginning of the War

Several federal forts were seized and converted to Confederate strongholds. By the time of Lincoln's inauguration, only two major forts had not been taken. On April 11, Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard demanded that Union Major Robert Anderson surrender Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, which was an important fort because of its strategic position, which was to defend Charleston's harbor. The supplies of the besieged forts would only last a few weeks. The Union unsuccessfully sent ships to resupply the fort. Beauregard's troops surrounded the fort which was located on an island outside the bay and opened fire on the fort. A tremendous cannon firefight ensured that remarkably claimed no casualties. By April 14, Anderson was forced to surrender the fort, and tragically the first casualties of the War occurred when a Union cannon misfired while the flag was being lowered.

On the very next day, President Lincoln declared formally that the US faced a rebellion. Lincoln called up state militias and requested volunteers to enlist in the Army. In response to this call and to the surrender of Fort Sumter, four more states, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina all seceded. The Civil War had begun.

Each side proceeded to determine its strategies. The Confederate Army had a defensive-offensive strategy. The Confederacy only needed to defend itself and win to gain independence, but occasionally when the conditions were right, they would strike offensively into the North. Three people who had important roles in Confederate plans, had different strategies. General Robert Lee claimed that they had to fight the Union head on. Davis however, argued that they had to fight a solely defensive war. Jackson claimed that they needed to invade Union's important cities first and defeat the enemy that tires to reclaim the cities.

Meanwhile, the strategy of aging Union General Winfield Scott became popularly known as the Anaconda Plan. The Anaconda Plan, so named after the South American snake that strangles its victims to death, aimed to defeat the Confederacy by surrounding it on all sides with a blockade of Southern ports and the swift capture of the Mississippi River.

First Battle of Bull Run and the Early Stages of the War

Four slave states remained in the Union: Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. The four border states were all important, and Lincoln did not want them to join the Confederacy. Missouri controlled parts of the Mississippi River, Kentucky controlled the Ohio river, and Delaware was close to the important city of Philadelphia. Perhaps the most important border state was Maryland. It was close to the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, and the Union capital, Washington, was located between pro-Confederate sections of Maryland and seceded Virginia. Lincoln knew that he had to be cautious if he did not want these states to join the Confederacy. But they did anyway (with the exception of Maryland) after the Battle of Fort Sumter.

Both sides had advantages and weaknesses. The North had a greater population, more factories, supplies and more money than the South. The South had more experienced military leadership, better trained armies, and the advantage of fighting on familiar territory. Robert E. Lee is a good example because he was called on by president Lincoln before the civil war began to lead the Union army. But Lee refused and joined the Confederate army because he couldn't fight against his homeland, Virginia after they seceded.

However, the Confederacy faced considerable problems. Support for secession and the war was not unanimous, and all of the southern states provided considerable numbers of troops for the Union armies. Moreover, the presence of slavery acted as a drain of southern manpower, as adult males who might otherwise join the army were required to police the slaves and guard against slavery.

On July 21, 1861, the armies of General Beauregard and Union General Irvin McDowell met at Manassas, Virginia. At the Battle of Bull Run, the North originally had the upper hand, but Confederate General Thomas Jackson and his troops blocked Northern progress, Jackson's men began to retreat but Jackson stayed, standing "as a stone wall" (the origin of the nickname "Stonewall Jackson"). As Confederate reinforcements arrived, McDowell's army began to retreat in confusion and was defeated thoroughly, causing the North to discard their overly optimistic hopes for quick victory over the Confederacy. Even though the Confederates achieved victory, General Beauregard did not chase stragglers. So he was replaced by General Robert E. Lee. Also, General McDowell,who was defeated by Confederates was replaced by McClellan.

The Union even faced the threat of complete defeat early in the war. The Confederacy appointed two persons as representatives to the United Kingdom and France. Both of them decided to travel to Europe on a British ship, the Trent. A Union Captain, Charles Wilkes, seized the ship and forced the Confederate representatives to board the Union ship. However, Wilkes had violated the neutrality of the United Kingdom. The British demanded apologies, and Lincoln eventually complied, even releasing the Confederate representatives. Had he failed to do so, the United Kingdom might have joined with the Confederacy and the Union might have faced a much more difficult fight.

Technology

The Civil War was affected by technological innovations that changed the nature of battle. The most lethal change was the introduction of rifling to muskets. In previous wars, the maximum effective range of a musket was between 70 to 110 meters. Muskets, which were smooth bore firearms, weren't accurate beyond that. Tactics involved moving masses of troops to musket range, firing a volley, and then charging the opposing force with the bayonet, which is a sword blade attached to a firearm. However, a bullet from an aimed rifled musket could hit a soldier more than 1300 meters away. This drastically improved any defense. Massed attacks were easier to stop from a longer distance. The standardization of the rifle during the revolutionary war was extended to these new armaments, and to other military supplies.

Some other key changes on land dealt with logistics -- the art of military supply -- and communications. By 1860, there were approximately 30,000 miles of railroad track, mostly in the Northern states. The railroads meant that supplies need not be obtained from local farms and cities, and that armies could operate for extended periods of time without fear of starvation. The advances in food preservation created during the Napoleonic Wars brought a wider variety of food to the soldier. In addition, armies could be moved across the country within days, without marching. Doctors could move to the wounded.

The telegraph is the third of the key technologies that changed the nature of the war. Washington City and Richmond, the capitals of the two opposing sides, could stay in touch with commanders in the field, passing on updated intelligence and orders. President Lincoln used the telegraph frequently, as did his chief general, Halleck, and field commanders such as Grant.

At sea, the greatest innovation was the introduction of ironclad warships. In 1862, the Confederate Navy built the CSS Virginia on the half-burned hull of the USS Merrimack. This ship, with iron armor, was impervious to cannon fire that would drive off or sink a wooden ship. The Virginia sank the U.S. frigate Cumberland. It might have broken the blockade of the Federal fleet if it had not been for the arrival of the ironclad USS Monitor, built by Swedish-American John Ericsson. The two met in May 1862 off Hampton Roads, Virginia. The battle was a draw, but this sufficed for the Union to continue its blockade of the Confederacy. The Virginia'had retreated into a bay where it could not be of much use, and the Confederacy later burned it to prevent Union capture.

The U.S. Civil War introduced the first American railroad artillery; a successful submarine; a "snorkel" breathing device; the periscope for trench warfare; field trenches, land-mine fields, and wire entanglements, as battles began to take place for days at a time; American use of flame throwers and naval torpedoes; aerial reconnaissance, using hot-air balloons and cameras, and antiaircraft fire; resultant camouflage and blackouts; repeating rifles; telescopic sights for rifles for the aid of snipers, fixed ammunition, and long-range rifles for general use; electronic exploding bombs and torpedoes; revolving gun turrets on boats; and a workable machine gun. As part of the organization of men and materiel, the Civil War introduced foreign social innovations such as incorporation of female and civilian support in the Northern Sanitation Fairs, an organized medical and nursing corps with bandages, opium, and other anesthetics, hospital ships, and an army ambulance corps. To supply newspapers and magazines, with their sophisticated new engraving devices, there arose a wide-range corps of press correspondents in war zones. New aids in communication included the bugle call, "Taps," and other new calls, and the wigwag signal code in battle. To enable the federal prosecution of the war, the North inaugurated American conscription, legal voting for servicemen, The U.S. Secret Service, the income, withholding, and tobacco (cigarette) taxes, and the Medal of Honor. The Southern forces created a Confederate Department of Justice. The North created the first U.S. Navy admiral. Both sides commissioned Army Chaplains. The North commissioned African-American fighters, and its first African-American U.S. Army Officer, Major M.R. Delany.

Shiloh and Ulysses Grant

While Union military efforts in the East were frustrated and even disastrous, West of the Appalachians, the war developed differently resulting in the first significant battlefield successes for the North.

Kentucky, on the border between the Union and Confederacy, was divided in its sentiments toward the two sides and politically attempted to pursue a neutral course. By autumn 1861, the state government decided to support the Union despite being a slave state. Kentucky's indecision and the divided loyalties of that state's population greatly influenced the course of military operations in the West as neither side wished to alienate Kentucky.

Below the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers where the Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri borders come together, Union Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant, under command of Major General Henry W. Halleck, conducted a series of operations that would bring him national recognition. It was just across the Mississippi from Kentucky in Columbus, Missouri that Grant, later President of the United States, fought his first major battle.

The western campaigns continued into 1862 under Halleck's overall direction with Grant continuing into Western Tennessee along the Mississippi. In February, Grant attacked and captured the Tennessean Fort Donelson, providing a significant (though not necessarily major) victory for the North.

About two months after the victory at Fort Donelson, Grant fought an even more important battle at Shiloh.

Confederate generals, A.S Johnston and P.G.T Beauregard, made a surprise attack towards the Union army. The attack was pretty successful. However the Union made a counter attack and the Confederate army was defeated in the end.

After the Union took Fort Donelson, Grant wanted to push onto into Charleston and Memphis. But General Helleck denied it. If they had pushed and held the area, they would have gained control of the eastern railroad.

Grant's troops killed Confederate General Albert Johnston and defeated the Confederate troops, but at a steep price. Approximately thirteen thousand Union soldiers and eleven thousand Confederate soldiers died, and Grant lost a chance of capturing the West quickly.

Peninsular Campaign

General Stonewall Jackson threatened to invade Washington. To prevent Jackson from doing so, Union General George McClellan left over fifty-thousand men in Washington. Little did he know that the deceptive Jackson did not even have 5000 men in his army. McClellan's unnecessary fear caused him to wait over half a year before continuing the war in Virginia, earning him the nickname "Tardy George" and allowing enough time for the Confederates to strengthen their position. Jackson's deceptions succeeded when General McClellan led Union troops in the Peninsular Campaign, the attempt to take the Confederate capital Richmond, without the aid of the force remaining in Washington.

In early April 1862, McClellan began the Peninsular Campaign. His troops traveled over sea to the peninsula formed by the mouths of the York and James Rivers, which included Yorktown and Williamsburg and led straight to Richmond. (The Union strategy for a quick end to the war was capturing Richmond, which appeared easy since it was close to Washington.) In late May, McClellan was a few miles from Richmond, when Robert E. Lee took control of one of the Confederate Armies. After several battles, it appeared that McClellan could march to Richmond. But McClellan refused to attack, citing a lack of reinforcements. The forces that he wanted were instead defending Washington. During the last week of June, Confederate General Robert E. Lee initiated the Seven Days' Battles that forced McClellan to retreat. By July, McClellan had lost over fifteen thousand men for no apparent reason; there was little consolation in the fact that Lee had lost even more.

During the Peninsular Campaign, other military skirmishes occurred. Flag Officer David Farragut of the Union Navy easily took control of the Mississippi River when he captured the key port of New Orleans in April, providing a key advantage to the Union and practically depriving the Confederacy of the river.

Total War

If Richmond had indeed been captured quickly and the war had ended, slavery and the Southern lifestyle would probably not have changed significantly. After the unsuccessful Union attacks in Virginia, Lincoln began to think about the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Union changed its strategy, from a quick capture of Richmond, to the destruction of the South through total war. Total war is a war strategy in which both military and non-military resources that are important to a state's ability to make war are destroyed by the opposing power. General William Sherman used total war in his "March to the Sea" November and December in 1864. This destroyed the South so much that it could not make war. It may involve attacks on civilians or the destruction of civilian property.

The Union strategy finally emerged with six parts:

  • blockade the Confederate coastlines, preventing trade;
  • free the slaves, destroying the domestic economy;
  • disconnect the Trans-Mississippi by controlling the Mississippi River;
  • further split the Confederacy by attacking the Southeast coast (Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina), denying access to foreign supply
  • capture the capital of Richmond, which would severely incapacitate the Confederacy; and
  • engage the enemy everywhere, weakening the armies through attrition.

Second Bull Run and Antietam

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The Emancipation Proclamation

Meanwhile, General McClellan seemed too defensive to Lincoln, who replaced McClellan with General Ambrose Burnside. Burnside decided to go on the offensive against Lee. In December 1862, at Fredricksburg, Virginia, Burnside's Army of the Potomac assaulted built-up Confederate positions and suffered terrible casualties to Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The Federal superiority in numbers was matched by Lee's use of terrain and modernized firepower. "Burnside's Slaughter Pen" resulted in over ten thousand Union casualties, largely due to the ill-considered use of Napoleonic tactics against machine guns. Burnside then tried another attempt to move to capture Richmond, but the movement was foiled by winter weather. The "Mud March" forced the Army of the Potomac to return to winter quarters.


President Lincoln liked men who did not campaign on the abolition of slavery. He only intended to prevent slavery in all new states and territories. On the 22'nd of August, 1862, Lincoln was coming to the decision that abolishing slavery might help the Union, in a letter from that time he wrote "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.". Doing so would especially disrupt the Confederate economy. In September, 1862, after the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln and his Cabinet agreed to emancipate, or free, southern slaves. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all slaves in rebel states "forever free."

The constitutional authority for the Emancipation Proclamation cannot be challenged. The Proclamation did not abolish slavery everywhere; it was restricted to states "still in rebellion" against the Union on the day it took effect. The Proclamation, technically, was part of a military strategy against states that had rebelled; this was to prevent internal conflict with the border states. Still, all the border states except Kentucky and Delaware had abolished slavery on their own. Naturally, the proclamation had no way of being enforced: the Executive in the form of military action was still trying to force the Confederacy to rejoin. Nonetheless, many slaves who had heard of the Proclamation escaped when Union forces approached.

The Proclamation also had another profound effect on the war: it changed the objective from forcing the Confederacy to rejoin the Union to eliminating slavery throughout the United States. The South had been trying too woo Great Britain (which relied on its agricultural exports, especially cotton, for manufacturing) into an alliance; now all hopes for one were eliminated. Great Britain was firmly against the institution of slavery, and it had been illegalized throughout the British Empire since 1833. In fact, many slaves freed via the Underground Railroad were taken to Britain, since it was safe from bounty hunters (Canada was too close to the U.S. for some).

Although the Union initially did not accept black freedmen for combat, it hired them for other jobs. When troops became scarce, the Union began enlisting blacks. At the end of the war, the 180,000 enlisted blacks made up about 10% of the Union Army, and 29500 enlisted blacks to Navy. Until 1864, the South refused to recognize captured black soldiers as prisoners of war, and executed several of them at Fort Pillow as escaped slaves. Lincoln believed in the necessity of black soldiers: in August 1864, he said if the black soldiers of the Union army all joined the Confederacy, "we would be compelled to abandon the war in three weeks." See Black Americans and the Civil War below for more on this subject.

Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville

In 1863, Lincoln again changed leadership, replacing Burnside with General Joseph Hooker. Hooker had a reputation for aggressiveness; his nickname was "Fighting Joe". From May 1 to May 4, 1863, near Chancellorsville, Virginia, General Lee, again outnumbered, used audacious tactics — he divided his smaller force in two in the face of superior numbers, sending Stonewall Jackson to the Union's flank, and defeated Hooker. Again, the Confederacy won, but at a great cost. Shortly after the battle of Chancellorsville, Stonewall Jackson was accidentally shot by Confederate soldiers who didn't recognize him in the poor evening light, dying soon after.

Vicksburg

The North already held New Orleans. If they could take control over the entire Mississippi River, the Union could divide the Confederacy in two, making transportation of weapons and troops by the Confederates more difficult. The Vicksburg and the Fort Hudson was the only way that confederate can reach the Mississippi river. General Winfield Scott's strategic "Anaconda Plan" was based on control of the Mississippi; however, planning control was easier than gaining the control.

The city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was located on high bluffs on the eastern bank of the river. At the time, the Mississippi River went through a 180-degree U shaped bend by the city. (It has since shifted course westward and the bend no longer exists.) Guns placed there could prevent Federal steamboats from crossing. Vicksburg was also on one of the major railroads running east-west through the Confederacy. Vicksburg was therefore the key point under Confederate control.

Major General Ulysses Grant marched on land from Memphis, Tennessee, while Union General William Tecumseh Sherman and his troops traveled by water. Both intended to converge on Vicksburg. Both failed, at least for the time being in December, 1862, when Grant's supply line was disrupted and Sherman had to attack alone.

Since Vicksburg did not fall to a frontal assault, the Union forces made several attempts to bypass Vicksburg by building canals to divert the Mississippi River, but these failed.

Grant decided to attack Vicksburg again in April. Instead of approaching from the north, as had been done before, his army approached Vicksburg from the south. Grant's Army of the Tennessee crossed from the western bank to the Eastern at Big Bluff on April 18, 1863 and then in a series of battles, including Raymond and Champion's Hill, defeated Confederate forces coming to the relief of Confederate general Pemberton. Sherman and Grant together besieged Vicksburg. Two major assaults were repelled by the defenders of Vicksburg, including one in which a giant land mine was set off under the Confederate fortifications.

From May to July, Vicksburg remained in Confederate hands, but on July 3, 1863, one day before Independence Day, General Pemberton finally capitulated. Thirty thousand Confederates were taken prisoner, but released after taking an oath to not participate in fighting the United States unless properly exchanged (a practice called parole}.

This victory cut the Confederate States in two, accomplishing one of the Union total war goals. Confederate forces would not be able to draw on the food and horses previously supplied by Texas.

This victory was very important in many ways.

  • The Union now controlled all of the Mississippi River.
  • Controlling the Mississippi meant that the Union had now split the Confederacy into two, depriving Confederate forces of the food and supplies of Texas.

The people of Vicksburg would not celebrate Independence Day on July 4th for another 81 years.

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Black Americans and the Civil War

The view of the Union towards blacks had changed during the previous two years. At the beginning of hostilities, the war was seen as an effort to save the Union, not free slaves. Several black slaves who reached Federal lines were returned to their owners. This stopped when Major General Benjamin F. Butler, a New Jersey lawyer and prominent member of the Democratic party, announced that slaves, being the property of persons in rebellion against the United States, would be seized as "contraband of war" and the Fugitive Slave Act could not apply. "Contrabands" were, if not always welcome by white soldiers, not turned away.

However, as the struggle grew more intense, abolition became a more popular option. Frederick Douglas, a former slave, urged that the war aim of the Union include the emancipation of slaves and the enlistment of black soldiers in the Union Army. This was done on a nationwide basis in 1863, though the state of Massachusetts had raised two regiments (the 54th and 55th Massachusetts) before this.

The 54th Massachusetts Regiment was the first black regiment recruited in the North. Col. Robert Gould Shaw, the 25 year old son of very wealthy abolitionist parents, was chosen to command. On May 28, the well equipped and drilled 54th paraded through the streets of Boston and then boarded ships bound for the coast of South Carolina. Their first conflict with Confederate soldiers came on July 16, when the regiment repelled an attack on James Island. But on July 18 came the supreme test of the courage and valor of the black soldiers; they were chosen to lead the assault on Battery Wagner, a Confederate fort on Morris Island at Charleston. In addressing his soldiers before leading them in charge across the beach, Colonel Shaw said, "I want you to prove yourselves. The eyes of thousands will look on what you do tonight."

While some blacks choose to join the military fight others fought by other means. An American teacher named Mary S. Peake worked to educate the freedmen and "contraband". She spent her days under a large oak tree teaching others near Fort Monroe in Virginia. (This giant tree is now over 140 years old and called Emancipation Oak). Since Fort Monroe remained under Union control this area was some what of a safe location for refugees and runaways to come to. Soon Mary began teaching in the Brown Cottage. This endeavor, sponsored by the American Missionary Association, became the basis from which Hampton University would spawn. Mary's school would house around 50 children during the day and 20 adults at night. This remarkable American died from tuberculosis on Washington's birthday in 1862.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis reacted to the raising of black regiments by passing General Order No. 111, which stated that captured black Federal soldiers would be returned into slavery (whether born free or not) and that white officers who led black soldiers would be tried for abetting servile rebellion. The Confederate Congress codified this into law on May 1, 1863. President Lincoln's order of July 30, 1863 responded:

It is therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works and continued at such labor until the other shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war.

Eventually the Federal forces had several divisions' worth of black soldiers. Their treatment was not equal to white soldiers: at first, for example, black privates were paid $10 a month, the same as laborers, while white privates earned $13 a month. In addition, blacks could not be commissioned officers. The pay difference was settled retroactively in 1864.

The issue of black prisoners of war was a continual contention between the two sides. In the early stages of the war, prisoners of war would be exchanged rank for rank. However, the Confederates refused to exchange any black prisoner. The Union response was to stop exchanging any prisoner of war. The Confederate position changed to allowing blacks who were born free to be exchanged, and finally to exchange all soldiers, regardless of race. By then, the Federal leadership understood that the scarcity of white Confederates capable of serving as soldiers was an advantage, and there were no mass exchanges of prisoners, black or white, until the Confederate collapse.

Chickamauga and Chattanooga

In September 1863, Union Major General William Rosecrans decided to attempt the takeover of Chattanooga, a Confederate rail center in the eastern part of Tennessee. Controlling Chattanooga would provide a base to attack Georgia. The Confederates originally gave up Chattanooga, thinking that they could launch a devastating attack as the Union Army attempted to take control of it. Rosecrans did not, in the end, fall into such a trap. However, on November 23, 1863, the Union and Confederate Armies met at Chickamauga Creek, south of Chattanooga, upon which a rail line passed into Georgia.

The battle of Chickamauga was a Confederate victory. The Army of the Cumberland was forced to withdraw to Chattanooga, but Union General George Thomas, "the Rock of Chickamauga," and his troops prevented total defeat by standing their ground.

After Rosecrans withdrew to Chattanooga, the Confederates under General Braxton Bragg decided to besiege the city. Rosecrans was relieved of command; Lincoln's comment was that he appeared "stunned and confused, like a duck hit on the head." Meanwhile, by great effort, the Federal forces kept a "cracker line" open to supply Chattanooga with food and forage. Ulysses Grant replaced Rosecrans.

Grant's forces began to attack on November 23, 1863. On November 24 came the Battle of Lookout Mountain, an improbable victory in which Union soldiers, without the initiative of higher command, advanced up this mountain, which overlooks Chattanooga, and captured it. One of the authors of this text had an ancestor in the Confederate forces there; his comment was when the battle started, he was on top of the hill throwing rocks at the Yankees, and when it was over, the Yankees were throwing rocks at him.

By the end of November, Grant and his troops had pushed the Confederates out of East Tennessee and begun operations in Georgia.

Ulysses Grant As General-in-Chief

Lincoln recognized the great victories won by Ulysses Grant. In March, 1864, the President made Grant the general-in-chief of Union Forces, with the rank of Lieutenant General (a rank only previously held by George Washington). Grant decided on a campaign of continual pressure on all fronts, which would prevent Confederate forces from reinforcing each other.

He went east and made his headquarters with General Meade's Army of the Potomac (although Grant never took direct command of this Army). The Army of the Potomac's chief mission would be to whittle down the manpower of the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee's army. In May 1864, the two sides met in Virginia near site of the previous year's Battle of Chancellorsville. The terrain was heavily wooded and movement to attack or reinforce was particularly difficult.

During the Battle of the Wilderness, the Union lost eighteen thousand soldiers, while the Confederates lost eleven thousand. Nevertheless, the Union pushed on. The two Armies fought each other again at Spotsylvania Court House and at Cold Harbor. In each case, the Union again lost large numbers of soldiers. Grant then hatched a plan to go around rather than through the Confederate Army in order to capture Richmond. At the last second, due to a hesitation by Major General "Baldy" Smith, the Army of Northern Virginia blocked the Union troops at Petersburg. Grant then decided to siege the city (and Lee's forces) and force it to surrender; if Lee could not move, he could not help other Confederate armies.

The siege took almost one year.

The Georgia Campaign

Battles for Atlanta

This victory had a significant effect on the election of 1864. Without it, there might have been more support for his Copperhead opponent General McClellan.

The March to the Sea

Once Atlanta was taken, General Sherman and four army corps disconnected themselves from any railroad or telegraphic communications with the Union and headed through the state of Georgia. Their objective was Savannah, Georgia, a major seaport. Sherman's strategy was to inflict as much damage on the civilian population of Georgia, short of killing people, as possible. This strategy was known as "Total War". To accomplish this, he issued orders to "forage liberally on the country." Many of his soldiers saw this as a license to loot any food or valuable property they could. Sherman officially disapproved of this.

Sherman's army destroyed public buildings and railroad tracks wherever they went. One way to do this was through "Sherman's neckties", caused by heating a railroad section to red heat and twisting them around a tree. Sherman carved a path of destruction 300 miles long and over 60 miles wide from Atlanta to the coastal city of Savannah. His technique not only supported his regiments without supply lines, but destroyed supply caches for Confederate forces in the area as well.

The Confederate forces were unable to take on Sherman's forces, which, though separated from the Union army, had plenty of arms and ammunition. He reached the city of Savannah on December 24, 1864, and telegraphed President Lincoln "I present to you the city of Savannah as a Christmas present."

Moving through the Carolinas

Sherman's forces then moved north into South Carolina, while faking an approach on Augusta, Georgia; the general's eventual goal was to coordinate his forces with those of General Grant in Virginia and entrap and destroy Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The pattern of destruction by the Union soldiers continued, often with a more personal feeling of vengeance. A Federal soldier said to his comrades, "Here is where treason began and, by God, here is where it will end!"

On February 17, 1865, Sherman's forces reached Columbia, the capital of South Carolina. After a brief bombardment, the city surrendered. However, a large stock of whiskey was left behind as the Confederates retreated. Drunken soldiers broke discipline; convicts were let loose from the city jail, and somehow fires broke out, destroying much of the city.

Hood's Invasion of Tennessee and the Battle of Nashville

Spring Hill

The battle of Spring Hill was fought on November 29, 1864, at Spring Hill, Tennessee. The Confederates attacked the Union as it retreated from Columbia. The Confederates were not able to inflict significant damage to the retreating Union force. So the Union Army was still able to make it safely north to Franklin during the night. The following day the Confederates decided to follow the Union and attack a much more fortified group at the Battle of Franklin. This did not prove to be a wise decision, as the Confederates suffered many casualties.

Franklin

The Battle of Franklin was fought on November 30, 1864 at Franklin, Tennessee. This battle was a devastating loss for the Confederate Army. It detrimentally shut down their leadership. Fourteen Confederate Generals were extinguished with 6 killed, 7 wounded and 1 captured. 55 Regimental Commanders were casualties as well. After this battle the Confederate Army in this area was effectively handicapped.

Nashville

In one of the decisive battles of the war, two brigades of black troops helped crush one of the Confederacy's finest armies at the Battle of Nashville on December 15-16, 1864. Black troops opened the battle on the first day and successfully engaged the right of the rebel line. On the second day Col. Charles R. Thompson's black brigade made a brilliant charge up Overton Hill. The 13th US Colored Troops sustained more casualties than any other regiment involved in the battle.

Fort Pillow

The Battle of Fort Pillow was fought on was fought on April 12, 1864, at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River at Henning, Tennessee. The battle ended with a massacre of surrendered Union African-American troops under the direction of Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

The End of the Confederacy

The Siege of Petersburg

The Siege of Petersburg, also known as The Richmond Petersburg Campaign, began on June 15, 1864 with the intent by the Union Army to take control of Petersburg which was Virginia's second largest city and the supply center for the Confederate capital at Richmond. The campaign lasted 292 days and concluded with the occupation of Union forces on April 3, 1865. Thirty-two black infantry and cavalry regiments took part in the siege.

First Battle of Deep Bottom

The First Battle of Deep Bottom is also known as Darbytown, Strawberry Plains, New Market Road, and Gravel Hill. It was part of The Siege of Petersburg, and was fought July 27-29, 1864, at Deep Bottom in Henrico County, Virginia.

The Crater

The Battle of the Crater was part of the Siege of Petersburg and took place on July 30, 1864. The battle took place between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of Potomac. The battle was an unusual attempt by the Union to penetrate the Confederate defenses south of Petersburg, VA. The battle showed to be a Union disaster. The Union Army went into battle with 16,500 troops, under the direct command of Ulysses S. Grant; the Confederate Army was commanded by Robert E. Lee and entered battle with 9,500 troops. Pennsylvania miners in the Union general Ambrose E. Burnside's Ninth Corps, worked for several weeks digging a long tunnel, and packing it with explosives. The explosives were then detonated at 3:15 on the morning of July 30, 1864. Burnside originally wanted to send a fresh division of black troops against the breach, but his superiors, Ulysses S. Grant, ruled against it. The job, chosen by short straw, went to James H. Ledlie. Ledlie watched from behind the lines as his white soldiers, rather than go around, pile into the deep crater, which was 170 feet long, 60 feet across, and 30 feet deep. They were not able to escape making the Union soldiers easy targets for the Confederates. The battle was marked by the cruel treatment of black soldiers who took part in the fight, most of them were captured and murdered. The battle ended with a confederate victory. The Confederacy took out 3,798 Union soldiers, while the Union were only able to defeat 1,491 Confederate soldiers. The United States Colored Troops suffered the most with their casualties being 1,327 which would include 450 men being captured.

Second Deep Bottom

The Second Battle of Deep Bottom was fought August 14-20, 1864, at Deep Bottom in Henrico County, Virginia; it was part of the Siege of Petersburg. The battle is also known as Fussell's Mill, Kingsland Creek, White's Tavern, Bailey's Creeks, and Charles City Road. General Winfield Scott Hancock came across the James River at Deep Bottom where he would threaten Richmond, Virginia. This would also cause the Confederates to leave Peterburgs, Virginia and the trenches and Shenandoah Valley.

Retreat from Richmond

Appomattox

Sherman did not stop in Georgia. As he marched North, he burnt several towns in South Carolina, including Columbia, the capital. (Sherman's troops felt more anger towards South Carolina, the first state to secede and in their eyes responsible for the war.) In March 1865, Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant all met outside Petersburg. Lincoln called for a quick end to the Civil War. Union General Sheridan said to Lincoln, "If the thing be pressed I think Lee will surrender." Lincoln responded, "Let the thing be pressed."

On April 2, 1865, the Confederate lines of Petersburg, Richmond's defense, which had been extended steadily to the west for 9 months, broke. General Lee informed President Davis he could no longer hold the lines; the Confederate government then evacuated Richmond. Lee pulled his forces out of the lines and moved west; Federal forces chased Lee's forces, annihilated a Confederate rear guard defense, and finally trapped the Army of Northern Virginia. General Lee requested terms. The two senior Army officers met each other near Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia on April 9th,1865. The men met at the home of Wilmer McLean. The gathering lasted about two and half hours. Grant offered extremely generous terms, requiring only that Lee's troops surrender and swear not to bear arms till the end of the War. This meeting helped to nearly end the bloodiest war in American history.

General Sherman met with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston to discuss the surrender of Confederate troops in the South. Sherman initially allowed even more generous terms than Grant. However, the Secretary of War refused to accept the terms because of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by the Confederate John Wilkes Booth. By killing Lincoln at Ford's Theater, Booth made things worse for the Confederacy. Sherman was forced to offer harsher terms of surrender than he originally proposed, and General Johnston surrendered on April 26 under the Appomattox terms. All Confederate armies had surrendered by the end of May, ending the Civil War.

Side note: A Virginian named Wilmer McLean had no luck escaping the Civil War. The first battle of the war, Bull Run, was fought right in front of his house, and the generals slept there, too. Hoping to get away from the war, he then moved to Appomattox. It was in his parlor that Lee surrendered to Grant.

Besides the Fighting

Not all the important events of the Civil War took place on the battlefield.

On May 20, 1862, the United States Congress passed the Homestead Act, which had been delayed by Southern legislators before secession. According to the provisions of the Act, any adult American citizen, or a person intending to become an American citizen, who was the head of a household, could qualify for a grant of 160 acres (67 hectares) of land by paying a small fee and living on the land continuously for 5 years. If a person was willing to pay $1.25 an acre, the time of occupation dwindled to six months.

Other vital legislation included the Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1864, which enabled the United States Government to make a direct grant of land to railway companies for a transcontinental railroad, as well as a payment of $48,000 for every mile of track completed and lower-than-prime rate loans for any railway company who would build such a railway. Two railways, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific, began to construct lines. The two railways finally met 4 years after the war, in Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869.

The federal government started a draft lottery in July, 1863. Men could avoid the draft by paying $300, or hiring another man to take their place. This caused resentment amongst the lower classes as they could not afford to dodge the draft. On Monday, July 13, 1863, between 6 and 7 A.M., the Civil War Draft Riots began in New York City. Rioters attacked the Draft offices, the Bull's Head Hotel on 44th Street, and more upscale residences near 5th Avenue. They lynched black men, burned down the Colored Orphan Asylum on 5th Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets, and forced hundreds of blacks out of the city. Members of the 7th New York Infantry and 71st New York Infantry subdued the riot.

On April 22, 1864 the U.S. Congress passes the Coinage Act of 1864 which mandates that the inscription "In God We Trust" be placed on all coins minted as United States currency.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler becomes the first black woman to receive a medical degree.

Education

In the Morrill Act of 1862, the government granted land to Union states to sell for funding educational institutions. This excluded the states which had seceded from the Union. The schools would teach military tactics, agriculture, and engineering. This answered the Republican campaign promise of 1860. These "Land Grant Universities" were proposed to spread small farm prosperity, as opposed to the large, inherited plantations, and to increase industrial innovations across a wider area.

In the 1860s, most schools were small, multiple grades were taught in one classroom at one time. Paper was expensive, and the more prosperous schools had students write their problems on individual student slates. Memorization was a common means of learning, and student knowledge was measured by oral recitation. Teachers often punished "bad children" with the dunce cap, a rap on a palm with a ruler, hitting or spanking, or even striking a child with a rod or a whip. Corporal punishment was seen as simply one way of enforcing obedience. Teacher and parent both generally agreed that obedience was the trait of good children.

Farming was still a major form of employment in America. It had been so since the first semester, the time when students were allowed to be in school because the crops had been sown. Students worked in the fields during harvest time, and most left school for good to work on a farm. Abraham Lincoln himself, as a youth on the frontier, had had little schooling. Yet despite these brief periods of education, the reading levels were actually quite high. By the fifth grade students were sometimes reading books that we would consider college level, and Latin was still a part of many curricula.

Academies during this time provided education for children between the ages of thirteen and twenty. These academies offered an array of classes. Most of the academies kept the boys and girls separate. There were also seminaries, or private schools, which might cater to boys or girls. Girl's schools varied widely. Emily Dickinson's school, Amherst Academy, taught Mental Philosophy, Geology, Latin, and Botany.[2] Some schools left girls idle, with not even what we would call physical education. Others taught non-intellectual, "feminine" skills such as deportment, needle craft, and perhaps arts and crafts. The Home Economics movement, inaugurated by Catherine Beecher, advocated teaching homemaking skills in school. It also promoted female physical education. In contrast, feminists such as Susan B. Anthony and Emma Willard, and reformers such as Jane Addams and Mary McLeod Bethune, wanted to expand women's education into the plane of men. These women helped establish the higher education institutions where women were able to take classes not otherwise offered to them. The first co-educational college was Oberlin College, established in 1833. The first all-women's college was Vassar College in 1861.

Questions For Review

1. What are the four principal causes of the Civil War?

References


Reconstruction (1865 - 1877)

Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act on 2nd March, 1867. The South was now divided into five military districts, each under a major general. New elections were to be held in each state with freed male slaves being allowed to vote. The act also included an amendment that offered readmission to the Southern states after they had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment and guaranteed adult male suffrage. President Andrew Johnson immediately vetoed the bill but Congress re-passed the bill the same day.

Andrew Johnson consulted General Ulysses S. Grant before selecting the generals to administer the military districts. Eventually he appointed John Schofield (Virginia), Daniel Sickles (the Carolinas), John Pope (Georgia, Alabama and Florida), Edward Ord (Arkansas and Mississippi) and Philip Sheridan (Louisiana and Texas).

ing the American Civil War, in which the nation decided how to handle the return of the seceded states and the status of the Freedmen (the newly freed slaves). Most scholars have accepted 1865-1877 as the boundaries for Reconstruction. The era itself was controversial and pitted various segments of American society against one another. Differing conceptions on how to restore the former Confederate States into the Union collided with diverse opinions concerning the status of African-Americans. The meaning of freedom itself was at stake in this crucial time period. The nascent Republican Party was divided between the mainstream which wanted a modicum of protection for blacks, and the Radicals, who wanted a thorough reorganization of Southern society. Conservative elements of this time period (in particular the Democrats) believed that the old order that governed relations between the states and between blacks and whites should remain intact. The bulk of African-Americans desired equal civil and political rights, protection of their person, and in many cases a redistribution of land and the break-up of the plantation system. These diverse perspectives enabled the period from 1865 to 1877 to be, in many ways, a grand experiment in interracial democracy, but the period was also dominated by tense political relations and a preponderant violence across the South.

Definition

Reconstruction, in United States history, refers both to the period after the Civil War when the states of the breakaway Confederate States of America were reintegrated into the United States of America, and to the process by which this was accomplished.

For victory in the American Civil War to be achieved, Northern moderate Republicans and Radical Republicans concurred that the Confederacy and its system of slavery had to be destroyed, and the possibility of either being revived had to be eliminated. Controversy focused on how to achieve those goals, and who would decide when they were achieved. The Radical Republicans held that reaching those goals was essential to the destruction of the Slave Power, and necessary to guaranteeing perpetual unity of the states, as well as a solution to the many problems of Freedmen.

United States Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, a Radical Republican, held that Congress should abolish slavery along with the Confederacy, extend civil and political rights to blacks, and educate black and white students together.

The "moderates" claimed early success in achieving the goals by assurances that the former Confederates had renounced secession and abolished slavery. Most moderates, like Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, wanted suffrage for black army veterans but not other African Americans. Southern political leaders renounced secession and gave up slavery, but were angered in 1867 when their state governments were ousted by federal military forces, and replaced by Radical Republican governments made up of Freedmen, Carpetbaggers and Scalawags.

Their primary instrument was the Black Codes (1865). These restricted the rights of Blacks and limited economic and educational opportunities. For example, there was very little, if any, employment available in the south. The Yankees may have won the war to end slavery, however the reconstruction did not benefit the African Americans who searched for employment.

The Problem of Reconstruction

Reconstruction was the effort of rebuilding the South based on free labor instead of slave labor. The issue to Northern politicians was how it would be done. At the end of the Civil War, Congress proposed the Thirteenth Amendment, which sought to prohibit slavery. A state was not to gain re-admittance into the Union until it ratified the Amendment, but some states such as Mississippi were admitted despite failing to ratify. The Amendment became a part of the Constitution in December 6,1865.

During this time many Northerners moved to the South to start new lives. Sometimes carrying their belongings in briefcases made of carpet, they were known by Confederate Southerners as "carpetbaggers." Confederate Southerners also had a derogatory name for southern whites who sided with the Republicans. They called them scalawags. The period just after the war also saw the rise of black codes, which restricted the basic human rights of freed slaves.Some of the more common codes seen were: race was dependent on blood, which meant if you had any amount of black blood in your body, you were considered black, freedmen could not get together unless accompanied by a white person, public restrooms and other facilities were segregated.[1]

This time in history was really volatile. Many racially motivated riots broke out all over the country. The hostilities the south held toward the north and the African Americans grew stronger and stronger.

Ku Klux Klan

The Klan in Mississippi

Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is the name of several past and present organizations in the United States that have advocated white supremacy, anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism, racism, homophobia, anti-Communism and nativism. These organizations have often used terrorism, violence, and acts of intimidation, such as cross burning and lynching, to oppress African Americans and other social or ethnic groups.

The first branch of the Ku Klux Klan was established in Pulaski, Tennessee, in May, 1866. A year later a general organization of local Klans was established in Nashville in April, 1867. Most of the leaders were former members of the Confederate Army and the first Grand Wizard was Nathan Forrest, an outstanding general during the American Civil War. During the next two years Klansmen wearing masks, white cardboard hats and draped in white sheets, tortured and killed black Americans and sympathetic whites. Immigrants, who they blamed for the election of Radical Republicans, were also targets of their hatred. Between 1868 and 1870 the Ku Klux Klan played an important role in restoring white rule in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.

The Klan's first incarnation was in 1866. Founded by veterans of the Confederate Army, its main purpose was to resist Reconstruction. It focused as much on intimidating "carpetbaggers" and "scalawags" as on putting down the freed slaves. The KKK quickly adopted violent methods. A rapid reaction set in. The Klan's leadership disowned violence as Southern elites saw the Klan as an excuse for federal troops to continue their activities in the South. The organization declined from 1868 to 1870 and was destroyed in the early 1870s by President Ulysses S. Grant's vigorous action under the Civil Rights Act of 1871 (also known as the Ku Klux Klan Act).

At the end of the American Civil War radical members of Congress attempted to destroy the white power structure of the Rebel states. The Freeman’s Bureau was established by Congress on 3rd March, 1865. The bureau was designed to protect the interests of former slaves. This included helping them to find new employment and to improve educational and health facilities. In the year that followed the bureau spent $17,000,000 establishing 4,000 schools, 100 hospitals and providing homes and food for former slaves.

Violence against African Americans started on the first days of Reconstruction and became more organized significant after 1867. Members of The Klan looked to frustrate Reconstruction. They also, tried to keep freedom in subjection. Terrorism dominated some counties and regions so, nighttime harassment, whippings, beatings, rapes, and murders became more common. The Klan's main purpose was political, even though, they tormented blacks who stood up for their rights. Active Republicans were the target of lawless nightriders. When freedmen that worked for a South Carolina scalawag started to vote, terrorists went to the plantation and, in the words of a victim, "whipped every ... [black] man they could lay their hands on."

Lincoln and Reconstruction

Lincoln firmly believed that the southern states had never actually seceded, because, constitutionally, they cannot. He hoped that the 11 states that seceded could be "readmitted" by meeting some tests of political loyalty. Lincoln began thinking about re-admittance early on. In his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, which was issued in 1863, Lincoln established a simple process, hoping that Unionists would rise to political power rather than secessionalists. This plan would have granted presidential pardons to all southerners (save the political leaders at the time) who took an oath of future allegiance to the Union. Under Lincoln's plan, a state could be established as legitimate as soon as 10 percent of the voting population in the 1860 general election took this oath and a government was set up accepting the emancipation of the slaves.

While Lincoln proved to be instrumental in the emancipation of blacks, the Native Americans were not so lucky. Lincoln was responsible for the largest mass hanging in United States history. 38 Native Americans from the Santee Sioux tribe were hung On December 26, 1862. The US government failed to honor its treaties with the Indian Nations. They were suppose to supply the Indians with money and food for signing a treaty to turn over more than one million acres of land. Instead the agents kept the money and sold the food that was suppose to go the Indians to the white settlers. The food that was given to the Indians was spoiled and unfit for human consumption. Subsequntly, the Indians went off the reservation in hunting parties to try to find suitable food. One of the Indian hunting groups took some eggs from a white settlers land and that caused this extreme government action. Authorities in Minnesota asked President Lincoln to order the execution of all 303 Indian males. However, Lincoln was afraid of how Europe would react so he tried to compromise. They would only execute those who were in the group. Lincoln also agreed to kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2 million dollars in federal funds. Ironically, he only owed the Sioux 1.4 million for the land.

Rejecting Lincoln's Presidential reconstruction plan, radical Republicans in congress arguing that it was too lenient, passed the Wade-Davis bill in 1864, which proposed far more demanding terms. It required 50 percent of the voters to take the loyalty oath and allowed only those who could swear that they had never supported the confederacy to run for office or hold federal employment. Lincoln rejected this plan and pocket-vetoed the bill. In March 1865, Congress created a new agency, the Freedman's Bureau. This agency provided food, shelter, medical aid, help to find employment, education, and other needs for blacks and poor whites. The Freedman's Bureau was the largest scale federal aid relief plan at this time. It was the first large scale governmental welfare program.

In 1864, his Vice Presidential running mate was the only Southern Senator to remain loyal to the Union - Andrew Johnson from Tennessee. After Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, and Johnson became President, the latter proved to be an obstacle to the Radical Republicans in Congress, who attempted to completely overhaul the Southern government and economy, which would have caused further tensions.

In May, 1865, Johnson made his own proclamation, one that was very similar to Lincoln's. Offering amnesty to almost all Confederates who took an oath of allegiance to the Union, Johnson also reversed General Sherman's decision to set aside land for the express use of freed slaves. Not long after Johnson took office, all of the ex-Confederate states were able to be readmitted under President Johnson's plan. In 1866, Johnson vetoed two important bills, one that bolstered the protection that the Freedmen's Bureau gave to blacks and a civil rights bill that gave full citizenship to blacks.

After realizing that if all of the Republicans, moderate and radical alike, united, they could overcome Johnson's vetoes, they soon passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Fourteenth Amendment. This amendment declared citizenship for all persons born in the United States and required the states to respect the rights of all US citizens. The Civil Rights Act outlawed the black codes that had been prevalent throughout the South.

Over Johnson's vetoes, Congress passed three Reconstruction acts in 1867. They divided the southern states into five military districts under the control of the Union army. The military commander in charge of each district was to ensure that the state fulfilled the requirements of Reconstruction by ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment and by providing voting rights without a race qualification. Tennessee was not included in the districts because it had ratified the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866 and was quickly readmitted to the Union.

In 1868, the House of Representatives impeached Andrew Johnson. Earlier, Congress had passed the Tenure of Office Act (over Johnson's veto), which required the President to dismiss officers only with the advice and consent of the Senate if he appointed them with the same advice and consent. Johnson believed that the Act was unconstitutional (and the Supreme Court, years after his Presidency, agreed in 1926), and intentionally violated it, to "test the waters." Radical Republicans used this violation as an excuse to impeach Johnson, who was acquitted by one vote in the Senate.

In the election of 1868, Ulysses Grant was nominated for the Republican ticket and won on an incredibly small margin. Republicans noticed that if they did not act swiftly to protect the voting rights of blacks, they might soon lose a majority. Thus, Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment in 1869, which enforced that the suffrage of male citizens shall not be denied on account of race. This was a major blow to the women's movement, as it was the first time gender was deliberately placed into the Constitution. Republicans claimed that if the amendment had included both race and gender discrimination clauses, it would have never had a chance to pass in Congress.

African-Americans in Congress

A number of African-Americans were elected for the first time in American history during this period. With the Reconstruction Acts sending federal troops in the southern states where African-Americans held majorities in South Carolina and Mississippi, and nearly equal numbers with whites in Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, Blacks were elected to Congress from these states.

John Willis Menard was elected in the 2nd District of Louisiana in 1868. His challenger, Caleb Hunt, filed an objection with the election result and the House of Representatives, upon hearing arguments from both candidates, decided to seat neither of them.

Hiram Revels was elected by the Mississippi Senate by an 81-15 margin to finish the term of Mississippi Senator Albert G. Brown, who vacated the seat during the Civil War. Revels served from February 23, 1870 to March 3, 1871.

Joseph Rainey was elected to the US House of Representatives from South Carolina's 1st District in the elections of 1870. He was the longest serving African-American member of congress prior to William L. Dawson in the 1950's.

Blanche Bruce was elected to serve a full term in the US Senate by the Mississippi state senate in 1871. Bruce was the only former slave to ever serve in the US Senate.

The Panic of 1873

The Panic of 1873 was the first depression experienced by America and Europe following the Civil War. The depression was a result of the fall for an international demand for silver. Germany stopped using the silver standard after the Franco-Prussia war. The United States enacted the Coinage Act of 1873 which shifted the backing of our monetary system with gold and silver to just gold. The act immediately depreciated the value of silver and hurt western mining operations. Another factor that influenced the Panic of 1873 was the risky over investment into railroad companies that would not bring quick returns. The Jay Cook and Company was a United States bank that declared bankruptcy on September 18, 1873. The bank went under as a result of over investment in the railroad business. As a result, the New York Stock Exchange closed for ten days starting September 20, 1873. 89 of 364 railroad companies failed during the depression. Real estate values, wages, and profits by corporations decreased over the course of the panic. Thousands of businesses fell during the depression as well. The depression was a major highlight in President Grant's second term.

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877

The strike started on July 14, 1877 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The strike was caused by wage cuts from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. The workers refused to let the railroad operate. State militia was sent in to quell the strike but would not fire upon the strikers. Governor Henry Mathews called upon federal troops to put down the strike and resume operations of the railroad. The strike spread to Cumberland, Maryland. Troops in Maryland fired upon the mob of strikers and killed ten rioters. The strike occurred in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and even spread to St. Louis. The strikes resulted in millions of dollars of property damage the casualties of many. The great strike lasted 45 days, after finally being put down by federal troops from city to city.

Republicans fall from power

Grant's presidency would bring about the decline of the Republican Party. He appointed a great number of corrupt officials to federal positions and to his cabinet. Many split with the party over that issue. Others grew tired of Reconstruction and proposed reconciliation with the South in a peaceful manner. These people called themselves Liberal Republicans, and nominated Horace Greeley to run against Grant in 1872. The Democrats also endorsed Greeley. Despite wide support, Grant won the election of 1872 decisively.

During the election season, Liberal Republicans were busy pushing the Amnesty Act through Congress, and in May 1872, it passed. The Amnesty Act pardoned most former Confederate citizens, and allowed them to run for office. The act restored the rights to the Democratic majorities in the South. Soon, Democrats had control of the Virginia and North Carolina governments. In states with black Republican majorities, the Ku Klux Klan (formed after the civil war as a white supremacist group) terrorized Republicans and forced them to vote Democratic or not at all. By 1876, Republicans controlled only three states in the South: Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina-- all of which were still occupied by Union troops.

Republicans continued to decline during Grant's second term, after many high level political scandals came to light. Most shocking to the public was that a scandal involved the Vice President, and another involved the Secretary of War. The Northern population's confidence in the party was shaken even more when the nation slipped into a Depression that same year.

In the congressional elections of 1874, Republicans would suffer huge losses in both houses, and for the first time since before the start of the Civil War, Democrats were able to gain control of a part of Congress (the House). Congress no longer was able to be committed strongly to Reconstruction.

In the election of 1876, Democrats nominated New York governor S.J. Tilden to run, and the Republicans nominated Ohio governor Rutherford B. Hayes. On election day, it seemed that Tilden would win by more than 250,000 votes. But the seven, four, and eight electoral votes from South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana, respectively, were disputed (Northern troops still occupied these states). Also, one of Oregon's three electoral votes was disputed. If Hayes won all 20 votes, he would win the election. Congress created a special commission of seven Democrats, seven Republicans, and one independent to review the election and decide a winner. But the independent resigned, and a Republican was appointed to take his place. The commission voted along party lines to award Hayes the election, but Democrats warned that they would fight the decision.

The certificate for the electoral vote for Rutherford B. Hayes and William A. Wheeler for the State of Louisiana

Republican and Democratic leaders secretly met up to draw up a compromise, and the result of the meeting was the Compromise of 1877. Proclaiming that Hayes would win the election, troops left the South and more aid was given to the South; it marked the end of Reconstruction. Ultimately, Reconstruction and the Compromise itself would be failures, as Democrats refused to hold up their end of the compromise, which was to protect the rights of African Americans in the South.

The period after Reconstruction saw the rise of the Democratic "Redeemers" in the South. The Redeemers vowed to take back the South from Republican rule, which had been ousted after the 1876 election. They passed Jim Crow laws, which segregated blacks and whites, and put voting restrictions on blacks that wouldn't be outlawed until the next century. Jim Crow laws were challenged in Plessy v. Ferguson, when the Supreme Court voted to uphold the laws if and only if segregated facilities remained "separate but equal."

Sinmiyangyo

The United States expedition to Korea in 1871 also known as Sinmiyangyo (Western Disturbance of the Year Sinmi year) was the first American military action in Korea. It took place predominantly on and around the Korean island of Ganghwa. The reason for the presence of the American military expeditionary force in Korea was to support an American diplomatic delegation sent to establish trade and diplomatic relations with Korea, to ascertain the fate of the General Sherman merchant ship, and to establish a treaty assuring aid for shipwrecked sailors. The isolationist nature of the Joseon Dynasty government and the assertiveness of the Americans led to a misunderstanding between the two parties that changed a diplomatic expedition into an armed conflict. The United States won a minor military victory, but as the Koreans refused to open up the country to them (and as the U.S. forces in Korea did not have the authority or strength to press the issue) the United States failed to secure their diplomatic objectives.

Religion During the 18th Century

The first Jews settled in America in 1654. Later, between the years of 1820 and 1880, about 250,000 Jews came to the U.S. Some of the reason for the emigration to the U.S. was, because Jews in Germany did not have many rights. They could not own land, run for office, or vote. Many of them became merchants, tradesman, and moneylenders. During the 1800’s, the German economy was changing from agriculture to industrial, so many non-Jewish farmers moved to the cities while others immigrated to America. This hurt the Jews who were selling goods and lending money to non-Jewish farmers. The opportunities that were available in American finally reached the Jews of Germany, so many fled there to gain some wealth. Not only did the economy cause the emigration, but also the fact that the revolution against Germany failed in 1848. Some rights that were not being given to both Germans and Jews were the right to a trial by jury and the freedom to hold meetings. The Jews were supporting the movement hoping it would result inthem to earn rights as well. The revolution ended unsuccessfully. Some decided to immigrate to the U.S. (Jewish Americans pg. 6-9).

In the later 1800’s and early 1900’s, many Jews began immigrating to America, even though their trips were extremely uncomfortable and unsanitary, There were about three hundred tightly packed men and women on each ship and they slept on bunk beds, some even three-tiered bunks. The bunk beds were about 6 feet long and 2 feet wide and only about 2.5 feet separated each bunk. Belongings could only be kept on the bunk beds with the family, which meant an individual could not pack much. One woman by the name of Sophia Kreitzberg was quoted saying “…and when you scratched you head… you got lice on your hands” (Stone 15). The ships smelled terrible from all the people and the boats were extremely dirty and filled with diseases and lice. The Jews were definitely not being respected while being on the ships going to the U.S. They were served nonkosher meat and soup, which many refused to eat. Instead, they had to eat whatever items they brought with them such as dried fruit, hardened break, or cheese (Stone 16). Stone, Amy. Jewish Americans. Milwaukee: World Almanac Library, 2007. Print.

The most dramatic increase in the U.S. Catholic population occurred during the latter half of the 19th century, due to a massive influx of European immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Russian Empire (mostly Poles). By 1850 Catholicism had become the United States' largest religious denomination, between 1860 and 1890 the Catholic population tripled in large part due to immigration. This massive influx of Catholics to the United States would eventually lead a significant increase of power for the Catholic church, and will lead to a growing fear of the "Catholic menace" among the Protestant population of the United States. Anti-Catholic groups such as the "Know Nothings", the Orange Institution, the American Protective Association, and the Ku Klux Klan were openly "suspicious" of Catholics and regularly persecuted and discriminated against them [Catholics] with such acts as The Philadelphia Nativist Riot, "Bloody Monday", and the Orange Riots of New York City in 1871 and 1872 ([2]). Spawning out of this severe anti-catholic sentiment was a movement known as Nativism, which encouraged all native born American men (except the "real" Native Americans and African Americans) to rise up against foreigners. The first Nativist publication was actually called "The Protestant", with it's first edition being sold on January 2nd, 1830. The editor of the "Protestant" was George Bourne, who used his publication to clearly convey his message that "the goal of the paper is centered around the denunciation of the Catholic faith" (The American Religious Experience, American Nativism, 1830-1845. Baker, Sean). Although anti-Catholic rhetoric was occasionally met with violence the nativists produced one of the greatest violent acts of the 1830's. On August 10, 1834 a mob of 40 to 50 people gathered outside the Ursuline Convent school and burned it to the ground ([3]). The Ursuline Convent burning marked an underlying acceptance of the anti-Catholic movement. In 1834 F.B. Morse, a nativist leader who was a professor of sculpture and painting at New York University, wrote "The Foreign Conspiracies Against the Liberties of the United States", in which his basic message is centered around protecting the American birth right of liberty. The concern, and fear of the foreign and Catholic communities grew out of the Protestant fear of the monarchial tendencies of Catholicism, during this time urban areas were also starting to grow rapidly with the massive influx of immigrants who all congregated and lived in the same areas. Nativists saw this as an act of "clannishness", and an attempt to avoid or resist "Americanization." With the success of Morse, and his contemporary Lyman Beecher, the nativist movement reached a point where the public did not care whether the stories they heard were true or false, but began to accept works of fiction as truth as well. In 1836 Maria Monk authored a worked called "Awful Disclosures of the Hotel Dieu Nunnery of Montreal." In her book she tells of her experiences with Catholicism, which involved forced sexual intercourse with priests and the murdering of nuns and children, the book concludes with her [Maria] escaping to save her unborn child. Monk's mother denies her work, and said that Maria was never in a nunnery, and that a brain injury Maria received as a child may have been the cause of her stories. In the Midwest and northern sections of the country Catholics were seen as incapable of free thought and were said to be "anti-American Papists" because it was thought that they took every direction from the Pope in Rome. During the Mexican-American war Mexican Catholics were displayed in the media as silly or stupid due to their "Papist superstition". It was because of the general attitude in America about Catholics that about 100 American Catholics, mostly recently immigrated Irish, fought against the United States in the Mexican-American war. These men fought for the Mexicans and were known as "Saint Patrick's Battalion ([4]). In 1850, Franklin Pierce presented several resolutions that would remove the restrictions on Catholics from holding public office in New Hampshire, these resolutions that were, at the time, considered "pro-Catholic' were defeated (Battle of Religious Tolerance," The World Almanac, 1950, 53). However as the 19th century passed, hostilities between Catholics and Protestants eased due to the fact that many Irish Catholics fought alongside Protestants during the Civil War, for both the North and the South.[5]

Education

Ex-slaves everywhere across the nation reached out for education. Blacks of all ages really wanted to know what was in the books that had been only permitted to whites. With freedom they started their own schools and the classes were packed days and nights. They sat on log seats or the dirt floors. They would study their letters in old almanacs and in discarded dictionaries. Because the desire to escape slavery's ignorance was so great, ignoring their poverty, many blacks would pay tuition, sometimes $1 or $1.50 a month.[6] Blacks and their white allies also saw a need for colleges and universities, in this case to train teachers, ministers, and professionals for leadership. There were seven colleges founded by the American Missionary Association, Fisk and Atlanta Universities, between 1866 and 1869. The Freedoms Bureau helped to establish Howard University in Washington D.C. As well as Northern religious groups, such as the Methodists, Baptists, and Congregationalists, supported dozens of seminaries and teachers’ colleges.[7] The earliest forms of education that blacks received was from the missionaries to convert them to Christianity. The education of blacks was very low during the civil war, until Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The Department of Education was developed in 1867 to help start more effective schools systems. Howard University was developed in Washington D.C. for black youth “in the liberal arts and sciences.” The first public school day was in Boston in 1869.

Technology

Just before the Civil War a vast source of petroleum was discovered in and around Titusville, Pennsylvania, and after the War this began to be exploited. At first oil was used for medicinal purposes alone. However, as the supply increased, it also began to be used for industrial purposes, and instead of whale oil. The dangerous and expensive whaling industry collapsed. While some cities used coal gas for night illumination, others began to use oil lamps, and major cities were lit at night. Petroleum, lamp oil (for the great engine lamp), and machine oil increased the usefulness of railways.

Information could be transmitted across great distances via the telegraph. In the 1870s and 1880s inventors vied to transmit a human voice. The two major competitors were the Scots-born Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray. In the year 1875, Alexander Graham Bell used an electromagnetic machine to transmit the sound of a steel reed. On February 14, 1876, a partner of Bell presented his patent to the patent office in Washington, D.C., on the same day as his rival Elisha Gray. Three weeks later, on March Seventh, Bell’s patent won out and was granted.

Native Americans After The War

The Native Americans had to deal with many injustices during the Civil War. This did not change at wars end. While the African Americans were trying to gain social and economic power, the Native Americans were being forced further and further away. Though these people were indigenous to the continent, the U.S. Government made it clear that they were not going to be citizens of this country. The native Americans were forced to live out in the west on reservations. Their travel was restricted and scrutinized by government agents who monitored them. Traveling off the reservations to hunt, fish or even visit the neighboring reservations was frowned upon by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Subsequently, they instituted a pass system in order keep them under control. This system required the Natives to get a pass from the agents before they were allowed off the reservation.

White settlers also took issue with the Indians traveling on the trains. However, the Central Pacific Railroad in Nevada granted the Native Americans permission to ride on top of the trains in exchange for their railroads being allowed to cross through the reservations. Many of the Indian agents were unhappy with all of the free traveling the Indians were getting away with. As a result they began writing letters to the BIA to try to stop them. One of these Indian agents commented that "The injurious effects of this freedom from restraint, and continual change of place, on the Indian, can not be over estimated".

With the 14th amendment the civil rights acts were contrived. For the Indians however, their positioning was made clear. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 states, “That all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States".

Battle at Little Bighorn

In 1876, after a few uneventful confrontations, Col. George A. Custer and his small cavalry came across the Sioux and some of their allies at the Little Bighorn River. To force the large Indian army back to the reservations, the Army dispatched three columns to attack. One of these groups contained Lt. Custer and the Seventh Cavalry. They spotted the Sioux village about fifteen miles away just along the Rosebud River, Custer also found a nearby group of about forty men. He ignored orders to wait,and decided to attack before they could alert the main party. He was unaware of how much he was outnumbered. The Sioux and their allies had three times as much force. Custer divided his forces in three, He sent troops under control of Captain Frederick Benteen to try to stop them from escaping through the upper valley of the Little Bighorn River. Major Marcus Reno job was to pursue the group, then cross the river, and attack the Indian village in a conjunction with the remaining troops under his command. He Intended to strike the Indian camp from the north and south, but he had no idea that he would have to cross a rough terrain in order to achieve this. Once e came upon the mazes, bluffs nd ravines he realized his plan was ruined. As the Indians began to decend upon them Custer ordered his men to shoot their horses and stack the carcasses in front of them in order to form a wall, however this did not protect them against bullets. In less than an hour, Custer and all his men were killed in one of the worst American military disasters of all time. After one more day of fighting, Reno and Benteen's now unified forces fled when the Indians stopped fighting. They knew two more columns of soldiers were coming towards them, so they escaped toward them. The massacre Custer would succumb to in his final battle completely eclipsed any success he had in the Civil War. Custer was defeated and killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876,while fighting Native American tribes in a battle that has come to be known as "Custer's Last Stand".


Women's History of the Period

Victoria Woodhull

In 1872 Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to run for President of the United States. She was nominated by the Equal Rights Party on May 10. Though it is undisputed that she was the first female to run for president, the legality of her petition is questioned; her name didn't actually appear on the ballot and she was under the age of 35 which is the required age for a presidential candidate according to the constitution. Woodhull did not receive any electoral votes, but evidence supports that she received popular votes that were never counted.

Woman's Christian Temperance Union

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union was formed on December 22, 1873. Fredonia, New York is credited as being the birthplace of the group. The temperance movement was a social movement that pushed for the reduction of alcohol consumption. The movement spread all over the country, and women would go to bars and drug stores to sing and pray. The National Woman's Christian Temperance Union was established in 1874 in Cleveland, Ohio. The women demonstrated use of non violent protestation of the consumption of alcohol by praying in saloons. Often, they were denied entrance and yelled at by patrons. The movement ultimately contributed to prohibition in America's future.

References

  1. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h411.html
  2. Michael Gordon, The Orange riots: Irish political violence in New York City, 1870 and 1871 (1993
  3. The American Religious Experience, American Nativism, 1830-1845. Baker, Sean
  4. Amy S. Greenberg: Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993
  5. An American Religious Experience: American Nativism 1830-1845. Sean Baker.
  6. A People and A Nation, Eighth Edition
  7. A People and A Nation, Eighth Edition


The Republic 1877 to 2000

The Age of Invention and the Gilded Age (1877 - 1900)

Racism

Racism was a major blight of the 1890s', largely unacknowledged by the government in Washington. The freedoms which had been given to the former slaves by Emancipation were taken away in Southern states. Every one of them passed laws which disenfranchised African Americans, including poll taxes and literacy tests. The notorious Jim Crow laws, named for an old minstrel show song, started to take effect even in some states which had not seceded. Blacks were barred from public drinking fountains, bathrooms, and train cars, and directed by sign to "Negro only" facilities which were often dirty and defective. A new set of photographic post cards started going through the mail. These showed the results of public lynchings, largely of African American men. Many of these postcards show large crowds, some including White children, and the hung, mutilated, or burnt body of the victim. These proud shows seldom resulted in any prosecution of the attackers, who sometimes included local public officials.

In 1898 white citizens of Wilmington, North Carolina, resenting African Americans’ involvement in local government and incensed by an editorial in an African American newspaper accusing white women of loose sexual behavior, rioted and killed dozens of blacks. In the fury’s wake, white supremacists overthrew the city government, expelling black and white office holders, and instituted restrictions to prevent blacks from voting.

Industrialization

In the 1870's, the United States became a leading Industrial power. Advances in technology drove American Industrialization, as did access to the immense and untapped resources of the North American continent. Industrialization brought the growth of new American cities such as Chicago, and the arrival of a flood of immigrants from all over Europe to man the factories. The Civil War had transformed the North into one of the most heavily industrialized regions in the world, and during the Gilded Age, businessmen reaped enormous profits from this new economy. Powerful tycoons formed giant trusts to monopolize the production of goods that were in high demand. Andrew Carnegie, for one, built a giant steel empire using vertical integration, a business tactic that increased profits by eliminating middlemen from the production line. Though industrialization caused many long-term positives, it did cause problems in the short-term.[1] Rich farmers who could afford new machinery grew even richer, while poorer farmers were forced to move into urban areas as they could not compete in the agricultural sector.

In 1878 the U.S. had entered a time of success after a long downfall of the mid 1870's. The number of manufacturing plants and number of people doubled. Also, by the 1900's the South had consisted of more than 400 mills. Women and also children worked in bad conditions for long periods of time, mostly about 12-16 hours per day. They only made about a half a dollar per day, which was not much in that day of time.

In 1868 the typewriter was finally perfected by an editor by the name of Christopher Sholes. This invention would bring about a wave of new employment opportunities for women in America. This machine was made popular by several authors but none more so than Mark Twain when he was the first to make and send a typewritten manuscript, which was “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, to a printer. Writers loved the typewriter because it could fit so many words onto one page compared to what they could do in handwriting. Along with this new machine also came other inventions such as the telephone and the telegraph. Jobs for women went up substantially. In the 1890s, while the number of women telephone and telegraph operators went up 167 percent, the number of women stenographers and typists went up almost twice as much at 305 percent.

This huge event, when women were getting more and more jobs, was during the era where white, middle-class women strove to branch out from the home. These women wanted to do more than just wash the clothes, keep the house clean, make all of the meals, and take care of the kids. These women wanted to be equal with men. This movement was referred to as “The Woman Movement.” In this movement women expanded their jobs, creating clubs and crusades, and receiving more rights such as voting. One of the motivations for women to begin this movement was that women believed that they were superior to men and that they should share their greatness with the rest of America instead of keeping it combined to the home. This later became one of their arguments for many things such as voting. Jane Addams argued that “If women have in any sense been responsible for the gentler side of life which softens and blurs some of its harsher conditions, may not they have a duty to perform in our American cities?” Arguments such as these would fuel the fire for women across America to continue to fight for rights and recognition.

Early innovations in the technology of the internal-combustion engine took place in Europe. In 1885 a German engineer, Gottlieb Daimler, built a lightweight engine driven by vaporized gasoline. This development inspired one of America's most visionary manufacturers, Henry Ford. In the 1880's, Ford, an electrical engineer in Detroit's Edison Company, experimented in his spare time using Daimler's engine to power a vehicle. George Selden, a Rochester, New York, lawyer, had already been tinkering with such technology, but Ford applied organizational genius to this invention and spawned a massive industry. [2]

As industrialization boomed, more job opportunities than ever opened up. Factory line jobs were perfect for women and children, mostly because the factory owners could pay the women less. Despite terrible work conditions, increasing numbers of women began to move from purely domestic workers to factory help. Although women now had a part in the workforce, sexual discrimination lasted. Where women had the opportunity to take some low positions, virtually no women were trusted with responsibilities such as managing, or even handling money. The factories also took advantage of immigrants and used them as cheap labor. Immigrants from Ireland, Germany and other European countries were considered second class citizens and this was evident in the work place. Immigrants received extremely low wages and no benefits, it was common for a worker to suffer a serious injury and lose his job if he was unable to perform.

Workers adjusted to mechanization as best they could. Some people submitted to the demands of the factory, machine, and time clock. Some tried to blend old ways of working into the new system. Others turned to resistance. Individuals challenged the system by ignoring management's orders, skipping work, or quitting. But also, anxiety over the loss of independence and a desire for better wages, hours, and working conditions drew disgruntled workers into unions. [3]

In the cities, laborers and employers often clashed over wages, sanitary conditions, working hours, benefits, and several other issues. Laborers organized themselves into unions to negotiate with companies. The companies, however, attempted to shut down labor unions. Some imposed yellow dog contracts, under which an employer could dismiss a worker who participated in union activity.

In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was formed to fight for laborers in general. The AFL and other union groups employed as many tactics as possible to force employers to accede to their demands. One tactic was the strike. Some strikes escalated into riots, as with the Knights of Labor's strike in 1886 becoming the Haymarket Riots. The Haymarket Riots of 1886 occurred when an unknown person threw a dynamite bomb into a group of police officers. Eight officers were killed in the explosion and gunfight that ensued. As a result, eight anarchists were tried for murder -- four were sentenced to death and one committed suicide.

The Pullman Strike occurred in 1894, in response to Pullman Company workers' wages being cut following the Panic of 1893, an economic depression which was caused in part by excessive railroad speculation. Approximately 3,000 workers began the strike on May 11. Many of the workers were members of the American Railway Union, and although the strike began without authorization from union officials (known as a "wildcat strike"), the ARU eventually supported the strike by launching a nationwide boycott of Pullman cars on June 26. Within four days, approximately 125,000 ARU members had quit their jobs rather than switch Pullman cars. On July 6, President Cleveland sent Army troops to break up the strike, ostensibly because it prevented delivery of mail and was considered a threat to public safety.

The companies sometimes retaliated against strikes by suing the unions. Congress had passed the Sherman Antitrust Act to prevent trusts, or corporations that held stock in several different companies, from obstructing the activities of competitors. Though the Sherman Act was intended to target trusts, the companies sued the union under it, claiming that unions obstructed interstate commerce.

During the machine age, there were a number of strikes that took place due to the demands from factories and time clocks. It was hard for individuals to adjust to that system, and as a result, they challenged the system by ignoring management's orders, skipping work, or quitting. The desire and longing for better wages let to anxiety and frustration. Like farming and mining, industry was massive in size and changed not only the nature of the work but the person doing it. Soon, all of these disgruntled individuals formed specialized groups into unions. The different jobs varied in not only skill, but other things as well that were non-related to worker conflict; race, sex, etc. These jobs were such as working on/in railroads, steel factories, and automobiles. The outcome for many working in labor during the Gilded Age led to horrific labor violence. Industrialists and workers literally fought over control of the workplace. Many suffered due to the strikes and riots and it inevitably led to deaths, loss of jobs, and often continuous violence. For most American workers, the Machine age had varying results. At times there was no job stability and when costs of living would increase drastically there were even more problems. [4]

Prices, and consequently wages, fell sharply in about the 1870s and stayed that way all the way through the 1970s. The prices of necessities in the late 1800s were: 4 pounds butter for $1.60, 1 bag of flour $1.80, a quart of milk for $0.56, vegetables $0.50, 2 bushels of coal $1.36, soap, starch, pepper, salt, vinegar, etc. $1.00, rent for $4.00 a week, and more. The average total of a person's wages was $16.00. By the time that person bought the necessities such as food and soap and rent, most, if not all, of the money would be gone.

Urbanization

With industrialization came urbanization. The increasing factory businesses created many more job opportunities in the cities. Soon people began to flock from rural, farm areas, to large cities. Minorities and immigrants added to these numbers. Factory jobs were the only jobs some immigrants could get, and as more came to the cities to work, the larger the urbanization process became. In 1870 there were only two American cities with a population of more than 500,000, but by 1900 there were six, and three of these, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia had over one million inhabitants. Roughly 40 percent of Americans lived in cities and the number was climbing. These large populations in the cities caused the crime rates to go up, and disease was rapidly spreading. Not only did urbanization cause cities to grow in population, it also caused cities to grow in building size. Skyscrapers were being built in the cities and the idea of mass transit had started. With these mass transits being built it allowed people to commute to work from further distances. Suburbs were beginning to form and higher class families began to move to them to get out of the over crowded city but still gave them the ability to go into the city to work each day. City living was for the lower class the upper class had enough money to get away from all of the pollution and the city stench. This still holds true today in larger cities a lot of the nicer homes are located further out from the center of the city. For example, in the city of Chicago, you will find a lot of the nicer homes away from the city, and more towards the suburbs. In this case, this is because there are a lot of violence in the inner city. Therefore, people try to live more further out from the city in order to stay away from the violence.

Agriculture

In the late 1880s and early 1900s, a typical farm would be about 100 acres. Farmers could only plow with the aid of a horse or a mule. Later on the internal combustion engine was used to create tractors. Unlike Southern cotton plantations, most farms raised a variety of foodstuffs, breeding cows, pigs and chickens, and growing turnips, potatoes, carrots, wheat, and corn. They were often self-sufficient. Farmers made their bread from their own wheat, and killed the runt pig for their own table.

While industry generally increased in importance, farmers struggled due to debt and falling prices. In the 1880s there were crop failures. Steamships and railways brought in wheat from abroad, lowering American farm prices still more. Economic transformation created industrial prosperity and new lifestyles, but in states still dominated by farming these changes also had a widespread negative effect. Crop diversification and a greater focus on cotton as a cash crop did not give many farmers any potential to get ahead.[5]

American farmers helped to create regulation of the railroads. When domestic farmers needed to transport their crops, they also had to rely on the railroad system. But railroads often charged outrageous prices. Farmers, small merchants, and reform politicians started to demand rate regulation. In 1877, in Munn v. Illinois, the Supreme Court upheld the principle of state regulation, declaring that grain warehouses owned by railroads acted in the public interest and therefore must submit to regulation for the common good. By 1880 fourteen states had established commissions to limit freight and storage charges of state-chartered lines.

Between 1860 and 1905 the number of farms tripled from two million to six million. In 1905 the number of people living on farms grew to thirty-one million. The value of farms went from eight billion in 1860 to thirty billion in 1906. Then as now, wheat was a major crop, creating such common food as bread, a major source of both starch and protein for poorer people.

Farmers had to rise early, often at four or five in the morning. Cows and goats had to be milked twice a day, at morning and at evening. Chickens' eggs were gathered every morning, cleaned, and packed in cases. Because they laid eggs, female chickens or pullets were more important than the male chickens or roosters. Because of this, and to keep roosters from attacking each other, poultry farmers would have only one rooster with several hens.

After the Civil War, more prosperous farmers gained more machinery to plant and harvest their crops. In 1879 the centrifugal cream separator was patented. In 1885, chicken raising became a lot more profitable due to the invention of the mechanized incubator. Complicated horse-drawn mechanical combines and threshers were used about this time. With the aid of machines a farmer could harvest about 135 acres of wheat; without them, he or she could only harvest about 7.5 acres of wheat in the same amount of time. The Montgomery Ward & Company mail order catalogue of 1895 listed various grist mills, seeders and planters, a hay pitcher, a hay tedder, and nearly a full page of mechanical churns.[6]

Imperialism

As time progressed, Industrialization caused American businessmen to seek new international markets in which to sell their goods. In addition, the increasing influence of Social Darwinism led to the belief that the United States had the inherent responsibility to bring concepts like industry, democracy and Christianity to less scientifically developed, "savage" societies. The combination of these attitudes, along with other factors, led the United States toward Imperialism, the practice of of a nation increasing its sphere of influence.

The Orient

In the Orient, Russia, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany all exercised influence.[citation needed] US Secretary of State John Hay endorsed the Open Door Policy, under which all foreign powers would exercise equal economic power in the Orient. The US thus protected its interests in China and maintained a balance of power there.

Chinese nationalists known as the "Righteous Fists of Harmony", or "Boxers" in English, who resented foreign influence, promoted hatred of non-Chinese as well as Chinese Christians. In June 1900 in Beijing, Boxer fighters threatened foreigners and forced them to seek refuge in the Legation Quarter. In response, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi, urged by the conservatives of the Imperial Court, supported the Boxers and declared war on foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers, and Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were under siege by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers for 55 days. The siege was raised when the Eight-Nation Alliance brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and captured Beijing. The Boxer Protocol of 7 September 1901 specified an indemnity of 67 million pounds (450 million taels of silver), more than the government's annual tax revenue, to be paid over a course of thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved.[7]

Spanish Territories

By 1825 Spain had acknowledged the independence of its possessions in the present-day United States. The only remnants of the Spanish Empire in the Western Hemisphere were Cuba, Puerto Rico, across the Pacific in the Philippines Islands, as well as the Carolina, Marshall, and Mariana Islands (including Guam) in Micronesia.

In 1898, the American battleship USS Maine was destroyed by an explosion in the Cuban Harbor of Havana. Although later investigations proved that an internal problem was to blame, at the time it was thought that Spanish forces had sunk it. On the advice of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, President William McKinley asked Congress to declare war on April 11, 1898. Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado added an amendment to the proposed U.S. declaration of war against Spain on April 19, which proclaimed that the United States would not establish permanent control over Cuba. The amendment stated that the United States "hereby disclaims any disposition of intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island except for pacification thereof, and asserts its determination, when that is accomplished, to leave the government and control of the island to its people."

At that time Spanish troops stationed on the island included 150,000 regulars and 40,000 irregulars and volunteers while rebels inside Cuba numbered as many as 50,000. Total U.S. army strength at the time totalled 26,000, requiring the passage of the Mobilization Act of April 22 that allowed for an army of at first 125,000 volunteers (later increased to 200,000) and a regular army of 65,000.

On April 25, 1898 Congress declared war on Spain. The United States Navy won two decisive naval battles, destroying the Spanish Pacific Fleet at Manila in the Philippines and the Atlantic fleet at Santiago, Cuba. The U.S. then landed forces in Cuba, which fought the tropical climate and associated diseases as well as the Spanish forces. In the Battle of San Juan Hill (actually Kettle Hill), Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt earned a reputation as a military hero by leading the attack on entrenched Spanish positions. The regiment to which Roosevelt belonged, the First U.S. Volunteers, was recruited throughout the United States and known as the Rough Riders because of the large number of cowboys to volunteer. The 10th Cavalry, a regiment of black soldiers, supported the Rough Riders in the attack. Joseph Wheeler, a Confederate general of the Civil War, commanded U.S. forces in Cuba. Two of Robert E. Lee's nephews were also U.S. generals. The war ended eight months later with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. As a result Spain lost its control over the remains of its overseas empire. The treaty allowed the United States to purchase the Philippines Islands from Spain for $20 million. The war had cost the United States $250 million and 3,000 lives, of whom 90% had perished from infectious diseases. True to the letter of the Teller Amendment, American forces left Cuba in 1902.

The Spanish-American War was seen domestically as a sign of increasing national unity.

Hawaii

The Kingdom of Hawaii was established in 1795 with the subjugation of the smaller independent chiefdoms of Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kauaʻi and Niʻihau by the chiefdom of Hawaiʻi (or the "Big Island"), ruled by the dynasty of King Kamehameha the Great. In 1887 the Honolulu Rifle Company, a paramilitary force also known as the Honolulu Rifles, deposed the Hawaiian monarchy, forcing the King to sign a new constitution at gunpoint. Bayonets were fixed to their guns, which led to the term Bayonet Constitution, referring to King David Kalākaua's resignation and the establishment of new voting rights. No voting rights were extended to Asiatics and the requirements for voting rights included land ownership, making the Bayonet Constitution one of the most controversial documents in history.

Native-born Hawaiian Sanford B. Dole, serving as a friend of both Hawaiian royalty and the elite immigrant community, advocated the westernization of Hawaiian government and culture. Dole was a lawyer and jurist in the Hawaiian Islands as a kingdom, protectorate, republic and territory. King Kalākaua appointed Dole a justice of the Supreme Court of the Kingdom of Hawaii on December 28, 1887, and to a commission to revise judiciary laws on January 24, 1888. After Kalākaua's death, his sister Queen Liliʻuokalani appointed him to her Privy Council on August 31, 1891.

On January 17, 1893, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, Queen Lili'uokalani, was deposed in a coup d'état led largely by American citizens who were opposed to Lili'uokalani's attempt to establish a new Constitution. Dole was named president of the Provisional Government of Hawaii that was formed after the coup, and was recognized within 48 hours by all nations with diplomatic ties to the Kingdom of Hawaii, with the exception of the United Kingdom. The Americans in Hawaii asked the US to annex the islands, but President Benjamin Harrison's annexation treaty was stalled in the Senate by Democrats until a Democratic President, Stephen Grover Cleveland, took office. With Grover Cleveland's election as President of the United States, the Provisional Government's hopes of annexation were derailed. In fact, Cleveland tried to directly help reinstate the monarchy, after an investigation led by James Henderson Blount. The Blount Report of July 17, 1893, commissioned by President Cleveland, concluded that the Committee of Safety conspired with U.S. ambassador John L. Stevens to land the United States Marine Corps, to forcibly remove Queen Liliʻuokalani from power, and declare a Provisional Government of Hawaii consisting of members from the Committee of Safety. Although unable to restore Lili'uokalani to her former position, Cleveland withdrew the treaty.

The Territory of Hawaii or Hawaii Territory existed as a United States organized incorporated territory from July 7, 1898, until August 21, 1959, when its territory, with the exception of Johnston Atoll, was admitted to the Union as the fiftieth U.S. state, the State of Hawaii.

President Grover Cleveland

In 1884, as the presidential campaign season approached, the Republican party chose former Speaker of the House James G. Blane as its candidate, with John Logan as the vice presidential candidate. Against them the Democrats ran New York governor Stephen Grover Cleveland for a presidential candidate and vice presidential candidate Thomas A. Hendricks.Cleveland and Hendricks won[8] with the combined support of Democrats and reform Republicans, the "Mugwumps."[9]

Grover Cleveland was the only Democrat elected to the presidency during the era of Republican political domination that lasted from 1860 to 1912. In fact, he won the popular vote for president three times, in 1884, 1888, and 1892. His last election in 1892 defeated Republican president Benjamin Harrison. He was thus the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms, and is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents. (In that last election, Cleveland's vice president was Adlai E. Stevenson; Harrison's Vice President was Whitelaw Reid.) Cleveland's conservative economic stand in favor of the gold standard brought him the support of various business interests. The democrats then won control of both houses of Congress.[10]

References

  1. “The Gilded Age & the Progressive Era (1877–1917),” founded on January 15, 2011, http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/gildedage/summary.html
  2. Mary Beth Norton et al., “A People and A Nation: A History of the United States; The Machine Age: 1877-1920,” ed. Mary Beth Norton et al. (Boston: Cenage Learning 2009), 512.
  3. Mary Beth Norton et al., “A People and A Nation: A History of the United States; The Machine Age: 1877-1920,” ed. Mary Beth Norton et al. (Boston: Cenage Learning 2009), 522.
  4. Mary Beth Norton et al., “A People and A Nation: A History of the United States; The Machine Age: 1877-1920,” ed. Mary Beth Norton et al. (Boston: Cenage Learning 2009),
  5. The Encyclopaedia of Arkansas History and Culture; “Post-Reconstruction through the Gilded Age, 1875 through 1900,” last modified on 12/17/2010, http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=402
  6. Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalogue and Buyers' Guide No. 57, Spring And Summer 1895. Unabridged reprint. Dover: NY, 1969.
  7. Spence, In Search of Modern China, pp. 230-235; Keith Schoppa, Revolution and Its Past, pp. 118-123.
  8. "Super Review; United States History"
  9. Biography of Cleveland at http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/grovercleveland24, noted on August 3, 2014.
  10. "Super Review; United States History"


The Progressive Era (1900 - 1914)

Progressivism

Industrialization led to the rise of big businesses at the expense of the worker. Factory laborers faced long hours, low wages, and unsanitary conditions. The large corporations protected themselves by allying with political parties. The parties, in turn, were controlled by party leaders, rather than by the members. The Progressive movement was an effort to cure American of all its problems. These problems included the idea of slavery, reconstruction from the American Civil War, and women’s rights. Progressivism rejected the church as the main source of change throughout the country. The main goals of Progressivism were to remove corrupt political machines from office and get more common people in the political process. Progressivism was not so much an organized movement as it was a general spirit of reform embraced by Americans with diverse goals and backgrounds during the early twentieth century [1] Progressivism was the belief that you could make the world a better place with a certain method to employ and achieve the goal. Federal level, state, public and private. Local public safety, less corruption, efficiency, regulation, reform, specialization, social justice and social control of knowledge. By activating this, brings equality for men and women no matter, gender or race; or social background.

Local Reform

At the urban level, Progressivism mainly affected municipal government. The system whereby the city is governed by a powerful mayor and a council was replaced by the council-manager or the commission system. Under the council-manager system, the council would pass laws, while the manager would do no more than ensure their execution. The manager was essentially a weak mayor. Under the commission system, the executive would be composed of people who each controlled one area of government. The commission was essentially a multi-member, rather than single-member, executive.

At the state level, several electoral reforms were made. Firstly, the secret ballot was introduced. Prior to the secret ballot, the ballots were colored papers printed by the political parties. Due to the lack of secrecy, bribing or blackmailing voters became common. It was to prevent businessmen or politicians from thus coercing voters that the secret ballot was introduced. Also, reforms were made to give voters more say in government. The initiative allowed voters to propose new laws. The referendum allowed certain laws (for example tax increases) to be approved by the voters first. Finally, the recall, allowed the voters to remove public officials for wrongdoing while in office.

In addition, Progressives sought to combat the power of party leaders over which candidates would be nominated. The direct primary was instituted, under which the voters cast ballots to nominate candidates. Before the primary was introduced, the party leaders or party faithful were the only ones allowed to nominate candidates. The South pioneered some political reforms; "the direct primarily originated in North Carolina; the city commission plan arose in Galveston Texas; and the city manager plan began in Stanton-Virgina. Progressive governors introduced business regulation, educational expansion,and other reforms that duplicated actions taken by northern counterparts.

Labor Reforms

Progressive movement also attempted to give more power over legislation to the general populace. Three practices - the referendum, the initiative, and the recall - were created. The referendum allowed the voters to vote on a bill at an election before it took force as law. The initiative permitted the voters to petition and force the legislature to vote on a certain bill. Finally, the recall permitted voters to remove elected officials from office in the middle of the term. State laws were formed to improve labor conditions. Many states enacted factory inspection laws, and by 1916 nearly two-thirds of the states required compensation for the victims in industrial accidents.

In 1901, Jane Addams founded the Juvenile Protective Association, a non-profit agency dedicated to protecting children from abuse. In 1903, Mary Harris Jones organized the Children's Crusade, a march of child workers from Kensington, Pennsylvania to the home of President Theodore Roosevelt in Oyster Bay, New York, bringing national attention to the issue of child labor. In 1909, President Roosevelt hosted the first White House Conference on Children, which continued to be held every decade through the 1970s. In 1912, the United States Children's Bureau was created in order to investigate "all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people." At the instigation of middle class coalitions, many states enacted factory inspection laws, and by 1916 two-thirds of the states required compensation for victims of industrial accidents. An alliance of labor and humanitarian groups induced some legislatures to grant aid to mothers with dependent children. Under pressure from the National Child Labor to Committee, nearly every state set a minimum age for employment and limited hours that employers could make children work.Families that needed extra income evaded child labor restrictions by falsifying their children's ages to employers.

States also regulated female labor by setting maximum work hours, especially when an accident at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory resulted in the deaths of more than 100 women. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of regulated work hours for women in "Muller v. Oregon". Finally, some minimum wage provisions were introduced (for men and women).

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was founded in Chicago in 1905 at a convention of anarchist and socialist union members who were opposed to the policies of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Unlike the AFL, which was a group composed of separate unions for each different trade (craft unionism), the IWW supported the concept of industrial unionism, in which all workers in a given industry are organized in one union, regardless of each worker's particular trade. They promoted the idea of "One Big Union" in the hopes that one large, centralized body would be better equipped to deal with similarly-large capitalist enterprises.

1881 The Great influx of Russian and Polish Jews. They formed an objectionable part of the population, because they couldn't speak English, lived closely crowded, and dirty. Penniless and unfamiliar with industrial conditions. They were apart of industrial, intellectual, and civil life. Their willingness to work 18 hours obnoxiously was crazy compared to Americans who worked (part-time). "It's not the condition that the immigrant comes from that determines he's usefulness;But the power one shows to rise above the condition."

President Theodore Roosevelt

At the national level, Progressivism centered on defeating the power of large businesses. President Theodore Roosevelt, who succeeded to the Presidency when President McKinley was assassinated in 1901, helped the Progressive movement greatly.

In early 1902, anthracite coal miners struck. Their salaries had not been raised in over two decades. Furthermore, they were paid with scrips. Scrips were essentially coupons for goods from pricey company stores.

The president of the Reading Railroad, George F. Baer, said that the miners had erred by distrusting the owners. He declared that the mine owners were "Christian men of property to whom God has given control of the property rights of the country,"[2] who could be trusted more than union leaders.

The owners and the miners refused to negotiate with each other. As autumn approached, many feared that the coal strike would cripple the economy. President Roosevelt intervened by asking the owners and miners to submit to arbitration. The miners accepted, but the owners refused Roosevelt's suggestion. Roosevelt then threatened to use the Army to take over the mines. The owners finally acquiesced; the strike was settled in 1903. Roosevelt's policy triumphed in 1904 when the Supreme Court, convinced by the government's arguments, created by J.P Morgan and his business allies. Roosevelt choose however , not to attack others trust, such as u.s steel another of Morgan's creations. Prosecution of northern securities began reportedly collared Roosevelt and offered "if we have done anything wrong, send your man to my man and we can fix it up". Roosevelt continued his Progressive actions when he revived the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Act sought to prevent companies from combining into trusts and gaining monopolies. A trust is formed when many companies loosely join together under a common board of directors to gain total control of an entire market so that prices can be raised without the threat of competitors. This total control of a market and subsequent price raising is a monopoly. However, until Roosevelt's administration, the Act was rarely enforced. Roosevelt also enforced the Hepburn Act, which allowed the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate railroads. The railroads had allied themselves with large businesses, charging higher rates to those business' competitors. Thus, the large businesses would gain even more power. The Hepburn Act prevented railroads from granting reduced rates to businesses. Roosevelt also championed the cause of conservation. He set aside large amounts of land as part of the national park system.

Conflicts with other Imperialist Nations

Imperialism was yet a common theme in the relations between nations in this era. It should be noted that although the US annexed Hawaii, Japan also had interests in the island and an aggressive foreign policy; Japan had already seized Taiwan from China in 1885 and would annex Korea in 1905. Imperial Germany was another aggressive power. The U.S. and Germany had conflicts over who would control Samoa, in the Pacific, as well as nearly faced a naval war with Germany in 1902 over German plans to seize the customs revenues of Venezuela.

However, under the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt, the United States became more open in asserting international power. In 1905, Russia and Japan went to war over control of Korea and China. The Japanese won naval victories over two Russian fleets, in the Battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima. President Roosevelt offered to negotiate peace between the two nations, and in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a peace treaty was signed.

To demonstrate the ability of the United States to project power around the world (unlike Russia), Roosevelt ordered a fleet of U.S. men-o'war to sail around the world. The fleet left the east coast of the U.S. in 1908 and returned in 1909, visiting ports in Europe, Australia, and Japan.

President William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft, tried to win over the Filipino people by reforming education, transportation, and health care. New railroads, bridges, and telegraph lines strengthened the economy. A public school system was set up, and new health care policies virtually eliminated severe diseases such as cholera and smallpox. These reforms slowly reduced Filipino hostility. Roosevelt, following the tradition upheld by every reelected president before him, decided not to run for reelection for a third term in 1908. Republicans nominated William Howard Taft as their candidate for the 1908 election, and he easily defeated the Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan, supporting the continuation of Roosevelt's progressive programs. Taft was somewhat more cautious and quiet than Roosevelt, and therefore, had less public attention.

Although Taft was less of an attention grabber than Roosevelt, he went far beyond what Roosevelt ever did. Taft used the Sherman Antitrust Act, a law passed in 1890 that made trusts and monopolies illegal, and they had to sue many large and economically damaging corporations. For comparison, Taft won more antitrust lawsuits in four years than Roosevelt won in seven.

Taft also pushed for the passing of the Sixteenth Amendment, which gave the federal government the right to tax citizens' incomes. The purpose of the amendment was to supply the government with cash to replace the revenue generated from tariffs, which progressives hoped that Taft would lower. Taft failed in getting a lower tariff, and in addition, he failed to fight for conservation and environmentalism, and actually weakened some conservation policies to favor business. When Roosevelt came back from an expedition to Africa in 1910, he was disappointed in Taft, and vigorously campaigned for progressive republicans in the congressional elections of 1910.

Because of Roosevelt's enormous popularity, he ran for reelection to a third term in 1912, but he failed to win the nomination for the Republican Party because Taft had connections to influential people in the party. Roosevelt and his supporters broke off from the Republicans and formed the Progressive Party, which later came to be known as the Bull Moose party after Roosevelt declared that he felt "as strong as a bull moose!" The split in the party came to hurt the two candidates, and Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson gathered a 42 percent plurality of the popular votes and 435 out of 531 electoral votes.

On the Supreme Court

Taft would later become a member of the Supreme Court, making him the only former President to do so. In 1921, when Chief Justice Edward Douglass White died, President Warren G. Harding nominated Taft to take his place, thereby fulfilling Taft's lifelong ambition to become Chief Justice of the United States. Very little opposition existed to the nomination, and the Senate approved him 60-4 in a secret session, but the roll call of the vote has never been made public. He readily took up the position, serving until 1930. As such, he became the only President to serve as Chief Justice, and thus is also the only former President to swear in subsequent Presidents, giving the oath of office to both Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929). He remains the only person to have led both the Executive and Judicial branches of the United States government. He considered his time as Chief Justice to be the highest point of his career: he allegedly once remarked, "I don't remember that I ever was President."

President Woodrow Wilson

Although Woodrow Wilson was a Democrat, he still pushed for progressive reforms. One of the first successes of his administration was the lowering of tariffs, which he accomplished in 1913. Wilson believed that increased foreign competition would spur U.S. based manufacturers to lower prices and improve their goods. That same year, Wilson passed the Federal Reserve Act, which created twelve regional banks that would be run by a central board in the capitol. This system gave the government more control over banking activities. A few years later he wrote: "I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men. -Woodrow Wilson"

Wilson also pushed for governmental control over business. In 1914, a Democratic-controlled Congress established the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate companies that participated in suspected unfair and illegal trade practices. Wilson also supported the Clayton Antitrust Act, which joined the Sherman Antitrust Act as one the government's tools to fight trusts the same year.

By the end of Wilson's First term, progressives had won many victories. The entire movement lost steam, though, as Americans became much more interested in international affairs, especially the war that had broken out in Europe in 1914.

The Supreme Court and Labor

Upset workers had succeeded in lobbying Congress to pass legislation that improved work conditions. However, the Supreme Court of the United States somewhat limited the range of these acts. In Holden v. Hardy (1896), the Supreme Court ruled that miners' hours must be short because long hours made the job too dangerous. However, in Lochner v. New York laws ruled that bakery workers did not have a job dangerous enough to put restrictions on the free sale of labor. Putting aside this decision, in 1908, the decision in Muller v. Oregon said that women's health must be protected "to preserve the strength and vigor of the race." This did, clearly, protect women's health, but it also locked them into menial jobs.



Controlling Prostitution

Moral outrage erupted when muckraking journalists charged that international gangs were kidnapping young women and forcing them into prostitution, a practice called white slavery. Accusations were exaggerated, but they alarmed some moralists who falsely perceived a link between immigration and prostitution. Although some women voluntarily entered "the profession" because it offered income and independence from their male counterparts, some women had very little option to a life where they had little if any amenities and many were forced into this profession and lifestyle. Reformers nonetheless believed they could attack prostitution by punishing both those who promoted it and those who practiced it. In 1910 Congress passed the White Slave Traffic Act (Mann Act), prohibiting interstate and international transportation of a woman for immoral purposes. By 1915 nearly all states outlawed brothels and solicitation of sex. Such laws ostensibly protected young women from exploitation, but in reality they failed to address the more serious problem of sexual violence that women suffered at the hands of family members, presumed friends, and employers. [3]

Football and the Formation of the NCAA

By the turn of the century American football was already in the process of becoming a large national sport. Originally formed and played at universities as an intercollegiate sport, it was seen as only for the upper class. The size of the field depended on what the players agreed with, but it was almost always over 100 yards. Once a player started a game, the player could not leave unless he/she became injured. [4] Very soon the sport began to gain spectators, and with spectators came controversy. With over 15 deaths in 1905 alone, many saw a need for change in the sport. However, others liked the violence and would watch because of this. President Roosevelt formed a group to reconstruct the rules of football and make it less violent. Standard rules would not be made and used until 1894.[5] The group was originally named the Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and in 1910 it was renamed to the National College Athletic Association.

William Taft

William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States. He is the only person to have served in both offices. Born in 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, into the powerful Taft family, "Big Bill" graduated from Yale College Phi Beta Kappa in 1878, and from Cincinnati Law School in 1880. He worked in a number of local nondescript legal positions until he was tapped to serve on the Ohio Supreme Court in 1887. In 1890, Taft was appointed Solicitor General of the United States and in 1891 a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. When Theodore Roosevelt decided not to run for office in the election of 1908, that opened the doors for William H. Taft. Taft decided to run for president and was chosen as the Republican nominee with James S. Sherman as his vice president. They ran against the democratic nominees, William Jennings Bryan and John Kern, and socialists nominees, Eugene V. Debs. Taft won the election by over a million votes and the Republicans retained control of both houses of Congress. During Taft's presidency, he had a few objectives. His two primary goals in 1909 were to continue Roosevelt's trust-busting policy and to reconcile the old guard conservatives and young progressive reformers in the Republican Party. [6]

The Movies

At the beginning of this era of silent movies, the vast majority of films came in from overseas, mainly from Great Britain and France. Thomas Edison had a monopoly on the American film industry. From his New Jersey film studio, The Black Maria, came any number of movies, showing boxers, lovers, comic interludes, and what we would call documentaries, though they were often staged. In 1903, Edison's studio released several movies, including "The Life of An American Fireman" and "The Great Train Robbery," two of the first great American fictional movies. In France, in contrast, George Melies created elaborate pageants, often hand-tinted, and Ferdinand Zecca produced and directed a Life of Jesus Christ which was shown as a special event, in legitimate theaters across America.

In 1905, the first Nickelodeon was opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before this movies had either been seen in "peep show" arrangements or onstage as part of Vaudeville shows. A viewer could now pay a nickel to see a variety of movies projected on a screen in an atmosphere which was respectable, if not quite fireproof. (Early movie houses had a lackadasical attitude toward the fire code, and the nitrate base of film stock was very flammable.)

Movies had became a money-making proposal. Increased demand begged for increased supply. A competitor to Edison Studios had arisen in 1893, and in 1903 Biograph Studios started making fictional movies, films often more complex than Edison's. In 1910 it moved as far away as possible from Edison and its lawsuits, to Hollywood, California. Other studios followed, and the American film industry began to gain momentum.

References

  1. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1061.html
  2. Workers Don't Suffer by James O. Castagnera
  3. Mary Beth Norton et al., “A People and A Nation: A History of the United States; The Progressive Era;1895-1920,” ed. Mary Beth Norton et al. (Boston: Cenage Learning 2009).
  4. http://www.1890sweekend.com/19th-century-football.htm
  5. http://www.1890sweekend.com/19th-century-football.htm
  6. "Super Review; United States History"

World War I and the Treaty of Versailles (1914 - 1920)

Europe

In 1815, Europe had united to defeat French Emperor Napoleon. For a century since that time, there had been no major war in Europe. Countries had organized themselves in a complex system of alliances.

After Napoleon's defeat, the United Kingdom, France, Prussia, Russia, and Austria met in Vienna. These nations decided that if power in Europe was balanced, then no nation would become so powerful as to pose a threat to the others. The most important of these was the German Confederation. In 1871, after defeating France and Prussia, several small German nations merged into the German Empire. This upset the traditional balance of power.

German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck began to construct a web of alliances to protect German dominance. Germany and the United Kingdom were on good terms, as Germany had not built a navy to rival British sea power. In 1873, Russia, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Germany formed the Three Emperors' League. Nine years later, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Germany formed the Triple Alliance. In 1887, the Reinsurance Treaty ensured that Russia would not interfere in a war between France and Germany.

During this time the British Queen Victoria built alliances in her own way. During years of relative peace, she had her children marry into many of the royal families of Europe, believing that this would solidify relations among the nations. In the first decade of the Twentieth century the Kaiser and the King of England were cousins through Victoria, as were the Tzar and Tzarina of Russia.

In 1890, Bismarck was fired by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who then began to undo many of Bismarck's policies. He decided to build up a German navy, antagonizing the United Kingdom. He did not renew German agreements with Russia. In 1894, this led Russia to form a new alliance with Germany's rival France.

In 1904, France and the United Kingdom decided to end centuries of bitter enmity by signing the Entente Cordiale. Three years later, those two nations and Russia entered the Triple Entente. Imperial Russia began to build its army, as did Germany and Austria-Hungary.

War Breaks Out

Austria-Hungary was a patchwork of several nations ruled by the Habsburg family. Several ethnic groups resented rule by the Habsburgs. In June, 1914, the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, traveled to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A Serb nationalist named Gavrilo Princip, who hated Habsburg rule, assassinated the Archduke and his wife. This assassination triggered the First World War.

The Central Powers.

The Austro-Hungarian government decided to retaliate by crushing Serbian nationalism. They threatened the Serbian government with war. Russia came to the aid of the Serbs. To oppose this alliance, Austria-Hungary called on Germany. Kaiser Wilhelm II said his country would give Austria-Hungary whatever it needed to win the war; in effect, a "blank check." In addition to these open agreements, any of these countries might have had secret agreements with other states. The result was almost all of Europe at war, with the largest battlefield ever seen before.

In July, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Germany began to mobilize their troops. The conflict in Austria-Hungary quickly spread over Europe. In August, Germany declared war on France. The Germans demanded that Belgium allow German troops to pass through the neutral nation. When King Albert of Belgium refused, Germany violated Belgian neutrality and invaded. Belgium appealed to the United Kingdom for aid. The British House of Commons threatened that Great Britain would wage war against Germany unless it withdrew from Belgium. The Germans refused, and the United Kingdom joined the battle. The Central Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, were pitted against the Allies, the United Kingdom, Russia, and France.

The Early Stages

German troops entered Belgium on August 4. By August 16, they had begun to enter France. The French Army met the Germans near the French border with Belgium. France lost tens of thousands of men in less than a week, causing the French Army to retreat to Paris. The Germans penetrated deep into France, attempting to win a quick victory.

On August 5, the United States formally declared their neutrality in the war. They also offered to mediate the growing conflict. In the United States, the opinions were divided. Some felt we should aid England, France, and Belgium because they were depicted as victims of barbarous German aggression and atrocities. Others felt we should avoid taking sides.[1]

The Allies won a key battle at Marne, repelling the German offensive. The Germans lost especially due to a disorganized supply line and a weak communications network. The French Army, however, had not completely defeated the Germans. Both sides continually fought each other, to no avail. On the Western Front, Germany and France would continue to fight for more than three years without any decisive victories for either side.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, Germany faced Russia. In the third week of August, Russian troops entered the eastern part of Germany. Germany was at a severe disadvantage because it had to fight on two different fronts, splitting its troops. However, despite Germany's disadvantage, no decisive action occurred for three years.

The United Kingdom used its powerful Royal Navy in the war against Germany. British ships set up naval blockades. The Germans, however, countered with submarines called U-boats. U-boats sank several ships, but could not, during the early stages of the war, seriously challenge the mighty Royal Navy.

The war spread to Asia when Japan declared war on Germany in August, 1914. The Japanese sought control of German colonies in the Pacific. Germany already faced a two-front war, and could not afford to defend its Pacific possessions.

In October, 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered, allying itself with the Central Powers. The entry of the Ottoman Empire was disastrous to the Allies. The Ottoman Empire controlled the Dardanelles strait, which provided a route between Russia and the Mediterranean. The Ottoman sultan declared holy war- jihad- against the Allies. Muslims in the British Empire and French Empire were thus encouraged to rebel against their Christian rulers. However, the Allies' concerns were premature. Few Muslims accepted the sultan's proclamation. In fact, some Muslims in the Ottoman Empire supported the Allies so that the Ottoman Empire could be broken up, and the nations they ruled could gain independence.

The Middle Stages

Between 1914 and 1917, the war was characterized by millions of deaths leading nowhere. Neither side could gain a decisive advantage on either front.

In 1915, the Germans began to realize the full potential of Submarines. German Submarines engaged in official unrestricted warfare, engaging and sinking any ship found within the war zone regardless of the flag flown. Germany's justification for this use of force was that there was no certain method to ascertain the ultimate destination of the passengers and cargo carried by the ships in the war zone, and thus they were all taken as attempts at maintaining the anti-German blockade.

In May, 1915, Italy broke the Triple Alliance by becoming an Allied Power. In October, Bulgaria joined the Central Powers. Each side had induced their new partners to join by offering territorial concessions. Italy prevented Austria-Hungary from concentrating its efforts on Russia, while Bulgaria prevented Russia from having connections with other Allied Powers.

In May, 1916, one of the most significant naval battles in World War I occurred. The Royal Navy faced a German fleet during the Battle of Jutland. The Battle proved that the Allied naval force was still superior to that possessed by the Central Powers. The Germans grew even more dependent on U-boats in naval battle.

In August, 1916, Romania joined the Allies. Romania invaded Transylvania, a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But when the Central Powers struck back, they took control of important Romanian wheat fields.

In 1917, the liberal-democratic government of Russia that was lead by Aleksander Kerensky was over thrown by V.I. Lenin. When Lenin took over in Russia one of the things he promised was to change world politics. The terms by which Lenin wanted to changed world politics challenged Woodrow Wilson's and Lenin's Bolshevik-style revolutions spreading world wide was something that western leaders did not want. [2]

The United States Declares War

Through all of this, America was neutral. It adopted the policy of isolationism because it felt that the increasing colonialism in Europe did not affect North America. There was a strong pacifist strain in American society, as evidenced by such popular songs as "I Didn't Raise my Boy to be a Soldier," though at the same time many ethnic groups agitated for involvement. Economic links with the Allies also made neutrality difficult. The British were flooding America with new orders, many of them for arms. The sales were helping America get out of its recession. Although this was good for the economic health of the United States, Germany saw America becoming the Allied arsenal and bank.[3]

On May 7, 1915, the German navy sunk the Cunard Line passenger ship R.M.S. Lusitania, operating under the flag of Great Britain. Of the 1,959 passengers 1200 died, including one hundred twenty Americans. The ship's quick explosion was due to a hidden cargo of weaponry, a fact the American government denied. Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, a pacifist, resigned over Wilson's responsibility for the placement of arms and the consequent inevitability of war. Various American citizens from different ethnic groups put pressure on their government to join the war. However, the US government was calmed by the Germans, who agreed to limit submarine warfare. In 1917, the Germans reinstated unrestricted submarine warfare in order to cripple the British economy by destroying merchant ships, and break the sea blockade of Britain.

On February 24, 1917, the American ambassador received a telegram in London from the British. It enclosed a British-decoded message, originally sent as a cyphered telegram from the German foreign Secretary, Arthur Zimmerman, to the ambassador in Mexico. Zimmerman proposed that the event of the war with the United States, Germany and Mexico would join in alliance. Germany would fund Mexico's conflict with the US: victory achieved. Mexico would then be able to gain their lost territories with Arizona. The message was published in American newspapers on March 1st.[4]

On the evening of April 4, 1917 at 8:30 P.M., President Wilson appeared before a joint session of Congress, asking for the declaration of war to make the world "safe for democracy." He was hoping for a quick resolution of the conflict. Congress complied on April 6, 1917. The United States was at last at war with Germany.

The last American war had been the minor Spanish-American War a generation before. A draft of men above the age of eighteen ensued, but many more volunteered. Men wanted to escape their lives and join the military for a job and an adventure. American business and industry became involved as men created more military supplies, and jobs opened for building and designing new materials to be used in battle.

The US had to mobilize its military before it could aid the Allies by sending troops. The cadre of the U.S. Army had experience in mobilizing and moving troops from its Mexican expedition, but the Army needed to expand to over one million men, most of which were untrained. In the same way, the Navy could send a battleship division to assist the British Grand Fleet, but needed to expand. To supply the American forces, new supply lines in France would be needed south of the British and French lines, which meant the U.S. would take over the southern part of the Western Front battle line. The US could and did help the Allies with monetary assistance. Increased taxes and the sale of war bonds allowed the US to raise enormous sums of money. Politicians and celebrities, as well as such movie stars as Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford, headed huge patriotic "Bond Rallies," where people were encouraged to buy bonds.

A government committee to influence the public on the war was formed, the Committee on Public Information or CPI. Among its organs of publicity were the "Four Minute Men," speakers who talked on pertinent subjects on Vaudeville stages, in movie theaters, and in public assemblies. There was also an organization of private citizens formed to root out German sympathizers, the American Protective League. A hit movie, "The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin," was one hit of 1918. To strengthen the United States in this time of stress, families were encouraged to grow Victory gardens, and American women and African Americans were encouraged to go into jobs the servicemen had left. This is the beginning of the Great Migration, when Southern African Americans began moving to Northern cities for jobs.

Trench Warfare

The U.S. commander, General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, faced immense pressure from the British and French governments to use American forces in small units to reinforce depleted British and French units. This was impossible politically. Pershing insisted to General Foch, the Generalissimo of the Allied armies, that the U.S. Army would fight as a single Army. Pershing did not want to give his men to other Allied commanders, many of whose strategies he disagreed with.

The European method of fighting, as it had been since the Boer War, was trench warfare. An army on the French battleground protected itself from the enemy with zigzag trenches, mines, barbed wire, and a line of rifles and machine guns. Between the enemy lines was a contested area, "no man's land." An attempt to advance toward the enemy was met with gunfire. These trenches stalemated military advances, as any man who raised his head from the trenches would be shot. At the Battle of the Somme in 1916, for example, Allied troops suffered 600,000 dead and wounded to earn only 125 square miles; the Germans lost 400,000 men. Rain fell in the trenches. As one song put it, a soldier was "Up to your waist in water, up to your eyes in slush." The damp produced a foot disease known as "trench foot": if untreated, it could rot flesh from the bone. The close, unsanitary conditions of the front lines encouraged fleas and lice, and typhoid, typhus, and dysentery caused deaths unrelated to gunfire. Worst of all, perhaps, was that sometimes the enemy would gas your trench. There was no way to escape, and sometimes no masks to protect you.

First used by the Germans in April 1915, chlorine gas stimulated overproduction of fluid in the lungs, leading to death by drowning. One British officer tended to troops who had been gassed reported that, “quite 200 men passed through my hands . . . Some died with me, others on the way down . . . I had to argue with many of them as to whether they were dead or not.” Chlorine, mustard, and phosgene gas would continue in use throughout the war, sometimes blistering, sometimes incapacitating, and often killing.

The End of the War

Despite the fact that the Germans could concentrate their efforts in one area, the Central Powers faced grim prospects in 1918. Encouraged by the United States joining the war, several nations joined the Allied Powers. The four Central Powers of Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria faced the combined might of the Allied Powers of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, France, Belgium, Japan, Serbia, Montenegro, San Marino, Italy, Portugal, Romania, the United States, Cuba, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, Costa Rica, Brazil, Liberia, Siam (Thailand) and China (some of the above nations did not support the war with troops, but did contribute monetarily.) The Germans launched a final, desperate attack on France, but it failed miserably. Due to Allied counterattacks, the Central Powers slowly began to capitulate.

Bulgaria was the first to collapse. A combined force of Italians, Serbs, Greeks, Britons, and Frenchmen attacked Bulgaria through Albania in September, 1918. By the end of September, Bulgaria surrendered, withdrawing its troops from Serbia and Greece, and even allowing the Allies to use Bulgaria in military operations.

British forces, led by T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), together with nationalist Arabs, were successful in the Ottoman Empire. About a month after Bulgaria's surrender, the Ottoman Empire surrendered, permitting Allies to use the Ottoman territory, including the Dardanelles Strait, in military operations.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire also decided to surrender in October. The royal family, the Habsburgs, and the Austro-Hungarian government desperately sought to keep the Empire of diverse nationalities united. Though Austria-Hungary surrendered, it failed to unite its peoples. The once-powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire was destroyed by the end of October, splitting into Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.

Germany, remaining all alone, also decided to surrender. President Wilson required that Germany accede to the terms of the Fourteen Points, which, among other things, required Germany to return territory acquired by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk to Russia and the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine to France. Germany found the terms too harsh, while the Allies found them too lenient. But when German Emperor Wilhelm II abdicated the throne, the new German government quickly agreed to Wilson's demands. On November 11, 1918, World War I had come to an end.

The war had been marked by millions and millions of casualties. The deaths were so wide-spread and so vast that people in England talked of "The Lost Generation." Many died in battle, others died from disease and some even died after when hit with an influenza that spread throughout the whole world in 1918. Destruction of factories and farms, not to mention houses, created economic damage, and was one of the factors creating widespread European starvation during the winter of 1918-1919.[5]

In contrast, damage was low in America. Although we had also suffered from the flu, the war had not touched our shores. For years afterward, in Germany, France, and even British Commonwealth countries such as Canada, you could see men wearing artificial tin faces to hide battle wounds, men who wheezed because of damage from poison gas, and "war cripples" begging with bowls on the street corner. But our men were by-and-large intact. Our factories had been fully supplied, and our country was on a sounder financial footing because of profit from the War.

At the end of the war, as American soldiers returned from Europe, employment rose. Some of the veterans returned to find themselves without homes or jobs. Overseas, some Black men were organized into a top fighting unit. However, Homeland outrage at the success helped to fuel riots in the notorious "Red Summer" of 1919. Each veteran returned with a certificate promising certain monies for their service; however, the certificate could not be cashed in until 1945.

American After-Effects Of The War

Suffrage For American Women

An after-effect of the employment of women during the war was the Nineteenth Amendment, giving them the right to vote. There had been a Suffrage movement since the nineteenth century. President Wilson and his contemporaries were reluctant, but conceded it as a quid pro quo. After the servicemen had returned, there were still two million more women in the workforce. However, instead of being in factory jobs, they were largely only permitted in "women's work": the "caring professions" such as nurses or teachers, secretaries or "stenographers," and waitresses, cooks, or washerwomen. These jobs paid little, and women were often expected to quit the job when they got married.[6]

Politically active women still remained excluded from local and national power structures. Their voluntary organizations used tactics that advanced modern pressure-group politics. Issues ranged from birth control, peace, education, Indian Affairs, or opposition to lynching. Women in these associations lobbied legislators to support their causes. At the state level women achieved rights such as the ability to serve on juries. [7]

Increasing Racial Tension

Racism was already part of the American landscape, as shown by Jim Crow and lynchings. In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson segregated the Civil Service. However, the war and the Great Migration sparked more oppression and more violence. When White Americans were drawn into the army or defense industries, their jobs were sometimes given to Black workers, for lower wages. The owners considered this a double good, keeping production going while destroying the workingman unions which agitated for higher pay. But while bosses were dependent, for the moment, on Black workers, they did not think they owed anything to these employees.

An influx of unskilled Black strikebreakers into East St Louis, Illinois, heightened racial tensions in 1917. Rumors that Blacks were arming themselves for an attack on Whites resulted in numerous attacks by White mobs on Black neighborhoods. On July 1, Blacks fired back at a car whose occupants they believed had shot into their homes and mistakenly killed two policemen riding in a car. The next day, a full scale riot erupted which ended only after nine Whites and 39 Blacks had been killed and over three hundred buildings were destroyed. The anxieties of war helped fuel violence: Southern and Midwestern war vigilance committees formed the matrix for a revival of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Great Experiment

On August 1, 1917, the Senate voted to send the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution to the states for ratification. The vote was bi-partisan, 65 to 20. Section One read, in part, After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors [. . . ] is hereby prohibited. By 1919, the requisite number of states had ratified the Amendment. The Amendment actually came into effect, under its own terms, one year after ratification.

The Temperance movement had been in effect for more than a hundred years, since the Second Great Revival. The late 19th and early 20th century Anti-Saloon League had been successful in turning the discussion from social discouragement of alcohol to legal prohibition of the substance. It was not simply a creature of Protestant or Catholic Churches, but was "united with Democrats and Republicans, Progressives, Populists, and suffragists, the Ku Klux Klan and the NAACP, the International Workers of the World, and many of America's most powerful industrialists including Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Andrew Carnegie – all of whom lent support to the ASL's increasingly effective campaign."[8]

But if Prohibition was not a simple reaction to World War I, it drew strength from the conflict. The War was funded by an income tax, thus unlocking saloon profits from the interests of the nation.[9] The Lever Act of 1917, with the aim of feeding soldiers, prohibited grain from being used for alcoholic beverages. There were nationalist concerns, too: the most famous brewers of beer had German last names.

Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles was the peace settlement signed after World War One had ended in 1918 and in the shadow of the Russian Revolution and other events in Russia. The treaty was signed at the vast Versailles Palace near Paris - hence its title - between Germany and the Allies. The three most important politicians there were David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson. The Versailles Palace was considered the most appropriate venue simply because of its size - many hundreds of people were involved in the process and the final signing ceremony in the Hall of Mirrors could accommodate hundreds of dignitaries. Many wanted Germany, now led by Friedrich Ebert, smashed - others, like Lloyd George, and were privately more cautious. On June 28th 1919, the chief Allied Powers of the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, and Japan met with the Central Powers in France to discuss a peace settlement. There were men, David Lloyd George of Britain, Woodrow Wilson of America, and Clemenceau of France, who were known as the big three. Each of the Allied Powers had distinct interests during the talks. The UK wanted to keep the Royal Navy supreme by dismantling the German Navy, and also wished to end Germany's colonial empire, which might have proved to be a threat to the vast British Empire.David of Britain wanted to be hard on the Germans because if he looked soft people would not vote for him in the future[10]. Italy wanted the Allies to fulfill the promise of territory given to them at the beginning of the war. Clemenceau wanted Germany to be brought to its knees so it could never start a war again France wanted Germany to compensate them for the damage caused to France during the War. Japan had already accomplished its interests by taking over German Pacific colonies. President Wilson's main goal for the conference was the creation of the League of Nations; he felt such an organization would be the only way to prevent future wars. Many historians believe that his concentration on the league, forcing him to sacrifice possible kindnesses to Germany, would lead to WWII.

The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to cede Alsace and Lorraine to France, dismantle its Army and Navy, give up its colonial Empire, pay massive reparations to the Allies, and take full responsibility for causing the war. The conference also led to the creation of the League of Nations. The US Senate, however, did not consent to the Treaty, and the European powers were left to enforce its provisions themselves. This eventually led to violations of the treaty by Germany, which then led to the Second World War. The treaty crippled Weimar Germany and led to great bitterness in Germany. This bitterness eventually led to the rise of fascism and Adolf Hitler.

Questions For Review

1. What extended a conflict between Serbians and the Austro-Hungarian Empire into the globe-straddling World War I?

2. How did the advances of technology lead to trench warfare?

3. What in 1914-1915 led to an economic advantage for America from the War? What were the nation's post-war advantages?


References

  1. "Don't Know Much About History" by Kenneth C. Davis
  2. A People and A Nation
  3. "A People and A Nation" the eighth edition
  4. Teaching With Documents: The Zimmermann Telegram. http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/zimmermann/
  5. A People and A Nation
  6. A People and A Nation Eighth Edition
  7. Mary Beth Norton et al., “A People and A Nation: A History of the United States; The New Era; 1920-1929,” ed. Mary Beth Norton et al. (Boston: Cenage Learning 2009).
  8. Roots of Prohibition. Web page in association of the Ken Burns documentary Prohibition. http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/prohibition/roots-of-prohibition/ Retrieved on August 17, 2014.
  9. Roots of Prohibition.
  10. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/treaty_of_versailles.htm

The Roaring Twenties and Prohibition (1920 - 1929)

Contents

Technology

Although there were innumerable technical innovations, the vast changes in American life about this time had two major technical bases, mass production (the assembly line), and mass testing.

In the vast steel factories and in cloth mills individuals had to move together with the machines. Any mistake could lead to an accident, perhaps a fatal one. Henry Ford's assembly line worked on the same principle, but went much further. A car went from station to station, from worker to worker. Each worker had one function -- tightening nuts, adding a component -- and only that function, as if he were himself a machine. His main interest was in doing those motions which would do his job and do it most efficiently. (In this respect the system drew upon work efficiency experts such as Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Gilbreths.)

The advantages to this extreme systemization were fundamental. As with the cloth factories, the product was produced extremely quickly at all hours of the day or night. Very little training was needed for those jobs. The results of this system were extremely long-lasting. The Model T was seen as a durable car, and "the tin Lizzie" retained public affection even when it was superseded by cars with self-starters. The cars were also affordable, with results as seen below. Henry Ford raised his wages regularly, urging that the men who made the cars also buy them.

A small demerit was that these new cars were extremely ugly. The Stanley Steamer had been sleek, with lines like what would later be called "streamlining." Dusenbergs and Pierce-Arrows had a variety of hues and such extras as bud vases. Ford famously said that his purchasers could have any color they wanted, "so long as it is black." As people became more prosperous, they could shop for colored paint jobs and detailing for their luxury cars. However, creating affordable and beautiful goods was a movement away from Ford's version of the market.

More importantly, working on the assembly line wore on the workers. Standing in one place and squinting, working with a few muscles for hours a day (or night) could be very fatiguing. Human beings weren't made to live like that. When there were a limited set of priorities for working, workers could be easily replaced, just like machines. Not every boss of the assembly line paid as well as Ford.

Mass testing was a requirement for the assembly line -- a bad part made a bad product. But it had actually begun as a human policy, in the requirements for the late 19th Century census. It was accelerated in the desire to find sound men for the First World War. Psychologists were employed to create intelligence tests to weed out unfit soldiers. Their weapons had to be carefully inspected, for when shoddy goods reached the front lines, the result could be a disaster.

In the post-war world, Big Business began developing research and development departments. Before a change was implemented, there had to be a prototype, and the effects on the public had to be carefully measured. Economics became a matter, not merely of becoming prosperous, but of selling to the largest number possible. (The term mass market originated in the 1920s.)

Politics and Government

A new sympathy toward business was shown in the election of Republican Warren G. Harding as President in 1920. His administration helped streamline federal spending with the Budgeting and Accounting Act of 1921, supported anti-lynching legislation (which was, however, rejected by Congress), and approved bills assisting farm cooperatives and liberalizing farm credit. The Harding administration was also known for its scandals. He had had an affair with the wife of an Ohio merchant: the resulting daughter was never officially acknowledged. He also appointed some cronies, who saw office as an invitation to personal gain. One of those men was Charles Forbes, head of the Veterans Bureau. He was convicted of fraud and bribery in connection with government contracts, and was sent to prison. Another crony, Attorney General Harry Daugherty, was involved with an illegal liquor scheme. He only escaped prosecution by refusing to testify against himself. The most notorious of these scandals was the revelation that the Secretary of the Inferior, Albert Fall, accepted bribes to lease government property to private oil companies in the Teapot Dome Scandal. The popular conservation legislation created by Harding's predecessors, presidents Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson, had set aside naval petroleum reserves in Wyoming and California. Three naval oil fields, Elk Hills and Buena Vista Hills in California and Teapot Dome in Wyoming, were tracts of public land meant as emergency underground supplies to be used by the navy only when regular oil supplies diminished. Teapot Dome received its name because of a rock resembling a teapot above the oil-bearing land. Politicians and private oil interests had opposed the restrictions placed on the oil fields, claiming that the reserves were unnecessary, and that the American oil companies could provide for the U.S. Navy. [1][2]

Civil and criminal suits concerning Teapot Dome lasted through the 1920s. In 1927 the Supreme Court finally ruled that the oil leases had been corruptly obtained and invalidated the Elk Hills lease in February of that year and the Teapot lease in October of the same year. The navy regained control of Teapot Dome and Elk Hills reserves. Albert Fall was found guilty of bribery in 1929, fined $100,000, and sentenced to one year in prison. Harry Sinclair refused to cooperate with the government investigators, was charged with contempt, and received a short sentence for jury tampering. Edward Doheny was acquitted in 1930 of attempts to bribe Fall.

The Teapot Dome scandal was a victory for neither political party. It became a major issue in the presidential election of 1924, but neither party could claim full credit for divulging the wrongdoing. It became the first true evidence of government corruption in America. The scandal revealed the problem of natural resource scarcity and the need to protect for the future against emergency depletion of resources. Vice President Calvin Coolidge, who assumed the presidency after Harding's death, handled the problem very systematically, and his administration avoided any damage to its reputation.

The Automobile

In the 1920s, the United States automobile industry began an extraordinary period of growth by means of the assembly line in manufacturing. Cars began to alter the American lifestyle. In 1929, one out of every five Americans had a car. They began using their own automobiles instead of the street cars. Cars also replaced horses. This made the streets cleaner, because there wasn't as much horse manure. (However, this was replaced by other, more subtle forms of pollution. In the 1920s gasoline companies started adding lead to their fuel to increase engine efficiency.)

The idea of "homes on wheels" was also created around this time. Americans were packing up food and camping equipment in order to get away from home. [3] By the 1920s most automobiles gained cloth or steel roofs, offering a private space for courtship and sex. Women gained from the automobile revolution. Women who learned to drive achieved new-found independence, taking touring trips with female friends, conquering muddy roads, and making repairs when their vehicles broke down. Prosperous African-Americans for the first time obtained a limited freedom from local discrimination. A family could drive around and past "closed" White communities, and to beaches, camps, and other holiday destinations. However, the family car would have to carry its own food, drink and gas, and not stop before it reached its destination. (The largest-scale pamphlet for "safe" businesses African Americans could use, the Negro Motorist Green Book, was only published beginning in 1936.) The car was the ultimate social equalizer.

There were 108 automobile manufacturers in 1923 and colors allowed owners to express personal tastes. An abundance of fuel fed these cars. In 1920, the United States produced sixty-five percent of the World's oil. Road construction was extensive. The first timed stop-and-go traffic light was in 1924.[4]

Industries related to the manufacturing and use of automobiles also grew; petroleum, steel, and glass were in high demand, leading to growth and profitability in related sectors. State governments began to build roads and highways in rural areas. Gasoline stations were installed across the country, evidence of the sudden and continued growth of the petroleum industry. Automobile dealers introduced the installment plan, a financing concept that was adopted in many other parts of business. Thus, the automobile industry's growth had repercussions throughout the nation. With a perfected design of Henry Ford's assembly line automobiles began to be more affordable for the common US citizens all over the country. A lot of men were hired to work in car factories.

Health and Life Expectancy

The relation between food and health was long known. For example, since the 18th century it has been known how to fight scurvy, and mariners have taken fruit on long voyages. Yet the fact that scurvy is caused by lack of vitamin c was only discovered in 1932.

From 1915 to the end of the "Roaring Twenties", most vitamins were discovered. Food regulation began to ensure a safer food supply. People began to have access to and the possibility of choosing more and better food, due to faster transport and refrigeration. Technical information was also more easily transmitted, and by 1930 nutritionists began to emphasize to the public the need for consumption of certain foods, and their constituent vitamins and minerals, on a daily basis. Food companies began marketing their products, on how their products contain certain amounts of your daily vitamins and therefore healthy. However, the advertisements sometimes contained unusual ideas about nutrition. For example, some candy bars were advertised by their "food value." And Welch's Grape Juice marketed their product as containing nutrients and vitamins, but failed to inform the reader of the large amount of sugar also included.

But the emphasis on nutrition and good hygiene made many Americans healthier. This was the decade when penicillin and insulin were discovered. During this time the life expectancy at birth in the United States also increased from fifty-four to sixty percent, and infant mortality rate decreased by one-third. However this was not the case for nonwhites: the mortality rate for nonwhite children was about fifty to one hundred times that of whites during this era. (Rickets among the poor and among rural African Americans was seen as the result of poor genetics, "bad blood." The American fad for Eugenics and the sterilization movement also grew in this era.) Accident fatalities also increased by roughly 150 percent, for the car was becoming faster and more common.

Elderly Americans and Retirement

With the increase of the elderly, the interest in pensions and other forms of old age assistance began to be put into effect. Although European countries had established state-supported pension systems, in 1923 the Chamber of Commerce in Pennsylvania. Stated that old-age assistance was “un-American & socialistic”. During the "Roaring Twenties" one third of Americans sixty-five and older depended financially on someone else. Resistance to pension plans broke at the state level during the 1920’s. Isaac Max Rubinow and Abraham Epstein were the first to try and persuade associations such as labor unions, and legislators to endorse old-age assistance. It wasn’t until 1933 that almost every state minimal support to needy elderly.

Social Values

During this time period, new social values emerged. It became difficult to determine what was socially acceptable, as youth frequently took up smoking, drinking, and a new openness about sex. They were being influenced less by their parents and more by their peers and schoolmates. Schools in the cities geared up for mass education, segregating children with others of their same age. The rite of passage, dating without adult supervision, became more commonplace among these youth.

The Flapper was the female symbol of this change, as the raccoon-coated Sheik was the symbol among young men. The dresses then in fashion de-emphasized the bodice, with a flat abdomen, the so-called "boyish figure." Flappers did not have the long hair of their mothers and grandmothers, but short, "bobbed" styles. They drank and smoked like men, knew all the latest dances and songs, and openly swore and talked of sex. It is unknown how frequent the Flapper really was. Bobbed hair was fashionable among women and girls, but there was never a standard measurement of this or any related trend. Movie actresses such as Louise Brooks and Clara Bow were shown drinking on the big screen.

During the War, servicemen became used to lectures on preventing venereal disease, and thus became more comfortable with the idea of contraception. Condoms started to be made with latex instead of animal tissues, and became a product which could be mass-produced on an assembly line. Birth control became more available, and more respectable. With a greater chance for babies to survive infancy, and with the ability to time when they came into the world, the number of children in a middle-class family began to go from four or five to two or three. Unfortunately, this overlapped with the eugenics movement.

As the middle class became more mobile, it was much less able to rely on the advice of grandparents and family, and "expert" child care advice became popular. This advice was different from that commonly used nowadays. John B. Watson, who published his book in 1928, advised against picking up infants, holding them when they cried, or cossetting them or showing them too much affection.

Radio

Radio had been used for ship-to-shore communication since the Titanic sent out a Morse code S-O-S. It was used by both sides during the First World War. Wilson considered nationalizing the medium, as Great Britain was later to nationalize the British Broadcasting Corporation, but corporate outcry overruled him.[5] By 1920, thousands of curious machines produced screeches for the hobbyist, with an occasional, distant snatch of voices or music. In 1920 the assembly line did its work, producing an RCA "Cat's Whisker" receiver for under four dollars. In October of that year Westinghouse created the first radio station, KDKA. In November it provided running coverage of the Presidential elections.[6]

By the mid-'20s programming ran from morning till night. In 1924, the first radio network, the National Broadcasting Company, began operations between New York and Boston. In 1927, the Columbia Broadcasting System began. The Federal Radio Commission was set up in 1926, and organized in the Radio Act of 1927. Advertisers sponsored programs: one popular music program was The A & P Gypsies, giving coast-to-coast coverage to the A & P grocery stores. The news and entertainment provided was vetted by the sponsor, and anything which would offend sponsors was forbidden. But within those lines much was permitted. One could occasionally find high culture (though the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts only began at the end of 1931), but the aim was to air songs in the middle range of culture; "The Lost Chord," or "Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes." They played popular music, but not much jazz: Paul Whiteman, the so-called "King of Jazz," was not. (There were exceptions to this rule; some high-powered radio stations in Mexico poured out jazz, "Black music," and ads for toxic patent medicines.) Much of the country's culture was not covered, though the Grand Ole Opry began its broadcasts in 1925. But as electrification expanded, the market for radio grew, and some stations experimented. A pair of white comedians, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, created a comic, sentimental serial drama, Amos 'n' Andy. At a time when lynchings of African Americans occurred as far North as Ohio, this was a comedy about two stupid African Americans who mispronounced their words. But it also created sympathy for them. "One episode ended with Amos and Andy in desperate need of a typewriter; nearly two thousand typewriters were immediately sent in by listeners." Yet " Amos 'n' Andy 's popularity was no doubt due to excitement over this new national experience. For the first time Americans could all enjoy the same event at the same moment."[7]

Movies

In the 1920s movies also grew into a popular recreation. By 1922, about 40 million people were going to the movies each week; that number jumped to about 100 million people by the end of the decade. Movie stars such as Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin became known around the world.

Eight studios dominated the industry, consolidating and integrating all aspects of a film's development. By 1929, the film-making firms that were to rule and monopolize Hollywood for the next half-century were the giants or the majors, sometimes dubbed The Big Five. The Big Five studios were Warner Bros., RKO, Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Fox Film Corporation. They produced more than 90 percent of the fiction films in America and distributed their films both nationally and internationally. Each studio somewhat differentiated its products from other studios.

A movie house was only allowed to play the products of one studio. Thus, for example, the New York Paramount only played cartoons, newsreels, and fiction films created by Paramount Studios. Each division of the studio was contracted to make so many films each year. If a movie house wanted to get the films of a Gloria Swanson or a Rudolf Valentino, it had to accept a given number of films by a less-liked star. This "block booking" ensured that certain actors got publicity and kept the screens under the thumb of the studio. However, in return each theater was ensured of a weekly change of movies, with the full backing of the studio. In addition to the projectionist, ushers and candy and cigarette sellers, the Paramount Theater employed a grand musician to accompany the silent film on one of the largest theater organs ever created. Its halls were ornamented by hand-painted murals. The top-line theaters were called "movie palaces."

The most popular studio movies often used sweepingly romantic stories set in exotic lands: Argentina in 1921's The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Persia in 1924's The Thief of Bagdad. The 1925 movie Ben Hur was shot partially in Italy and partially on huge purpose-built sets in California. It had 42 cameras shooting the still-famous chariot race. Among the famous or yet-to-be-famous figures swelling the scenes as extras were the Barrymore brothers, Lillian and Dorothy Gish, comedian Harold Lloyd, William Randolph Hearst's love Marion Davies, and studio head Samuel Goldwyn. The religious sequences used two-tone technicolor. It was the most expensive film yet made.[8]

Prohibition

Although total alcohol consumption halved, some people blatantly disregarded Prohibition. There were loopholes in the Volstead Act, the twenty-two page law which defined Prohibition. Churches could use wine in their ceremonies, and alcohol drunk as a medicine (this was still part of the medical profession) was still allowed. The amount of "religious" and "medicinal" wine suddenly increased.

Some illegal alcohol was imported from Canada, Cuba, and Mexico, which never made alcohol illegal. Some was home-made American. Bootleggers were found in many places throughout the country, from backwoods stills (illegal alcohol production had continued after the Whiskey Rebellion) to urban "bathtub gin." The Volstead Act had said that personal consumption of alcohol in one's own home was legal, though it had prohibited public gatherings to drink. The occasional secret saloons called speakeasies which sprang up in cities were therefore illegal. These required money, and a new criminal underworld rose to fund them and profit from them. Some of this money funded pay-offs to police to stop enforcement of Prohibition. Gangs prospered in this hidden economy. Many jobs came out of Prohibition, both from alcohol and from the "front" legitimate businesses set up to launder speakeasy money. However, these jobs came with great risks, from blackmail and graft to outright violence. Some commentators felt that Prohibition was too harsh and that it made a criminal out of the average American man or woman, who would have bought alcohol legally if it were available.

Gangs and Violence

There was obviously a huge market for what in the 1920's was an illegal commodity. Gangsters provided this commodity. Major gangsters in this period included Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Mayer Lansky, and "Dutch" Schultz. Perhaps the most notorious was Chicago's Al Capone. Capone smuggled alcohol all over the Midwest. He was also responsible for drug smuggling and murder, and bribed both police and important politicians.

Despite the deference given Capone by "bought" figures, he had enemies from other Chicago gangs. He rode in an armor-plated limousine, always accompanied by armed bodyguards. Violence was a daily occurrence in Chicago. 227 gangsters were killed in the space of four years. On St Valentine's Day, 1929, seven members of the O'Banion gang were shot dead by gangsters dressed as police officers.

In 1931, the government got around the corrupted regular police by arresting Capone for tax evasion, rather than for his many violent offenses. He got eleven years in jail, and left prison with his health broken.

Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde were also a famous pair of murderers and thieves in the 1920's during the prohibition era with their gang. Clyde Champion Barrow and his companion, Bonnie Parker, were shot to death by officers in an ambush near Sailes, Bienville Parish, Louisiana on May 23, 1934, after one of the most colorful and spectacular manhunts the nation had seen up to that time. Barrow was suspected of numerous killings and was wanted for murder, robbery, and state charges of kidnapping.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), then called the Bureau of Investigation, became interested in Barrow and his paramour late in December 1932 through a singular bit of evidence. A Ford automobile, which had been stolen in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, was found abandoned near Jackson, Michigan in September of that year. At Pawhuska, it was learned another Ford car had been abandoned there which had been stolen in Illinois. A search of this car revealed it had been occupied by a man and a woman, indicated by abandoned articles therein. In this car was found a prescription bottle, which led special agents to a drug store in Nacogdoches, Texas, where investigation disclosed the woman for whom the prescription had been filled was Clyde Barrow's aunt.

Further investigation revealed that the woman who obtained the prescription had been visited recently by Clyde Barrow, Bonnie Parker, and Clyde's brother, L. C. Barrow. It also was learned that these three were driving a Ford car, identified as the one stolen in Illinois. It was further shown that L. C. Barrow had secured the empty prescription bottle from a son of the woman who had originally obtained it.

On May 20, 1933, the United States Commissioner at Dallas, Texas, issued a warrant against Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, charging them with the interstate transportation, from Dallas, to Oklahoma, of the automobile stolen in Illinois. The FBI then started its hunt for this elusive pair.

Scopes Trial

In 1925 a teacher by the name of John Thomas Scopes was tried and convicted for teaching evolution in his public school classroom as an explanation to where man originated from, rather than Adam and Eve that is what the law at the time stated. This was a major dispute and caught the attention of many popular government officials such as William Jennings Bryan, who spoke on behalf of the prosecution. Although the modernists defending Scopes lost, they still were proud to have been able to put into question the illogical thinking behind the law enforcing the belief that no one can teach alternative methods for the origin of man, they were also proud hat this trial and conviction didn’t affect the expansion of fundamentalist ideals. The Southern Baptist Convention a protestant group was even one of the fastest growing denominations after the trial showing that it may have even gave popularity to the religious denomination. The beliefs of these groups resulted in the creation of an independent subculture within the U.S. and with their own schools, radio programs, and missionary societies.

Religious Revivalism

With economic insecurity religion, faith became more popular through out the United States. The new revivalism condemned the new socially acceptable movies, dress styles, and dancing. Many religious organizations supported the prohibition movement, thinking drinking was a sinful unclean act.

Jazz

Louis Armstrong

Jazz is an American musical art form which originated around the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. It was originated from African Americans. The “hometown” of jazz is considered to be in New Orleans. Early jazz musicians would called New Orleans their home even if they have never been there. Jazz music started the whole jazz revolution from poetry, fashion, and industry. Jazz spread through America very quickly[9]. The style's West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, call-and-response, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note of ragtime. Beginning in 1922, Gennett Records began recording jazz groups performing in Chicago. The first group they recorded was the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, followed in 1923 by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band with Louis Armstrong. Another indie company in Chicago, Paramount Records, was competing with Gennett and Okeh for jazz talent.[10]

Business Overseas

After the war, many manufacturing companies faced hard times as they attempted to convert from wartime production of weapons and planes to what they had traditionally produced before the war. However, the pro-business policies put in place first by Harding, then Coolidge, allowed business to flourish. While business did well at home -- the raising of tariff rates from 27% (under the Underwood-Simmons Tariff) to 41% certainly helped in this regard -- many major companies did quite well overseas. Just as these companies had started to do before the war, they set up shop in a variety of countries based around the resources located there. Meat packers like Gustavus Swift went to Argentina; fruit growers went to Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala; sugar plantation owners went to Cuba; rubber plantation owners to the Philippines, Sumatra, and Malaya; copper corporations to Chile; and oil companies to Mexico and Venezuela (which remains today a great source for oil). Steamships and telegraphs made for easy transport and communication.

Organized Labor

The Organized labor force during the 1920's suffered a great deal. During this time the country was fearful of the spread of communism in America, because of this widespread fear public opinion was against any worker who attempted to disrupt the order of the working class. The public was so anti-labor union that in 1922 the Harding administration was able to get a court injunction to destroy a railroad workers strike that was about 400,000 strong. Also in 1922 the government took part in putting to an end a nationwide miners strike that consisted of about 650,000 miners. The federal and state level of government had no toleration for strikes, and allowed for businesses to sue the unions for any damages done during a strike.

Major Cases and Laws

Several laws came into play during the 1920's because of things such as prohibition, voting rights, and women's rights. Our country has progressed a great deal since the 1920's, and of the laws that come into play dealt with what our country was going through at the time. On January 16, 1920 it was illegal to sell, make, or transport any type of alcoholic beverage with more than one and a half percent of alcohol. Also, the 19th Amendment was another monumental law passed during the 1920's.

Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Leopold and Loeb, Scopes "Monkey" Trial, and Black Sox Trail were all significant court cases during the 1920's. Each of these courts cases were unique and monumental in their own right, and set a precedent for the years to come especially in court looking back on these cases. The 1920's was a very monumental time for the law and courts of the United States.

Minority Women

During the 1920's there were almost double the amount of nonwhite women than white in the workforce. Women, especially minorities, who held factory jobs held the least desirable and lowest paying jobs in factories. African American women mostly held domestic jobs such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. There were many openings for educated African women in the social work, teaching, and nursing fields during this time, however they faced much discrimination. The Economic needs of the family brought thousands of minority women into having to work. Mexican women, mainly in the Southwest worked as domestic servants, operatives in garment factories, and as agricultural laborers. This was looked down upon because the Mexican culture traditionally was against women labor. Next to African women, Japanese women were the most likely to hold low paying jobs in the work force, they worked in the lowest paying jobs; they faced very strong racial biases and discrimination on a regular basis as well.

African-Americans and the Ku Klux Klan

Southern states segregated public facilities (like buses). In half the South fewer than 10% of the blacks were allowed to vote.

Another factor that ignited more hatred towards blacks was the Great Migration. During the 1920s blacks began to move from rural areas in the South to large cities. More than 1.5 million African Americans migrated to cities such as New York, Chicago, Detroit and the black population even grew in Western cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego. Although most of the migrants were poor and lived in cheap urban housing, some were able to afford better housing in white neighborhoods. This migration of African Americans created unrest within the white community as blacks began to buy and rent property in white neighborhoods. The Great Migration ended in even more discrimination and violence against blacks.

To fight the increasing discrimination many black movement groups began to form. The Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) was formed Marcus Garvey, an immigrant from Jamaica living in Harlem. Garvey preached a message of equality that many, including other black leaders, considered radical. Garvey helped start companies and news papers directed towards the African American community. Along the way he gained a substantial amount of followers around the US, especially in urban cities. Some estimate that Garvey and the UNIA had over half a million followers. Although Garvey created more racial unity and inspired the black community to stand up, many disagreed with his radical approach. W.E.B. Du Bois, a prominent black figure, considered Garvey’s approach extreme and believed that it would only backfire in the movement for equal rights. With the help up of other Black leaders, Du Bois petitioned the attorney general and had Garvey deported back to Jamaica. Garvey is still considered by many as a successful figure in the fight for civil rights. His message to fight back for equality lived on long after he was deported and he was one of the early inspirations of 1960’s civil rights leader Malcolm X.

In New York City's Harlem and in half a dozen other Northern cities, a Black culture began to form as a result of the relative economic and educational advantages given through the Great Migration. Black businesses, legal and political systems, and arts societies flourished. Here "the talented tenth" had its own institutions. Poets Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Jean Toomer, and musicians such as Chick Webb and Duke Ellington were published in mainstream magazines and heard in White-frequented (though sometimes segregated) clubs. The Harlem Renaissance talked of the contemporary Black community's hopes and fears.

The Ku Klux Klan flourished 1921-26 with a membership of millions of Protestants. Not only was the Ku Klux Klan big in the south, but it now fanned out to places such as Oregon and Indiana. Indiana's governor and an Oregon mayor were both members of the KKK. Along with the men in this group, there were now women too. The women consisted of about a half-million members. Klansmen argued for a purified nation and denounced African-Americans, Catholics, and Jews, as well as bootleggers and adulterers. They gained new support from nativists who had detested the mass immigration to the Northeast in the early 1900s.

The return of the Klan caused a split in the Democratic Party which allowed Calvin Coolidge, a conservative Republican, to take office in 1924.

In most cities, the only way blacks could relieve the pressure of crowding that resulted from increasing migration was to expand residential borders into surrounding previously white neighborhoods, a process that often resulted in harassment and attacked by white residents whose intolerant attitudes were intensified by fears that black neighbors would cause property values to decline. Moreover the increased presence of African Americans in cities, North and South, as well as their competition with whites for housing, jobs, and political influence sparked a series of race riots. The Tulsa Race Riots of 1921 and the Rosewood Massacre of 1923 (where a town was wiped off the map by racist violence) were examples of this extreme of hatred.

Although African Americans were widely persecuted by the Ku Klux Klan they were not the only group of people that the KKK targeted because they believed in “Native, white, Protestant supremacy.” They also targeted groups like Mexicans, Catholics and Jews. The Ku Klux Klan would also try and bring justice into their own hands when it came to dealing with bootleggers, wife beaters and adulterers, and even the Knights of Columbus. [11] A Klu Klux Klan newspaper ran a doggerel poem of a dialogue between the Pope and the Devil, with the latter saying the KKK "will make it hotter than I can for you in hell."[12]

The End of Prosperity and the Stock Market Crash of 1929

In the 1920s, farmers did not do so well. A lot of farms did not have running water or electricity, and pay was low due to surplus. World War I had disrupted farming in Europe and the warring European nations greatly depended on American farming for food.[13] When peace came, demand for crops like cotton and grain suddenly fell but farmers kept planting at wartime rates[14], so they were left without money to pay off their loans or new devices like tractors.

A lot of farmers were dependent growing cotton. However, in the twenties the price of cotton plummeted because of new man-made materials that entered the market. Matters were made worse by the invasion of the boll weevil, an insect which planted its eggs in the boll (cotton blossom), and ate the cotton. The Southern economy was partially saved through following the urging of inventor George Washington Carver and planting peanuts instead of cotton. In 1925-1927 George Washington Carver patented two uses for peanuts, and hundreds of more inventions from soybeans, pecans, and even sweet potatoes. Some inventions he made from peanuts and soybeans are paper, instant coffee, shaving cream, mayonnaise, soap, and talcum powder. None of these procedures were ever recorded by him in a notebook.

On October 24, 1929, today known as Black Thursday, the stock market began its downhill drop. After the first hour, the prices had gone down at an amazing speed. Some people thought that after that day, the prices would rise again just as it had done before. But prices kept dropping. On October 29, 1929, Black Tuesday, more than 16 million shares were sold, but by the end of the day, most stocks ended below their previous value, and some stocks became totally worthless. By November 13, the prices had hit rock bottom. The stock AT&T had gone from 304 dollars to 197. Much of America had celebrated unheard of prosperity for eight years, but the Stock Market Crash put an end to that within a few weeks.

Questions For Review

1. Name the economic effects of one of the following: the automobile; mass production as a whole; the boll weevil.

World War I · US History · Great Depression and New Deal

References

  1. http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/Departments/hpolscrv/jzeck.html
  2. Mary Beth Norton et al., “A People and A Nation: A History of the United States; The New Era:1920-1929,” ed. Mary Beth Norton et al. (Boston: Cenage Learning 2009).
  3. "A People and A Nation" the eighth edition
  4. Mary Beth Norton et al., “A People and A Nation: A History of the United States; The New Era; 1920-1929,” ed. Mary Beth Norton et al. (Boston: Cenage Learning 2009).
  5. Jones, Gerard. Honey, I'm Home! Sitcoms: Selling the American Dream. First edition. New York: Grove Weidenfeld (Grove Press), 1992. p. 7
  6. Jones, Gerard. p. 8
  7. Jones, Gerard, p. 19
  8. IMDB trivia page for Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0016641/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_2 Retrieved on August 15, 2014.
  9. http://www.d.umn.edu/cla/faculty/tbacig/studproj/is3099/jazzcult/20sjazz/upriver.html
  10. Some very famous jazz musicians include King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory, and Duke Ellington.
  11. A People and A Nation Eighth Edition
  12. "The Pope's Last Call," "Elsie Thornton." Originally printed in Alabama KKK Newsletter, June 1926. p. 4. Box 16, Folder 11: Association Records, Ku Klux Klan, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery. Recalled on October 18, 2014: http://www1.assumption.edu/users/McClymer/his261/Pope'sLastCall.html
  13. Shmoop Editorial Team. "Economy in The 1920s" Shmoop University, Inc..11 November 2008. http://www.shmoop.com/1920s/economy.html (accessed November 22, 2013).
  14. Katers, Nicholas. "The Roaring Twenties and the Struggles of Immigrants, Farmers, and Other Interest Groups." Yahoo! Voices. Yahoo!, 30 Mar. 2006. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.

The Great Depression and the New Deal (1929 - 1939)

The Stock Market Crash

Timeline of the Great Depression
Year Month Events
1929 October The stock market crashes, marking the end of six years of unparalleled prosperity for most sectors of the American economy. The "crash" began on October 24 (Black Thursday). By October 29, stock prices had plummeted and banks were calling in loans. An estimated $30 billion in stock values "disappeared" by mid-November.
November "Any lack of confidence in the economic future or the basic strength of business in the United States is foolish."—President Herbert Hoover
1930 March More than 3.2 million people are unemployed, up from 1.5 million before the "crash" of October, 1929. President Hoover remained optimistic however stating that "all the evidences indicate that the worst effects of the crash upon unemployment will have passed during the next sixty days."
November The street corners of New York City are crowded with apple-sellers. Nearly six thousand unemployed individuals worked at selling apples for five cents apiece,

The bill fell to defeat in the Senate, however, 62 to 18. The vets maintained their determination to stay camped out until they got their pay.

1931 January Texas congressman Wright Patman introduces legislation authorizing immediate payment of "bonus" funds to veterans of World War I. The "bonus bill" had been passed in 1924. It allotted bonuses, in the form of "adjusted service certificates," equaling $1 a day for each day of service in the U.S., and $1.25 for each day overseas. President Hoover was against payment of these funds, saying it would cost the Treasury $4 billion.
February "Food riots" begin to break out in parts of the U.S. In Minneapolis, several hundred men and women blew up a grocery market with some C4[citation needed] and made off with fruit, canned goods, bacon, and ham. One of the store's owners pulled out a gun to stop the looters, but was leapt upon and had his arm broken. The "riot" was brought under control by 100 policemen. Seven people were arrested.

Resentment of "foreign" workers increases along with unemployment rolls. In Los Angeles, California, Mexican Americans found themselves being accused of stealing jobs from "real" Americans. During the month, 6,024 of them were deported.

March Three thousand unemployed workers march on the Ford Motor Company's plant in River Rouge, Michigan. Dearborn police and Ford's company guards attack, killing four workers and injuring many more.
December New York's Bank of the United States collapses. At the time of the collapse, the bank had over $200 million in deposits, making it the largest single bank failure in the nation's history.
1932 January Congress establishes the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. The R.F.C. was allowed to lend $2 billion to banks, insurance companies, building and loan associations, agricultural credit organizations and railroads. Critics of the R.F.C. called it "the millionaires' dole."
April More than 750,000 New Yorkers are reported to be dependent upon city relief, with an additional 160,000 on a waiting list. Expenditures averaged about $8.20 per month for each person on relief.
May More than 300 World War I vets leave Portland, Oregon en route to Washington DC to urge Congress to pass the Bonus Bill. It took them eighteen days to reach Washington DC.
June Determined to collect their "bonus" pay for service, between 15,000 to 25,000 World War I veterans gather and begin setting up encampments near the White House and the Capitol in Washington, D.C. On June 15, the House passed Congressman Wright Patman's "bonus bill" by a vote of 209 to 176.

The bill fell to defeat in the Senate, however, 62 to 18. The vets maintained their determination to stay camped out until they got their pay.

July Hoover signs a $100,000 transportation bill to assist "bonus Army" demonstrators in getting home. Hoover set a July 24 deadline for the men to abandon their encampments. On July 28, when some "bonus Army" members resisted being moved from their camps. Violence erupted, leading to the deaths of two veterans. Hoover ordered Federal troops, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, to assist DC police in clearing the veterans.
The Reconstruction Finance Corporation is authorized to lend needy states sums from the national Treasury. The money was to target relief and public works projects.
November Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President in a landslide over Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt received 22,800,000 popular votes to 15,750,000 for Hoover.
1933 March Before a crowd of 100,000 at the Capitol Plaza in Washington DC, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated president. FDR tells the crowd, "The people of the United Slates have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it."

FDR announces a four-day bank holiday to begin on Monday. March 6. During that time, FDR promised, Congress would work on coming up with a plan to save the failing banking industry. By March 9, Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act of 1933. By month's end, three-quarters of the nation's closed banks were back in business.

On March 12, FDR delivers the first of what came to be known as his "fireside chats." In his initial "chat" he appealed to the nation to join him in "banishing fear."
April President Roosevelt. under the Emergency Banking Act, orders the nation off of the gold standard.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) is established. Designed as a relief and employment program for young men between the ages of 17 and 27, the CCC was envisioned by FDR as a kind of volunteer "army" that would work in national forests, parks, and federal land for nine-month stints. The first 250,000 young men were housed in 1,468 camps around the country- At its peak in 1935, the CCC would include 500,000 young men.
May The Federal Emergency Relief Administration is created by Congress. President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Harry L. Hopkins as its chief administrator. By the end of his first day on the job, Hopkins had Issued grants totaling more than $5 million.
The National Industrial Recovery Act is introduced into Congress. Under Title 1 of the act, the National Recovery Administration was designated to maintain some form of price and wage controls. Section 7(a) of the act guaranteed labor the right to organize and bargain collectively. As part of the act. The National Labor Board was set up to negotiate disputes between labor and management.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is created. A federally run hydroelectric power program, the TVA act was considered a huge experiment in social planning. The TVA also built dams, produced and sold fertilizer, reforested the Tennessee Valley area and developed recreational lands.

Opponents of the TVA called it "communistic to its core."

June Congress passes the Glass-Steagall Act, separating commercial from investment banking and setting up the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to guarantee bank deposits.
August With an eye toward organizing farmers into soil conservation districts, the federal government establishes the Soil Erosion Service. The creation of this service was made necessary by the years of drought and dust that plagued the Southwestern Panhandle states.
September In an effort to stabilize prices, the federal agricultural program orders the slaughter of more than 6 million pigs. Many citizens protested this action since most of the meat went to waste.
October The Civil Works Administration is established. Devised as a wide scale program that could employ up to 4 million people, the C.W.A was involved in the building of bridges, schools, hospitals, airports, parks and playgrounds- Additionally, C.W.A. funds went toward the repair and construction of highways and roads. Early in 1934, Congress authorized $950 million for the continued operation of the C.W.A.
1934 May A three-day dust storm blows an estimated 350 million tons of soil off of the terrain of the West and Southwest and deposits it as far east as New York and Boston. Some East Coast cities were forced to ignite street lamps during the day to see through the blowing dust.
November Father Charles E. Coughlin establishes the Union for Social Justice. Using the radio airwaves as his pulpit. Father Coughlin railed against "predatory capitalism." His criticism of the banking industry and disdain of communism soon dovetailed into a troubling gospel of anti-Semitism.
1935 April FDR signs legislation creating the Works Progress Administration. (Its name would be changed in 1939 to the Work Projects Administration). The program employed more than 8.5 million individuals in three thousand counties across the nation. These individuals, drawing a salary of only $41.57 a month, improved or created highways, roads, bridges, and airports. In addition, the WPA put thousands of artists — writers, painters, theater directors, and sculptors — to work on various projects. The WPA would remain in existence until 1943.
Business Week magazine announces that "Depression is a forgotten word in the automobile industry, which is forging ahead in production, retail sales, and expansion of productive capacity in a, manner reminiscent of the 'twenties.'"
June The National Youth Administration is set up to address the needs of young men and women (who were not allowed in the CCC). The NYA worked on two levels: a student work program and an out-of-school program. The student work program provided students with odd jobs that paid them enough to stay in school. The out-of-school program set young people up with various jobs ranging from house painting to cleaning local parks, and eventually came to include vocational training.
July FDR signs the Wagner National Labor Relations Act. The goal of the act was to validate union authority and supervise union elections.
August The Social Security Act of 1935 is signed into law by FDR. Among the most controversial stipulations of the act was that Social Security would be financed through a payroll tax. Historian Kenneth S. Davis called the signing of the act "one of the major turning points of American history. No longer could 'rugged individualism' convincingly insist that government, though obliged to provide a climate favorable for the growth of business profits, had no responsibility whatever for the welfare of the human beings who did the work from which the profit was reaped."

The 1920's were a time of unbelievable prosperity. The stock market was going through the roof and the United States seemed to have the formula for limitless prosperity. However, the same formula that generated all of that profit would also be the cause of Black Tuesday. Investment during the 1920's was based on the unstable basis of margin buying. Investors bought borrowed money from their brokers, who went to banks for that money. When stocks failed and investors needed to default, the money was permanently lost.

However, adding to the crash of '29 was the slowing economy. The desire for consumer durables (expensive items refrigerators, radios, and automobiles) went down as Americans became satisfied with what they had. This in turn affected the companies and workers that produced these items. A downward spiral was set in motion.


The US stock market crash occurred in October of 1929. The value of common stock and shares dropped by 40%, resulting in a global depression.

Payment plans for merchandise were usually only short term payment plans. This was put in place so that consumer debt services could absorb a greater part of the consumers income. This resulted in debt being diminished more quickly and effectively. The only negative effect of this was that it did not allow for excess purchasing capacity, which could have absorbed the surplus production more effectively.

Furthermore, the general credit structure served to weaken the economy. Farm prices were plummeting, but farmers were already in deep debt, and crop prices were too low to allow them to pay off what they already owed. Banks suffered failure as the farmers defaulted on loans. Some of the nation's largest banks were failing to maintain adequate reserves and making unwise business decisions. Essentially, the banking system was completely unprepared to combat an economic crash.

Credit also related to the stock market. Investors bought shares "on margin" while at the same time taking out a loan to pay for those shares. The investors hoped that by the time the shares were sold, they would make enough money to pay back the loan and interest, and also have some profit remaining for themselves. The practice of buying on margin led to an extremely unstable stock market. Investors' uncontrolled purchases on margin eventually led to a collapse of the stock market on October 24, 1929, also known as Black Thursday.

International influences also caused the Great Depression. Nations adopted the practice of Protectionism, under which foreign goods were subject to tariffs, or import duties, so that foreign products would cost more and local products would cost less. The reduced cost of local goods would then boost the local economy at the expense of foreign competitors. The United States enacted extremely high tariffs. However, other nations retaliated against the United States by establishing their own tariffs. Thus, American businesses lost several foreign markets.

International credit structure was another cause of the Depression. At the end of World War I, European nations owed enormous sums of money to American banks. However, these debts were rarely repaid. The smaller American banks were crippled because farmers could not pay debts, while larger banks suffered because other nations could not pay debts.

The problems of overproduction, under-consumption, inability to collect debt, and the stock market crash together had a devastating affect on the economy. The Great Depression, the largest collapse of the economy in modern history, changed the lives of millions of Americans.

Depression

There were several events that inevitably caused the Great Depression; one of those being the overall decline in demand. “At least in part, the Great Depression was caused by underlying weaknesses and imbalances within the U.S. economy that had been obscured by the boom psychology and speculative euphoria of the 1920’s. Around 1928, demand for new housing had faltered and this lead to declining sales of building materials and unemployment among construction workers. The automobile industries and other factories had to reduce production rate, and farm prices were getting worse. Another important factor was under consumption. The amount of people not buying products in order to save money was creating serious repercussions. [1] [2]

For many jobs were quite scarce but as for the rich and the top forty percent of the nation little has changed with their jobs. Things such as the dust bowl and the stock market crash is what caused the major changes in employment rates. Also a new beginning started for women because for once they were able to find more jobs than the men were and especially African American women found jobs quicker.

All industries suffered a great deal through the depression including the movie industry. However, movie theaters found ways to stay alive. To counter the effects of the depression, they would resort to gimmicks such as lowering the price of a ticket to $0.27, giving away a cash prize for a lucky winner, and giving away prizes such as dinner plates. These gimmicks worked but that was not the only reason why people during that time still attended the movies. They wanted to get away from the troubles in their lives and escape into a world without all of those hardships even for just a couple of hours. Movies were also popular because it was a place where people could go simply to be part of a community of people.

The Great Depression was a severe economic downfall for the United States. By 1932, unemployment had surged to twenty-five percent, while stock prices plummeted by over eighty percent. It is the longest and most severe depression that Western civilization has ever seen. Not only did it affect the United States of America, but many other European countries. The United States loaned a lot of money to European nations during World War 1. However, a lot of these countries did not have money at the end of World War 1[3]. Banks made the mistake of making many risky loans in the 1920's which then turned bad around 1929 when real-estate and stock markets went bad as well as prices dropping in the agricultural business.[4] Over eighty-five thousand businesses had declared bankruptcy. Banks could not collect debt from bankrupt businesses and began to close, causing the loss of the savings of millions of Americans.Because banking business was going bad many Americans started pulling their savings from the banks for fear of losing it. Some stared investing it in gold while others just simply kept it under their mattresses. Because many people were losing their money they formed crowds outside of banks to demand that the banks pay them their money that was rightfully theirs. These crowds outside of the banks were known as “Bank runs”.[5] This led President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to create the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which provides a hedge against this sort of loss.What is more important is that the farmers living in the South-central cities of the United States suffered almost all the kind of hardships since the first day the depression came into life. They traveled to the West, especially to California, and hoped to find better opportunities in life. Once the great depression deepens most families were unable to pay rent and were evicted from their homes to stay in Hoovervilles. Over a million men went out desperately to search for any kind of work. Teenage boys and girls left their families to try and take care of themselves.

Hoovervilles also known as shanty towns, were started in 1930. They were formed from coast to coast in several cities in the U.S. People would build these houses out of anything they could find. For example, lumber, tin, cardboard, tar paper, glass, canvas, and more. It was very crowded and this increased the probability of illnesses. Since they did not have any running water or bathrooms the living conditions were very dirty and unhealthy. Because of these terrible living conditions, there was a lot of illnesses. These houses did not offer much protection, if any, to elements such as rain, storms, and the cold winters.

The steep decline in purchase of manufactured goods resulted in more than 70,000 factories being closed by 1933. As car sales dropped from 4.5 million in 1929 to 1 million in 1933, Ford laid off more than 2/3 of their Detroit factory workers. By 1933, almost 1/4 of industrial workers were unemployed, and average wages fell by 1/3.

During the great depression a man by the name of Benjamin Thompson is said to have invented the soup kitchen. A soup kitchen, also known as a bread line or a meal center, is a place where people would volunteer to hand out free food to hungry and homeless people. For a great number of unemployed Americans, the meals they received from a soup kitchen would be their only meals that day. One particular soup kitchen in Chicago was sponsored by American gangster Al Capone in an attempt to clean up his image to the public and to the police.

In 1930, a confluence of bad weather and poor agricultural practices known as the Dust Bowl compounded the Depression's effects on farmers. The dust bowl is a large southern area of the US where during the 30’s, there was a great deal of winds, droughts, and clouds of dust. The number of dust storms known as “black blizzards” began at around 14 storms but rose to nearly 40 storms. This made normal everyday activities such as breathing, eating, and going for walks a very difficult task. Children had to wear dust masks when they walked to and from school. Women would hang sheets and rags over the windows in a futile attempt to keep the dirt and dust out of their houses. Sustained drought and continued planting and harvesting over poor seasons led to the destruction of ground cover that held soil in place, hence Dust Bowl. This, along with other economic factors, reduced farm revenue by 50 percent. Many farmers were forced to move to the cities in order to survive.

All of this turmoil and chaos caused rising unemployment rates and thousands of people began to look from employment elsewhere. It was at this time when the term migrant labor really came into effect. “Migrant labor is a term applied in the United States to laborers who travel from place to place harvesting crops that must be picked as soon as they ripen.” Migrant labor has existed in other parts of the world, but not to the same extent as it did in the United States during this time. Migrant workers had the option of either being an independent worker or work for a contractor. A contractor is someone who supplies the farmer with workers. There were also two kinds of migrant workers; urban dwellers and permanent migrants. The difference between the two is the simple fact that urban dwellers are seasonal, whereas permanent migrants follow the crops from one place to another in order to make a living. Despite that fact that the individual had the option of being an independent worker or work for a contractor, work came with little reward to the person performing the labor. For instance, from a report on migrant labor it indicated that “their exclusion from federal and state legislation that protect other workers against exploitation and unfair labor practices is one of the reasons contributing to the low wages paid to farm workers. Many of the federal labor policies, enacted in the 1930’s, were promulgated at a time when the family farm was the predominant production unit and family members provided the labor. While the family farm is no longer the predominant production structure, large corporate controlled farms that employ large numbers of migrant workers currently benefit from these policies at the expense of workers.”The conditions in which these men worked and the jobs they performed weren’t any better compared to the way these men were treated. Migrant labor is one of the most hazardous of all occupational categories; not including mining. In addition, their housing and health conditions were the poorest of all occupational groups. Most migrant workers lived in dirty conditions next to irrigation ditches and did miscellaneous jobs such as bailing, picking, and cultivating and harvesting crops. [6] [7] [8]

Through these hard times not only did racism increase but also discrimination. Before the great depression women of all class and race were barred from many jobs and were paid a lot less than men. Although the depression was an extremely difficult time for white Americans, it was even worse for other races and especially for African-Americans. In the south in 1930, one organization called the Black Shirts recruited about 40,000 people but made it known that no African-American would be given a job. He started the slogan "No Jobs for Niggers Until Every White Man Has a Job!" Northern African-Americans suffered about as much as the southern ones.[9] Jobs that white workers had considered “beneath them” before the depression began to seem more desirable. African-American unemployment was at almost 50% by 1932. In the Southwest, the claim that Hispanic workers were “stealing jobs” from whites was also prevalent. The labor department deported 82,000 Mexicans between 1929-1935, and many more (almost half a million people) returned to Mexico, either voluntarily or after being tricked or threatened into believing they had no other choice. Many of these people had immigrated legally, but lacked the proper documentation to prove it, and officials also ignored the fact that children born in the U.S. were citizens. Discrimination against women was also prevalent – many believed that women were stealing jobs from men. The presumption was that men should support their families by working and women should be homemakers. In a survey conducted in 1930 and 1931, 77% of schools refused to hire married women as teachers, and 63% fired female teachers who married while employed there.

The New Deal

The 1929 stock market crash and subsequent economic collapse left America fearful and feeling helpless. Jobs were gone, farm prices had plunged, businesses had failed, and many banks were shaky. In the '20s, banks had began to loan money to stock-brokers, as the Stock Market had become a hot investment. Banks let brokers use the stocks themselves as collateral. In the 1929 crash the stocks dropped in value, and investors could not repay the banks; the banks were left holding near-worthless collateral. Banks then went broke, pulling productive businesses and farms with them. A panicking bank would call in loans and foreclose mortgages in a desperate attempt to stay afloat. Penniless farmers had had to finance the next year's crop by using their homes as collateral: now they lost them. Families lost not only their source of income but their life savings. Through all this, President Herbert Hoover held to a platform of limited federal intervention. Democratic candidate for president Franklin Roosevelt insisted that the federal government had to play a much greater role. He supported direct relief payments for the unemployed, declaring that such governmental aid was a matter of social duty. He pledged a New Deal for the American People.

People were desperate for a leader who would demonstrate some idea of what to do to begin to turn things around. Demonstrations of this desparation ranged from the Bonus Marches through grassroots actions by farmers facing foreclosure to sophisticated agitation by Nazi, Socialist and Communist activists. As Roosevelt remarked to John Nance Garner, his Vice President, as they rode to the inauguration in January 1933 "I had better be a good president or I will be the last one".

After he took office,in a program called "the Hundred Days" ,Roosevelt immediately began to take steps against the Great Depression. He had campaigned with a platform offering a Media:New Deal to Americans. The nation did not have to wait long to see what FDR had in mind. On March 6, two days after taking office as President, he issued an order closing all American banks for four days. Throughout his Presidency he would show himself a master of the use of language. Instead of calling it an "emergency bank closure," Roosevelt used the euphemism of "bank holiday." He then summoned Congress for a special session.

When Congress met, Roosevelt suggested the Emergency Banking Bill, which was designed to protect large banks from being dragged down by the failing small banks. This bill authorized the reopening of solvent banks strong enough to survive and reorganize the banks that were not. This banking plan would only work however, if people were confident enough to deposit their money into the banks that were reopened. On his next fireside chat, Roosevelt asked the American people to support this new plan and pledged that if they did it would “restore our financial system”. The next day when the banks opened, people lined up to deposit their money into the banks. On the day after the passage of the Emergency Banking Act, Roosevelt sent to Congress the Economy Bill. The act proposed to balance the federal budget by cutting the salaries of government employees and reducing pensions to veterans by as much as 15 percent.

Roosevelt warned that the nation would face a $1 billion deficit if the bill would fail. Like the Emergency Banking Act, it passed through Congress almost instantaneously.

To protect American farmers, Congress passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA)in May, 1933. Farm incomes, relative to the rest of the economy, had been falling for years. Most importantly, the AAA attempted to increase farm prices. Under the act, producers of seven agricultural products - corn, cotton, dairy products, hogs, rice, tobacco, and wheat - would set production limits on themselves. The AAA required the government to then tell individual farmers how much they should plant. The government rewarded farmers who complied by paying them for leaving some of their land unused. The Act was extremely controversial, however. People argued that it was inappropriate for the government to pay farmers to produce less while many people were forced to starve due to the Depression.

After Roosevelt was elected President, the Emergency Relief Administration -– which Hoover had created in 1932 –- was renamed the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA). In November of 1933, the Civil Works Administration (CWA) was created under the auspices of FERA. By 1934, the CWA had hired 4 million construction workers on a temporary basis -- the program only lasted a few months, during the winter of 1933-34. These workers earned $15 a week, and predominately constructed or repaired buildings and bridges. Another work relief program, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), began in 1933. The CCC only hired unemployed, unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 25. The jobs provided were hard work – building dams and roads, constructing parks and creating trails, planting trees, fighting fires, and other outdoor manual labor. Their pay was $30 a month (or $1 a day), and $25 of that went to their parents. Minorities were hired and received equal pay, but the program was segregated. 200,000 African-American workers were hired, and there was a separate Indian division which hired 80,000 Native American workers. During the 9 years the CCC existed, it employed around 2.5 million men.

Congress and the President created several new government agencies to combat the Great Depression. The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Public Works Administration provided employment for many Americans; they hired people to work on roads, buildings, and dams.The Civilian Conservation Corps offered to pay $1 a day to unmarried men who would work hard labor. The Civilian Conservation Corps was segregated by race and women were not eligible for the program. Even though the program did not help women it did help provide work for some 2.5 million men from different backgrounds with jobs.[10] The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) accomplished similar goals; it sought to build an infrastructure in the Southeast to provide electricity to rural areas. TVA workers taught farmers ways to improve their crop yields (crop rotation and fertilizer use), replanted forests, controlled forest fires, improved wildlife habitats, and built hydroelectric dams to generate power. It was given authority to build power lines in new areas and set guidelines for electricity distribution. TVA hired local unemployed white males for conservation, economic development, and social programs (such as a library service). TVA recognized the legitimacy of labor unions –- its blue collar employees were unionized, which was a breakthrough in an area known for corporations hostile to unions. Women were not hired for construction work, although the cheap electricity provided by TVA attracted textile mills which hired women. It still exists today, and covers most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provided insurance for bank deposits. The Securities and Exchange Commission, meanwhile, provided for the regulation of the stock market in an attempt to prevent another crash like that in October, 1929.

In June, 1933, Congress addressed the problems of the industrial sector with the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA). The NIRA established the National Recovery Administration (NRA), which attempted to stabilize prices and wages though cooperative "code authorities" involving government, business, and labor unions. The NIRA also established a national public works program, the Public Works Administration (PWA). The PWA was focused on large-scale public works projects, which were built by private companies who hired workers (it didn’t directly hire the unemployed like the WPA). Between 1933 and 1939 when the PWA was closed down, road projects (streets and highways) were the most common, but it funded and oversaw the construction of projects as large as airports, hydroelectric dams, Navy warships, bridges. PWA projects also were responsible for the construction of 70% of new schools and one-third of new hospitals during this time. Through the PWA, the NIRA lowered unemployment and created infrastructure still in use today.

Section 7(a) of the NIRA ensured collective bargaining rights of workers, effectively allowing them to unionize. These protections granted to workers led to large-scale union organizing, strikes, and violence on both sides. On August 5, 1933, the National Labor Board was established in order to handle labor disputes and enforce the protection of collective bargaining rights provided for by the NIRA. It was abolished on June 29, 1934 and replaced with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The National Labor Relations Act (also known as the Wagner Act, named after the New York senator who proposed it) forced employers to deal with unions elected by their employees in elections overseen by the NLRB, in addition to prohibiting unfair labor practices. Over 3/4ths of these elections were won by either the American Federation of Labor (AFL) or the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

The NRA adopted a blanket code under which the businesses would agree to a minimum wage of twenty to forty cents per hour, a workweek of thirty-five to forty hours, and the abolition of child labor. Companies that voluntarily complied with the code were allowed to display the NRA "Blue Eagle". Blue Eagle flags, posters, and stickers, with the slogan "We Do Our Part," became common across the country. In addition to blanket codes, codes specific to certain industries were also adopted.

BlueEagle.jpeg
NRA Blue Eagle

In an attempt to stimulate economic recovery, NIRA inadvertently promoted monopolies, allowing competing businesses to work together to create industry-wide regulations and establish standards like minimum prices for their goods, maximum work hours, and minimum wage. The goal was to eliminate competition between these businesses, in the hopes that it would no longer drive down prices or wages. However, these cartels were dominated by big businesses, which put their smaller rivals at a disadvantage. The NRA was tasked with supervising these groups, but NRA staff did not have the administrative skills or experience necessary to stand up to large corporations. Since the government helped set but did not enforce the NRA guidelines, it was already ineffective by the time it was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935.

The Second New Deal

Immediately after Roosevelt passed the first New Deal he received a great deal of support from congress. However, not long after the "First Hundred Days" a growing division was revealed throughout the nation. Many people encouraged the government to take so much control over the fight against poverty and inequality, while many others argued that the government had too much power and wanted them to stop expanding even further than they already had. This created a great deal of pressure from all sides for president Roosevelt and so he came up with the "second new deal". Roosevelt's New Deal had enjoyed unprecedented popular and congressional support, but that would not last. The seeming unity of the First Hundred Days masked deep divides withing the nation,and once the immediate crisis was averted, the struggle over solutions began in earnest. As some tried to stop expansion of governments power, others pushed for increased governmental action to combat continuing poverty and inequality. [11]

The Works Progress Administration (later renamed the Works Projects Administration) was established after the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act (which Roosevelt called “the Big Bill”) was passed on April 8, 1935. The bill provided $4 billion in new spending, most of it intended to create public works programs. In addition to stimulating economic growth, the WPA put about 1/3 of unemployed Americans to work, who earned an average of $50 a month. These workers built 650,000 miles of roads and highways and 125,000 public buildings. In addition to this, they built bridges, parks, swimming pools, reservoirs, and irrigation systems, as well as teaching 1.5 million adults to read and write. The WPA also had cultural programs that provided jobs for about 40,000 unemployed artists. The Federal Writers Project put over 6,000 writers to work writing pamphlets and articles, as well as guidebooks showcasing the history, landscape, and culture of all 50 states. The Federal Art Project resulted in the creation of thousands of murals, sculptures, and paintings in public buildings. The Federal Theater Project sent actors and crews to perform plays in communities across the nation. Similarly, the Federal Music Project sent unemployed musicians across the nation to perform, teach, and conduct groups of amateur musicians.

In 1935, the Congress passed the Social Security Act. The Act provided for the creation of the Social Security System, under which the unemployed and the unemployable (such as senior citizens) received welfare payments from the government. All eligible workers were required to pay social security taxes on their wages and their employers also contributed an equivalent amount. The workers that paid into social security then received retirement benefits.[12] The Act also granted money to the states for use in their own welfare programs.A program that came about because of Social Security was called the Aid to Families with Dependent Children. This was a program that offered help to families that had children with certain needs and who also had no fathers.[13] Although the social security act did help many people out tremendously, it did have some drawbacks. One big drawback was that the law did not cover agricultural labor, domestic service, and casual labor not in the course of the employer's trade or business. This meant that most people of color who worked as farm laborers or in hospitals and such didn't receive any benefits. This also meant that teachers and nurses, mostly women workers were also not covered.Unemployment had decreased-but 9 million people were still without work. Also in 1935 enormous dust storms enveloped the Southern Plains, killing livestock and driving families like the Montgomery from their land. Millions of Americans still suffered. As their dissatisfaction mounted,so,too,did the appeal of various demagogues,who played to the prejudices and unreasoning passions of the people.[14]

The National Youth Administration (NYA), established in 1935, funded part-time jobs for 1.5 million high school students and 600,000 college students who were at risk of not being able to afford to stay in school. It also provided full-time employment and education to around 2.7 million youths that were not students.

The efforts of the Democratic President and Congress were opposed by a conservative Supreme Court. In 1933, the Court had ruled in favor of some state New Deal programs. However, by 1935, the Court had begun to rule against the New Deal. For example, the Court ruled in a case nicknamed the Sick Chicken Case that the National Industrial Recovery Act Code relating to the sale of "unfit" poultry, as well as all other codes under the act, were unconstitutional. In 1936, the Court ruled that the Agricultural Adjustment Act was also unconstitutional.

Roosevelt's Re-election

In 1936, Roosevelt won re-election in a landslide, losing only the states of Maine and Vermont. The press did not pick a winner early. They wanted to make it look like an even race even though Roosevelt was far ahead of his opponent. Landon, Roosevelt’s opponent, tried to make Roosevelt look like a dictator. Roosevelt however, did not attack his opponent. This made many people like Roosevelt even more[15]. Roosevelt and Congress proceeded by passing more New Deal legislation. This time, the Supreme Court did not oppose Roosevelt. The Second Agricultural Adjustment Act, for example, replaced the first Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act set minimum wages for workers in interstate industries. The Wagner Housing Act provided for the construction of homes for the poor.

Despite such programs, the New Deal did not end the Great Depression by itself. That task was accomplished by the Second World War, which led to the growth of jobs in industries related to war, which then led to the growth of the overall economy. However, the New Deal did provide much-needed relief to suffering Americans.

Sit-Down Strike

Sit-down strikes began among rubber workers in Akron, OH in the early 1930s, and became the method of choice by the mid-30s. This tactic had clear advantages over traditional (walk-out) strikes. Workers stayed in the factories and were able to prevent the use of strikebreakers by doing anything they could to keep the owners and/or police away which included throwing random objects out of windows. They also had shelter, and they weren’t isolated (as they would be in the picket line or working at their stations), often forming a community of sorts with other workers.

One of the most significant sit-down strikes of the era occurred in Flint, Michigan during the winter of 1936-1937. The United Automobile Workers (UAW), formed in 1935, learned that General Motors only had 2 factories that made the dies (industrial tools that use a press to bend, shape, or cut material) used to form their car body components, one in Flint and one in Cleveland. The UAW had planned to start the strike after the New Year, but when workers at the Cleveland plant went on strike on December 30, the UAW announced that they would not settle the Cleveland strike until an agreement covering all GM plants in the nation had been reached. When the UAW learned later that day that GM planned to move the dies out of the Flint plant, they called a meeting during lunchtime at the union hall across the street, explained the situation, and sent their members back across the street to begin the strike.

The local police attempted to enter the plant on January 11, but the workers on strike fended them off with fire hoses and thrown car parts. GM got an injunction against the strike in February, but instead of going along with it, the UAW spread the strike to another plant. GM finally got fed up with these sit-down strikes and so they obtained a court order to evict the workers but this did not work because the workers held their ground, risking fines and imprisonment. When this did not work, the Michigan governor was advised to send in the National Guard to end the strike but he refused. GM reached an agreement with the union on February 11 which established the UAW as the official representative for its members who were GM employees. Chrysler followed GM very soon in giving into the UAW's terms. Ford, however, held out until 1941 before they agreed to recognized the unions. The UAW’s membership skyrocketed in the next year. In 1936, there were 48 sit-down strikes. In 1937, there were 477.

Racism in the 1930's

In the 1930s, the Ku Klux Klan was declining after its rebirth in the '10s and '20s. Yet racism was still strong in the South. And the Northern Migration of African-Americans during World War I and the Depression exposed them to resentment in many Northern cities. They need not fear for their lives, as in the Mississippi or even rural Ohio, but they were given dangerous places to live, hired less often than their Caucasian co-workers, and could be fired at the blink of an eye.

Many New Deal programs gave black Americans opportunities they had often lacked in the past, while also helping to bring their daily struggles to light. Such federal programs as The Federal Music Project, Federal Theatre Project, and Federal Writers project enabled black artists to find word during the depression, often times creating art or stories which portrayed the historic and present situation of blacks in the South. Projects chronicling the lives of former slaves were also begun under the auspices of these programs. At the same time competition for WPA (Works Project Administration) jobs in the South during the thirties also brought to light the persistence of inequality even in the government.Since the WPA required that eligible employees not have refused any private sector jobs at the "prevailing wage" for such jobs, African-Americans (who were paid less on average then whites in the South) might be refused WPA jobs which whites were eligible for. Such discrimination often extended to Hispanic-Americans in the Southwest as well. Despite such difficulties, WPA head Harry Hopkins worked with NAACP leaders to prevent discrimination whenever possible resulting in general support for the programs (and the government) by the black community.

Black Americans also received increased visibility during this decade for less auspicious reasons, resulting in bitter political conflict within the Democratic Party. While the South had been solidly Democratic since the Civil War, the Roosevelt administration actively appealed to African-Americans to join their party, thus alienating many Southerners. The growing divide between Northern and Southern Democrats over the issue of race came to a head in April 1937, when a bitter fight over an anti-lynching bill took place in the House of Representatives. In the wake of a gruesome double lynching in Mississippi (only one of more than a hundred which had taken place since 1930)The House passed the anti-lynching resolution, despite the opposition of all but one Southern member. Declaring that the South had been "deserted by the Democrats of the North" former Roosevelt supporters in the Senate carried out a six week long filibuster which resulted in the withdrawal of the bill in February 1938. This bitter political fight was indicative of the racism and regional conflict still firmly entrenched in America in the 1930s.

Memorial Day Massacre

On Memorial Day in 1937, in Chicago, a group of workers and their families marched towards the Republic Steel Plant to support some strikers. However, the police stopped them en route. One of the workers threw something at one of the policemen and this gave the police reason to attack the workers and as a result 10 men were killed and 30 people (including women and children) were wounded. These people did not receive much sympathy from fellow Americans because they were tired of the violence. Instead the people praised the police force for stepping in and containing the disruptive group of people. [16]

The amount of lives lost because of all of the strikes and picket lines, organized labor gained a lot of ground in the 1930s. The National Labor Relations Board became very effective in reducing the violence. They mediated the disputes instead of letting the people take the matters into their own hands, as they had been doing for so long. The unionized workers made up about 23% of non-agricultural workers. Because of these changes they were able to raise their standard of living. By 1941 union workers were able to buy not only a new pair of shoes for each of their children every 2 years, but also a new coat for them and their wife every 6 years [17]

The Roosevelt Recession

Between 1933 and 1937, the U.S. economy improved slowly but surely -- total personal income of Americans rose from $38 billion in 1933 to $70 billion in 1937. In the same period, employment also rose from 27.9 million to just over 36 million, and unemployment dropped from 12.8 million (25.2% of the American labor force) to 7.7 million (14.3%). However, people were also much more cautious in their spending than in pre-crash years. This and a growing labor force resulted in more goods being produced than consumed, relegating large amounts of unsold goods to warehouse shelves.

In the months between his second inauguration and September of 1937, Roosevelt ordered a reduction in federal spending on emergency employment projects. The number of workers employed on WPA and other projects were cut from 3.7 million to 1.9 million. Funding for PWA projects was also greatly reduced during this period. Unemployment rose from 14.3% in 1937 to 19% in early 1938. In April of 1938, Roosevelt sent a new spending program to Congress totaling $3.75 billion, which they approved. More than $1.4 billion went to the WPA and almost $1 billion went to the PWA, with the rest being split among other federal programs. Although the economy recovered shortly thereafter, unemployment didn’t return to 1937 levels until World War II.


References

  1. Norton, Mary Beth. A People and A Nation. Boston: Wadsworth, Cenage Learning, 2007, 2009.Print.
  2. Modern Economic Poetry. “About The Great Depression.” N.p., n.d. Web. 2/20/2011.
  3. http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/depression/about.htm
  4. A People and A Nation Eighth Edition
  5. A People and A Nation Eighth Edition
  6. Migrant Workers. “Critical Role, Working Conditions, Migrant Stream…” Net Industries. 2011. Web. 3/27/11.
  7. Infoplease.com. “Migrant Labor.” N.p., n.d., Web. 2/20/22
  8. Report on Migrant Farm Worker Conditions. “Farm Worker Conditions.” N.p., n.d. Web. 3/30/2011.
  9. A People and A Nation-Eighth Edition by Norton, Sheriff, Katzman, Blight, Chudacoff, Logevall, Bailey. Page 718
  10. A People and A Nation Eighth Edition
  11. A People and A Nation-Eighth Edition by Norton, Sheriff, Katzman, Blight, Chudacoff, Logevall, Bailey
  12. "A People and A Nation" the eighth edition
  13. A People and A Nation
  14. "A People and A Nation" the eighth edition
  15. http://www.kennesaw.edu/pols/3380/pres/1936.html
  16. A People and A Nation-Eighth Edition by Norton, Sheriff, Katzman, Blight, Chudacoff, Logevall, Bailey
  17. A People and A Nation-Eighth Edition by Norton, Sheriff, Katzman, Blight, Chudacoff, Logevall, Bailey

Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

The Spanish Civil War (July 18, 1936–April 1, 1939) was a conflict in which the incumbent Second Spanish Republic and political left-wing groups fought against a right-wing nationalist insurrection led by General Francisco Franco, who eventually succeeded in ousting the Republican government and establishing a personal dictatorship. It was the result of the complex political, economic and even cultural divisions between what Spanish writer Antonio Machado characterized as the two Spains. The Republicans ranged from centrists who supported capitalist liberal democracy to communists or anarchist revolutionaries; their power base was primarily secular and urban (though it also included landless peasants) and was particularly strong in industrial regions like Asturias and Catalonia. The conservative Basque Country also sided with the Republic, largely because it, along with nearby Cataluña sought autonomy from the central government which would later be suppressed by the centralizing nationalists. The ultimately successful Nationalists had a primarily rural, wealthier, and more conservative base of support, were mostly Roman Catholic, and favored the centralization of power. Some of the military tactics of the war -- including the use of terror tactics against civilians -- foreshadowed World War II, although both the nationalists and the republicans relied overwhelmingly on infantry rather than modern use of blitzkrieg tactics with tanks and airplanes. The number of persons killed in the Spanish Civil War can be only roughly estimated. Nationalist forces put the figure at 1,000,000, including not only those killed in battle but also the victims of bombardment, execution, and assassination. More recent estimates have been closer to 500,000 or less. This does not include all those who died from malnutrition, starvation, and war-engendered disease.


Abraham Lincoln Brigade

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was an organization of United States volunteers supporting or fighting for the anti-fascist Spanish Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War as part of the International Brigade.

The name "brigade" is something of a misnomer, as there were several American battalions organized under the Fifteenth International Brigade of the Spanish Republican army. This brigade was loosely organized by the Comintern and was made up of volunteers from nations around the globe. The George Washington Battalion, Abraham Lincoln Battalion, John Brown Anti-Aircraft Battery were part of the American contingent. Other U.S. volunteers served with the MacKenzie-Papineau battalion (Canadian), the Regiment de Tren (transport) and in various medical groups. The name Abraham Lincoln Brigade was used to include all the U.S. volunteers, regardless of which unit they served with.

Most of the people making up the Abraham Lincoln Brigade were official members of the Communist Party USA or affiliated with other socialist organizations. The IWW, or "Wobblies", were lightly represented. However, the brigade was made up of volunteers from all walks of American life, and from all socio-economic classes. It was the first unit of soldiers made up of Americans to have an African-American officer, Oliver Law, lead white soldiers.

American volunteers began organizing and arriving in Spain in 1936. Centered in the town of Figueras, near the French border, the brigade was organized in 1937 and trained by Robert Merriman. By early 1937, its numbers had swelled from an initial 96 volunteers to around 450 members. In February 1937 the League of Nations Non-Intervention Committee banned foreign national volunteers.

Self-motivated and ideological, the Lincolns attempted to create an egalitarian "people's army"; officers were distinguished only by small bars on their berets and in some cases rank-and-file soldiers elected their own officers. Traditional military protocol was shunned, although not always successfully. A political commissar explained the politics of the war to the volunteers and tended to their needs and morale. The Lincoln Brigade helped ease the pressure on Madrid, giving the Republic time to train and organize its own popular army. The subject of respectful news reports by such writers as Ernest Hemingway, Herbert Matthews, Martha Gellhorn, and Lillian Hellman, the brigade helped strengthen anti-fascist opinion in the United States. Yet the Lincolns and the Republican military, fighting with inadequate weaponry, could not withstand the forces allied against them. By the end, the Lincolns had lost nearly 750 men and sustained a casualty rate higher than that suffered by Americans in World War II. Few escaped injury. In November 1938, as a last attempt to pressure Hitler and Mussolini into repatriating their troops, Spanish prime minister Juan Negrin ordered the withdrawal of the International Brigades. The Axis coalition refused to follow suit and Madrid fell in March 1939.

The Lincolns returned home as heroes of the anti-fascist cause but enjoyed no official recognition of their deed. Many Lincolns soon aroused bitterness within sectors of the Left when, with the signing of the Hitler-Stalin nonaggression pact in 1939, they supported the CP's call for the United States to stay out of WWII. Once the United States and the Soviet Union entered the war, however, many of the veterans enlisted in the armed forces or served with the merchant marine. In a foreshadowing of the McCarthy period, the armed forces designated the Lincolns "premature antifascists" and confined them to their bases. Many successfully protested and were allowed to see action. Among the core agents of the Office of Strategic Services were Lincoln veterans whose contacts with the European partisans, forged in Spain, were key to OSS missions.


The International Brigade was used by the Loyalist army for several battles in Spain. They unsuccessfully defended the supply road between Valencia and Madrid in the Jarama Valley from February 1937 until June 1937. They were also present at the battles of Brunete, Zaragoza, Belchite, and Teruel.

The Brigade was a cause celebre in the United States, however. Liberal and socialist groups organized fund-raising activities and supply drives to keep the Brigade afloat. News of the Brigade's high casualty rate and bravery in battle made them romantic figures to an America concerned about the rise of Fascism around the world.

The war dragged on and the Fascist forces gained victory after victory over the Spanish Republic. The International Brigade was withdrawn from battle by the Spanish prime minister in spring of 1938. Most of the surviving Lincolns were repatriated promptly afterward, and were welcomed home as heroes.

In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, members of the Brigade were castigated as supporters of the Soviet Union. Following World War II, at the height of the "Red Scare", former members of the Brigade were considered security risks, and branded "premature anti-fascists".

The US volunteers of the International Brigades adopted the song "Jarama Valley" as their anthem, which was the older song "Red River Valley" with new lyrics. The song was also translated into Catalan.

Specific Cases

After World War I, U.S. Blacks confronted once again the forces of white supremacy and a revitalized Ku Klux Klan. Yet the appearance of a Communist government in Russia in 1917 opened new vistas for African American militancy. After Lenin's Communist party came to power in the Soviet Union and boldly proclaimed "the wretched of the earth" should rule the world, African American resistance took on new meaning. In Chicago, an African Blood Brotherhood led by Cyril Briggs talked of arming Black men for self-defense and called for unity with white workers to overthrow capitalism and imperialism. In 1924 Briggs led his followers into the U.S. Communist party.

Other African Americans also turned to the Communist party for inspiration and organizational support. The most significant African American Communist of this early era was World War I veteran Harry Haywood. During the 1920s Haywood headed for the Soviet Union. In 1928 at a Comintern conference he embraced a proposal that Blacks who lived in the sixty contiguous southern U.S. counties (where they accounted for a majority of the population) be entitled to self-determination including the right to secede from the United States. Such ideas became the basis of the Communist party's organizing among southern Blacks during the 1930s. Haywood later served briefly as a commissar in the Lincoln Brigade.

Violence During the Spanish Civil War

The opening weeks of the Spanish Civil War were characterized by horrendous atrocities, most of them inflicted by an inflamed working class upon conservatives in general and Catholic clergy in particular. Ultimately, 12 bishops and hundreds of priests and nuns and seminarians were slaughtered. The reprisals taken by the nationalists were as brutal, though usually less picturesque in their cruelty. Europe looked on in horror as a country once recognized as the center of Western Civilization descended into bloodshed on a scale not seen since the ghastly events of WWI. The new tank warfare tactics and the terror bombing of cities from the air were features of the Spanish Civil War which later was a significant part in the general European War. The Spanish Civil War had cost the nation somewhere between 600,000 - 800,000 lives, counting deaths in battle and executions, as well as civilians killed by bombing, starvation, and disease. Under the new regime thousands more would be condemned to death, imprisoned, or forced into exile. The war ended with the victory of the rebels, who called themselves the Nationalists, the overthrow of the Republican government, and the exile of thousands of Spanish Republicans, many of whom ended up in refugee camps in Southern France. Apart from the combatants, many civilians were killed for their political or religious views by both sides. [1][2]

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Ernest Hemingway wrote a novel after the Spanish American War, a historic fiction, titled For Whom the Bell Tolls. He borrowed the title from a line of a John Donne poem. The novel tells the story of Robert Jordan, a guerrilla warrior from the United States, during the Spanish Civil War. As an expert in the use of explosives, Jordan is given an assignment to blow up a bridge to accompany a simultaneous attack on the city of Segovia. Though successful in that sense, like most Hemingway novels, For Whom the Bell Tolls is tragic.


References

  1. Meditz, Sandra W., Solsten, Eric, ed. Spain A Country Sturdy. Library of Congress-in-Publishing Data,1988. Print.
  2. Griffin, D. William, Ortiz-Griffin, Julia. Spain and Portugal: A Reference Guide From the Renaissance to the Present. Library of Congress-in-Publishing Data, 2007. Print.

World War II and the Rise of the Atomic Age (1939 - 1945)

Economic Effects of World War One and the Great Depression

  • The Treaty of Versailles unrealistically addressed war reparations, causing a debt spiral between Germany, the Western Allies, and the United States. The German nation felt humiliated by the Treaty's terms.
  • This contributed significantly to the collapse of the world financial markets and led to an economic catastrophe that spawned a political vacuum which allowed new, more radical-than-traditional politicians to emerge on the world scene. These included such men as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt, Hideki Tojo, and Chiang Kai-shek.
  • Also with many of the men being shipped overseas to fight in the war, many employment opportunities opened up for women. Thousands of women began to support the war efforts by getting employed in many different factories producing tanks and planes and other sorts of weaponry. The start of World War Two brought the end of the "Great Depression" due to all of the supplies and men it takes to win a war.

Conflict in Europe

Mussolini and Hitler greet the people

In 1933, German president Paul von Hindenberg named Adolf Hitler chancellor; he then disbanded the Weimar Republic and then began the rise of the "Third Reich", which was also known as "Großdeutsches Reich". Hitler had outlined his aims years earlier, in his book Mein Kampf(My Struggle). He noted Germany's problems after its defeat in World War I. The nation had been damaged economically and morally, cut off from the raw materials, land, and resources needed to help it develop as a nation. Hitler blamed "sub human" peoples such as the Jews for his country's defeat. The superior German people needed "living room," and had a right to claim it. In fact, the book was a blueprint for the Nazi party's planned extermination of the Jews (the "Holocaust" or "Shoah"), and the elemination of homosexuals, the mentally ill, and other "undesirable" elements of German society. Hitler also used this opinion regarding German superiority, as well as the viewpoint that Germans were unfairly treated after World War I, to justify the attempt to terminate the Treaty of Versailles.

Hitler began a buildup of the German military. In 1936, he tested German might by supporting a rebellion in Spain. Then, Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the Fascist Dictator of Italy, as well as Japan, began to create a coalition between their three countries. The coalition later came to be known as the Axis.

In 1938, Hitler annexed Austria. Other nations were reluctant to interfere because of Hitler's claim that the relation between Germany and Austria was an internal German concern that had little or nothing to do with the rest of Europe. Then, Hitler took control of a part of Czechoslovakia. This time, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain did interfere, signing an agreement with Hitler that ensured that Germany would keep any territory already conquered, but would not attempt to take any further Czechoslovakian territory. The policy which sought to prevent another World War at almost any cost, including the cost of allowing the tyrant Hitler to gain more power, was known as appeasement.

Hitler had no intention of keeping his agreement. In 1939, he took over the remainder of Czechoslovakia and turned his sights to Poland, demanding the Polish Corridor. France and the United Kingdom agreed to come to Poland's aid, but Germany signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact, which ensured the neutrality of the Soviet Union (formerly Russia). Hitler also signed a Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviets. This would prevent Germany to have to fight the all so dreaded two front war. Both countries agreed to take parts of Poland, Russia like the idea of gaining control of the Baltic Sea ports. Germany, on the other hand was just on one of its small steps in taking over Europe. A few years after the treaty was signed Hitler discarded the treaty, therefore making the Soviet Union an allied force.

The Beginning of the War

On the first day of September in 1939, Germany declared war on Poland; the British and French responded by declaring war on Germany two days later.

The Germans used the tactic of blitzkrieg (lightning war) in Poland, defeating the Polish Army at lightning speed. By the end of the first week of October, the Germans had gained control of half of Poland. The British and French had done little to aid Poland, fearing a repeat of the First World War. Meanwhile, the Soviets invaded from the east ending any hope for Poland. The last troops surrendered in early October. This new method of fighting known as the Blitzkreig method had never been seen before; unlike the previous World War, soldiers didn't dig deep into the trenches and fight for months trying to hold a certain position. Hitlers armored divisions and air force attacked Poland all at once with little warning. This made it difficult for the Polish, as well as every other country that Germany invaded, to gather up enough troops and support to defend themselves from invasion.

In the spring of 1940, Hitler continued his attempt to create a German Empire by attacking the nations of Denmark and Norway. Denmark surrendered, but British and French troops did, originally at least, come to Norway's aid.

Meanwhile, Hitler planned to take control of France and other nations. Germany entered Belgium and the Netherlands on May 10, 1940. The Netherlands surrendered on May 15 (Zeeland held out until the 18); Belgium followed on May 28. On the same day, France recalled its troops from Norway, leaving Norway's fate to Germany.

On June 5, the Germans began their attack on France. To make matters worse, Mussolini declared war on France and Britain on June 10. The French government, meanwhile was taken over by a new Premier, who signed an armistice with Germany on June 17. Germany gained control of the northern part of France, and the Vichy French Government (so called because of the new French capital at Vichy) retained the south. The Italians had a small zone of occupation near the Franco-Italian border.

Hitler's Germany was the supreme power on Continental Europe. Only the United Kingdom offered resistance. The Germans intended to invade the United Kingdom, but they first had to contend with the British Royal Air Force. The German Luftwaffe (Air Force) commenced the Battle of Britain in 1940. However, the British used the new technology of radar (Radio Detection and Ranging) to combat the Germans. In September, 1940, the Germans ended the Battle of Britain by indefinitely delaying all plans for invasion. Nonetheless, German airplanes continued to bomb several British cities until the middle of the next year.

Hitler expanded the Axis in the winter of 1940-1941 with the additions of Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. In April, 1941, Germany and Italy then attacked Yugoslavia, which surrendered within one week of invasion. Then, Hitler and Mussolini turned to Greece, which collapsed by the end of April. By the end of 1942, most of Europe was under control of the Nazis or the Italians. Meanwhile, the Japanese gained control of Indochina (Southeast Asia), which had formerly belonged to Vichy France. The United States retaliated by attempting to prevent Japanese purchases of oil and steel. Tensions between Japan and the United States began to grow.

In early 1941, the United States abandoned its neutrality and began to aid the British. The Lend-Lease Act, for example, allowed the President to lend or lease weapons worth over seven billion dollars to other nations. The first two years of the war overseas saw the American public broadly divided on the issue of potential involvement. Though the danger posed by Germany and Japan was generally recognized, millions of Americans felt that a strong, armed neutrality and oceanic defense without entering the war was the safest course. President Roosevelt, on the other hand, made it quite clear to those around him that he felt the United States would have to intervene on the Allied side, and planned and acted accordingly, initiating a war industrial buildup and proposing that the US become the "arsenal of democracy." The Allied powers consisted of the Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain, France, Poland, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, and Greece. The main Axis powers consisted of Germany, Italy, and Japan. The estimated death total for the Allied powers is around 61 million people, while the Axis power casualties is estimated to be around only 12 million.

Conflict in the Pacific

On June 22, 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union. Originally, Germany predicted a quick victory. The Americans were very reluctant to start any conflict with Germany. Even in the fall of 1941, when shooting took place in the Atlantic between German U-boats and US ships, Roosevelt avoided escalation. Soon however, momentous events in the Pacific changed the course of the war.

The Empire of Japan was active in the Pacific. In order to secure resources and sea lanes for the Japanese islands, they intended to neutralize the American Pacific Fleet, which had been stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese Air Force bombed the large American naval base, destroying or severely damaging over nineteen ships and 292 aircraft. This naval base was the Pearl Harbor located in Hawaii. Fortunately for the US Navy, its aircraft carriers were at sea and survived the attack, but there was 2,403 American soldiers, sailors, and civilians that were killed by the attack. Defying the expectations of the United States, Japan also made simultanious strikes on Guam, Midway, and British bases.[1] The next day, the United States Congress declared war on Japan, prompting Germany and Italy to in turn declare war on the United States.

Japan continued with its Pacific operations by taking the American territories of the Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island, the British territories of Burma, Singapore, Malaya, Borneo, and the Dutch territory of the East Indies. An emboldened Japanese navy then committed a blunder by attacking Midway Island. American carrier-based planes defeated the Japanese ships at Midway Island so badly that Japan's navy never recovered from the battle. Starving and weakening by disease, they held on for another month before surrendering. Those who survived long enough to surrender faced worse horror. In June of 1942 the battle over Midway took place in the Pacific and it lasted several days. It was mainly areial attacks on naval ships. The United States destroyed a majority of Japans naval fleet, therefore bringing a turning point for the United States. From this point on the United States were able to island hop their way across the Pacific.

In February 1942, the War Relocation Authority began to establish centers where Japanese-Americans, including those born in the United States, were interned. Though this was clearly racial discrimination that violated constitutional due process requirements, the Supreme Court ruled that such internment was lawful in 1944, when it decided Korematsu v. United States.

Turning back the European Axis

During the summer and fall of 1941, the Germans kept up their amazing pace into the heart of Russia. By December they had reached Moscow, and Leningrad was under siege. The Soviets sent in reserve troops from Siberia, and launched a counter attack. It succeeded, and Moscow was saved.

In the spring of 1942, Hitler ordered an attack into the Caucus Mountains, and Stalingrad. As they had done before, the Germans quickly advanced, breaking through the Russian lines. In Stalingrad, there was street to street, and house to house fighting. The Germans controlled over 90% of the city, but the Russians refused to surrender. A Russian reserve division encircled the Germans into the city, and 250,000 German soldiers were captured. It was one of the bloodiest battles in history.

In 1943, the President of the United States for an unprecedented third term, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill held a Conference at Casablanca. The two nations then set up a plan of action for the next stages of the war. Meanwhile, the Russians continued to hold back the Germans, inflicting a crucial and massive defeat on Hitler's armies at the battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942-43. After a further major Russian victory at Kursk the following summer, the Germans were forced into retreat back towards Europe.

In Africa, Axis troops led by Erwin Rommel had pushed into Egypt, just 70 miles west of Alexandria. However, British troops led by General Montgomery decisively defeated the Italian and German troops at the Battle of El Alamein. They were pushed out of Egypt, all the way across Libya, and into Tunisia. In November 1942, the Americans launched operation Torch and drove the French troops out of Algeria and Morrocco. After a long battle with Axis troops in Tunisia, they were driven out of Africa in May 1943.

The Allies then decided to invade Sicily, in hope of knocking Italy out of the war. In early July the invasion began. For the next month, the British and Americans led a bloody campaign in which Sicily was finally taken in early August. During the invasion Mussolini was overthrown and arrested. Hitler had him rescued and put him in charge of the new Italian Social Republic. Following the Invasion of mainland Italy in early September, the Italian government signed an armistice with the Allies. The fall of Italy signaled the beginning of the end of World War II. However, Mussolini was rescued by the Germans and had established an Italian Social Republic. Near the end of the War, Germany tries to fight for a last stand with the Allies. It became to be Germany's only hope for turning the war around. The battle took place in a 60 mile deep 40 mile wide "Bulge". Therefore giving the name of the battle, battle of the Bulge. After weeks of fighting in the cold winters the Allied forces came out victorious. Months after this battle the Allied forces had the Germans pushed all the way back into Berlin.

Anti-Semitism and The Holocaust

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Russian: "Протоколы сионских мудрецов", or "Сионские протоколы", see also other titles) is an antisemitic and anti-Zionist plagiarism and literary forgery first published in 1903 in Russian, in Znamya; it alleges a Jewish and Masonic plot to achieve world domination.

"The Protocols" (the most brief title by which the text is known) is an early example of contemporary conspiracy theory literature,[1] and takes the form of a speech describing how to dominate the world, the need to control the media, finance, replace traditional social order, etc. It is one of the best known and discussed examples of literary forgery, and a hoax.

The text was popularized by those opposed to Russian revolutionary movement, and was disseminated further after the revolution of 1905, becoming known worldwide after the 1917 October Revolution. It was widely circulated in the West in 1920 and thereafter. The Great Depression and the rise of Nazism were important developments in the history of the Protocols, and the hoax continued to be published and circulated despite its debunking.

Hitler mentioned in his book Mein Kampf that the book Protocols was up to date, indicating that he saw it as justification for his deeds against the Jews.

The Holocaust is known as one of the most ghastly episodes in the modern history of mankind. In April of 1933, three months after Hitler took power, the Nazis issued a decree ordering the compulsory retirement of "non-Aryans" from the civil service. This is known as the spark of the Holocaust. Before Germany was defeated, there were some eleven million people that had been slaughtered in the name of Nazi racial purity. Although the Jews were the favored targets and are the victims we most hear about when talking about the Holocaust, they were not the only victims. There were also millions of Russians, Poles, gypsies and others that were also murdered. Although the deprivation of the Jews started in the years following 1933, the mass killings didn't begin until 1941.[2]

There were huge amounts of deaths involved in the Holocaust. One of the main concentration camps, Auschwitz, claimed the lives of over 1.4 million people. The Belzec camp killed over 600,000 people, Chelmno killed 320,000 people, and various others killed up to over 800,000 people. The main way of extermination was through the gas chambers. Many different types were used and once the people were dead, they were sent into the fire pit.

Operation Overlord

In November, 1943, Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt held another Conference at Tehran. Joseph Stalin, who held the title of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR, but was actually a Dictator of the Soviet Union, joined them there. The three leaders agreed to a plan codenamed Operation Overlord, under which an attack would be launched on the northern coast of France from the English Channel. In preparation for an invasion of France, Hitler cut off all support for the German armies remaining in the Soviet Union. Thus disabled, the German Army was forced to withdraw from Russia in the winter of 1943-1944.

On June 6, 1944 ("D-Day,") in the early morning hours, American and British paratroopers were dropped into Normandy. Hours later, American, British, French and Canadian soldiers landed at Normandy on the north coast of France. The troops landed near Caen, but Hitler wrongly felt that they would attack at a location to the north of that city. The Allies took advantage of Hitler's miscalculation; by the end of the month, the Allies had over eight hundred thousand soldiers in Normandy.

Meanwhile, Russian troops, which had been on the defensive, began their offensive on German-controlled territories. In the middle of July, the Soviets won their first major victory by taking the territory of Belorussia. At this time, concern began to grow in the West about Soviet domination replacing German in eastern Europe, especially in Poland. Despite these worries, Roosevelt felt that he had little influence in that area over Stalin, whose armies were bearing a huge brunt of the fight.

By the end of July, the Allies expanded their base at Normandy by breaking out into the rest of France. Pushing through the nation, the Allies had gone far enough to liberate the city of Paris on August 25. On September 11, some Allied troops entered Germany, taking Antwerp, Belgium on the way. German resistance then hardened, however. British Field Marshall Montgomery attempt to "end the war by '44" with Operation Market Garden, a plan to liberate Holland and bypass the German border defenses, failed. The British and American armies would make little more progress for the rest of 1944.

Meanwhile, Russian troops pushed toward Germany, defeating Germany's Axis partners on the way. In August, Romania surrendered, followed by Bulgaria and Finland in September.

Yalta and German Surrender

Allied air bombing of German industries and cities had been ongoing and savage since 1943, but did not have the intended effect of crushing the German will to fight. Indeed, Hitler was able to field new advanced weapons in 1943-45, such as the world's first jet fighter aircraft, the V-1 flying bomb, the V-2 ballistic missile, and new types of tanks and submarines. The new weapons, however, proved of little use against Allied numbers and economic superiority, with American industrial production for the war effort massive and untouched by Axis attack. Germany forced millions of prisoners into slave labor, under the most brutal conditions, to keep its own war effort going.

In December 1944, Germany launched a massive counter-attack on the light defended American positions in Belgium. The Germans hoped to cut off the Allied supply lines, however, after reinforcements arrived, the "Bulge"(today it is know as the Battle of the Bulge) was flattened out. Meanwhile, the Soviets were on the verge of entering Germany from the east en masse, having taken control of Poland. Hitler's troops were exhausted, millions dead or captured, and with the fall of the Romanian oil fields, German armies were running out of gasoline. A final callup began of old men and boys for a last-ditch defense of Germany. Many German civilians fled, fearing the revenge the Russians would put on them after what the Germans had done in Russia. Thousands of German Civilians were killed and/or raped.

To plan for the end of the war, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met at Yalta in February.When they met at the Yalta conference each different country had their own ideas of what they wanted to do with Germany. Churchill and Britain wanted to protect their colonial possessions and to also keep the Soviet Union from having to much power. The Stalin and the Soviet Union wanted Germany to pay them money in order to help them start the rebuilding of their country. The United States along with the other countries wanted to influence Germany and to also keep peace.[3] The Yalta conference suggested the division of Germany into "zones" after the war for the purpose of reconstruction. Also, the leaders decided to punish Nazis who had participated in war crimes such as the Holocaust. The Allies first attempted to reach the Rhine River in their quest to take over Germany. In March, this goal accomplished, the Americans and British opposed the Soviets in the Race for Berlin. The Race determined who would control Berlin, a city that would prove important in the reconstruction of Germany.

The Americans allowed the Soviets to win the Race for Berlin. Fierce fighting erupted in and around the city as motley German units made their last stand against the powerful army groups of Russian marshals Zhukov and Koniev. His capital surrounded and his loyal minions deserting him, Adolf Hitler killed himself in his Berlin command bunker on April 30, 1945, also American President Franklin Roosevelt had died on April 12, and Benito Mussolini was executed by Italian Partisans on April 28. The new leader of Germany, Karl Doenitz, agreed to surrender. On May 8, Germany formally signed an unconditional surrender, dissolving the Axis and leaving only Japan to be defeated.

The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II

Meanwhile, the United States dramatically improved its position in the Pacific. The Japanese continued to fight, though it was in a hopeless situation. The suicidal Japanese spirit was exemplified by kamikaze, the practice of Japanese pilots who intentionally drove their own planes into American ships.

The Manhattan project was a two billion dollar project that offered many jobs to the American people. The purpose of this project was to build a nuclear weapon that can produce mass destruction. The project offered jobs to mainly scientists and other educated individuals. With the completion of the atomic bomb however our nation was able to end the war a lot sooner than expected. The bomb itself used fission which is the splitting of a highly electronegative atom such as uranium into smaller ones which gives off ten times as much power, which is why the two bombs where so destructive. The Japanese resistance grew stronger and stronger as the Allies advanced to Japan. One million American deaths and two more years of war were not uncommon predictions. President Harry Truman, the Vice President who rose to the Presidency upon Roosevelt's death, chose to use the Atomic Bomb instead of the invasion. In the 1930's, physicists began to understand the power of the fission, or splitting, of atoms. This advance of knowledge meant that nuclear power and atomic weapons were indeed possible. On October 11, 1939 the president received a letter signed by Albert Einstein explaining the developments in the nuclear chain reactions that would generate lots of power.[4] In 1942, the US secretly created the Manhattan Project to develop a weapon which could utilize the concept of the fission of uranium atoms, which, according to the conclusions of physicists, would create a massive explosion. The very costly Manhattan Project needed a lot of help getting the bomb created. At the peak of the project more than 600,000 Americans had worked on this project, most of them not realizing what they were really working for. After America spent more than two billion dollars on this project, the first atomic bomb was created. This bomb was named "fat man."[5] On July 16, 1945, the atomic bomb was successfully tested in New Mexico.

The atomic bomb works on the principles of transmutation, accelerated nuclear decay, nuclear chain reaction, and the law of the conservation of mass. Since mass is lost in the accelerated decay of the nuclei, this mass must be accounted for. According to Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity, this missing mas is converted into energy, according to the relationship, E=mc2, where E is the rest energy, m is the missing mass, and c is the speed of light in a vacuum.

On August 6, the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan by a B-29 aircraft piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets. This deadly bomb was given the name “Little Boy”. Still, Japan refused to give up. On August 9, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. This deadly bomb was given the name “Fat Man”. Together, the bombs killed over one hundred thousand people (though the Japanese suggested a number twice as high). Just about everybody who died was a civilian. In between the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, meanwhile, the Soviet Union joined in the war on Japan. Six days after the Nagasaki bomb was dropped, Japan surrendered. On August 14, with the Americans threatening a third atomic bomb on the way for Tokyo (though in reality the United States had no more atomic bombs at the time) Japan agreed to surrender; the formalities were completed on September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri. When the A-bomb was dropped, it exploded forming a mushroom cloud. Dust and debris is shot into the sky and can be seen from miles away.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), also known by his initials, FDR) was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war. The only American president elected to more than two terms, he forged a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. FDR defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in November 1932, at the depths of the Great Depression. FDR's combination of optimism and activism contributed to reviving the national spirit. Starting in his "first hundred days" in office, which began March 4, 1933, Roosevelt launched major legislation and a profusion of executive orders that gave form to the New Deal—a complex set of programs designed to produce relief (especially government jobs for the unemployed), recovery (of the economy), and reform (through regulation of Wall Street, banks and transportation). As World War II loomed after 1938, with the Japanese invasion of China and the aggressions of Nazi Germany, FDR gave strong diplomatic and financial support to China and Britain, while remaining officially neutral. His goal was to make America the "Arsenal of Democracy" which would supply ammunition to the Allies. Working closely with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War II, he died just as victory was in sight. After FDR's death Harry Truman became president. The day after Roosevelt's death Truman sought out old friends to ask for their help in this "terrible job".

Links

References

  1. "Don't Know Much About History" by Kenneth C. Davis
  2. "WWII" by Eric Sevareid
  3. A People and A Nation
  4. "WWII" by Eric Severeid
  5. "WWII" by Eric Sevareid


Truman and the Cold War (1945 - 1953)

From 1942-1945, the Red Army had advanced upon the capital city of Hitler's so called "Thousand Year Reich," crushing everything in its path. The Soviets had fought their way through 1500 miles from Stalingrad to Berlin as their allies, the British and Americans, advanced from the beaches of Normandy. On April 27, 1945, advanced units of the US and Soviet armies met in the town of Torgau. There they had spent much time enjoying the company of being allies, brothers-in-arms, but never suspected what would happen after they would dethrone the man who had failed on his conquest of world domination.[1]

Bitter Aftermath of Victory

Soviet Union

At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union controlled the largest army the world had ever known. Though the "Mother Country" lay ravaged; nearly one third of its former wealth had been destroyed. 32,000 factories were in ruin, 65,000 kilometers of railway track were now useless, and the number of citizens lost during the war are unknown but in a high margin. Of the townships lost, 17,100 were destroyed; of its villages and hamlets, 70,000 were burned to the ground; of its collective farms, 100,000 were completely demolished due to military occupation. Citizens who did survive were now starving and resorting to barbaric ways of surviving under these disastrous conditions.

The Soviet Union was basking in the glory of victory, since everywhere there was immense respect for the Red Army. From years of titanic struggle with the Wehrmacht, meaning "defensive might" in German, the Soviets were widely regarded as having borne the brunt of destroying Nazism, and "Uncle Joe" Stalin had become a popular figure in Europe and in the United States. All across Europe sizable elements of the population were seriously considering the virtues of Communism because very few wanted a return to the failed capitalism of the pre-war era. Many Europeans thought that having won the war, Stalin could now win the peace [2]

United States

After the war, America's economy was ready to expand into markets on every continent. During the war, much of the world had built up a debt to the United States, and many ex-allies turned towards America for financial relief. Britain negotiated a loan of $3.75 billion. Even the Soviet Union discussed with Washington about the possibility of a $6 billion loan for desperately needed reconstruction.[3]

During the Bretton Woods Conference on the postwar global economy in 1944, the dollar was established as the worlds principal trading currency, while the pound was relegated to second place. Because the dollar was the only currency freely convertible throughout the world,many nations hoped for loans and assistance from the United States. And since the United States was the only power possessing the atom bomb, America seemed to have the advantage in both military and economy when it came to determining the future shape of the world.[4]

During the Cold War the United States opened up many different job opportunities to help out other countries who agreed not to favor communism. This began to become very beneficial to the United States because many countries came to the United States aid to help fight against communism.

Yalta Conference

In early February 1945, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Josef Stalin, the three leaders of the anti-Nazi alliance, met at Yalta in the U.S.S.R.[5] These leaders of the Allied powers were known as "The Big Three”. The Big Three had met before in November 1943 at the Tehran Conference. The reason the meeting was in Yalta is because Stalin could not travel too far. His doctors advised him to travel some place close, so Stalin recommended Yalta, which is by the Black Sea.[6] They each had goals to shape the postwar world. The Soviet Union, with 21 million people dead, wanted Germany to pay reparations to fund massive rebuilding efforts. They hoped to expand their influence throughout eastern Europe and guarantee national security. Two German invasions in a quarter century was more than enough and Germany had to be permanently weakened.

The topics of the Conference included Soviet Russia's entry into the war against Japan, composition of the post-war government of Germany,voting arrangements in the new United Nations organizations, and the future of the liberated governments of Eastern Europe.[7]

While all were important topics, the Yalta Declaration on Liberated Europe, which called for free elections and constitutional liberties in Eastern Europe, was the most controversial topic of the Yalta Conference.[8]

Truman Doctrine

World War II changed the balance of power in the international community by reducing the influence of France and the United Kingdom, while at the same time elevating the influence of the United States and the Soviet Union, which assumed the role of the world's only two superpowers. Initially, the sentiments of the US government towards the avowedly socialist Soviet Union were friendly, but in the aftermath of the war, relations between the two powers quickly deteriorated. At the end of World War II, a number of entities were established by Allied nations to help maintain international order; the most notable of these was the United Nations. Within the framework of the UN, the United States and Britain advocated for the creation of a regulatory entity for the world's monetary system which would help avoid another worldwide depression similar to that seen during the Great Depression before the war. Talks among Allied delegates were held in 1944 which resulted in the creation of the International Monetary Fund and what would eventually become the World Bank, both of which were established to make currency exchange easier and to regulate international debt. The Soviet government was highly suspicious of these entities--it viewed them as a tool for the western world to force capitalism on socialist member-states--and it refused to support them.

This refusal of the USSR to support the IMF and the World Bank set off a diplomatic chain reaction that would eventually grow into what became known as the Cold War.

The Soviet Union believed that its control of Eastern Europe was vital to its security, and said that it was rightful for it to do so, for "we suffered at Stalingrad". As agreed at the Yalta Conference, the World War II Allies divided Germany into four zones, giving one zone each to the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union's zone, known as East Germany, was later transformed into a Communist state, after an agreement on a unified Germany could not be reached. The other three zones, West Germany, were joined - at first economically through a currency reform - during the implementation of the Marshall Plan in 1948. The city of Berlin, which was surrounded by East Germany, was divided in two parts between East and West Germany. Critics correctly pointed out that the Soviet Union was little involved in the Greek Civil War, that the communists in Greece were more pro-Tito than pro-Stalin, and that the resistance movement had non-communists as well as communist members. Nor was The Soviet Union threatening turkey at the time. Others suggested that such aid should be channeled through the United Nations.

In 1947, Greece became the focus of the Cold War. The Greek monarchy had been supported by Great Britain since 1945. Greek Communists threatened to overthrow this regime, which was corrupt and not representative of the people. In order to "shock" the American public into accepting American involvement in order to help other peoples resist the "communist threat" and secure the strategically and economically important Middle East for US influence, President Harry Truman issued the Truman Doctrine. The Doctrine suggested that the US would aid nations threatened by revolutionary forces. Congress agreed and appropriated $400 million in aid for Greece and Turkey. By 1949, the Communists in Greece were defeated. In 1952, Greece and Turkey entered the NATO.

The Marshall Plan

The Marshall Plan was the first attempt to achieve the goals that America set in western Europe. The European nations were still unstable, both in politics and in economics, and so they did not have the money to purchase the good that they required from the U.S. The people and government of America were all extremely worried that if Europe's funds continued to be so unstable, this would trigger another great depression. With the memories of all the hardships and economic ruin of the Great Depression in the 1930s fresh in the American people's minds, the government decided they needed to do something. In order to make sure that there was not another worldwide depression, in 1948 the American government decided to launch a massive European recovery program called the Marshall Plan which sent 12.4 billion dollars to western Europe. A condition of this program was that Europe would spend this foreign-aid money on American products. This program ended in 1951. The Marshall Plan was a mixture of failure and success. In Europe, it assisted to further divide eastern and western Europe and it caused inflation which did nothing to solve the balance-of-payment problem. However, this program did succeed in spurring western European industrialization and investment. [9]

Reconstruction of the New World

The leadership in the United States by contrast, came out of war extremely confident about the immediate security of the country’s borders. Separated from the other world powers by two vast oceans, the American home base had been virtually immune from attack during the fighting—only the occasional shell from a submarine or a hostile balloon reached the shores of the continental United States American casualties were fewer than those of any other major combatants—hugely so in comparison with the Soviet Union. With its fixed capital intact, its resources more plentiful than ever, and in lone possession of the atomic bomb, the United States was the strongest power in the world at war’s ends.

Yet this was no time for complacency, Washington officials reminded one another. Some other power — almost certainly the USSR — could take advantage of the political and economic instability in war-torn Europe and Asia, and eventually seize control of these areas, with dire implications for America’s physical and economic security. To prevent this eventuality, officials in Washington sought forward bases overseas, in order to keep a airborne enemy at bay. To further enhance U.S. security, American planners, in direct contrast to their Soviet counterparts, sought the quick reconstruction of nations—including the former enemies Germany and Japan—and a world economy based on free trade. Such a system, they reasoned, was essential to preserve America’s economic well being.

The Soviets, on the other hand refused to join the new World Bank and International Monetary Fund, created at the July 1944 Bretton Woods Conference by forty-four nations to stabilize trade and finances. They held that the United States dominated both institutions and used them to promote private investment and open international commerce, which Moscow saw as capitalist tools of exploitation. With the United States as its largest donor, the World Bank opened its doors in 1945 and began to make loans to help members finance reconstruction projects; the IMF, also heavily backed by the united states, helped members meet their balance-of-payment problems through currency loans.

Reconstruction of Japan

The atomic bomb allowed the United States to win World War II against Japan before a Soviet invasion. After Japan's surrender in 1945, the United States military was called in to reconstruct Japan. American General Douglas MacArthur headed the Reconstruction effort. After dropping the two atomic bombs on Japan, a large area of its land has become uninhabitable due to high amounts of radio activity in its surrounding areas. This high amount of radio activity has caused many sicknesses and people ending up dieing from cancer and other diseases.

In 1947, a new Constitution for Japan was created. The Constitution entirely changed the role of the Emperor from an active leader to a passive symbol of the nations. The Diet, or legislature, was modeled on the British Parliament. The Constitution granted an enormous number of rights to Japanese citizens. Finally, the Constitution formally denounced all military conflict and prohibited Japan from keeping any armed forces.

The Reconstruction of Japan made other sweeping changes. For example, the Reconstruction introduced labor unions and reduced the influence of monopolistic businesses.

During the Cold War, America was determined to make an ally out of the Empire of Japan. The Reconstruction made an about-face, reversing its policy of reducing the power of large businesses. More regulations regarding the economy were made. In 1951, the US agreed to grant Japan full independence and autonomy. The treaty, however, did permit the US to maintain parts of its military in Japan. The treaty became effective in 1952.

The Rise of Communism in China

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, China was in a state of confusion and unrest. The nation saw the worst nightmares as the people were without an authority to rule over. She soon became rudderless giant. Many land lords took advantage of the situation and gradually the situation became worse. The period of warlordism in China lasted from 1916 to 1927 when warlords fought against each other regardless of common ideas or purpose. This was a dark period in China’s history.

Meanwhile the principles of communism began to spread in the country and those ideals attracted a majority of the people. The people who belonged to the lower strata were for these principles especially for the law of equality.

The rise of Communism in China is mainly due to a man named Mao Zedong. He was poorly educated as a child but highly intelligent. Zedong left home and had become a member of the Nationalist Army as the Revolution began around 1911. He was soon introduced to and became powerfully influenced by the philosophies of Marxism.

After decades of civil war and invasion by Japan, the communists under Mao prevailed. The opposition nationalists fell and barely managed to retreat offshore to Taiwan. Communism came to power in 1949 under the power of Mao. Communism began as a movement that paved the way for the liberation of the proletariat. Proletariat is that class of society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor – hence, on the changing state of business, on the vagaries of unbridled competition. The proletariat, or the class of proletarians, is, in a word, the working class of the 19th century.

Anarchy was to some extend controlled by Mao but he faced failure many times. Mao’s initiatives did cause a kind of equality to emerge in China, but it was not one in which all the inhabitants of China benefited. Contrarily, many of them suffered extreme poverty and greatness was lost in the realms of academia, science, and technology which hindered China’s ability to become a modern nation capable of interacting on the global scale.

Chinese policy changed after Deng Xiaoping took control in 1977 after Mao’s death. Deng Xiaoping succeeded him although he possessed different views than those of Mao’s – especially in regards to economic matters. Deng Xiaoping believed that it was necessary for China to embrace a more free market system so that it could recover economically.


Though he failed in developing the steel industry of the country he could implement his improvement policies in most of the other fields. China’s economy began to flourish and Deng began promoting modern industrialization as well. He allowed people to once again own land and businesses which resulted in many of the government’s collective farm and industry programs to be stopped. Deng also allowed for loans to be given to some state supported businesses. He also encouraged citizens to invest in these companies and to work hard by allowing a system of incentives to be developed for hard work.


As a result of embracing slightly capitalistic principles, China was able to begin the reconstruction of its economy. Despite many governmental controls that were still in place on industry and trade, China’s economy began to flourish and Deng began promoting modern industrialization as well. China has continued to stay true to being a socialist state because it still regulates lending, especially to private companies which still often find it difficult to obtain credit or a loan for their ventures.

The Red Scare and McCarthyism

While Communism was expanding across the World, the United States entered an era of paranoia known as the Red Scare. Suspicion of Communist influence in government was pandemic.

In Congress, the House of Representatives established a Committee on Un-American Activities. The Committee performed actions such as investigating entertainment companies. The entertainment industry, fearful of an investigation, often refused to hire Communist artists or anyone at all ever connected with Communism.

In the Senate, meanwhile, Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy accused certain government officials of being disloyal Communists. While a communist conspiracy involving State Department employees was eventually uncovered, the word McCarthyism would forever refer to a vindictive persecution of the innocent.

The Red Scare proved costly in American foreign policy. When China fell to Communism, many experts on China and the regions around it were fired. This was a problem when the Korean War (see below) rolled around. It was also a pain in the Vietnam War, as the Vietnam terrain experts had all been accused of being Communist.

Congress passed the McCarran Internal Security Act in 1950, overriding President Truman's veto. The Act created a public body known as the Subversive Activities Control Board; the Board was charged with monitoring and investigating Communist Activities.

At the local level, some communities banned literature that they feared would encourage Communism. Public servants lost their jobs due to unfounded accusations of disloyalty. Lives were destroyed by the Red Scare. Ironically, the career of Joseph McCarthy was also derailed during the Red Scare; in 1954, the Senate decided to formally censure him for abusing his powers and using unfair tactics in targeting innocent government officials.

Even at the height of the McCarthyist furor in the early 1950s, the anti-Communist crusade was relatively mild. Many prosecutions faltered on appeal and only a few foreign-born radicals were actually deported. Only Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were put to death; and of the roughly 150 people who went to prison, most were released within a year or two.

The Hollywood blacklist—as the broader entertainment industry blacklist is generally known—was the mid-twentieth-century list of screenwriters, actors, directors, musicians, and other U.S. entertainment professionals who were denied employment in the field because of their political beliefs or associations, real or suspected. This group became known as the Hollywood Ten.

The Korean War

After World War II, the US attempted to curb Soviet influence on the Korean Peninsula by occupying southern part of that area. The area occupied by the US became South Korea, while the other part became North Korea. North Korea soon passed into the control of the Communist Party.

In May, 1949, fighting between North and South Korean troops broke out near the border between the two nations. In an attempt to add South Korea to the Communist World, North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. The People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union lent their support to North Korea, while the United States did the same to South Korea. On June 25, 1950 a large military force moved across the 38th parallel in the Republic of Korea. Since 1910, Korea had been divided into two by the powers of Japans victory in 1945. The Korean war was seen as an internal struggle, with the north heavily armed and backed by China and the Soviet Union invading the lightly armed south. The two parts moved along the temporary border while the anti-government fighting began to flare into the south.

On June 27, 1950 the United Nations security Council first adopted a ceasefire resolution. When the United Nations Security Council voted to aid South Korea in stopping North Korean aggression, the United States agreed to send troops to the Korean Peninsula. General Douglas MacArthur was given the command of UN troops in Korea. The United States agreed to send troops over on June 30 along with increasing aid to the French fight against Communists rebels in Indochina. MacArthur was placed in command on July 8. At the beginning the U.S. troops were lacking training and were out of shape. In the first few weeks of fighting the U.S. troops were pushed back to a defensive perimeter at Pusan.[10]

By the autumn of 1950, North Korean troops were forced out of South Korea. In October, General MacArthur ordered troops to cross into North Korea. In the third week of that month, the US took the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang.

However, just six days after the United Nations forces took Pyongyang, the People's Republic of China sent a quarter million men on a series of counterattacks. In December, Chinese "volunteers" took over Pyongyang and by January 1951 they had taken the South Korean capital, Seoul.

The US intended to do whatever it took to win the Korean War. It even planned on using the atomic bomb. However, President Truman did not trust General MacArthur to follow orders when using the atomic bomb. Therefore, he asked for MacArthur's resignation; MacArthur complied.

In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower became President of the US. Having promised during the election campaign to end the Korean War, he fulfilled this promise by continuing negotiations with the North and South Koreans, Chinese, and the Soviet Union and using "brinkmanship" to reach an agreement acceptable to all countries involved except for South Korea, which tried to induce the US to help unite Korea.

Weapons of the Cold War

The nuclear arms race was central to the Cold War. Many feared where the Cold War was going with the belief that the more nuclear weapons you had, the more powerful you were. Both America and The Soviet Union massively built up their stockpiles of nuclear weapons.

The world greatly changed when USA exploded the H-bomb in 1952. This one bomb was smaller in size than the Hiroshima atomic bomb but 2500 times more powerful. The Soviets produced an H-bomb in 1953 and the world became a much more dangerous place.

However, it is possible that the sheer power of these weapons and the fear that they evoked, may have stopped a nuclear war.

USA produced a bomber - the B52 - that could fly 6,000 miles and deliver a nuclear pay-load. Such a development required massive financial backing from the government - something which America could afford to do and which The Soviet Union could not. The Soviet Union concentrated on producing bigger bombs - a far more cost effective procedure.

In October 1957, the world was introduced to the fear of a missile attack when the Soviet Satellite Sputnik was launched. This was to lead to ICBM’s : Inter-continental ballistic missiles. As a result, America built the DEW line around the Arctic - Distant Early Warning system.

At the end of the 1950’s, American Intelligence estimated that in a Soviet missile attack, 20 million Americans would die and 22 million would be injured.

During the 1960’s, the Soviet's put their money into producing larger missiles, Eventually creating Tsar Bomba, the biggest Nuclear Weapon ever created. America built fewer but technologically superior missiles - the Atlas could go 5,000 miles at a speed of 16,000 mph. By 1961, there were enough bombs to destroy the world.

Despite this, great emphasis was put on new weapon systems - mobile missile launchers were built, missiles were housed underground in silos and in 1960 the first Polaris submarine was launched carrying 16 nuclear missiles. Each missile carried four warheads which could targeted on different cities; hence one submarine effectively carried 64 nuclear warheads.

During the 1960’s the theory of MAD developed - Mutually Assured Destruction. This meant that if The Soviet Union attacked the west, the west would make sure that they would suitably retaliate i.e. there would be no winners.

By 1981, USA had 8,000 ICBMs and USSR 7,000 ICBMs

By 1981, USA had 4,000 planes capable of delivering a nuclear bomb. the USSR had 5000.

USA defense spending for 1981 = 178 billion dollars. By 1986, it was 367 billion dollars.

By 1986, it is estimated that throughout the world there were 40,000 nuclear warheads - the equivalent of one million Hiroshima bombs.

British Intelligence estimated that just one medium sized H-bomb on London would essentially destroy anything living up to 30 miles away.

Confronted by such awesome statistics, world leaders had to move to a position where they trusted each other more. Throughout the 1960's and 1970's "detente" had been used to ease bad relations between the superpowers. This was to culminate in the Reykjavik meeting between presidents Reagan and Gorbachev that started real progress in the cut in nuclear weaponry in future meetings (if little was actually gained at the meeting in Reykjavik).

President Harry S. Truman

President Truman was born on May 8th; 1884. During World War 1, Truman was part of the Democratic party. He was elected a county official in Kansas, and later elected a senator. Moving his way up Truman eventually became Roosevelt's vice president. Truman faced many challenges in his life as president. These include wars, civil rights, and women's rights. Harry Truman was the 33rd President of the United States. Truman had been vice president for only 82 days when President Roosevelt died, April 12, 1945. He told reporters, "I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me." He had had very little communication with Roosevelt about world affairs or domestic politics and was uninformed about major initiatives relating to the war and the top secret Manhattan Project, which was about to test the world's first atomic bomb. Truman was much more difficult for the Secret Service to protect than the wheel chair–bound Roosevelt had been. Truman was an avid walker, regularly taking walks around Washington. Truman was President from April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953. Deciding not to run again, he retired to Independence; at age 88, he died December 26, 1972, after a stubborn fight for life.

Eisenhower

Eisenhower

In addition to his desire to halt the advance of “creeping socialism” in U.S. domestic policy, Eisenhower also wanted to “roll back” the advances of Communism abroad. After taking office in 1953, he devised a new foreign policy tactic to contain the Soviet Union and even win back territory that had already been lost. Devised primarily by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, this so-called New Look at foreign policy proposed the use of nuclear weapons and new technology rather than ground troops and conventional bombs, all in an effort to threaten “massive retaliation” against the USSR for Communist advances abroad.

In addition to intimidating the Soviet Union, this emphasis on new and cheaper weapons would also drastically reduce military spending, which had escalated rapidly during the Truman years. As a result, Eisenhower managed to stabilize defense spending, keeping it at roughly half the congressional budget during most of his eight years in office.

The doctrine of massive retaliation proved to be dangerously flawed, however, because it effectively left Eisenhower without any options other than nuclear war to combat Soviet aggression. This dilemma surfaced in 1956, for instance, when the Soviet Union brutally crushed a popular democratic uprising in Hungary. Despite Hungary’s request for American recognition and military assistance, Eisenhower’s hands were tied because he knew that the USSR would stop at nothing to maintain control of Eastern Europe. He could not risk turning the Cold War into a nuclear war over the interests of a small nation such as Hungary.

As an alternative, Eisenhower employed the CIA to tackle the specter of Communism in developing countries outside the Soviet Union’s immediate sphere of influence. Newly appointed CIA director Allen Dulles (the secretary of state’s brother) took enormous liberties in conducting a variety of covert operations. Thousands of CIA operatives were assigned to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and attempted to launch coups, assassinate heads of state, arm anti-Communist revolutionaries, spread propaganda, and support despotic pro-American regimes. Eisenhower began to favor using the CIA instead of the military because covert operations didn’t attract as much attention and cost much less money.

A CIA-sponsored coup in Iran in 1953, however, did attract attention and heavy criticism from liberals both at home and in the international community. Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers authorized the coup in Iran when the Iranian government seized control of the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Afraid that the popular, nationalist, Soviet-friendly prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, would then cut off oil exports to the United States, CIA operatives convinced military leaders to overthrow Mossadegh and restore Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi as head of state in 1953. Pahlavi returned control of Anglo-Iranian Oil to the British and then signed agreements to supply the United States with almost half of all the oil drilled in Iran.

The following year, a similar coup in Guatemala over agricultural land rights also drew international criticism and severely damaged U.S.–Latin American relations.

References

  1. Isaacs, Jeremy, Taylor Downing, Markus Schurr, Heike Schlatterer, and Norbert Juraschitz. DerKalte Krieg: Ein Illustrierte Geschichte, 1945-1991. Mu%u0308nchen [etc.: Diana Verlag, 1999. Print.
  2. Isaacs, Jeremy, Taylor Downing, Markus Schurr, Heike Schlatterer, and Norbert Juraschitz. DerKalte Krieg: Ein Illustrierte Geschichte, 1945-1991. Mu%u0308nchen, etc.: Diana Verlag, 1999. Print.
  3. Isaacs, Jeremy, Taylor Downing, Markus Schurr, Heike Schlatterer, and Norbert Juraschitz. DerKalte Krieg: Ein Illustrierte Geschichte, 1945-1991. Mu%u0308nchen, etc.: Diana Verlag, 1999. Print.
  4. Isaacs, Jeremy, Taylor Downing, Markus Schurr, Heike Schlatterer, and Norbert Juraschitz. DerKalte Krieg: Ein Illustrierte Geschichte, 1945-1991. Mu%u0308nchen, etc.: Diana Verlag, 1999. Print.
  5. Sibley, Katherine A. S. The Cold War. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998. Print.
  6. http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/worldwarii/p/yalta.htm
  7. Sibley, Katherine A. S. The Cold War. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998. Print.
  8. Sibley, Katherine A. S. The Cold War. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998. Print.
  9. A People and A Nation Eighth Edition
  10. "Don't Know Much About History" by Kenneth C. Davis

Eisenhower, Civil Rights, and the Fifties (1953 - 1961)

Civil Rights Movement under Eisenhower and Desegregation

The first events that would spark off the entire Civil Rights movement happened during the Eisenhower administration. In the south, there were many statewide laws that segregated many public facilities ranging from buses to water fountains. Southern African Americans now felt that their time had come to enjoy American democracy and they fought hard to end southern segregation policies.

Brown v. Board of Education

In 1952, seven year old Linda Brown, of Topeka, Kansas, wasn't permitted to attend a white-only elementary school that was only a few blocks from her house. In order to attend her coloreds-only school, Brown had to cross dangerous railroad tracks and take a bus for many miles. Her family sued the Topeka school board and lost, but appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas came to the Supreme Court in December 1952. In his arguments, head lawyer for the NAACP, Thurgood Marshall, challenged the "Separate But Equal" doctrine established in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. He argued that schools could be separate, but never equal. On May 17, 1954, the Court gave its opinion. It ruled that it was unconstitutional to segregate schools, and ordered that schools integrate "with all deliberate speed."

Central High Confrontation

Integration would not be easy. Many school districts accepted the order without argument, but some, like the district of Little Rock, Arkansas, did not. On September 2, 1957, the day before the start of the school term the Arkansas Governor, Orval Faubus, instructed the National Guard to stop any black students entering the school. He claimed this was to protect the property against violence planned by integration protesters.

The federal authorities intervened and an injunction was granted preventing the National Guard from blocking the school and they were withdrawn on September 20. School restarted on 23 September, with the building surrounded by local police officers and nearly one thousand protesters. The police escorted nine black students, later known as the Little Rock Nine, into the school via a side door. When the crowd discovered the students had entered the building, they tried to storm the school and the black students were hurried out around lunch time.

Congressman Brooks Hays and the Little Rock mayor, Woodrow Mann, asked the federal government for more help. On September 24, Mann sent a message to President Eisenhower requesting troops. Eisenhower responded immediately and the 101st Airborne Division was sent to Arkansas. In addition, the President brought the Arkansas National Guard under federal control to prevent its further use by the Governor.

On September 25, 1957, the nine black students finally began their education properly, protected by 1,000 paratroopers.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a seamstress and secretary of the Montgomery, Alabama, chapter of the NAACP, boarded a city bus with the intention of going home. She sat in the first row of seats in the "colored" section of the segregated bus. At the next stop, whites were among the passengers waiting to board but all seats in the "white" front section of the bus were filled. Drivers had the authority, under local custom and the segregated-seating ordinance, to shift the line dividing the black and white sections to accommodate the racial makeup of the passengers at any given moment. So he ordered the four blacks sitting in the first row of seats in the "colored" section to stand and move to the rear of the bus so the waiting whites could have those seats. Three of the passengers complied; Mrs. Parks did not. Warned again by the driver, she still refused to move, at which point the driver exited the bus and located a policeman, who came onto the bus, arrested Mrs. Parks, and took her to the city jail. She was booked for violating the segregation ordinance, and was shortly released on bail posted by E. D. Nixon, the leading local civil rights activist. She was scheduled to appear in municipal court on December 5, 1955.

Mistreatment of African Americans on Montgomery's segregated buses was not uncommon, and several other women had been arrested in similar situations in the months preceding Parks's. However, Mrs. Parks was especially well-known and well-respected within the black community, and her arrest particularly angered the African Americans of Montgomery. In protest, community leaders quickly organized a one-day boycott of the buses to coincide with her December 5 court date. An organization, the Montgomery Improvement Association, was also created, and the new minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the 26-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr., was selected as the MIA's president. Word of the boycott spread effectively through the city over the weekend of December 3–4, aided by mimeographed fliers prepared the Women's Political Council, by announcements in black churches that Sunday morning, and by an article in the local newspaper about the pending boycott, which had been "leaked" to a reporter by E. D. Nixon.

On the morning of Mrs. Parks's trial, King, Nixon, and other leaders were pleasantly surprised to see that the boycott was almost 100 percent effective among blacks. And since African Americans made up 75% of Montgomery's bus riders, the impact was significant. In city court, Mrs. Parks was convicted and was fined $10. Her attorney, the 24-year-old Fred D. Gray, announced an appeal. That night, more than 5,000 blacks crowded into and around the Holt Street Baptist Church for a "mass meeting" to discuss the situation. For most in the church (and listening outside over loudspeakers), it was their first time to hear the oratory of Martin Luther King, Jr. He asked the crowd if they wanted to continue the boycott indefinitely, and the answer was a resounding yes. For the next 381 days, African Americans boycotted the buses, while the loss of their fares drove the Chicago-owned bus company into deeper and deeper losses. However, segregationist city officials prohibited the bus company from altering its seating policies, and negotiations between black leaders and city officials went nowhere.

With bikes, carpools, and hitchhiking, African Americans were able to minimize the impact of the boycott on their daily lives. Meanwhile, whites in Montgomery responded with continued intransigence and rising anger. Several black churches and the homes of local leaders and ministers, including those of Nixon and King, were bombed, and there were numerous assaults by white thugs on African Americans. Some 88 local black leaders were also arrested for violating an old anti-boycott law.

Faced with the lack of success of negotiations, attorney Gray soon filed a separate lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the segregated seating laws. The case was assigned to and testimony was heard by a three-judge panel, and the young Frank M. Johnson, Jr., newly appointed to the federal bench by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, was given the responsibility for writing the opinion in the case. Johnson essentially ruled that in light of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, there was no way to justify legally the segregation policies, and the district court ruling overturned the local segregation ordinance under which Mrs. Parks and others had been arrested. The city appealed, but the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the lower court ruling, and in December 1956, city officials had no choice but to comply. The year-long boycott thus came to an end.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott made Mrs. Parks famous and it launched the civil rights careers of King and his friend and fellow local minister, Ralph Abernathy. The successful boycott is regarded by many historians as the effective beginning of the twentieth century civil rights movement in the U.S.

Vietnam

In the early 50's, Vietnam was rebelling against French rule. America saw Vietnam as a potential source of trouble, as rebels (known as the Vietnamese) led by Communist leader Ho Chi Minh were gaining strength. America loaned France billions of dollars to aid in the war against the Vietnamese rebels, but despite the aid, France found itself on the verge of defeat, and appealed to America for troops, but America refused, fearing entanglement in another costly Korean War, or even a war with all of communist Asia.

France surrendered, and the VietMinh and France met in Geneva, Switzerland to negotiate a treaty. Vietnam was divided into two countries: the Vietminh in control of the North and the French-friendly Vietnamese in control of the South. In 1956, the two countries would be reunited with free elections.

Eisenhower worried about South Vietnam. He believed that if it also fell to the Communists, many other Southeast Asian countries would follow, in what he called the domino theory. He aided the Southern government and set up the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) in 1954. The nations included in the alliance were America, Great Britain, France, Australia, Pakistan, the Philippines, New Zealand and Thailand, and they all pledged to fight against "Communist aggressors".

The Warsaw Pact and NATO

1955 saw the division of Europe into two rival camps. The westernized countries of the free world had signed NATO 1949 and the eastern European countries signed the Warsaw pact.

NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created as a response to the crisis in Berlin. The United States, Britain, Canada, France, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and the Netherlands founded NATO in April 1949, and Greece, Turkey and West Germany had joined by 1955. The countries agreed that "an armed attack against one or more of [the member states] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all," and was created so that if the Soviet Union eventually did invade Europe, the invaded countries would have the most powerful army in the world (the United States' Army) come to their defense. When the Korean War broke out, NATO drastically raised its threat level because of the idea that all the communist countries were working together. As the number of communist countries grew and grew, so did the NATO forces. Greece and Turkey eventually joined NATO in 1952. The USSR eventually decided to join NATO so that there would be peace, but NATO declined them because they thought that the USSR would try to weaken them from the inside.

The Warsaw Pact

The Soviet Union responded in to the addition of West Germany to NATO 1955 with its own set of treaties, which were collectively known as the Warsaw Pact. Warsaw Pact was also known as “The Treaty of Friendship”. The Warsaw Pact allowed East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Albania, Romania, and Bulgaria to function in the same way as the NATO countries did. The Soviet Union used this Warsaw Pact to combine the military forces unified under it. The Pact was supposed to make all the countries in it, equal. However, the Soviet Union took a little advantage of this by using the allied countries military wherever they wanted.[1] Unlike NATO, Warsaw forces were used occasionally.

Suez Canal

Back in 1948, Israel was created as a sanctuary of sorts for the displaced Jews of the Holocaust. At the same time, many Arabs living in the area were displaced. Tensions had been high in the Middle East ever since Israel had been attacked just after its founding. The stage was set for superpower involvement in 1956; the United States backed Israel, the Soviet Union backed the Arabs, and the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser had nationalized, or brought under Egypt's control, the Suez Canal, which had previously belonged to Britain.

France and Britain worried that Egypt would decide cut off oil shipments between the oil-rich Middle East and western Europe, so that October they invaded Egypt, hoping to overthrow Nasser and seize the canal. Israel, upset by earlier attacks by Arab states, agreed to help in the invasion.

U.S. and Soviet reactions to the invasions were almost immediate. The Soviets threatened to launch rocket attacks on British and French cities, and the United States sponsored a United Nations resolution for British and French withdrawal. Facing pressures from the two powers, the three invaders pulled out of Egypt. To ensure stability in the area, United Nations troops were sent to patrol the Egypt-Israel border.

Rock and Roll

The term “rock and roll” was originally a nautical phrase referring to the motion of a ship at sea. In the early 20th century, it gained a religious connotation (referring to the sense of rapture felt by worshippers) and was used in spirituals. After this, “rocking and rolling” increasingly became used as a metaphor for sex in blues and jazz songs.

The origins of rock and roll lie primarily in electric blues from Chicago in the late 1940s, which was distinguished by amplification of the guitar, bass, and drums. Electric blues was played by artists like Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Buddy Guy, who were recorded by Leonard and Phil Chess at Chess Records in Chicago. They inspired electric blues artists in Memphis like Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King, who were recorded by a Memphis-based record producer named Sam Phillips, also the owner of Sun Records. He later discovered Elvis Presley in 1954, and he also recorded early songs by Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins.

Rhythm and blues artists such as Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Ray Charles incorporated electric blues as well as gospel music. In the early 50s, R&B was more commonly known by the blanket term “race music”, which was also used to describe other African-American music of the era such as jazz and blues. Billboard didn’t replace the “race records” category with “rhythm and blues” until 1958. Doo-wop was a mainstream style of R&B, with arrangements favoring vocal harmonies. Other types of music that contributed to early rock and roll include African-American spirituals, also known as gospel music, and country/folk, which was primarily made by poor whites in the South.

Arguably, the first rock and roll song ever made is “Rocket 88”, recorded at Sam Phillip’s studio in Memphis in March 1951. It was credited to “Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats,” a band that didn’t actually exist—the song was put together by Ike Turner and his band, the Kings of Rhythm. Jackie Brenston was the vocalist on the song, who also played saxophone in the band. What really sets “Rocket 88” apart is the distorted guitar sound: it was one of the first examples of fuzz guitar ever recorded. The amplifier they used to record the song was damaged on the way from Mississippi to Memphis. They tried to hold the cone in place by stuffing the amplifier with newspaper, which created the distortion. Sam Phillips liked the sound and decided to keep it in the song. Although “Rocket 88” was recorded by Sam Phillips, it wasn’t released by Sun Records, which didn’t exist until 1952. From 1950-1952, Phillips ran the Memphis Recording Service, where he would let amateurs perform and then sell the recordings to large record labels. He sold “Rocket 88” to Chess Records, which released predominately blues, gospel, and R&B. The Chess brothers started Checker Records in 1952, because radio stations would only play a certain number of tracks from each label.

Alan Freed (also known as “Moondog”) was a radio DJ who started playing R&B records on WJW in Cleveland in 1951. He is credited with introducing rock and roll to a wide audience for the first time, as well as being the first to use the phrase “rock and roll” as the name of the genre. He also promoted and helped organize the first major rock and roll concert, The Moondog Coronation Ball, which occurred on March 21, 1952. The concert was so successful that it became massively overcrowded – there was a near-riot and it had to be shut down early. Freed’s popularity soared, and he was immediately given more airtime by the radio station. His promotion of rock ‘n’ roll is one of the main reasons it became successful, and in recognition of his contributions to the genre, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was built in Cleveland.

“Payola” refers to the practice of record company promoters paying radio DJs to play their recordings in order to boost their sales. Payola had been commonplace since the Vaudeville era in the 1920s, but it became a scandal in the 1950s due to a conflict between the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and radio stations. Prior to 1940, ASCAP had made huge amounts of money from the sales of sheet music, but when radio started gaining popularity, recorded music became more profitable than sheet music. ASCAP demanded large royalty payments from radio stations that played their recordings. Instead, stations boycotted ASCAP recordings and created their own publishing company called Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI). ASCAP tended to ignore music composed by black musicians or “hillbillies”, which gave BMI control of these areas. When rock ‘n’ roll became more and more popular, BMI became more and more successful. ASCAP (in addition to many others) believed that rock ‘n’ roll was the music of the devil, that it was brainwashing teenagers, and that it would never have been successful without payola. This was just after the quiz show scandal (when it was found that certain shows were rigged), and ASCAP urged the House Legislative Committee which had investigated that scandal to look into payola. The hearings that followed destroyed Alan Freed’s career, although it didn’t eliminate rock ‘n’ roll altogether as ASCAP had hoped.

Several factors contributed to the decline of early rock and roll. Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis were both prosecuted in scandals involving young women. Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1958, and after training at Fort Hood, he joined the 3rd Armored Division in Germany, where he would remain until 1960. Three rock and roll musicians –- Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” –- died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959 (“The Day the Music Died”). Little Richard retired from secular music after a religious experience. He ran a ministry in Los Angeles, preached across the country, and recorded gospel music exclusively until 1962.

Rock and roll music is associated with the emergence of a teen subculture among baby boomers. Teenagers bought records and were exposed to rock and roll via radio, jukeboxes, and television shows like American Bandstand, which featured teenagers dancing to popular music. It also affected movies, fashion trends, and language. The combination of white and black music in rock and roll –- at a time when racial tensions were high and the civil rights movement was in full-swing –- provoked strong reactions among the older generation, many of whom worried that rock and roll would contribute to social delinquency among teenagers. However, it actually encouraged racial cooperation and understanding to some extent—rock and roll was a combination of diverse styles of music made by different races, and it was enjoyed by both African-American and Caucasian teens.

Space Race

“The Space Race” has its origins in an arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. After the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb in September 1949, the fear of nuclear war began to spread. The ensuing arms race led to the creation of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), long-range rockets designed to deliver nuclear warheads from land- or submarine-based launch sites. The first successful ICBM test flight was on August 21, 1957, when the USSR launched an ICBM with a dummy payload over 4,000 miles to an isolated peninsula on Russia’s east coast that had been declared a military zone (Kamchatka Peninsula, which remained closed to civilians from 1945–1989).

On October 4, 1957, the Soviets successfully put the first man-made satellite, Sputnik, into orbit. Americans were horrified. They feared that the Soviets were using the satellite to spy on Americans, or even worse, that the Soviet Union might attack America with nuclear weapons from space. America responded with the launch of its own satellite, Vanguard. Hundreds of spectators gathered, only to watch the satellite rise only a few feet off the launch pad, and then explode.

The failure spurred the government to create a space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA succeeded in launching the Explorer in 1958, and thus, the Space Race was initiated. With the creation of Project Mercury, a program to put an astronaut in space, America was pulling ahead. Nonetheless, the USSR was the first to put a man in space, when Yuri Gagarin was launched into orbit in 1961. For the next 14 years, the U.S and the Soviet Union would continue to compete in space.

Many Americans were frightened during the start of the space race because this gave the Soviet Union a better ability to launch a surprise attack on the states. The United States of course immediately jumped on the bandwagon and did its best to become the first country to land on the moon.

Enos the Chimp

Enos (died November 4, 1962) was a chimpanzee that was launched into space.

Enos was purchased from the Miami Rare Bird Farm in April 3, 1960. He completed more than 1,250 hours of training for his mission at the University of Kentucky and Holloman Air Force Base. His training was more intense than that of Ham, the Americans' first chimp in space, because Enos would be exposed to weightlessness and a higher g for longer periods of time. His training included psychomotor training and aircraft flights.

Enos was selected to make the first orbital animal flight only three days before the launch. Two months before allowing a chimp to be launched into orbit, NASA had launched Mercury Atlas 4 on September 13, 1961, to conduct the same mission with a "crewman simulator" in the spacecraft. Enos flew into space on board Mercury Atlas 5 on November 29, 1961. He completed his first orbit in 1 hour, 28.5 minutes.

Spider webs in space

Spider webs in space were spun in 1973 aboard Skylab, involving two female European garden spiders (cross spiders) called Arabella and Anita. As part of an experiment, the two spiders were taken into low earth orbit on the Skylab 3 mission. The aim of the experiment was to test whether the two spiders would spin webs in space, and, if so, whether these webs would be the same as those that spiders produced on Earth. The experiment was a student project of Judy Miles of Lexington, Massachusetts. A similar experiment was conducted on board Columbia's ill fated final mission using Australian spiders provided to NASA by various institutions in Melbourne.

When scientists were given the opportunity to study the webs, they discovered that the space-webs were finer than normal Earth webs, and although the patterns of the web were not totally dissimilar, variations were spotted, and there was a definite difference in the characteristics of the web. Additionally, while the webs were finer overall, the space-web had variations in thickness in places, some places were slightly thinner, and others slightly thicker. This was unusual, because Earth webs have been observed to have uniform thickness.

Cuban Revolution

In 1958 and 1959, anti-American feeling became a part of the growing Cuban revolution. In January 1959, the dictator of Cuba, Fulgenicio Batista, was overthrown by the rebel leader Fidel Castro, who promptly became the leader of Cuba.

At first, America supported Castro because of his promises of democratic and economic reforms. But relations between the two countries became strained when Cuba began seizing foreign-owned land (which was mostly U.S. owned) as a part of its reforms. Soon, Castro's government was a dictatorship, and was being backed by the Soviet Union. In 1961, Eisenhower cut diplomatic ties with Cuba, and relations with the island nation have been difficult ever since.

Che

Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara, El Che or just Che was an Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary, international political figure, author, social philosopher, medical physician, and leader of Cuban and internationalist guerrillas.

As a young man studying medicine, Guevara traveled throughout South America bringing him into direct contact with the impoverished conditions in which many people (particularly the indigenous peasantry) lived. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to the conclusion that the region's socio-economic inequalities were a result of capitalism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism and thus could only be remedied by socialism through revolution, prompting him to intensify his study of Marxism and travel to Guatemala to learn about the reforms being implemented there by President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán.

Rise of the Middle Class

In the late 1940s and 1950’s led to a rise of the middle class in the United States. With troops coming home from the war soldiers were quick to start families. The GI bill allowed for upward mobility for veterans. With free college and over four billion dollars given to trips the economy continued to succeed. With war savings and a host of new consumer goods on the market, America quickly turned into a consumer market. The best example of this would be automobiles and the television. In 1955, $65 billion was spent on automobiles. This represented 20% of the Gross National Product. In 1950 50% of American homes had a television. By 1960 this number was raised to 90%.

References

Kennedy and Johnson (1961 - 1969)

Kennedy and His Advisers

As a Democrat, John F. Kennedy inherited the New Deal Commitment to America’s Social Welfare System. He generally cast liberal votes in line with the pro-labor sentiments of his low-income, blue collar constituents. Kennedy’s rhetoric and style captured the imagination of many Americans. Another attribute that made him more appealing was the fact that his advisers were mostly young and intellectual as well. Unfortunately though, Kennedy avoided controversial issues such as civil rights and the censure of Joseph McCarthy. From the beginning, Kennedy gave top priority to waging the Cold War. In the campaign he had criticized Eisenhower’s foreign policy as unimaginative, accusing him of missing chances to reduce the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union and of weakening America’s standing in the Third World. Kennedy’s advisers had one thing going for them, and that was confidence. Kennedy, along with his advisers were firm in the sense that they were going to change things, and by doing so, they developed a multi-million dollar Alliance for Progress in 1961 to spur economic development in Latin America. In that same year the Peace Corps was also created. Critics later dismissed the Alliance and Peace Corps as Cold War tools by which Kennedy sought to counter anti-Americanism and defeat communism in the developing world. The programs didn’t have those aims, but both were recognized as being born of genuine humanitarianism. [1]

Kennedy and Soviet-American Tensions

Kennedy had little if any success in establishing relations with the Soviet Union. He met with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961. The meeting went poorly with both leaders; due to the fact that they were disagreeing over the preconditions for peace and stability in the world. Consequently, the administration’s first year witnessed little movement on controlling the nuclear arms race of even getting a superpower ban on testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere or underground. Instead, both superpowers continued testing and accelerated their arms production. In 1961, the U.S. military budget shot up 15%; by mid-1964, U.S. nuclear weapons had increased by 150%. Government advice to citizens was to build fallout shelters in their backyards and this only resulted in intensified public fear of devastating war. If war occurred, many believed it would be over the persistent problem of Berlin. In mid-1961, Khrushchev ratcheted up the tension by demanding an end to Western occupation of West Berlin and the reunification of East and West Germany. Kennedy stood his ground and remained committed to West Berlin and West Germany. In August the Soviets, at the urging of the East German Regime, erected a concrete and barbed wire barricade across the divided city to halt the exodus of East Germans into more prosperous and politically free West Berlin. The Berlin Wall inspired protests throughout the non-communist world, but Kennedy proclaimed that, “a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.” The ugly barrier shut off the flow of refugees, and crisis passed. [2]

The Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis

John F. Kennedy

On April 17, 1961, President John F. Kennedy launched an attack on Cuba, using 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles. The exiles were to invade Cuba through the Bay of Pigs in southwestern Cuba. The forces made many mistakes, and at the last moment, Kennedy was advised not to send air support, and he did not. The invasion was a complete failure and within days, Cuban forces crushed the U.S. troops. Kennedy never trusted military or intelligence advice again, and the Soviet Union concluded that Kennedy was a weak leader. The invasion also angered many Latin-American nations.

In 1962, the Soviet Union was desperately behind the United States in the arms race. Soviet missiles were only powerful enough to be launched against Europe but U.S. missiles were capable of striking the entire Soviet Union (missiles were located in Turkey). In late April 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range missiles in Cuba. A deployment in Cuba would double the Soviet strategic arsenal and provide a real deterrent to a potential U.S. attack against the Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro was looking for a way to defend his island nation from an attack by the U.S. Ever since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, Castro felt a second attack was inevitable. Consequently, he approved of Khrushchev's plan to place missiles on the island. In the summer of 1962 the Soviet Union worked quickly and secretly to build its missile installations in Cuba.

The crisis began on October 15, 1962 when U-2 reconnaissance photographs revealed Soviet missiles under construction in Cuba. The next morning, Kennedy was informed of the missile installations. Immediately the executive committee (EX-COMM) made up of twelve of his most important advisers was formed to handle the crisis. After seven days of guarded and intense debate, EX-COMM concluded that it had to impose a naval quarantine around Cuba, which would prevent the arrival of more Soviet offensive weapons on the island.

On October 22, Kennedy announced the discovery of the missile installations to the public and his decision to quarantine the island. He also proclaimed that any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviet Union and demanded that the Soviets remove all of their offensive weapons from Cuba. It was at this time that the United States had warships that were on the Caribbean Sea and also had B-52's that were ready to with nuclear bombs flying in the sky.[3]

On the 25th Kennedy pulled the quarantine line back and raised military readiness to DEFCON 2.

On the 26th EX-COMM heard from Khrushchev in an impassioned letter. He proposed the removing of Soviet missiles and personnel if the U.S. would guarantee not to invade Cuba.

October 27 was the worst day of the crisis. A U-2 was shot down over Cuba and EX-COMM received a second letter from Khrushchev demanding the removal of U.S. missiles in Turkey in exchange for Soviet missiles in Cuba. Attorney General Robert Kennedy suggested ignoring the second letter and contacted Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin to tell him of the U.S. agreement with the first.

Tensions finally began to ease on October 28 when Khrushchev announced that he would dismantle the installations and return the missiles to the Soviet Union, expressing his trust that the United States would not invade Cuba. Further negotiations were held to implement the October 28 agreement, including a United States demand that Soviet light bombers be removed from Cuba, and specifying the exact form and conditions of United States assurances not to invade Cuba.

NASA

NASA is a branch of the United States government, established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958, during the Cold War, as a replacement of its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), as an instrument of geopolitics, responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

The USSR was ahead of the United States in the space race, in presence and technology. After the launch of Sputnik and the success of Yuri Gagarin, America was behind in the Space Race. The United States would not allow this, and decided to implement their own space program. Eventually the United States became successful and landed two men on the moon. In May 1961, Alan Shepard Jr. became the first American to make a space flight. Kennedy lobbied for increased funding for space research. In an address to congress on May 25, 1961, Kennedy said, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."

NASA's first high-profile human spaceflight program was Project Mercury, an effort to learn if humans could survive the rigors of spaceflight. On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard, Jr. became the first American to fly into space, when he rode his Mercury capsule on a 15-minute suborbital mission. He launched from Complex 5 at Cape Canaveral aboard a Redstone rocket. His Freedom 7 capsule reached an altitude of 116 miles during this suborbital flight and splashed down some 304 miles out into the Atlantic. The six flights in the Mercury program concluded with Gordon Cooper's launch on May 15, 1963. John H. Glenn, Jr. became the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962. With six flights, Project Mercury achieved its goal of putting piloted spacecraft into Earth orbit and retrieving the astronauts safely.

August 12, 1961, NASA announced that it intends to expand the Cape Canaveral facilities for manned lunar flight and other missions requiring advanced Saturn and Nova boosters by acquiring 80,000 acres of land north and west of the Air Force Missile Test Center facilities at the Cape. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was designated to act as real estate acquisition agent for NASA, and the Lands Division of the Justice Department was designated to handle the legal aspects.

July 1, 1962, Dr. Kurt H. Debus was named director of the Launch Operations Center which later became the John F. Kennedy Space Center. Having supervised the development and construction of launch facilities at Cape Canaveral from 1952 to 1960 for the U.S. Army, he was the natural choice to direct the design, development and construction of NASA's Apollo/Saturn V facilities at KSC. He retired in November 1974, having been responsible for the launches conducted during the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab programs. With the American space race against the Soviets came a lot of funding which then later brought jobs. America was in high pursuit to be the first country to reach the moon. Billions of dollars were spent on hiring many research workers and engineers to be able to put a man on the moon. The NASA program not necessarily helped the lower class people find work but for those who where educated it was quite a beneficial program.

American Tragedy

On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was at a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy and his wife rode through the streets in an open car, turning into Dealy Plaza at Houston and Elm, and suddenly several shots rang out. Kennedy fell against his wife. The car sped to the nearest hospital, Parkland Memorial, but it was too late; the beloved President was dead. Tears ran down the cheeks of CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite as he told the nation their president was dead. The word spread quickly, in whispered messages to classroom teachers, by somber announcements in factories and offices. The nation was stunned. Shortly after, while on Air Force One, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office as President.

Although many "conspiracy theories" exist concerning this assassination, the rough consensus is that Kennedy's assailant, a young drifter and loner named Lee Harvey Oswald with left-wing sympathies, shot the President acting alone. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged for the murders of Kennedy and Roy Truly a Dallas police officer. Owsald was first spotted three miles from the plaza in which he was called to the squad car of officer Trully, where he then panicked and shot Trully four times. Oswald was later arrested forty minutes later in a near by theater, and just two days later Oswald was shot dead in full view of millions of TV viewers. Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1 pm.

Americans in Vietnam

Like Eisenhower, Kennedy had viewed Vietnam as a crucial battle in the fight against communism. He sent many special forces troops to South Vietnam to train South Vietnamese troops. Kennedy also put pressure on South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem to make political and economic reforms that would prevent communism from taking root in South Vietnam. After Diem refused to comply and restricted the rights of Buddhists (the majority religion in South Vietnam), he lost support, and a political coup ensued. Diem was assassinated on November 1, 1963.

In the month of February 1965, President Johnson ordered Operation Rolling Thunder to take place. It was ordered due to the Vietcong Attacks on American installations in South Vietnam which was responsible for the deaths of thirty-two Americans. Operation Rolling Thunder was a bombing program that started in 1965 and continued on until October 1968.[4]

At the end of November, the United States had almost 15,000 troops in Vietnam as advisers. The U.S. sent the Secretary of Defense on a fact-finding mission to find if involvement was still needed in Vietnam. He concluded that the South Vietnamese could not hold off the Vietcong, or Vietnamese communists, without more American backing. In 1964, Johnson claimed that North Vietnamese patrol ships attacked American ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, and Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave the President broad control over troops in Vietnam.

In 1965, Johnson gradually built up the involvement of America in Vietnam. At the end of 1965, about 180,000 troops were in Vietnam. By 1967, there were over 500,000. The U.S. also began a bombing campaign in North Vietnam, and by 1968, more bombs had been dropped than the U.S. had dropped in World War II.

The Vietnam War became “Americanized” and the troop increase and Operation Rolling Thunder played part in doing so. Instead of the war being a civil war between North and South Vietnam it ended up becoming an American war against the communist government in Vietnam.[5]


As Americans fought the war, frustration mounted. Soldiers had to fight through dense jungles and muddy land. It also seemed that for every Vietcong or North Vietnamese killed, many more would be replacements. The bombing campaign in the North actually heightened the morale of the North Vietnamese rather than lowering it, and the United States' losses increased. By the end of the decade, many outraged American citizens angrily opposed and protested the war. Opposition to the war was growing in the capital, too. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara no longer believed that the war could be won.

At home, protesters, especially college students, became increasingly bitter about the war. Others who tended to be older and more conservative, defended the war and sought to suppress the "traitors." This division between the young and the old became known as the generation gap. Officials at the University of California tried to limit recruiting efforts of protesters, and students were outraged. They held a protest that stopped the school for days. This type of protest spread across the nation, and many related ideas and activists became known collectively as the New Left.

Many of those who made up the New Left also made up the counterculture, a movement that questioned basic American values and social customs. Parents found themselves increasingly disagreeing with their children. The counterculture was also expressed in pop culture, with many icons expressing the need for peace and reform.

Eventually, some adults came to resent the war. As adults began to disagree about the war more, they were called doves (those who wanted peace) and hawks (those who supported the war). Students also had a major gripe about the war: if the legal age to be drafted to go to war was eighteen, why was the legal voting age as high as twenty-one? Eventually, the twenty sixth amendment was passed in 1971, which met the demands of the students and lowered the legal voting age to 18.

Division in the country about the war became increasingly harsh and bitter. In October 1967, 50,000 people opposed to the war marched to the Pentagon in Washington D.C. to protest. Many students stuck flowers or other symbols of peace in the barrels of the guns held by those who guarded the pentagon. By the beginning of 1969, well over fifty percent of the nation opposed the war.

President John F. Kennedy 1961-1963

John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. Of Irish descent, John was born May 29, 1917 in Brookline Massachusetts. John was married to Jacqueline Lee Kennedy. They had four children Arabella, Caroline, John Jr., and Patrick. President Kennedy took office January 20, 1961 and served till he was assassinated in November 22, 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald. He was 46 when he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy is the only Catholic President we have ever had in the United States. President Kennedy was a Democratic and served in the United States House of Representatives before becoming President. Graduating from Harvard in 1940, before becoming elected into the House of Representatives John Kennedy served in World War Two in the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety. After serving in the House of Representatives where he served three terms as a representative for Boston, Kennedy then became elected into the Senate in 1952. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history. In 1956 Kennedy almost gained the Democratic nomination for Vice President, and four years later was a first-ballot nominee for President. Millions watched his television debates with the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote.[6]

Before President Kennedy left to fight in WWII he studied at Harvard University. He wrote a thesis in 1940 called Why England Slept which became a best seller. President Kennedy wrote again in 1956 and the piece was called Profiles in Courage which won the Pulitzer Prize.[7]

Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was a US politician who served as the 36th President of the United States (1963-1969) after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States (1961-1963). He is one of four people who served in all four elected federal offices of the United States: Representative, Senator, Vice President and President. Johnson, a Democrat, served as a United States Representative from Texas, from 1937–1949 and as United States Senator from 1949–1961, including six years as United States Senate Majority Leader, two as Senate Minority Leader and two as Senate Majority Whip. After campaigning unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1960, Johnson was asked by John F. Kennedy to be his running mate for the 1960 presidential election.

The "Great Society" and Civil Rights Under Lyndon B. Johnson

In January 1964, the new President Johnson made a series of proposals which he called the "Great Society" and began a "war on poverty." He signed many programs into law that helped Americans in poverty, that is, those who do not make enough money to survive. During this time two of the most important programs signed into law were Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare provided cheap health insurance to senior citizens and Medicaid provided health insurance for the poor.The War on Poverty made much difference to the poor people living in America. It helped change and improve the way poor people were living in homes as well as changing and improving the health care that was being offered to them.[8] Cities and school also received boosts with the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the signing of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

President Johnson's “Great Society” really helped change things in America during the 1960's. During his presidency Johnson took 45 domestic social programs and transformed that number to 435 programs. “The Great Society” was designed to help the people in America and it did just that; the poverty number in America changed from 22 percent of the population to 13 percent. [9]

Equal Rights

Protests were growing in the 1960s. Blacks and whites in high schools and colleges in the South and the North staged sit-ins, protests that are accomplished by sitting down and not being productive or letting people pass.

Another kind of protest was growing in the South. In 1961, groups of African Americans began riding buses from Washington D.C. that were bound for New Orleans to make sure that the Rosa Parks Supreme Court decision was being enforced. These bus riders were known as freedom riders. The rides went smoothly until the buses reached Alabama, where the freedom riders would be greeted with violence from angry whites.

In the spring of 1963, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Martin Luther King Jr. targeted Birmingham, Alabama for segregation protests. Birmingham, a city in the deep South, was a hotbed for racism and segregation. City police arrested hundreds of protesters, as well as King himself, but protests continued. National television showed snarling dogs being set on the unarmed protesters and children being washed away on the impact of the water from fire hoses. As the nation watched in horror, President Kennedy announced a civil rights bill that would outlaw segregation nationwide.

On August 28, 1963, nationwide support for the civil rights bill boiled over. Over 200,000 people of all races and colors came to Washington D.C. to participate in a massive march organized by the SCLC and Mr. King. There, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, King read the words that would become one of history's greatest speeches:

" I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'...I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character...When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing...'Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!' "

After Kennedy's death, Johnson, a firm believer in equal rights, promised that the bill would be signed into law. In the first July of Johnson's term, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law made discrimination illegal against African Americans in employment, public accommodations, and voting. The act not only protected African Americans, but it also prohibited discrimination by sex, religion, and ethnicity. It was followed in 1965 with the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act eliminated poll tax which is the 24th Amendment to the constitution, and literacy tests, therefore helping not just blacks, but all Americans gain equal rights. A very big tragedy stood out during the sixties. On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was killed. Malcolm, who had to deal with watching his house burn to the ground as a child, later spoke out against the inequality against the blacks of this nation. He soon appealed to both black and white, as he continued to speak out against racial inequality. He continued to speak out until he was shot and killed, but no one knew who killed him, It may have possibly been the work of other black Muslims.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a very influential person during the sixties, maybe the most influential. He had preached on non-violent protest and had developed many followers, both black and white. He was put in jail several times, but managed to continue his preaching by writing a book. Martin Luther King Jr. was president of the Southern Christian Leadership Council. He and his followers organized numerous marches, rallies, and strikes to call attention to the systematic discrimination against minorities that was endemic in American society. His belief was in nonviolent confrontation with the authorities and a prodding of the conscience of the white majority to effect social change. He convinced President John F. Kennedy and later President Lyndon B. Johnson to push for legislation to end discrimination and was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1964. Although the deaths of Kennedy and Malcolm X were a huge deal, there was another huge tragedy in the sixties. On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. He was shot on the balcony of his motel room that he was staying at in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Nation of Islam

The Nation of Islam ("NOI") was founded in Detroit, Michigan, by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930. He set out to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of the Black men and women of America. From 1934-1975, the NOI was led by Elijah Muhammad, who established businesses, large real estate holdings, armed forces and schools.[1] the Nation of Islam made lasting effects on blacks in the 1950’s and beyond. Their outspoken activist, Malcolm X,became a prominent minister and leader in the NOI. Before his assassination in 1965, he had moved to non-separatism and orthodox Sunni Islam after his experience of having made Hajj to Mecca. The Nation of Islam, referred to as Black Muslims, took factors of orthodox Islam to form a new sect. Originally the Nation preached segregation and hate towards white people. They said that the white man was cursed for eternity by Allah. Malcolm X often suggested complete separation of blacks and whites and thought that blacks should have their own land to live on separate from all whites. Under Malcolm X’s leadership the Nation grew from 500 members to as many as 30,000 to over 100,000 members in the early 60’s. They converted many famous black figures, most notably Muhammad Ali. The Nation offered a much more radical and less subservient message to oppressed blacks than Martin Luther King, Jr. did. Malcolm X’s most infamous words were “By any means necessary.” Just as the Nation of Islam had risen with the help of Malcolm X, so did they fall. In 1963, when Malcolm X found out about the morality problems of his prophet and idol, Elijah Muhammad, they began to separate. Malcolm X took notice of Elijah’s sexual relations with as many as six females of the Nation, an act which the Koran directly forbids. After Malcolm X made a highly criticized statement about John Kennedy’s death, Elijah took his opportunity to silence X. After this Malcolm X converted to orthodox Islam and parted ties with the Nation of Islam, crippling the amount of influence the Nation had on the world.

A Second Tragedy

On the morning of April 4, 1968, King was preparing to lead a march from the balcony of a hotel when shots rang out. Friends inside rushed outside to find King shot in the jaw. The shooter was a sniper. Martin Luther King, Jr. was pronounced dead a few hours later. The nation was in complete shock. There were many riots that happened throughout the country. There were at least 110 cities throughout the United States that had violence the following day. The worst riots happened in Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. This was the largest domestic civil disturbance that has happened in the United States. About 22,000 federal troops and 34,000 national guards were sent out.[10] Shortly thereafter, rioting plagued America's streets as a profound sadness and anger gripped the nation. This would be one of many assassinations that would befall the country, including those of, Dr. Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy, and Malcolm X.

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21st, 1965 in Manhattans Audubon Ballroom. It all started when a man ran up to Malcolm and shot him with a sawed off shotgun. After that two other men charged Malcolm and shot him with pistols about sixteen times. All three men were eventually caught and charged with murder.

Pop Culture in the '60s

While wars were being fought over race and democracy, a group of people in America stayed relatively unaffected by it: the rich. The 1960’s provided a peak in American culture with movies, music, art and literature. Possibly the climax of pop culture in the 1960’s was author Truman Capote’s Black and White Masquerade Party.

Truman Capote was a critically acclaimed author and good friend to all the stars and socialites of the time. Capote kept enough friends to fill an entire phone book, and almost all of them were rich, famous, and intriguing. In 1966, coming off the success of his book, In Cold Blood, about a Kansas murder, Capote decided to throw a masquerade party. Capote planned the party for over a year and developed one of the most select and exclusive guest lists. With everyone wanting an invitation, Capote only handed out 500 invites to guests. Guests were not allowed to bring uninvited escorts, so only the “who’s who” of people were allowed to attend. Many stars felt spurned when they did not receive invitations.

On November 28th, 1966 the ball took place. The guest list included Frank Sinatra, Andy Warhol, and Norman Mailer. The party was a complete success. The publicity that the ball received before the event was somehow exceeded by the publicity it received after. It was immediately declared the party of the century, and all the stars raved about it. In the years that followed the ball Capote’s popularity disintegrated, and posthumously he is remembered as much for the Black and White Ball itself as he is his writing career.

The Stonewall Riots

Perhaps aided by the Civil Rights Movement, or at least motivated by it, the Gay Rights Movement largely got its start in the early 1970s. The first sign of gay people fighting for their rights as human beings started with the Stonewall Riots of 1969. In New York City, after a gay bar was raided by the police, over a thousand gay people took a stand and began to revolt against the police. It is not clear how the riot first started. According to a veteran gay activist, the incident just involved a lot of people who all got angry at the same time. The cops went into the bars and asked everyone for their identification. Many people were being pushed out of the bars and into a paddy wagon. Not sure how it started, the stonewall riot worked like a domino effect. However it started, it ignited many others to fight for their rights against the police.[11] Like many racial humans, the gays would go around and chant “gay power” throughout the streets.[12] Throwing rocks and bottles at the police officers, the crowd chanted for gay rights. After news of the riot spread, riots began happening across the nation for three days. The Stonewall Riots are known as one of the most significant moments at the start of the Gay Rights Movement.

Fact's and Figure in the '60s

The sixties were an age of youth, as 70 million children from the baby boom became teenagers and young adults. Trends shifted away from the conservative fifties and resulted in revolutionary ways of thinking and real changes in the cultural foundation of American life. Young people wanted change and the changes affected education, values, lifestyles, laws, and entertainment. All of the changes mentioned above were a major factor in the figures below.

  • Population 177,830,000
  • Unemployment 3,852,000
  • National Debt 286.3 Billion
  • Average Salary $4,743
  • Teacher's Salary $5,174
  • Minimum Wage $1.00
  • Life Expectancy: Males 66.6 years, Females 73.1 years
  • Auto deaths 21.3 per 100,000

An estimated 850,000 "war baby" freshmen enter college; emergency living quarters are set up in dorm lounges, hotels and trailer camps.

In the 1960’s several music songs came into popularity like: “Cathy’s Clown,” “Spanish Harlem,” “Only the Lonely,” “Moon River,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Louie Louie,” “Hello Dolly,” “Satisfaction,” “Stop in the Name of Love,” “California Dreamin,” “Respect,” “Mrs. Robinson,” and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.”


Also, as times advanced throughout the 1960’s so did technology and numerous TV Shows: The Super Bowls, Star Trek, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Sesame Street (premieres on PBS in 1969), The Smothers Brothers, and The Dick Van Dyke Show.


In the 1960s in the post war era automobiles production was increased a great deal. Of the cars that were produced among the most popular during the decade: Volkswagen bug, ’64 Ford Mustang, ’63 Corvette Sting Ray, Chevy Bel Air, ’64 Plymouth Barracuda, and ‘64 Pontiac GTO.


Also, during the 1960’s the society as a whole had a very free spirit way of thinking, and several fads broke in that included: face painting, wearing flowers in one’s hair, the Twist (hair-do), the jerk (dance), lava lamps, waterbeds, Day-Glo and black light, posters, and flashing the peace sign.

Elections of the 1960s

The presidential election of 1960 featured a race of John F. Kennedy (Democrat) vs. Richard M. Nixon (Republican). Both candidates had similar political stances in believing they wanted a strong military front and both supported funding numerous welfare programs for the poor. Kennedy promised to lead Americans to a New Frontier. Kennedy ultimately won the election over Nixon by a narrow margin of electoral votes 303 to 219.

The presidential election of 1964 featured a race of Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat) and Barry Goldwater (Arizona). Goldwater's brand of politics scared many Americans. He opposed civil rights, legislation, wanted to make Social Security voluntary, and proposed deep cuts in social programs. Johnson's slogan for the campaign was "All the way with LBJ." Johnson won in a landslide of votes 486-52.

The Women's Movement

In the year 1963, Betty Friedan fueled the fire for women's rights when she wrote her book called "The Feminine Mystique." This book became unexpectedly popular among women. Friedan decided to tackle the problem that she called "the problem with no name." This problem was the lack of education that middle-class wives and mothers received. These women looked at their homes and their lives and wondered if that was all life had to offer. Women across the country became more and more dissatisfied with their stay-at-home life. Friedan's approach was different than the typical argument for a women's movement, however, because she blamed the women for being unable to adjust to their role in the home rather than blaming society for creating that role for women.

The women's movement began an organized liberal group in 1966 called National Organization for Women, also known as NOW. This group was mainly comprised of educated and professional women. Since the EEOC was more focused on racial rights and discrimination, they did not pay much attention to gender discrimination. Because the rights of women was being ignored, NOW made it one of their main purposes to pressure the EEOC into hearing them out and enforcing their rights that were given to them in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the EEOC basically considered NOW and the idea of women's rights to be a joke and even went as far as laughing at the idea when asked about it by a reporter. This made women in the work force that had to deal with discrimination, very angry. By 1970, NOW had more than 3,000 members across the nation.

Women at this time craved social change and justice and became more radical. More and more women were noticing and getting fed up with being treated as second-class citizens. These women began to look beyond the roles that they were being forced into and looked at the roles that they willingly put themselves into. In 1968, a large group of women went to protest the Miss America Pageant that was being held in Atlantic City. These women were against “degrading mindless-boob girlie symbol” that the beauty pageant represents and promotes. The women would take “enslavement” items such as: girdles, bras, high heels, and curlers, into the “Freedom Trashcan.” Even though nothing was actually burned, feminists of this time were consequently received the demeaning nickname “bra-burners.”

The women who firmly believed in feminism and fought for women’s rights never really had a firm set of beliefs and many times used arguments on the opposite side of the board. On one side they argued that women were more sensitive than men and that this sensitivity would greatly improve every aspect of America including foreign diplomacy, government, businesses, and alike. They argued that men could not bring this quality to the table. However, on the other side, women argued that women and men were equal and therefore deserved equal treatment and that socially imposed roles were unfair. Charlotte Bunch, a feminist author, writes that “there is no private domain of a person’s life that is not political, and there is no political issue that is not ultimately personal.” They called this “personal politics” and many radical feminists jumped onboard with this idea very quickly. Women began “consciousness-raising” groups in order to discuss the fact that in their everyday lives, at work, and in the home, they were subordinated by men and how they lived in a highly patriarchal society. Women all across the country began these groups everywhere, in college dorms, churches, and suburban kitchens to discuss the topics of male dominance in work, healthcare, romance, marriage, sexuality, abortion, and family. [13]

References

  1. Mary Beth Norton et al., “A People and A Nation: A History of the United States; The Tumultuous Sixties; 1960-1968,” ed. Mary Beth Norton et al. (Boston: Cenage Learning 2009).
  2. Mary Beth Norton et al., “A People and A Nation: A History of the United States; The Tumultuous Sixites:1960-1968,” ed. Mary Beth Norton et al. (Boston: Cenage Learning 2009).
  3. A People and A Nation
  4. A People and A Nation
  5. A People and A Nation
  6. A People and A Nation Eight Edition
  7. "Kennedy, John F(itzgerald), (29 May 1917 – 22 Nov 1963)." The Crystal Reference Encyclopedia. West Chiltington: Crystal Semantics, 2005. Credo Reference. Web. 16 April 2011.
  8. A People and A Nation Eighth Edition
  9. "Great Society." The American Economy: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003. Credo Reference. Web. 16 April 2011.
  10. http://www.jofreeman.com/photos/Kingfuneral.html
  11. http://socialistalternative.org/literature/stonewall.html
  12. http://socialistalternative.org/literature/stonewall.html
  13. Mary Beth Norton, et al, "A People and A Nation:Eighth Edition", 901-902

Nixon presidency and Indochina (1969 - 1974)

Violence and the Election of 1968

There were 3 major assassinations in the 60ties, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. All were suspected of "governmental" influence. Strong conspiracy theories still exist, which had a profound effect on how some Americans viewed their government. Some were very distrustful and some were very status quo. So it divided America in a way we hadn't seen since the Civil War. After the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, riots broke out in over 100 cities. Troops were called in to control the mobs of people. Stunned and saddened by Dr. King's death, the nation worried about renewed homeland violence.

Racism

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw a number of significant mobilizations against racism. The first sizable demonstration of Asians took place in 1972 over yet more anti-immigration laws. There were increasing numbers of protests against the National Front (NF), which was slowly building support by 1974. There was also a host of protests and campaigns against police harassment and racist educational policies. It was the concentration of anti-racist forces in a campaign against the NF, led by the Anti Nazi League (ANL), that shattered the upsurge of racism. In alliance with Rock Against Racism it was able to put on not just two huge carnivals, but countless events that drew black and white young people together.

Robert Kennedy is Assassinated

In the race for the Democratic nomination, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, and Robert Francis Kennedy (brother of John F.) were competing in a close match. In most primaries, Kennedy edged out McCarthy, and meanwhile, Humphrey garnered the support of Democratic party leaders, who chose the delegates to the national convention. In June 1968, Kennedy won the primary in California, the state with the most delegates to the convention.Bobby Kennedy was trying to become president and follow in his brother's foot steps. At a celebration rally on the night of the victory, Kennedy was shot and killed by Sirhan B. Sirhan, who claimed that he did not remember shooting Bobby Kennedy. Sirhan shot Kennedy with .22 pistol. Kennedy was hit multiple times and five others were wounded. The nation was sent reeling into another shock from the new violence. Kennedy's body lay in repose at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York for two days before a funeral mass was held on June 8. His body was interred near his brother John at Arlington National Cemetery. His death prompted the protection of presidential candidates by the United States Secret Service. Hubert Humphrey went on to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency, but ultimately narrowly lost the election to Richard Nixon.

The Democratic Convention

Because of his support among leaders and delegates from the Democratic Party, it appeared that Humphrey had enough votes to win the nomination at the convention in Chicago. Humphrey, however, was a supporter of Johnson's policy in Vietnam, so he was perceived as a war supporter.

Anti-war Democrats, most of whom had supported Kennedy, felt left out of the convention. Angry, they flocked to Chicago to protest Humphrey's nomination. On the first and second nights of the convention, the protesters were generally subdued and the Chicago police made few arrests. On the third night, however, protesters planned to march to the convention site to protest.

Fearing another outbreak of violence, the mayor of Chicago made the police block the protesters at the hall. When they tried a different route, protesters were blocked again. Outraged, protesters started throwing objects at the police. The police threw tear gas into the crowd and charged the protesters, beating some and taking others into custody.

Humphrey won the nomination, but the violence hurt his campaign. The nation saw all the anger and outrage on television. It seemed that Democrats could not control their own party.

The Election

Nixon, the former Vice President, had quietly been nominated by the Republicans as their candidate. Nixon claimed to represent the "silent majority" in America; that is, those that had begun to take on a more conservative approach to politics and disliked the "hippie" and civil rights movements. Nixon also promised to end the war in Vietnam, although he never said he would win it.

Because of his promises about Vietnam, Nixon was able to gain support from antiwar Democrats and Republicans alike. In a huge political comeback (Nixon was defeated in the election of 1960 and lost the race for the governor of California in 1962), Nixon barely won the popular vote, gaining only 500,000 more votes than Humphrey. He won by a larger margin in the electoral college, gaining 301 votes, while Humphrey only had 191.

Also note that Nixon made the statement on November 3rd 1969, almost a year after his election. He cribbed it from a speech his vice president, Spiro Agnew, had made on May 9th of that year. Agnew's writers may have been taking it from President Kennedy's 1956 book Profiles in Courage. The original phrase goes back to Edward Young's 1721 poem "The Revenge":

"Life is the desert, life the solitude;
Death joins us to the great majority."

It became an in-joke among Democrats and protesters to hear Agnew and Nixon claim to represent the dead, perhaps as envoys of the Undead. This was only two years after Caesar Romero's Night of the Living Dead came out.

Foreign Policy

Nixon, in an attempt to bring stability to the nation, made many changes in foreign policy. He appointed Henry Kissinger as his national security advisor and later as his Secretary of State. Both believed in the philosophy of realpolitik, which put national interests in front of leaders' political ideologies and reasoned that peace could only come from negotiations, not war. During Nixon's presidency, he and Kissinger would work to try to ease the cold war.

Vietnam

Nixon promised to ease the United States out of the Vietnam war, and for the most part, he kept his promise. He and Kissinger called their plan to hand the war over to the South Vietnamese: Vietnamization. By the end of 1970, the number of troops in Vietnam had fallen from 540,000 in the beginning of 1969 to 335,000. By January of 1970, the Vietnam conflict had become the longest in American history and, with 40,000 killed and over 250,000 wounded, the third most costly foreign war in the nation's experience. In 1971 there were only 60,000 troops in Vietnam.

In order to compensate for the loss of troops in Vietnam, Nixon hiked up the bombing campaign. The Ho Chi Minh Trail, which bordered and sometimes ran into the countries of Laos and Cambodia, was bombed. Nixon wanted to keep his public image as a peace President, so the bombing of Cambodia was kept a secret. The Vietnam War was one of the first wars to be publicized on television. This raised awareness to Americans around the country because they were more aware of the inhumane acts of war.

The war seemed to be fought both over in Asia and back in the states. Thousands of protesters mostly young college students were against the war and were beginning to get war weariness during the later years of the war. Many of the youth were drafted to fight overseas during this war, the lucky ones were able to escape if they could afford a college education.

The Vietnam War polarized opinion in the United States. Some people believed the war was immoral, others that it would not serve US interests while some felt it was necessary to stop the advance (as they saw if) of communism.

The Vietnam war brought both violence but also opened up many job opportunities as well both at home and overseas. The draft was issued and thousands of men were sent to go fight in Vietnam along with thousands of other volunteer soldiers. With all these men fighting overseas many small businesses and factories were in need of employing new workers which opened up many job opportunities for other Americans at this time.

Outrage and Tragedy

Nixon tried to end the war through peace talks with North Vietnam, but generally, these stalled because the North Vietnamese had a wait and see attitude towards the war. They believed that opposition to the war within America would eventually grow so strong that Nixon would be forced to remove American troops from the country.

Nixon tried to appeal to his "silent majority" and renew support for the war, but then, Cambodia fell into a civil war between Communist and non-Communist forces. Nixon decided to send troops into Cambodia to destroy Communist strongholds, and Americans were outraged that their leader, who had strived for an end to the war, had attacked a neutral country. Opposition, especially in colleges, grew stronger.

This was especially true in Kent State University in Ohio. When students burned down a military complex on the Kent State campus, the Ohio governor declared martial law, or emergency military rule. The students were furious. On May 4th, they staged a protest on the campus lawn, but the National Guard troops told the students to disband, and that they had no right to assemble. The troops shot tear gas into the crowd, and the students ran. Some troops cornered a group between two buildings and suddenly, for unknown reasons, opened fire. Four students were killed and thirteen others were wounded.

Violence again struck at Jackson State in Mississippi. After a night of campus violence, police were called in to control the students, but eventually police opened fire on the students and two were killed. Witnesses recalled the police recklessly blasting the school's residence hall with their guns. The police claimed to be defending themselves from snipers.

The End of the War

In the fall of 1972, it seemed that peace was at hand. But at the last minute, the negotiations fell through because the South Vietnamese refused to have North Vietnamese forces in their country. Nixon decided to launch a last aggressive bombing campaign to try to scare the North Vietnamese into stopping the war, but they were persistent and continued to fight. In the beginning of 1975, the North Vietnamese launched a final major offensive. The South Vietnamese army collapsed, and soon, Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, was in the Vietcong's grasp. Americans scrambled to evacuate from the country, and on April 29, Americans were evacuating by helicopter off the roof of the American embassy. In the early hours of April 30, 1975, Saigon fell to the Vietcong. Soon after, South Vietnam surrendered.

Upon return, the American troops had no welcome. Many Americans, angered at the outcome of the war or just angry that the war ever had to happen, just wanted to forget the ordeal. Vietnam lay in ruins, and almost 1.4 million Vietnamese lives (on either side) were claimed. Also, 58,000 Americans had died, 300,000 were wounded, and the U.S. had wasted $150 billion on the war. Because people's homes were so badly destroyed in the war in Vietnam many decided to jump on boats and tried to find new places to live. Many came to the United States but many Americans had mixed feelings of this because they were reminded of their loss[1] in Asia.

China

In 1969, Nixon wanted to ease the tensions of the Cold War to help the nation heal from the tragedy of Vietnam. He and Kissinger used realpolitik, the practice of basing decisions on the interests of the nation rather than the leaders' beliefs, to shape a new foreign policy. Nixon formed a foreign policy plan of détente, a plan of relaxing international tensions. Nixon's ultimate goal in his new plan was to achieve a so-called "balance of power" between the U.S., Europe, Soviet Union, China, and Japan so that no one nation could grow too strong.

To kick off his new plan, Nixon began to express friendliness to the People's Republic of China. The United States had severed ties with China after communists took control of the government in a political coup d'etat (a sudden change of government by force) in 1949. In 1970, Nixon began hinting at new relations with China, and he stopped referring to the country as "Red China," which was an offensive term for the nation. By increasing relations with China, Nixon hoped that the Soviets would become more cooperative in talks with the U.S. because it would fear a U.S.-China alliance.

Realizing the change in U.S. sentiment, China invited a U.S. table tennis team to visit the country in April 1971, and a week later, the U.S. opened trade between the two countries. After sending Kissinger on a secret visit to China, Nixon announced that he would go to Beijing, the Chinese capital. In February 1972, Nixon finally came to Beijing. Pictures of him at the Great Wall and attending Chinese banquets were in international news. In another seven years, Chinese relations would be fully restored.

The Soviet Union

Nixon was right about the Soviet Union. Fearing a Chinese alliance with America, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev agreed to meet with Nixon in Moscow in May of 1972. Again, pictures of Nixon with communist leaders filled the news. While in Moscow, Nixon signed the SALT I Treaty, or the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. The treaty limited the number of nuclear arms that the Soviet Union and the U.S. could possess.

Feeling that the Soviet Union was in scientific decline, Brezhnev agreed with the U.S. to work with it in trade and information. This way, the Soviet Union could also gain access to desperately needed American grain. As a result of the talk, the Arms Race slowed and international tensions eased.

The Women's Movement

In the 1970s, women in “The Women’s Movement” claimed that they had achieved a great deal through all their efforts in the past decades. These achievements consisted of: married women receiving the right to have their own credit in their own name instead of just in their husband’s name, unmarried women receiving the right to get birth control, women receiving the right to serve on a jury panel, and women receiving the right to list their help wanted ads alongside men’s help wanted ads.

One of the goals these feminists had set was to change the view and laws on rape. Before this time, psychiatrists would claim that “A woman sometimes plays a big part in provoking her attacker by . . . her overall attitude and appearance.” Statements and beliefs like this made it easy for people to have a less sympathetic view towards victims of rape. However, by the end of the 1970s, activists worked on state levels to create crisis centers for rape victims, educate people such as police and hospital security about how to handle and take care of women who have been raped. These women even succeeded in changing some laws.[2]

Roe v. Wade

In March 1970, a Texas woman by the name of Norma McCorvey, unmarried and pregnant, decided to sue the state of Texas by the recommendation of Sarah Weddington, a young attorney. At the time, the vast majority of the other states had similar laws. At the time, Texas had a law in place that banned abortion in women, with the exception of women with life-threatening pregnancies. As part of standard court procedure, McCorvey was renamed Jane Roe, because she did not want her identity to be known by the court.

With rulings favoring both Roe and Dallas Country district attorney Henry Wade in various levels of the courts, the case eventually landed in the Supreme Court. Argued first on December 13, 1971 and again on October 11, 1972 (at the court's request), Weddington contended that the Texas law (and therefore all abortion banning laws) were in violation of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments, which gave a citizen the right to privacy, and that abortion laws violated the privacy of women.

The case was decided on January 22, 1973, with Harry Blackmun writing the ruling. With a 7-2 majority, the Court ruled that the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments did indeed collectively give a citizen the right to privacy, and that abortion laws did indeed violate the right to privacy of women.

Having recently appointed Warren Burger (the Chief Justice), Harry Blackmun, Lewis Powell, and William Rehnquist, Nixon was disappointed in the ruling. All of them Republicans, Nixon had presumed that the judges would rule conservatively. Only Rehnquist would dissent with the majority. The other dissenting vote was Byron White, who had been appointed by John F. Kennedy.

The ruling continued the abortion divide that still exists today. It gave the general pro-choice sentiment among the more liberal and progressive Democratic Party and the pro-life sentiment among more conservative and religious Republican Party. The case was reopened in 1992, only to reaffirm the ruling. Norma McCorvey would go on later to become a pro-life advocate.

Roe vs Wade was a turning point in planned parenthood. It was another form of birth control that became legal. Some women viewed this as a sign of liberation and freedom because women could control how many children they had. Other people however thought abortion was immoral. The question that is commonly asked is "is this murder or not?". Their are continuing arguments to this day that abortion is violating the sanctity of life.

Roe v. Wade was decided primarily on the Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a part of the Bill of Rights. The Court's decision in this case was that the Ninth Amendment, in stating that "the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people," protected a person's right to privacy.

Watergate and the Election of 1972

In 1971, Nixon had many doubts about the 1972 election. But this was before Nixon and Kissinger had vastly improved relations with the Soviet Union and China. By the time those tasks had been accomplished, much of the nation approved of Nixon. Even more in his favor was the Democratic disunity and the nomination of the radically liberal George McGovern. Some voters found his views disturbing.

Even so, Nixon's paranoia and the stress of the presidential campaign would conspire to send the nation reeling and his administration into crisis. Much later, it would be found that Nixon's campaign would stretch the truth, the law, and ethics.

To start his campaign, Nixon asked a group of only the most loyal aides to create an "enemies list," a list of political opponents to the Nixon administration. Then, Nixon asked the IRS and the FBI to investigate those on the enemies list, and justified his actions by saying that he believed that those investigated were a threat to national security. Nixon was slowly changing his campaign from a campaign for the presidency to a campaign against enemies. Nixon was the renominated Republican nominee running with Sprio T. Agnew. They were running against the democratic nominee, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota. McGovern was running with Senator Thomas Eagleton for vice president. Eagleton was shortly replaced with Sargent Shriver after the press discovering Eagleton had been treated for psychological problems. Nixon was also running against longtime segregationist, George Wallace. On May 15, 1972, Wallace became a victim of an assassination attempt that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Wallace was shot by twenty-one year old, Arthur Bremer. Bremer had also shot three others and was sentenced to 63 years in prison.[3]

Using some of the money allotted for his campaign, Nixon funded a secret group of "plumbers," who "plugged" information leaks that were damaging to the administration. Money also funded dirty tricks against Nixon's Democratic opponents.

In November of 1972, an unknowing public headed to the polls to cast votes for the President. Nixon won the election by a landslide, with almost 61 percent of the popular vote and 520 out of 537 electoral votes.

Things were quiet for a while after the election. In late 1973, countries in the Middle East imposed an embargo, or refusal to trade, on oil to the U.S. after the U.S. supported Israel in a short war against Egypt (the most powerful country in the region) and Syria. Prices for gas shot up in the U.S. and stations had to ration the gas, putting restrictions like "ten gallons per customer." Many people were laid off. Nixon worked to help relations with the Middle East, and in March 1974, the embargo was lifted. He was also able to get the U.S. out of Vietnam. Because of his work, Americans generally approved of Nixon.

Voters did not know that a little while after midnight on June 17, 1972, a security guard named Frank Wills had been patrolling in the parking garage of the Wartergate complex, the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, and found tape on the locks to doors leading into the building. He removed the tape and thought little of it, but an hour later, he would find it replaced. He would call the police, and they would arrest five robbers inside the complex.

The subsequent arrests of "plumbers" Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt would slowly but surely send tremors through the presidency. Initially, the Nixon administration denied that it had anything to do with the two plumbers or the bugs that the five men were trying to plant in the telephones of the Democratic headquarters (bugs are telephone listening devices, commonly used by spies and others in the field of espionage) when investigators gathered info that suggested it did. Ronald Ziegler, Nixon's press secretary, decried the break-in a "third rate burglary."

Hearing of the incident at the Watergate complex, the Washington Post, a prominent Washington D.C. newspaper with a national circulation, started publishing a series of articles linking Nixon to the burglary. Also, after questioning, one of the burglars confessed that the White House lied about its involvement in the break-in. Still, only about half of Americans had even heard of the robbery.

In early 1973, the Senate voted to hold hearings on the Watergate break-in. They asked the Department of Justice to hire a special prosecutor outside of the Nixon-influenced department to investigate Watergate. Slowly, Cox and Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina would reveal the massive scandal going on in the White house. In May, former deputy White House counsel John Dean, a source close to Nixon, would testify that there indeed had been a cover up and that it had been directed by Nixon himself.

The extent of Nixon's desperation would become evident in October 1973 when Cox ordered that Nixon hand over tapes from a secret taping system that recorded conversations in the President's office. He refused on executive privilege grounds, contending that the release of the tapes would compromise national security.

When Cox tried to get an injunction for the release of the tapes, Nixon ordered Elliot Richardson, the attorney general, to fire Cox (after all, it was the Justice Department that had hired Cox), but Richardson refused and resigned. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Rickelshaus to fire Cox, but he, like Richardson, refused and resigned. Finally, Nixon got a minor Justice Department official, Solicitor General Robert Bork, to fire Cox. The series of resignations and the firing of Cox became known as the Saturday Night Massacre. The public was outraged.

At the height of the Watergate scandal, the Department of Justice uncovered another: Vice President Spiro Agnew had accepted bribes as the governor of Maryland. He resigned on October 10, 1973. Nixon nominated Michigan congressman Gerald Ford as his Vice President, who was quickly confirmed.

The House of Representatives decided to initiate the impeachment process as public outrage mounted over the Saturday Night Massacre. If a majority voted to charge the President of high crimes and misdemeanors, he would be tried by the Senate and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would preside over the trial. If 67 of the 100 senators voted to find Nixon guilty, he would be expelled from office.

In April of 1974, Nixon decided to release heavily edited transcripts of the tapes to try to improve his image. This only led to more public protest, and the Supreme Court eventually ruled that Nixon had to hand over the tapes. After a conversation on one of the tapes revealed that Nixon had ordered a cover up of the robbery, the public was stunned and the House mulled impeachment. Before any more damage could be done, Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974. He would be the first and (so far) only president to resign and Gerald Ford would become the only president not elected to the office of president or vice president.

The impact of the scandal was wide and far-reaching. Among other things, Congress passed a series of laws sharply limiting a president's power to wage undeclared war, limiting campaign spending and strengthening public access to government information. Also, it proved that the Constitution's system of checks and balances could work to bring an abusive or tyrannical president out of power. But by far the biggest impact of the crisis was the loss of the public's faith and trust in politicians and elected officials; cynicism concerning the ethics, behavior, and motives of elected officials would be deep and lasting. Because of Nixon's party affiliation and the outrage over a preemptive pardon that Ford granted Nixon after he became president, people associated corruption with the Republican party. Decades of gerrymandering by New Dealers and their successors had assured nearly-impregnable overwhelming Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress since the 1930s. Fallout from Watergate assured that this trend would continue in the midterm elections of November 1974. The Republicans would pay the ultimate price for Watergate in 1976, with Ford losing the White House to a relative political newcomer.

President Carter

Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.), the thirty-ninth president of the United States, was born Oct. 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Ga., and grew up in the nearby community of Archery. His father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a farmer and businessman; his mother, Lillian Gordy Carter, a registered nurse.

He was educated in the public school of Plains, attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a bachelor of science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. In the Navy, he became a submariner, serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rising to the rank of lieutenant. In 2002 President Carter was given the Nobel Peace Prize. He is the only American president to ever get a Nobel Peace Prize after his presidency. Carter was also against the death penalty in the United States. His thoughts on it were to remove the death penalty with life in prison which was not heard of at the time.

James Earl Carter, Jr., was born on October 1, 1924, in the tiny southwest Georgia city of Plains, near Americus. The first president born in a hospital,[6] he is the eldest of four children of James Earl Carter and Bessie Lillian Gordy. Carter's father was a prominent business owner in the community and his mother was a registered nurse. The Carter family had come from southern England (Carter's paternal ancestor arrived in the American Colonies in 1635),[7] and had lived in the state of Georgia for several generations. Carter has documented ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, and he is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.[8] Carter's great-grandfather, Private L.B. Walker Carter (1832–1874), served in the Confederate States Army.[9]

James Earl Carter ran in the 1976 election. He was formerly the Governor of georgia and was elected to run as the democratic nominee. Carter ran with Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota as his vice presidential candidate. Carter ran for president against Gerald Ford who had won the Republican nomination against Ronald Reagan by a slim margin. Carter defeated Ford in the election of 1976. During his presidency, Carter sought to conduct the presidency on democratic and moral principles. He approached economic problems inconsistently and he offered amnesty to Americans who had fled the draft and gone to other countries during the Vietnam War.[4]


References

  1. A People and A Nation
  2. Mary Beth Norton, et al, "A People and A Nation:Eighth Edition", 902-903
  3. "Super Reviewm; United States History"
  4. "Super Review; United States History"

Ford, Carter and Reagan presidencies (1974 - 1989)

Introduction: The "New Right", Conservatism, and Demographic Shifts

Ever since the 1964 election, in which the conservative Barry Goldwater failed to defeat incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson, a grassroots (beginning on the local level) movement among other conservatives began growing. Slowly, a group of conservatives began changing their policies and marketing strategies until finally, President Reagan (the culmination of this movement) was elected in 1980. And so, the product of this reformation of the right wing of the political spectrum (the conservative side), became known as the New Right.

This new breed of conservatism emphasized, above all, "smaller" government. This entailed lowering taxes as a catalyst for increased consumer spending, and thus economic growth, at the cost of cutting governmental programs and welfare. Conservative economists pushed "supply side economics" and openly advocated doing away with the tax-funded welfare state created mostly by the New Deal reforms of the 40s in order to keep more money in the hands of consumers instead of the coffers of welfare programs. Additionally, while Goldwater openly opposed the involvement of religion in politics, Reagan ushered in a generation of evangelical Christian activists along with the New Right. During the 1980 election, Reagan openly expressed his commitment to his religion, and during his presidency spoke out strongly against abortion and in support of other issues dear to the religious. The New Right conservatives also notably supported a more hawkish, aggressive foreign policy in the face of communism. They mostly did away with Nixon's detente strategy in favor of a more threatening American world presence.

Meanwhile, a band of states in the south and southwest (called the "Sun Belt" because of their sunny climates) had been, since the 50s, experiencing growth that far outpaced the rest of the country. A number of factors contributed to this rapid relative growth. Southern states such as Florida and Texas and areas in the southwest such as southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico had year-round warm, sunny climates and large expanses of flat land suitable for building long tracts of suburban housing. With the widespread adoption of air conditioning by the 1950s, new housing in warm Sunbelt suburbs attracted those living in more seasonably cold climates, and in particular the Northeast. Retirement in the Sunbelt was also an attractive prospect to many of the elderly, and places such as southern Florida became popular places for retirees to relocate.

Simultaneously, the racially-charged phenomenon known as "white flight" was underway by the 1950s as an indirect result of court decisions (specifically Brown v. Board) and new laws encouraging the desegregation of urban neighborhoods. As blacks moved into predominantly white urban neighborhoods, white families, sometimes worried that as a result of desegregation property values would fall, would put their houses up for sale and move to the suburbs, which were often quieter, safer, and demographically whiter than inner cities. This contributed to the construction of suburbs around major Sunbelt cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Many families fleeing northern inner cities would eventually settle in these new suburbs.

At the same time, the construction of long-distance, high-speed, high-capacity, limited-access roadways, such as those built as a part of Eisenhower's Interstate highway system, facilitated a lifestyle more dependent on the automobile--that is, it became practical and economical for most members of the workforce to live farther away from their jobs than they had ever lived. Whereas earlier in the century the norm had often been for workers to live near their jobs in cities and take a relatively short drive, ride public transportation, or even walk to work, in the second half of the century it became far more common to live in suburbs miles away from jobs (which often remained in dense urban areas) because expressways and inexpensive gasoline facilitated much longer commutes. As suburbs grew, so did American oil consumption. Traffic, environmental, and indirect health problems often arose as suburbs grew beyond the capacity of the infrastructure already in place. This trend would have important bearings on U.S. energy and environmental policy in the 70s and in the new millennium.

Importantly, some Sunbelt growth was also attributed to immigration from Mexico, and in places like southern California tensions would flare over the employment and taxpayer-funded welfare of illegal immigrants. Southern Florida's growth in the 70s and 80s also had a notable component of immigrants from Cuba, which fell to communism in 1959.

California experienced the greatest growth and surpassed New York as the most populous state, as did Texas (which became the second most populous state). Florida also exhibited very rapid growth. The Sun Belt was (and still generally is, with the notable exception of California and to a lesser extent Florida) committed to conservatism, and in part contributed to Nixon's and Reagan's electoral successes. The growth of this region was at the expense of the Northern cities. The effects of this period on cities are discussed in the final section of this chapter.

Other important demographic shifts were taking place during this period as well. Beginning in the early 60s, fertility rates began a sharp decline from an average of almost four children per family in the late 50s to an average of less than two by the 70s, signaling the end of the post-war baby boom and the birth of what is widely known as "Generation X," the generation that came of age during the 80s and early 90s. This relative drop in fertility rates would later have extremely important repercussions for Social Security, Medicare, and the U.S. health care system as a whole.

Ford and Rockefeller

The world watched as Gerald Ford turned back towards the White House after seeing off former President Nixon in his helicopter. There, he took the oath of office and became the thirty eighth president of the United States. Washington was relieved to put the Watergate crisis behind it. He appointed Nelson Rockefeller, a popular Republican and the former governor of New York, as his Vice President. Many were excited of what would come of Ford's presidency.

Controversy

One of Ford's first acts in office would shatter the nation's trust. Using executive powers granted to him by the Constitution, Ford granted Nixon a pardon, on September 8, 1974, for any misconduct he may have exhibited as president. Even though Ford fiercely defended his actions, he never regained the popularity that he had in his first days in office. Many believed that Nixon and Ford had worked out a bargain in advance, with Nixon's resignation in exchange for a pardon from Ford.

Later that year, it was leaked to the American public that the CIA had been spying and keeping secret files on legitimate American citizens. Months later, it was leaked that the FBI was doing the same thing. Ford appointed a commission to investigate the inner workings of the two agencies. He, with the help of Congress, passed legislation to keep the agencies in check.

After recovering some trust, the President would again stir up controversy. He offered amnesty, or protection from the law, to those who had avoided the draft or deserted during the Vietnam War. While many approved, others did not, believing that the policy was far too lenient; after all, their loved ones had obeyed the law.

Foreign Affairs

Ford did not have major diplomatic experience, so he relied on Kissinger, who continued Nixon's policies. In 1974, Ford met with Brezhnev to again discuss nuclear weapons. In July 1975, Ford signed the Helsinki Accords, a pledge between the western world and the Soviet Union to respect human rights. Ford also continued to work with China. The Chinese communist leader, Mao Zedong, died in 1976, and a more moderate, centrist government came to power. As a result, the U.S. and China continued to move closer. Ford’s main issues during his presidency were the North Vietnamese victory over South Vietnam (1975), the Mayaguez Incident, Detente and human rights policy, the Middle East crisis, Arab oil power, and the first international economic summits. His actions to re-assert U.S. ability and prestige following the collapse of Cambodia and the humiliating Fall of Saigon in South Vietnam were energetic. On May 12, 1975, the American Merchant Marine ship, S.S. Mayaguez, with 39 crewmen aboard, was captured in international waters by Cambodian gunboats. The ship was retrieved and all crewmen were saved, but at the cost of 41 American servicemen's lives.

Recession and Inflation

As the 1970s progressed, it seemed that Europe and Japan might pass the United States in economic power. Japanese cars were popular throughout the nation and European made goods were strong competition to American made goods. Many factories were forced to close, and soon, many Americans were unemployed or underemployed, that is, when one works in a job for which he is overqualified. Another contributing factor to the economic hardships were the actions of the middle-eastern OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). Even though the oil shortage had been for the most part resolved, OPEC kept its prices high, and the high prices led to inflation (the loss of value of a currency).

To help to reduce inflation, Ford launched Whip Inflation Now (WIN), which promoted the saving of money and advised people to grow their own vegetable gardens in an effort to avoid high food prices. The program led to a small but insignificant drop in inflation; the economy was still plunging into recession. Ford also tried to control inflation by cutting government spending. He vetoed many appropriations bills from Congress that allowed for more spending.

To stimulate the economy, Ford pressed Congress to pass a tax cut, believing that with the extra money saved on taxes, Americans might spend more money. Ford was right, but with less tax revenue, the federal deficit widened. Despite the things he tried, he could not make the economy recover.

1976 Election

In November 1975, Ford again was determined to win single handedly, noted that he would be competing in every primary. He vowed to, “go right down to the wire in the convention in Kansas City and win there.” Ford was treated as a joke, just as Tom Branden had pointed out, that when "the nation’s end men begin to treat a serious politician as a joke, he is though.” It all began during his trip to Australia in the Spring of 1975, Ford slipped on a rain-slickened ramp while getting off a plane in Salzburg and fell on the stairs. This incident happened in front of various cameramen and reporters, which meant it happened in front of the entire world. Instead of his presidency, Ford became famous for his social blunders, whether they were authentic or fabricated.So going into the 1976 election Ford hoped that, as the incumbent, he would win the election despite his past.

Americans had not quite forgotten about the Watergate crisis and Ford's subsequent actions, though. The Watergate Scandal opened the eyes of American people to see the corruption that was taking place in their own government. The scandal and the state of the economy hurt the Republican party and gave Carter the advantage of being viewed as a newcomer and a reformer.

The 1976 election hollowed the financially conservative Ford against the more liberal Carter. The economic policies of the candidates’ became extremely important as the economy’s recovery from one of the worst post-WWII recessions slowed down. Ford held up a slow-growth policy to fight inflation, while Carter advocated stronger growth at the risk of inflation.

Jimmy Carter, a little known Democrat, slowly gained recognition in primaries, and he eventually won the Democratic nomination. Ford, on the other hand, struggled to win the nomination from his party, almost losing it to former California governor Ronald Reagan. On Election Day, the race was very close, but Carter eked out a victory over Ford, winning 50 percent of the popular vote to Ford's 48.

Carter

Jimmy Carter was born on October 1st, 1924. Carter became the 39th president of the United States in 1977. He won the Nobel peace prize in 2002 and is the only U.S. president to ever win it after his presidency. Before serving as president, Carter was a governor and a senator. His religion is Baptist. Carter, building his campaign on the fact that he was an "outsider," had little experience with politics on the national level. Before he became president, Carter served two terms as a Georgia State Senator and one as the Governor of Georgia (1971-1975). He had been a peanut farmer from a tiny town called Plains. From the start of his presidency, Carter was very down-to-earth and informal; not very much like most politicians. Jimmy Carter also served as a naval officer on diesel-electric submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets.

Deregulation

During his administration, Carter worked to deregulate many key sectors of the nation's economy, particularly the transportation and travel industry. The first major deregulation act passed during his presidency was the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, which removed much of the Civil Aeronautics Board's control over commercial aviation. Before the passage of the act, airlines had to receive government approval of routes, sometimes waiting ten years before getting a decision. Many requests were rejected because, for example, the case had become "stagnant." The Staggers Rail Act, passed in 1980, had a similar effect on the railroad industry.

Another key piece of legislation passed during the Carter presidency was the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act, passed in 1980. It lessened government control on the interest rates for money deposited and saved in banks, so that with higher interest rates, people would be encouraged to save their money.

Energy & Inflation

High prices on oil imports caused inflation to skyrocket during the Carter administration by as much as 12 percent per year. A widening trade deficit (a higher value on imports than on exports) also contributed to the inflation. To stress the need to conserve energy, Carter symbolically turned down the thermostat in the White House. Five laws passed in 1978, collectively known as the National Energy Plan, created a Department of Energy, allotted money from the U.S. budget to go to alternative energy research and created tax incentives to encourage domestic oil production and energy conservation.

In March 1979, nuclear power would also become part of the nation's energy crisis. Nuclear power, which involves splitting atoms and releasing energy while creating hazardous radioactive material, made up more than ten percent of the nation's electricity. A partial meltdown at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, released radiation into the environment, alerting the nation to a potential hazard. Soon a protest movement against nuclear power spread, and while no further nuclear power plants were ordered in the United States, most already in operation continued in operation and most then under construction eventually went into operation.

Camp David Accords

During the 1976 election, peace talks between the middle east, Israel, and the U.S. had stalled. The newly-elected president Carter moved to restart these talks, but when the right-wing Likud Party of Israel took control of the government in an electoral sweep, hopes for continued peace talks seemed all but lost. But Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, frustrated with the stalled process and motivated by prospects that the U.S. might help its anemic economy, decided to visit Israel, thereby recognizing its existence. Israel received Sadat's initiative, and the two countries soon went into bilateral (instead of the multilateral talks with the entire Arab world that Carter and Sadat had hoped for) talks, witnessed by the president at Camp David in Maryland.

The secret negotiations were heated and dramatic, and the two countries had threatened to walk on multiple occasions. Carter had personally appealed to Sadat and Israel leader Menachem Begin to stay in the talks. After twelve days, an agreement was reached, and on September 17th, 1978, the Camp David Accords were signed at the White House.

Hostage Crisis in Iran

In the '70s, Iran was a very strong Persian Gulf ally to the U.S. The Iranian Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, had built up a powerful military with U.S. help. Many Iranians complained about government corruption and the negative influence that the West had on Muslim values. In 1979 however, the shah was forced to leave the country after Islamic fundamentalists, (those who believe in very strict obedience to religious rules) led by the new Iranian ruler Ayatollah Khomeini, took control of the government.

Supported by the fundamentalists, Iranian students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran, the capital of Iran, and took 52 U.S. citizens hostage. The United States was horrified. Negotiations to release the hostages failed and a rescue attempt in the country ended with the death of eight U.S. soldiers.

Though fear of an American-backed return by the Shah was the publicly stated reason, the true cause of the seizure was the long-standing U.S. support for the Shah's government. Reza Pahlavi ruled Iran from 1941 to 1979, with a brief period of exile in 1953 when he fled to Italy due to a power struggle with Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. Because Mossadegh's policies and announcements created concern over access to Iranian oil, oil prices, and possible Soviet influence in Iran, the United States and British intelligence services aided Iranian military officers in a coup to overthrow the Prime Minister. After his return to power, the Shah established a very close alliance with the United States. The U.S. supplied weapons, training, and technical knowledge that aided the Shah in modernizing his country. However, the Shah ruled as a dictator, using SAVAK, his secret police, to terrorize his political enemies. The Shah was opposed by both the Marxist Tudeh Party, and by fundamentalist Islamic leaders who believed his policies and his reliance on the Americans were corrupting Iranian society.

The hostage crisis in Iran greatly lowered the public opinion of Carter, even though there was little else that Carter could do about it. The ordeal took a toll on his campaign for reelection in 1980; the public saw as a president who bargained with terrorists, and he lost to Ronald Reagan, 489 to 49 in the electoral college. An even greater disappointment for his failed campaign came in the last weeks of his term, in January 1981: with hard work, Carter secured the release of the hostages.

Iran-Iraq War

The Iran-Iraq War permanently altered the course of Iraqi history. It strained Iraqi political and social life, and led to severe economic dislocations. Viewed from a historical perspective, the outbreak of hostilities in 1980 was, in part, just another phase of the ancient Persian-Arab conflict that had been fueled by twentieth-century border disputes. Many observers, however, believe that Saddam Hussein's decision to invade Iran was a personal miscalculation based on ambition and a sense of vulnerability. Saddam Hussein, despite having made significant strides in forging an Iraqi nation-state, feared that Iran's new revolutionary leadership would threaten Iraq's delicate Sunni Shia balance and would exploit Iraq's geostrategic vulnerabilities--Iraq's minimal access to the Persian Gulf, for example. In this respect, Saddam Hussein's decision to invade Iran has historical precedent; the ancient rulers of Mesopotamia, fearing internal strife and foreign conquest, also engaged in frequent battles with the peoples of the highlands.

The Iran-Iraq War, also known as the Imposed War by Iraq, began when Iraq invaded Iran on 22 September 1980 following a long history of border disputes and fears of Shia insurgency among Iraq's long suppressed Shia majority influenced by Iran's Islamic revolution. Although Saddam's Iraq hoped to take advantage of revolutionary chaos in Iran and attacked without formal warning, they made only limited progress into Iran and within several months were repelled by the Iranians who regained virtually all lost territory by June 1982. For the next six years Iran was on the offensive. Despite several calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations Security Council, hostilities continued until 20 August 1988. The last prisoners of war were exchanged in 2003.

The war is noted for being very similar to World War I. Tactics used included trench warfare, manned machine-gun posts, bayonet charges, use of barbed wire, human wave attacks and Iraq's extensive use of chemical weapons (such as mustard gas) against Iranian troops and civilians as well as Iraqi Kurds.

Land Mines

This war is noted for the use of Land Mines, and for the use of them as an offensive weapon. Iran put the mines between the US military forces and their ships. Also there was believed to be a push by the Iranians to get human minesweepers, with "Keys to the Kingdom", which is believed to be the inspiration behind suicide bombing in Palestine. Land mines were and still are today a great way to keep an enemy at bay. Being well hidden, land mines are extremely dangerous. Some are powerful enough to take out tanks because of the low amount of armor on the bottom side. There are also mines in the seas that prevent submarines and ships of getting to close.

Terrorism

At the turn of the 19th century, terrorism in the form of political assassination became a major global phenomenon. In the post-World War II years, other types of terrorism became strategies of choice for nationalist groups in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia in their struggles for independence.

In predominantly agrarian societies, this terrorism took the form of guerrilla warfare, with China and Indochina as the classic examples. A number of these national political movements, which owed much of their success to violence, adopted a strategy in the war of semantics surrounding the use of violence. These newly created Third World Countries, as well as their brethren from the communist states, advanced the argument that their fight against colonial oppression was not terrorism but rather the hard work of dedicated freedom fighters.

A significant turning point in the history of terrorism was the formation of Hezbollah (Party of God), formed in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. This Lebanon-based radical Shi’a group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and the teachings of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Its members were not only interested in carrying out the goals of the revolution but were also concerned with the social conditions of their fellow Shiites throughout the Middle East. Hezbollah’s outreach in Lebanon during the 1980’s solidified Lebanese Shiite support and helped spawn smaller terrorist groups, the most recognizable of which was the Islamic Jihad. [1]

Reagan and "Reaganomics"

In the years before and following Reagan's election, a conservative movement grew which complained that the government spent too much money and collected too many taxes. So, Reagan decided to cut taxes and spending. Reagan's policy of supply-side economics (increasing supply and services to stimulate the economy) soon became known simply as "Reaganomics." Reagan took over the worst economy since the Great Depression, unemployment of 13% and inflation of 17%. So called "Reaganomics" cut the top tax rate by half and lowered all other tax rates by a significant margin. The deals struck with the Democratic controlled congress caused an INCREASE in spending and the DECREASED revenue from the tax cuts and smaller tax shelters could not cover the increases in spending on defense Reagan demanded. The largest increase in spending was defense in a plan to bankrupt the Soviet Union. By 1983, the economy began a steady growth, doubling tax revenue, signaling that his plan was successful.

During his Presidency, Ronald Reagan pursued policies that reflected his optimism in individual freedom, expanded the American economy, and contributed to the end of the Cold War. The "Reagan Revolution", as it came to be known, aimed to reinvigorate American morale, and reduce the people's reliance upon government

Reagan made progress in other areas too. He made up for Carter's general indecision by resolving an air traffic controller's strike quickly and cleanly. Although this action did subject the American flying public to a more hazardous aviation situation.

During the years of President Reagan 11,000 air traffic controllers went on strike to fight against so called unfair wages. The people on strike found quite the surprise when they discovered Reagan would not bargain with their request but instead have them fired and never be allowed to be rehired as air traffic controllers once again.

Sandra Day O'Connor Supreme Court nomination

In 1980, Ronald Reagan promised to nominate the first woman to the Supreme Court should he be elected. Then, on July 3, 1981, Associate Justice Potter Stewart, who had been appointed by Dwight Eisenhower in 1958, retired. Reagan fulfilled his promise and nominated Sandra Day O'Connor, a judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals. The Senate confirmed her unanimously, and on September 25, 1981, she became the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court. She served as Associate Justice until January 31, 2006, when her successor, Samuel Alito, was confirmed.

Reagan nominated two other Justices to the Court. In 1986, he successfully nominated Antonin Scalia, and in 1988, he nominated Anthony Kennedy.

Defense

As promised in his campaign, Reagan drastically increased military spending to a level of about $1.6 trillion in five years. This triggered a secondary arms race between the United States and the USSR, and relations between the two fell to levels not seen since the 60s. While Reagan favored drastically increasing spending on the military, the US confidence in full-scale ground war had been broken with the loss of Vietnam in the 70s. Because of this, Reagan favored funding trained insurgents to fight enemy governments instead of committing the army full-scale.

The first major military conflict during Reagan's administration was 1983's Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of the Caribbean island nation of Grenada. When the island was taken over by Marxist Bernard Coard, Reagan used the safety of 500 U.S. medical students working in the government as a pretext for the invasion. The new government was quickly and cleanly overthrown, and served as a model for future conflicts.

Reagan also, with the help of South Africa, funded insurgent groups fighting Soviet-backed regimes in the African nations of Mozambique and Angola. In Afghanistan, which had been invaded by the Soviet Union to the north, the U.S. government provided arms and humanitarian aid to mujahideen rebels fighting the Soviet-backed government. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev, a Communist party reformer, assumed leadership of Russia. Realizing that his Soviet troops were bogged down in a costly guerrilla war, and wanting to regain face with the international community, he announce in 1987 that the Soviet army would be withdrawing from the country. Withdrawal completed in 1989.

Central America and Iran Contra

Hostage takings in the middle east did not end after the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. In 1983, members of an Iranian militant organization were arrested for truck bombings in Kuwait, and an ally militant organization retaliated for the arrests by taking thirty hostages in Lebanon, six of whom were American. In order to free the hostages, the administration decided that it would secretly sell arms to Iran, one of America's greatest enemies, which was in the middle of a war with Iraq. Few countries were willing to supply Iran with weapons, and the United States sold the arms to Iran in the hopes that Iran would pressure the militants in Lebanon to free the hostages. This sale had the explicit approval of Reagan himself.

At the same time, a coup d'état in Nicaragua brought to power the socialist Sandinista government. The country had formerly been friendly territory for multinational corporations and a wealthy ruling class, and this resulted in a large poor class willing to hand power over to left-wing leaders. American interests in Central America seemed in jeopardy with the Sandinista government in power. When the CIA decided to conduct sabotage missions against the Sandinistas without congressional approval, the Republican senate angrily passed the Boland Amendment, which banned the funding of the anti-Sandinista Contra rebels by certain governmental agencies.

Because of this, a few in the Reagan administration decided to, possibly without the President's knowledge, use the proceeds from the secret weapons sale with Iran to secretly fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

These dealings went on in violation of the Boland amendment, and in conflict with statements made by Reagan that he would not negotiate with terrorists. When a Lebanese magazine revealed the weapons-for-hostages dealings in 1986, scandal ensued. Reagan, with pressure from congressional Democrats and the media, created the Tower commission, led by former senator John Tower. The commission in the end laid most of the blame for the dealings on Reagan himself for not paying more attention and not having more direct control over many governmental agencies. The scandal itself raised many separation of power and presidential ethics questions, but Reagan emerged from its aftermath relatively unscathed. By the end of his second term, Reagan once again was registering positive approval ratings.

Changing Modern Society

A broad shift in values and attitudes took place in the U.S. between 1970 and 1990 as financial prosperity spread through American society. Across almost all social and economic groups, the trend was away from community and toward individualism. Aspects of the change included resistance to taxation and support for tax cuts; distrust of government and belief in privatization of public functions on the argument that the private sector could carry them out more effectively; decreased support for public assistance to low-income groups and demands that these groups improve their own economic standing; and a general decrease in the type of public citizen involvement that earlier generations had practiced during the middle decades of the 20th century. Politicians of both major parties hastened to follow these trends, with the Republicans in the lead under Reagan and the elder Bush, while the Democrats, seeing their broad base of voters increasingly drawn toward Republican positions, hastening to follow.

Urban Problems

Many people believed that despite large change in the 60’s and 70’s, race relations were taking a major step back during the Reagan administration. Reagan’s “New Right” caused a more apparent dividing of lines between religions and races. In 1988 national report claimed that blacks and whites were once again segregating. It pointed out the fact that more whites were living in nice suburban homes, while blacks and latinos lived in largely impoverished communities. Although there were more white people living in poverty, the percentage of people of color living in poverty was nearly three times that of whites. The living conditions of people of color living in poor urban communities continued to diminish and the neighborhoods became increasingly diminished as more struggled.

One of the major causes of the danger in poor black neighborhoods was Crack. One of the cheapest and most addictive drugs, Crack is a derivative of cocaine, often cut down and laced with dangerous chemicals such as Draino. Crack first made an impact in New York in 1985, striking poor urban neighborhoods. As more and more people became addicted to crack the business of drug dealing became more profitable and, therefore, more competitive. America saw a steep incline of drug crimes and gang related violence. In 1987 the death toll of gang related violence was at 387 in Los Angeles alone. Many of the victims were innocent bystanders. This increase in violence caused swift action. Many states enacted laws that gave mandatory prison sentences for crack possession. These laws made the punishment of holding 1 gram of crack the equivalent to having 100 grams of cocaine, the drug of choice for higher income whites. These laws are still considered some of the most blatantly racist in recent history. These laws, along with other crackdowns on people of color, caused a disproportion of black and latino convictions compared to people who were white. By 2000, young black men were more likely to have been arrested than to have graduated from college. Many see this as an obvious way to hold young black people down and keep them in impoverished, and even homeless, states.

As the Sun Belt as a whole grew, it accompanied a nationwide trend of migration out of cities and into suburbs. This migration was easier to accomplish with more accessible transportation brought by cars. The service sector of the economy grew along with this shift, at the expense of the shrinking manufacturing industry. Cities in the northern and midwestern "Rust Belt" were left with smaller populations and thus smaller tax bases, and large, poverty-stricken minorities; bankruptcy loomed for many northern cities. Additionally, old downtown areas of cities exhibited gentrification, a phenomenon in which affluent, young middle class citizens move into restored urban areas. This displaced the lower class and poor and contributed to one of the biggest problems of the mid-80s-- homelessness.

Conservative Movements

Neoconservatism The neoconservative movement grew in the 1960s & 1970s as a reaction to the growing antiwar counter-culture & liberal social programs like the Great Society. Neoconservatism advocated a very hawkish, interventionist foreign policy, and was less committed to cutting governmental spending than mainstream conservatism was. While the Reagan administration was the first to show hints of neoconservatism, the movement would not be in the political mainstream until the rise of think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century in the mid and late 90s. The culmination of this movement was the election of George W. Bush in 2000.

The Religious Right Evangelical Christians constitute the main constituency of what is often referred to as the “religious right.” Like neo-conservatism, evangelical Christianity (often referring to themselves as “born-again”) grew in the 1960s & 1970s. Organization such as the Moral Majority, founded in 1979 by televangelist Rev. Jerry Falwell, stressed “family values.”

Conservative Coalition Sharing membership and views on a variety of issues, neoconservatives and the religious right began to join forces in the late 1970s to form a conservative political coalition. The political platform of this coalition included moral opposition to drug use, pornography, and abortion, as well as opposition to the expensive liberal social programs of the 1960s and 1970s. The coalition also favored free-enterprise and foreign policy backed by a strong military.

The new coalition proved to be politically powerful, fueling a conservative victory in the national elections of 1980 when Republicans, supported by neoconservatives and the religious right, earned a majority in the U.S. Senate, while Ronald Reagan won in a landslide over Jimmy Carter in the presidential race. Specifically, California’s “Christian Voice” was influential in the 1980 election, swaying the vote in the South & the Midwest. The Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority registered approximately 3 million voters from 1979 to 1980.

African Americans in Politics

By the 80s, African Americans saw a level of political empowerment and representation unseen during the course of the country's history. Mostly running as Democrats, the 80s saw the rise of many major black political players. Shirley Chisholm, a Brooklyn native, was elected to Congress in 1968, representing New York's 12th district. She was one of the founding members of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus, which would eventually constitute a large chunk of the Democratic caucus itself. Today, the powerful group boasts 43 members, all Democrats. Eventually Chisholm would be the first African American and first woman to make a serious (though unsuccessful) bid for the Presidency, but it would not be until Obama that one would get on the ticket in the general election.

In 1984, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson decided to make a bid for the Democratic nomination for the presidency and exceeded expectations, winning five southern primaries. Although he lost the nomination to Vice President Walter Mondale, Jackson was seen as a more credible candidate for the 1988 election. This proved to be an accurate prediction, with he and eventual nominee Michael Dukakis running neck and neck for the nomination. Briefly, Jackson was considered the frontrunner. Despite his loss, Jackson would remain politically active and would continue to push for progressive reform and civil rights for many minority groups, notably including homosexuals.

Other black politicians were appointed to positions of power as well. In 1967 President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Thurgood Marshall to the supreme court. Marshall became the first African American to serve on the bench, and he did not retire until 1991. Clarence Thomas became the second black justice when he replaced Marshall that same year. As a general in the army, Colin Powell was appointed to the position of National Security Advisor, and was eventually elevated to the powerful position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a civilian, Colin Powell was appointed to the position of Secretary of State by George W. Bush in 2001. This was the first time a black person had been appointed Secretary of State and was the highest ranking position that any African American had held before.

References

  1. Kushner, Harvey. Encyclopedia of Terrorism. California. Sage Publications Inc. 2003. Print.