Posted: November 27th, 2013
History and Culture of United States
Just like other countries today, the United States was colonized too by the Europeans, during the exploration history of the world. This brought cultures that influenced it, and it is still experienced today. Some of the European countries that explored the United States were the Spanish, French, and the Englishmen who were the last, and the Native Americans fought against them to gain freedom and enact a constitution of their own, which is still used today. The major events that occurred during these times were the American Revolution, civil wars, demolishing of slavery and inclusion of civil rights. The English were the majority of the European settlers, and in 1775, with the help of the French, the Native Americans won, and in 1789, they ratified their constitution, which became the common law used by the federal government and still exists today. Later, they were to fight for independence again, and when the abolition of slavery was put across, this divided some states that formed the confederate states, and a civil war emerged, which after its end, the reconstruction followed. The history and culture of the United States has been shaped and influenced by these events since then after ratification of the constitution and continues to exist today.
Early Post Ratification Era
After the ratification of the constitution when the nation formed its government, George Washington was the first president and he managed to build a government that was strong and recognized by many in Americans. During this era, two parties were formed; the Federalist Party was formed, being the first in the world to be formed by on a base of votes. The aim was to help stabilize financial situations at the time, in the treasury, and tax programs were set. Republican Party, which was called Democratic Republican, was formed as the opposition party. The culture of democracy and right for people to vote was demonstrated when the people would line up behind one party showing support, hence a party system was formed. In 1812 to 1815, the Americans fought again in the battle of Orleans, which they regarded as a second victory to independence. In the 1830s, there were resettlement of people after the Indian Removal Act was passed and many people were displaced, as the lands of the native Americans were being exchanged with the west side of the Mississippi river. In the 1840s, a movement that meant to abolish slavery started mobilizing people to support it, with the assertion that slavery was a sin, and an evil act. It gained many supporters and little by little the anti slavery movements gained popularity and liberation of slaves began. Americans learned to fight for their rights and each time, democracy advanced and people were able to have their voice aired. With time, they had gained independence but European settlers remained in the country, but were under the new rules of the Native Americans.
The Era of Civil War
During the mid of the 19th century, the demand for cotton in the world had gone high and majority of the southern states took advantage of it. At the same time, there were anti slavery movements whose aim was to liberate the slaves who worked in these farms and this meant that the labor force would decrease, an issue that brought different views between the northern states and the southern states. The southern states opposed the liberation of the slaves while the northerners agreed to free them. Another conflicting issue was taxation of the cotton and it brought conflict between the two sides. This was the major cause of civil war, which resulted in many deaths of the Americans. During the start of the war, Abraham Lincoln tried to unite the two sides through peace negotiations. However, the two sides chose to take sides, further aggravating the conflict that resulted into war, with the southern states calling themselves Confederate states, while the northern side called itself the Union. The objective of the war was to force the southern to join the Union instead of standing independently on its own. It could have managed, but since the federal government aimed to unite all the states, the war took place when the southern side could not agree to join the Union states.
The war began around 1861, when the confederate states forces attacked a military setting up of the United States and it is this time that Abraham Lincoln called the two sides for peace negotiations, which failed. The armies realized that this was not just a contest of armies but was going to be worse. The first battle took place at the first battle of Bull Run, where the Union states were defeated; soon, the war took place at two sides, the western and the eastern. The Union states had many defeats in the Eastern, but won the battles in the western, where they destroyed the confederate armies. In the eastern, the Union states suffered major defeats from the confederate states, but they persisted on. After the second Bull Run battle, where the confederate won, it gave them confidence to invade the Union, where they were defeated. Later in other battles, the Confederate states won in eastern and persisted on, ignoring the western. The last two years of the war were more deadly, when the Union persuaded the Confederacy forces in their territory until they surrendered.
After the civil war, many achievements were made with some of them being to manage to end slave trade, the Union was restored and the United States became more firm as a nation and the federal government too, was strengthened. After the war, the reconstruction era was set, where it aimed at rebuilding the unity between the two sides and forming one nation, that would become the superpowers. Among the issues given attention were political, economic social and racial factors, which continue to exist today in America and make the nation what it is today, the United States of America.
Today in America, many communities, which were not natives of America live freely and participate in building of the nation with equal rights to all races in America. Before the civil war, the black communities were not allowed to take part in any decisions, or become leaders, but rather, they were objects owned by the Americans. After the civil war when they were liberated, reconstruction took place and involved amending the constitution to offer civil rights to all races, including the blacks. The fourteenth amendment gave citizenship to all the races and people who were born in America. The fifteenth amendment gave all people irrespective of their races to participate in voting and civil rights were enacted to prevent discrimination of any race. However, some white groups felt that giving equal rights to black people was not right and opposed the amendments together with the civil rights initiated.
In the reconstruction, politics was a major complex issue as it was still a new thing in this nation. The reconstructions also involved how the Confederacy states, which had seceded from the Union, would be enacted back into the federal government, but still maintain their state governments. Reconstruction had began before the civil war, but was not possible since the Confederacy states could not give in and after the war, they were forced to abide to the amendments that abolished slavery and their nationalism, which would ensure they would fit well into the federal government.
It is common to find that racism still exists among the different communities in America, but most important is how all races are equally regarded by law and all races have equal civil rights and even blacks, are leaders, considering that the current president is from a black community. The constitution has continued to be amended to incorporate important details that may not have been included and the federal government of the United States is the strongest, keeps the culture of maintaining democracy together with freedom among all, and extends it to other nation. The civil war continues to be regarded as the bloodiest wars of America although it played a major role in shaping the United States even today.
Smith, Michael. “More Than a Contest between Armies: Essays on the Civil War Era (review)” Civil War History 57, no. 1 (2011): 90-91
Tindal, George, Shi David and Durbin Jon. America: A Narrative History. New York, NY: W W Norton & Co Inc. 2009
Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.