USA was under the European colonization in the period between the 16th and the 18thcenturies. During this period heavy economicgrowth was experienced in the country. The economic growth was as a result of massive industrialization, trading activities done within the nation’s borders and more so the supportive political-legal system. Numerous agricultural activities in the marginal colonial economies also added up to the economic advancement. The USA was endowed with a rich supply of natural resources including coal, iron and oil. The USA inhabitants developed a high entrepreneurial spirit and had a great commitment to investing in both material and human capital.
The Americans revolution against the Europeans ended in the year 1781 after they attained their independence. During the period after attainment of self-independence plentiful activities were executed in a bid to rebuild their nation. This would have only been accomplished by developing strong and stable economic and political background. Between 1790 and 1830 the Us experienced a massive demographic growth and the population burst to about ten million people. After Napoleon’s final defeat in 1815, the United States of America experienced the greatest number of immigrants.
During this period between 1800 and 1830 a major transportation breakthrough occurred. It was during this time that a dense railroad network was established totaling to about 3500 miles coverage. This dramatically improved transportation and goods and people could easily access various parts of the United States. By this time the population growth was rampant majorly caused by immigration and a rise in the birth rates. The economic growth experienced was both advantageous and disastrous to the ordinary Americans.
The capitalism adopted by the Americans resulted in immense economic activity. Establishment of manufacturing industries and expansive farms created employment opportunities for the common citizens. Large populations were involved in trading activities which resulted in amassment of wealth. Nevertheless, economic expansion had some disastrous effects on the common people. Industrialization and agriculture stemmeda relapse in slavery. There ensued massive discrimination against people in the lower economic brackets especially the Irish immigrants. The poor who did not own land moved to the urban areas. Congestion in the cities resulted in numerous social problems. These problems include creation of slums, spread of diseases due to poor garbage disposal. Mechanization for example invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney also resulted in widespread unemployment. This brought about a rise in the crime levels especially among the common people.
2. How slavery affected the economy of the slave states in 1800s
During the colonial regime in the United States, labour in the industries was majorly provided by the slaves. Most of these slaves had been sources from Africa and were seen as the cheapest source of labour. Prior to the American Revolution, the slaves worked in tobacco, cotton and rice plantations mainly in Virginia and Maryland. The invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney changed the lives of slaves. Between 1800 and 1850 relapse of repression was experienced particularly in SouthCarolina,Georgia and the newly colonized Mississippi.
A slave state prior to the American civil war was a state in which slavery was legal unlike in the Free State in which slavery was legally prohibited.Slavery divided the United States of America into free and slave states. Mississippi was an epicenter of cotton production in the first half of the 19th century. Cotton growth was a labour intensive venture that called for a huge number of labourers. The huge number of labourers was required for growing, attending to and harvesting the cotton in the expansive plantations.
At the time of signing the constitution in the post independent USA there were above half a million slaves. The delegates who had been mandated with drafting of the constitution were torn in between legalizing and abolishing slavery in the United States. Abolishing slavery would be at the expense of the cotton industry in the USA. The delegates thus compromised humanity for the sake of prosperity of the USA economy. Despite abolishment of the world’s slave trade, in the US the practice still remained.
States that freely permitted slavery include; Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. These states were characterized by economic preeminence compared to Free states. This states flourished in terms of commercial activities. It is in these states that plantations of tobacco and cotton thrived. Bearing in mind the agrarian based economy, slaves were of great significance economic wise. When ports in the US were blockaded in 1960s, a huge drop in crop production was experienced. To be precise slavery was the backbone of economic prosperity in most of the states in the United States of America in the half of the 19th century.
3- American’s success in expanding the United States’ west in the 1840s and 1850s
The period between 1800 and 1850 was characterized with massive settler migration to the west of the United States. They settled in the western states like Texas and California. Others even crossed the borders and got into western lands belonging to the Mexicans. They also inhabited the Oregon country whose ownership was claimed by both the Britain and the United States. By the year 1845, the United States had gained control of the southern part of Oregon and Mexican islands.
By 1920s the American natives had established numerous settlement schemes in the far west region of the Mississippi river. A movement duped the westward movement had been established by the 1830. The people in this movement pushed their frontier past the Mississippi into Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. The land in between their target land and the part they currently inhabited was dry and not arable. This further motivated them to keep on moving. In the year 1840 a large number of natives made it to their target, the far west. Most of them were from the North and the South who came to America seeking livelihood an example being the Mormons.
A number of factors motivated the Americans in their expansion to the west. Some of the immigrants especially from the North moved to the west in search of religious freedom. Belief in the doctrine of manifest destiny was another motivating factor. This doctrine made the American’s think that the United States was supposed to control the whole of North America. This made them to fiercely demand control of Oregon and the Mexican lands.
Election of Andrew Jackson in the year 1828 was a great boost to the Americas subjugation of the west territories. He was an able leader who took quick steps to reduce the power of the wealthy easterners besides strengthen the westerners.The spirited fight of the Americans against the Mexicans in a bid to conquer the Mexican territory played a great role in expansion to the west. The war that prevailed in the year 1846 to 1848 saw the United States of America annex the Texas state in 1940s. Discovery of gold at Sutter’s mill in California in 1848 also motivated the US shift to the west. Generally, anticipated economic and social growth were the main motivating factors in the west expansion.
4- The triumph of the union in the civil war.
During the American civil war the federal government of the United States of America was referred to as the Union. During the civil war theGovernment was supported by twenty Free states and five slave states.The war had been waged by 11 slave states in the south against the federal government in their quest to secede and form the confederate states of America. Basically the war was between states and hence the name “the civil war”. Those states that remained loyal to the federal government were known as the union. The causative reason of the war was the contemptuous issue of slavery.
The civil war transpired within a span of four years from 1861 and ended in 1865.In 1861 seven slave states whose economies were agricultural based and heavily relied on slavery for survival formed a confederacy. The incoming president by the time, Abraham Lincoln tried to use dialogue by holding a peace conference in a bid to get a compromise. The peace conference however failed to find a compromise and thus the two antagonistic parties broke into war.
A number of key factors led to the unions triumph over the newly formed confederacy. Eight of the slave states failed to join the confederacy in their recession quest. This was a major blow to the confederacy as they required a strong army to defeat the union. The European countries who were supplied with cotton by the confederacy failed to intervene and support them. The union’s victory was also cultivated by firm control over the Border States and establishment of the naval blockade that crippled the southern economy. A resilient union army which was well equipped and had the number further weakened the confederacy. Generally the union was advantaged over the confederacy in terms of population and industry.
Nonetheless a number of dynamics led to a delay in the union’s conquest of the confederacy. Abraham Lincoln on his election tried to apply negotiation to end the conflict. This consumed some time that could have been used I the war.Defectionsof some of the slave states in the support the confederacy was also a major reason that occasioned the slow advancement. The fierce resistance offered by the southern states also delayed the conquest.
5- The reconstruction period in the United States of America
The reconstruction period occurred in the span of time between 1865 and 1877 that followed the American civil war. During this period the self-seceded states were re-admitted back to the United States of America. The plan started when the then president of the United States announced the first comprehensive reconstruction program known as the ten percent plan. The ten percent plan stipulated that one-tenth of a state’s voters took oath of loyalty to the federal government. This was done in an attempt to weaken the confederacy.
The reconstruction process had a few hitches. The first constraint was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865. This was a great loss to the America’s people bearing in mind the spirited fight the President had staged against social evils such as racialism. He had also channeled a lot of effort towards unification of America. The period was faced with a lot of questions about the terms under which the confederacy would be reconsidered back to the union.
The reconstruction period can be said to be more of a success than a flop.It is during this period the confederacy was re-united with the other loyal states. By the year 1877 all of the former confederate states had drafted a new constitution in accordance to the statutes of the United States of America and pledged their loyalty to the US federal government. Lenient measures were taken by AbrahamLincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson. He pardoned the union’s offenders in the south and outlined friendly means to newly form new state governments..
In conclusion, reconstruction was a major stride in the development of the modern USA. It facilitated unification of all states. It also settled the states’ rights against the federalism argument which had been a matter of concern since 1790s.Nevertheless the reconstructionfailed in granting the blacks rights against the oppressive whites.
Image assignment 1- How improvements in transportation affected the US economy in 1820-1840