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The Making Of America Essay, Research Paper

The making of America was a collaboration of colonial experimentation, a unique blend of different people and culture, and a slow emmergence of concerted political ideals. Some colonies had measureable success, some did not, and one entirely dissappeared. Never before had such a scope of people of different race, nationality, and religion all share the same land. These people would oppress, torture and even kill each other. However, by late eighteenth century they would find enough common ground to stand against the tyranny of England and win their independece. Christopher Columbus sailed for seventeen weeks from Spain, a very digrumpled crew was elated to see, on October 12, 1492, land. Columbus proved that the world was round and although he thought it to Asia, he discovered North America. European countries began commissioning voyages to explore and claim this land. The only inhabitor’s was a very primitive group of natives; many called them “savages.”The encounters with these natives sometimes were friendly, but often the visitors lay heavy bloodshed on them. There were many failures in English attempts to colonize the most dramatic being “the lost colony” of Roanoke. One-hundred and seventeen colonists settled in1585 at Roanoke. Five years later returning with supplies no one was found, no life was found except a carving on tree stating “croaton.” The colonies were not bound for success until they had ample financial support from Britain’s elite and ample bodies. Soon it happened, about 80,000 people left England between 1600 and 1640, as economic political and religious developments pushed them from their homeland at the same time the dream for oppurtunity and adventure drove them westward. Within twenty years-another 80,000 departed to the Americas. The first esablished colony was Jamestown in 1607. It was treated as a company in England and shares were available to investors hoping to cash in, and its distributors received the funding they needed for expeditions and replenishment. The first settlers were wealthy gold seekers, who knew little of true work and the others were criminals and other unskilled laborers. This combination was not very fitting for such a climate; additionally unfaithful dealings with the natives ceased any assisance in survival techniques but also created an enemy. The first year many people died. England opened a promise of 50 acres of land for anyone willing to journey to Virginia. This brought many farmers and laborers hoping to better themselves. Although in most cases England did not keep their promise, it did bring the some success in sustainability. The first legislative body was established to create laws and resolve conflicts in 1624 called the House of Burgess, they also fascilated the demands of the royal govenor. The hope and promise buzzed through Europe. Catholics who were an oppressed minority in England settled in an area of the Chesapeake called Maryland lead by Lord Baltimore. A blend of Protestants joined them and they set up on scattered riverfront plantations. They maintained peaceful relations with local Indian tribes, gathered indentured servants, and grew tobacco like their Virginia neighbors. Colonists in this area discovered how well tobacco flourished. The discovery of tobacco’s fertility in the area aroused a need for cheap, unskilled labor. Slaves, who were not contracted, they were owned, soon replaced indentured servants. By the eighteenth century, slaves were traded heavily in the South. They were mostly captured in Africa and traded abroad. The slave was cut- off from everything in his/her former life-language, family, and friends, familiar geography, and status. They were treated like property-bought and sold, and tortured without retribution. By 1760, their numbers were nearly 200,000. They provided a workforce that was more pliable. A major settlement also occurred in northern colony called Massachusetts. The “Puritans” arrived in 1620 at Plymouth. The reason for their arrival was simply religious freedom. The Puritans believed the Church of E`ngland still had Catholic influence. They looked to create a society dedicated to God with a “pure” Protestant foundation. The belief that community and an unrelenting work ethic is the key to God and survival allowed them to flourish. . They had a strong economy based agriculture, timbering, and fur trading and fishing. They established town halls to decide community issues on an annual basis and provided a state house to do the same. They also established the first printing press in colonial America, as well as the first seed of a university, Harvard College in 1636, for training of hopeful clergymen. This “Ideal Utopia” was somewhat of a fascade. These representatives of God massacared thousands of Indians between 1600-1750 until they were retreated well into the western mountains. Their religious beliefs grew into hysteria when they accused and executed twenty women of witchcraft. They banished the likes of Roger Williams and Abigail Adams for speaking aloud of injust, where consequentally Rhode Island and Connecticuit became settled. The Puritans sought to banish diversity in a place that had never before witnessed as much.

A people called the Quaker’s who also felt that England’s Protestant religion was far from pure, came to settle an area donated by William Penn, respectively called Pennsylvania. They believed heavily in the religion, however, they believed that everyone had a right to live with their own belief system. The Quakers farmers shared Pennsylvania with all that could live in a society of peace. People of all nationalities, color, and religious background. Penn established a constitution and an assembly where all free men could vote. This proved to be one of the most successful violent free colonies for many years.The remaining area from the St. Lawrence to the Hudson was mainly French and Dutch settled. The Dutch had peaceful trade relations with Iroqouis Indians and both maintained profits and subtstaince for several generations. Throughout the all colonies, different nationalties mixed i. e., Germans, Dutch, French, Swedish, etc. The religions also scattered. America was not exclusive; it was inclusive. They would shortly find out how inclusive they were, when they shared oppression from England. The concept of Church was a foundation of successful colonial settlement. The Church, by mid-eighteenth century became a monument of power and greed rather than divinity. Two significant events took place addressing this problem. The “great awakening” reminded people as to the reason for colonial settlement. It also advocated a more personal relationship with God less reliant on the Church. The “glorious revolution” was event expressed the importance of church, no matter what religion. This event lead to more tolerance in religious diversity. Although, the colonies were English controlled, they were led to believe that more political freedom would exist than they previously experienced. By late seventeenth century, a bicameral legislature existed in almost all colonies. However, the royal governor had defacto power. These governors’s had imployed a number of impositions on the colonists. Formerly only a prescense in maritime affairs Parliament imposed several restrictions that would lead to hostility. The Sugar Acrt, imposed taxes on molasses, the Currency Act, forbade issuing paper money, and The Stamp Act, mandated a stamp on all circulated documents.Colonial resistance instigated more regulations. The Townsend duties taxed lead, painter’s colors, and tea. The Quartering Act of 1765 suspended assemblies that would not comply. The Quareteing Acts also required colonists to help fund the war with France and accomadate British soldiers when needed. These acts of “taxation without representation” lead to colonial rebellion. Violent protests left royalists stunned. The most effective reaction was the boycott on all British products and the refusal export. The Townsend act was repealed, except for the tea. Later that evening British troops fired on an unruly crowd killing five people. The continounce of the tea tax, lead to demonstration in Boston Harbor. A band of Bostonians bordered a British ship and dumped 10000 pounds worth of tea into the ocean. It became obvious at a point that the revolt was not just on taxes but on the British themselves. In reaction, British issued the “Intolerable Acts,” closing Boston’s ports until the tea was paid for. In order to address these concerns, the first Continental Congress gathered inviting all colonies, in Philadelphia. Meanwhile several thousand British troops attempted to seize leaders in Boston. Now many revolutionary committies met illegally to discuss options. The second Continental Congreass met inMay 1775 and chose George Washington to lead an army of 20,000 to defend the colonies. They wrote a declaration of causes to taking-up arms, and begged British governors to make reconciliation. This plea was rejected and a war broke. Thomas Paine wrote an easy to read essay entitled Common Sense, it reached more colonists than any other publication. This publication outlined the offenses of the British and reasons for revolution. This combined with British continued taxes and attacks led to an accord by all the colonies that a bid for independence was necessary.The Declaration of Independence was signed, representing all the colonies, on July 4, 1776. Despite several battle loses, the hit and run method of attack and the assitance of the French navy, British troops were defeated. The British were also far too occuopied with their war with France. A peace treaty with England was signed in Paris 1783. The Articles of Confederation was signed in 1781 outlining basic rights and relations between colonies. All colonies except Massachusetts agreed to separate Churh and State. The United States Constitution was ratified in 1788 outlining the mechanics of the federal republic. Shortly there after, the Bill of Rights was added insuring legally the rights in which the country had fought for. George Washington was elected the first president of the United States of America. Slavery was altogether abolished in the northern states. It was outlawed in all states to trade slaves except in Georgia and South Carolina. Although, many problems would arise working out the niches of a young country, the foundation had been set for a country to safely build on.


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