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History Questions

How did the North American colonies transform themselves into the United States from the time of initial settlement at Jamestown to the drafting of the U.S. Constitution in 1787? What were some issues that challenged colonial unity during this period? What ultimately united the colonies during this period?

By the 1750s, most of the colonies were states that practiced self-governance. Each of them had a local elite population that dominated the social and political life, and popularly appointed the lower assembly house. The rise of the colonies to form the United States of America was mostly informed by republicanism, which was an enlightenment ideology. Men who were enlightened idealized the republics of ancient Rome and Greece, and it was this glorification of these ancient civilizations that informed the ideals and concepts of liberal political and arts education debate in the world of English speakers, that initially sparked the colonies’ response against British control.

As the colonies progressed from being a group of people to a society, it also came up with governments based on the notion that constant interchange will produce a common interest with every part of the society, and that they will naturally and mutually support each other, and on this depended the strength of the established government and the contentment of the governed. The colonies, therefore, felt that they did not need to be under the British control for a number of reasons. One of the reasons was that the colonies did not need to stay connected to the British to attain economic success. Another reason was that the British control had stirred up controversies that broke economic ties of the colonies with Spain and France.

There were a number of issues, however, that threatened the existence of the colonies as United States. For instance, they clashed at several meetings on issues of taxation and trade. They disagreed on the connections in trade that the colonies had with England. Other challenges came in the form of conflicts between moderates, radicals and conservatives. Problems over gender, race and territorial expansion also threatened the existence of this unity. However, despite these disagreements, the colonies where able to come together and form a constitution. This unity was mainly driven by the notion that the constitution, which was based on the Declaration of independence, would fight for the rights of all individuals, that it would further equality and freedom and exist as independent states.

Outline the conflict between Federalism and Anti-Federalism during the early years of theAmerican Republic. How did this conflict change after the ratification of the Constitution? How did issues of slavery and expansion affect this conflict?

The politics in America were dominated mainly by the Federalist Party, which adopted the constitution of the United States and the federal government expansion. The era was marred with struggles between England and France; the establishment of political parties and the assertion of a federal government that was both centralized and strong. The federalists were the likes of Alexander Hamilton, who gave support to the ratification of the constitution and the establishment of a government that was strong and centralized. Hamilton was the Secretary of the Treasury and he perpetuated the idea that the government was extremely weak under the Articles of Confederation. As it follows, they wanted a national government that was fiscally sound. He wanted to establish a United States bank that the nation could use to pay off debts incurred during revolution. He also wanted to avoid competition that was unnecessary and destructive between the federal governments and the states governments, while offering the federal governments revenue.

Anti- federalists, on the other hand, where the likes of Thomas Jefferson, who were extremely opposed to the ratification of the constitution as they thought that such an action would result to reduced power of the state. He and his colleagues feared that the federal government had the ability to infringe on personal liberty. As the US ratified its constitution between 1789 and 1787, violent and heated debates resulted over the role the federal government played.

Anti- federalists, for instance, stormed the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention. Samuel Adams and John Hancock negotiated the Massachusetts compromise, which stated that the state would approve the constitution on condition that it would be amended to include such things as the Bill of Rights, and specifying clearly, what rights citizens possessed. However, the establishment of the constitution on the terms of the Federalist Party called for freedom and rights to all people, there still were implication that this was not the case. The American expansion, for instance, was motivated directly by the growth of the ideology by Jackson to exterminate all Indians and the growth of southern slavery. Jackson expressed that justice and self- preservation are two different things that America must hold in different hands. These ideologies affected and watered- down the ideologies that the American constitution was based on as many black and Indian people were still being subjected to harassment, racism, inequality and violence.

How did slavery affect the development of America during the period before the Civil War?Give specific examples of legislation, social and reform movements, and federal policy.

The issue of slavery can be said to be one of the most influential elements of development in America. The vice, for instance, drove market revolution in the nation. Human resources facilitated the movement of information, commodities, and people across America. Textile mills and other kinds of industries, all which operated on slavery, created economic and market development in the nation promoting economic growth. Slaves were used to improve transportation and infrastructure like road networks, steamboats, canals and railroads, which were later used in trade. The creation of canals by slaves also allowed carriages to move rapidly between trade centers. Railroads were also created using slave power, in addition to being used to expand factories and production.

The First great awakening, which involved the slaves, also furthered development of new religious movements and trends in the US, with churches and church attendances increasing. It was in some of the churches that some movements that resulted to the formulation policies and freedoms developed. For instance, Charles Grandison Finney preached to both men and women of the middle class and incited them to fight for their rights. The second great awakening also involved the slave and it helped in invigorating the temperance movement, which was led by Lyman Beecher, in 1826. Temperance advocates were against liquor, as they believed that it led to crime, idleness and family violence.

They then sought to end licenses to serve and supply liquor in local taverns. The second great awakening also contributed to the new anti- slavery movement, which derived its ideologies from the teachings of Lloyd Garrison. Blacks were subject to violence, discrimination and inequality from white people and they constantly faced racism at work, access to equality and education. As a result, of these, they sought to establish their own institutions, which are still in operation today to fight against discrimination and nurture their communities. These included schools, social movements, journalism clubs and churches.

Describe three things that led to the Civil War. Why was the Confederacy built on whitesupremacy, and what factors contributed to Union victory in 1865?

Though the causes of the civil war are arguably diverse and different, there are a number of them that many historians agree with. Slavery, for instance, was central to the increasing political tension that later led to the civil war. The Republican Party was struggling to ensure that slavery did not spread, and may southern state leaders threatened secession if Lincoln, the Republican candidate won the election. Many southern leaders felt that the disunity that would follow was the only option for them after Lincoln won. Sectionalism also increased to the tensions between the two sections of the nation, and this fueled the war. In addition to this, another possible cause of the war was battle for soil and land ownership and giving of power to the slaves, which many antislavery forces in the north thought would affect the values of the republicans.

The Confederacy was mainly built on white supremacy because it was composed of all the states that were for slavery, and those that seceded from the government because of the issue of giving slaves power and freeing them. The confederacy, therefore, was only made up of those states that were discriminatory against other ethnicities. The union victory of 1865 was mainly added on to by a number of elements, which included cutting off some parts of the confederacy, and excellent railroad between cities. In addition to this, the emancipation proclaimed enables both escaped and free slaves to join the war, adding to the weakness of the confederacy army.

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