Essay Summary of American History
Protestant reformation was a reform movement that was staged in Europe at around 1517, though critics argue that it may have began earlier than that. In the US it was Martin Luther who began the movement that was to end in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. The reason behind the movement was the Catholic Church malpractices within the church that prompted a change of the perceived order. The Catholic Church leaders of the time practiced corruption in buying and selling of church positions that was rampant even climbing up to the Pope. [Eric Foner, 2006]
Antinomianism is a state of lawlessness whereby members of a particular religious group are not under any obligation to follow the set doctrines, it is a complete opposite of legalism which is taken to mean the bidding set rules are obligatory especially if salvation is to be earned. This term plays a great role in various oppositions on set religious doctrines in the mainstream church with some sections calling themselves as antinomian. The American history is characterized by antinomianism especially during the colonial period. [Eric Foner, 2006]
Jeremiad is a piece of long literary work that was taken from the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. The work that is mostly portrayed in prose or even in poetry form is named after the Biblical Prophet Jeremiah and it is a bitter lamentation on the societal wickedness and also does not hesitates to proclaim the coming wrath of God to the Kingdom of Judah as result of its rulers breaking of the covenant. [Eric Foner, 2006] The first term which is the more important of the other two helps in unveiling a basis of the modern protestant churches as such therefore it gives credit to the other two terms.
The second term seeks to reinforce the actions that are described in the first term and were the genesis of reforms in the church, God created man and gave him a wide freedom to choose even to obey his teachings/commandments or not. This freedom which can be interpreted as antinomianism has led to divisions or reforms in the church. The third term serves to give a warning message to any acts of wrong doing, moral decay, antinomianism, and the like.
The description of the Kingdom of Judah’s wickedness is similar to the activities of early Catholic Church corrupt activities and the acts of antinomianism in some religious quarters, which will all face the wrath of God as proclaimed in the Jeremiad. The three terms as explained above are closely connected; this is because they talk of one theme, about divisions which arises in the Christian church and what consequences may follow in the event of such divisions. The terms help in giving a deeper insight as to the nature of the early church, the forces that shaped it and the likely direction the church may take in future.
[Eric Foner, 2006] They are therefore very important for today’s Christian work in connecting with the past and therefore working on that knowledge to prepare for present and future challenges. Again, they are important in explaining the history of American Protestant church; the circumstances that led to its formation, this information may proof to be handy especially in cases of studying or explaining current religious alignments and practices among the American populace. II Powhatan Confederacy is a term used to refer to a group of Native North Americans who belonged to the Algonquian branch of the Algoniquian-Wakashan linguistic stock.
This group of people occupied the most of the tidewater Virginia and eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay. Wahunsonacock or Powhatan as the British referred him was the leader of the confederacy by 1607. This group of people is believed to have been driven further north to Virginia by the Spanish, and later they conquered other five smaller local tribes and hence expanded the confederacy. [Gordon Wood, 2002] The Virginia Company referred to a pair of joint stock companies hat were chartered by James I in 1606 with purpose of establishing settlements on the coast of North America.
The pair of companies was the London Company and the Plymouth Company all which operated with similar charters but operated on different territories to avoid duplication of efforts. The two companies were allowed to establish local councils but the ultimate authority remained with the king through the council of Virginia, further, they were also given authority to establish colonies in the interiors of their area of operations and as a result the London Company established the James settlement along the James River. [Gordon Wood, 2002]
Pontiac’s Rebellion was a war between the North American Indians and the British as a result of the oppressive British policies in the great lakes region. This war was joined by warrior from numerous tribes in order top bar the British from settling in the area. The war was named after the famous Ottawa leader Pointaiac who was the most powerful of many native leaders who involved in the war. A British General, Jeffrey Amherst imposed unpopular policies and as a result there was a bloody attack on a number of British fort sand settlements killing and even capturing some British citizens.
The British reiterated and this fueled the war a treaty was signed in 1674 to end the war. [Gordon Wood, 2002] The three terms are related in that they all teach us about the history of the North American territory, the first term helps to give a brief account on the earliest inhabitants of the Northern region of America, who other tribes are whom they share the region with and the approximate time they settled in the area.
The second article gives an account of how the earliest inhabitants described in the first article came to be ruled by the colonial masters, the British. Again, this article gives an account of the effect of the British rule to natives bad if the British rule was popular among the ruled and if there was any risks of facing uprising. The third article now tells us on the reactions of the ruled natives by the British, after years of oppression the local residents, the article therefore acts as a conclusion to what the first two articles were discussing about.
The three articles are very important because when combined they give a clear picture about the historical information about the composition of the North Americans inhabitants and how they fared in as far as the colonial intrusion is concerned. The papers also play a major role into defining the nature of colonial time politics, the socio-economic conditions that the North Americans endured under the hands of the colonial oppressors. From the articles we also learn the driving force behind the colonial intrusion and oppression e.
g. for prospecting of minerals, to secure lands to settle surplus population like was the example of the Virginia company. [Gordon Wood, 2002] III The English Navigation Acts were a series of laws that were enacted to restrict the use of foreign shipping for trade between England and its colonies. These acts fueled negative resentments from the American colonies against Great Britain and as a result they ignited war flames whereby wars such the American Revolutionary War erupted.
Oliver Cromwell engineered the passing of the navigation act of 1651 that provided that England should conduct trade with its own ships. The act also banned foreign ships from transporting goods into England or its colonies from outside Europe and also banned a third party countries ships from transporting goods from a country elsewhere in Europe to England. As a result a war was imminent; the following battles were attributed to this treaty, the First Anglo-Dutch war, Battle of Portland, battle of the Gabbard, and the Battle of Scheveningen. [Gordon Wood, 2002]
Bacon’s Rebellion was an uprising in 1676 that was led by Nathaniel Bacon in the Virginia colony; it was the first rebellion of its kind to have involved American colonies whereby frontiersmen took to the battle after being oppressed by the Royal Governor of Virginia, William Berkeley leadership. The war resulted from ill sentiments emanating from a group of “free holders” who demanded that the American-Indians settlers be driven out of the treaty-protected lands or be killed. This culminated into severe counter attack battler whereby many Indians were killed.
Bacon emerged as a ruthless militia leader who harbored the feelings that the Indians were better killed, however, Berkeley refused and the ensuing struggle saw bacon overthrow Berkeley and therefore he declared a war against the Indians whom he referred to as parasites. [Gordon Wood, 2002] The Seven Years’ War of 1756 to 1763 virtually touched on all the major European countries of the time and left over 1. 4 million people dead, it was the British who nicknamed the war the seven years war after entering it when it was I the second term.
It pitted Great Britain, Luxemburg, and all the Great Britain colonies of North America, British East India company one side against France, Austria, French East India Company and also the French North American colony of New France, the Russian Empire, and Sweden. The aftermath of the war saw France loosing her position as a major colonial power as lose many of North American colonies as well as West Indian islands. Her navy was destroyed completed. The war also saw the colonies that were involved in the war to emerge very strong both economically and politically.
[Gordon Wood, 2002] The three articles has close link between them as they all talk about the various battles that helped to shape the socio-political disposition of the US. The first article explains the genesis of some of the earliest wars experienced in many parts of continental Europe, the second article explains the relationship between the Native Americans and the settlers who were brought in to help in various sections of the economy, and the third article gives credit to some of the wars staged in Europe but who involved colonies.
The navigations acts, the Bacon rebellion, and the seven-year war were part and parcel of the shaping of the US as a major nation after the end of the colonial period and the post American Revolution. America emerged as strong nation following the hardening she got from various battles she fought in various fronts in the world. [Gordon Wood, 2002] Essay II The Franklin and Adams; Ambassadors in France According to Joseph Ellis there are six people whom he refers to as “the Founding Brothers” they include Benjamin Franklin, George Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.
These people were directly responsible for the creation and shaping of the United States of America, through various negations they entered into with the European countries such as the Netherlands, Spain, France, and its colonial master, Britain. The six men worked in collaboration in various projects aimed at securing independence, formation of a national government, and the creation of a bidding national constitution. Some of these collaborations included, Franklin and Adams as ambassadors in France, Adams and Jefferson, Washington and Hamilton, Hamilton and Madison, and Jefferson and Madison.
The collaborations were equally important in the fight for self-governance; however, the collaboration between Benjamin Franklin and John Adams as ambassadors in France was the most striking of the other four. [Joseph Ellis, 2002] This claim is based on the fact that, the efforts put by the two men, Franklin and Adams resulted in the signing of the treaty that marked the end of the American revolutionary war, the declaration of American independence, and definition of the United State territory to include the territory west of Mississippi river.
The surrender of a British army led by Cornwallis in October 1781 at Yorktown marked the end of the American revolutionary war. It was a bad sign to Britain who had lost two other field armies and therefore she had no otherwise but to give in. However, the trickiest part of the situation was on the striking apolitical settlement deal and also the drawing of the territorial boundaries. At the height of the dilemma was the western boundary that had not been drawn even prior to the genesis of the Revolution.
For instance British wanted a settlement that would result to the autonomy of the western territory from the now independent United States of America but with the aftermath of the Revolutionary War this could not be accepted. In desperate moves British tried to secretly woe Franklin into buying this idea but he flatly rejected it and demanded that British recognize the full independence of the United States of America. [Joseph Ellis, 2002]
British also tried to sneak her idea of separate peace but again Franklin refused since the Revolutionary War was not a single American affair; it was a combination of many forces that included European countries such as Spain, France, and the Netherlands. Therefore the continental congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay to assist in the negations which formally started in September 27, 1782 in Paris.
Franklin performed magnificently, with a lot sophistication that resembled a man from the colonies and a scientist of international reputation of international reputation but ironically he portrayed himself as an American rustic. This made him a darling of all the delegates in the peace building commission. The France delegates loved him just as the British ones. Though Adams played a very minimal role in the French talks he played a huge role in the securing of a loan from the Dutch while Jay was responsible for the joining of Spain into the war.
On Adams recommendation, the congress abolished the commission and officially Benjamin Franklin as the American diplomatic representative to France. [Joseph Ellis, 2002] Adams and Jay were then appointed to partner with Franklin in the brokering of peace with Britain after the surrender of British army at the Yorktown in October 1781. Adams was also bestowed extra powers of negotiating a commercial deal with Britain and also to become the diplomatic representative once the treaty was made a reality.
When he found that the British were not willing to recognize the full American independence he proceeded to the Netherlands and acquired a $2 million loan and also signed a friendship and commerce treaty with the Netherlands. When he went back to Paris he found British had agreed to recognize the independence of America, however, France was making the signing impossible with her sentiments on the outcomes and the future of the American republic. Adams consulted with Jay and Franklin and they agreed to sign the treaty minus France consent. [Joseph Ellis, 2002]
The results of the final treaty were very favorable for the Americans. Although they did not get Canada the treaty recognized the territory west of the Mississippi river. This supports the above claim that indeed the Franklin and Adams collaboration was the most important of the other four collaborations as the British were not willing to cede grounds in as far as the Northwest territory was concerned. [Joseph Ellis, 2002] The Madison and Jefferson collaboration was instrumental in the drafting of the United States of America constitution.
Jefferson who was entrusted with the work of drafting the new constitution after Adams declined to do so, however, it was Madison who did most of the donkey work having outlined the skeleton for Jefferson to fill in the flesh. [Joseph Ellis, 2002] The Hamilton and Madison collaboration was instrumental in the drafting of the federalist paper the constitution was drawn, the paper included relations between states thanks to Madison’s efforts, powers of the various branches of government thanks to Hamilton’s efforts, and a lesser part contained foreign relations thanks to John Jay who only wrote five pages of the whole paper.
The two national figures, Hamilton and Madison despite having very opposing views were able to suppress them and collaborate so extensively in the discussion of a topic with much unity of purpose. [Joseph Ellis, 2002] The Washington and Hamilton collaboration was important in that it resulted in Hamilton being given the command of a battalion of Lafayette’s Division in Moses Hazen’s brigade. He successfully led an attack to the British army at the Yorktown that resulted in surrender. Although they fell out Washington went on to become the first the president of the US.
Hamilton’s service in the military saw him ascend to the rank of a colonel, however, he left the military and aided in the drafting of the constitution. [Joseph Ellis, 2002] The collaboration of Jefferson and Adams was some how not one of the best in the molding of the new nation as they both harbored varying views which made them at logger heads all the time. The drafting of the new constitution was to be carried out by Franklin but incidentally he fell ill, the work then was to be carried out by Adams who grudgingly refused and instead referred it to Jefferson. Jefferson wrote the draft with assistance from both Adams and Franklin.
However, was not happy with some parts and it was passed in the congress in his absentia. Their rivalry went on even when Adams succeeded Washington as the second president and when he was succeeded by Jefferson as the third president. [Joseph Ellis, 2002] Exam II I The Stamp Act was a rule that was passed by the British parliament in the year 1765, under the act all legal documents were required to carry a tax stamp, this new act was applicable in all British American colonies. This was a British policy that was aimed at raising enough money to compensate for the expenses incurred by British during the seven years war.
As a result of wars between the native Americans and settler Indians e. g. the Pontiac’s Rebellion of 1763, the British army was kept at close check in North America, they the argument that the colonies were directly responsible in the payment of the costs incurred in such military expeditions. This stamp act drew very wide demonstrations from various British colonies and as a result it was cancelled in the year 1766 and the government announced its intention to introduce a Declaration Act in the future.
[Gordon Wood, 2002] The North West Ordinance, also known as the Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North West of the River Ohio, and also known as the Freedom Ordinance was an act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States. The main provision of the act was the creation of the Northwest Territory as the first organized territory of the United States out the region south of the great lakes, north and west of river Ohio, and east of the Mississippi River.
It was unanimously agreed upon in July 3, 1787 with some modifications made in august 7, 1789 in order to fall fully under the then constitution. The act gave precedent to the creation of the new United States of America whereby the policy of admission of new states was adoption rather than the expansion of existing ones. [Gordon Wood, 2002] The Jay’s Treaty which was also known as the Treaty of London of 1794 was formal act that was signed between the United States of America and the Great Britain meant to avert a future war and also solve the many unsolved issues that were left hanging after the end of the Revolutionary War.
It also heralded a renewed friendship between the two nations and therefore opened a period of peaceful trade especially during the time when the French were experiencing the Revolutionary wars. The act was drafted by then treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton who was strongly supported by then president George Washington and John Jay who was the chief negotiator. The treaty also provided for the arbitration of war time debts, the US-Canadian boundary and also the withdrawal of the British from Northwest Territory, this marked one of the major uses of arbitration in diplomatic history. [Gordon Wood, 2002]
The relationship between the three articles lays in the fact that they were treaties that were aimed at making impacting political solutions to problems that threatened smooth governance of the people in the historical America. The first act though involved tax imposed by the British on the Americans was meant to quell frequent rebellions that arose between the natives and settlers, the second one defined the territorial states that were to form the United States of America, the third one was meant to end a period of uncertainty and fear between the independent US and the British by avoiding future wars.
The treaties importance is seen in the sense that they sought to build a rapport with the governed people and therefore made the work of governance easier. Again they displayed a sense of political goodwill, although their implementation was sometimes met with opposition they acted as examples of diplomacy in practice. [Gordon Wood, 2002] II The Connecticut Compromise was an agreement between the smaller and the larger states that was agreed upon during a convention in Philadelphia that was held in the year 1787.
This agreement tackled the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the new constitution. A bicameral legislature that included a United States Senate and a House of Representatives was passed and agreed upon. This agreement was further broadened by Edmund Rudolph in May 29, 1787 in what was known Virginia plan. [Eric Foner, 2006] The Virginia plan as stated above was the work of Rudolph Edmund, in his proposal Rudolph claimed for the creation of a bicameral legislature, or in other words a one legislature that consists of a lower and upper house.
The proposal also provided for the allocation of members of the lower house on population basis of a given state whereby these members were to be elected by the people in each state. Membership in the upper house was to be done in the same way only that the candidates were to be nominated by the state legislature and elected by the members of the lower house. However, this plan was met by the smaller states such as Delaware who feared that the plan was for the benefit of the bigger states at the expense of the smaller states.
The Three-Fifths Compromise was a compromise that involved the southern and the northern states and it was reached during the Philadelphia convention of 1787, it sought to cater for the rights of the slaves. It meant that three-fifths of the population of slaves would counted for recording purposes for distribution of taxing and the apportionment of the members of the US House of Representatives. This proposal was met with both “for” and “against” remarks with those against it stated that they would count the free inhabitants of each state while those against said they would literary count the slave at their actual numbers.
[Eric Foner, 2006] The above three proposals are closely related to each other pin that they were all early proposals by nationals that were aimed streamlining the US political system. A close scrutiny reveals that they were proposals that were concerned with the proper and fair representation of the American population; they were all aimed creating a democratic United States of America. Again, the proposals supplements each other as each is built on the previous proposal e. g.
the Connecticut compromise led to the creation of the Virginia plan which in turn led to the creation of the three-fifths compromise. The proposals played a vital role in the creation of the United States of America that respects the basic human rights of all her citizens’ whether they are disabled or not. The articles also serve to show how tedious is the prowess of making aconstitution in US. He articles further serve to show that the US constitution is built on the tenets of equal representation and human dignity.
[Eric Foner, 2006] III The Second Continental Congress held in May 10, 1775 succeeded the First Continental Congress which was also convened in Philadelphia in 1774. Unlike the first Congress, the Second Continental Congress was inclusive of majority of the many British territorial states of North America and was meant to manage the colonial war efforts and keep up the pace towards independence by adopting the United States Declaration of Independence.
In other words the congress acted as the de facto national government, by sustaining strong armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and also the entering into treaties with other nations in preparation of what was to become the United States. [Eric Foner, 2006] The Articles of Confederation was a governing constitution of the union of thirteen independent and sovereign states that referred themselves as the United States of America. The Articles which were completed in 1781 legally bound the states into a “United States of America” compact under a confederation government.
The Articles gave the United States sovereignty over all governmental functions that were not specifically assigned to the central government. The Articles were created by chosen representatives of the Second Confederation Congress and planned for the a “confederacy for securing the freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the United States. ” Due to their limitations on the parts of taxing from the states and the unequal balancing between the large and small states the Articles were replaced with the United States constitution. [Eric Foner, 2006]
The Alien and Sedition Acts were a set of four bills that were passed in 1798 by the Federalists in the United States Congress. The federalists were a group of politicians who were waging an undeclared naval war with France that was later to be known as the Quasi-war. The bills were signed into law by the then president John Adams. The proponents of the law were convinced that it was meant to protect the United States from the alien citizens of enemy powers and therefore the law was handy in stopping seditious attacks by from weakening the government.
The acts were vehemently opposed by the democratic republicans who termed them unconstitutional and amounting to violation of the free movement of foreign citizens within the United States of America and as a result some have been dropped or expired but the Aliens Act is still in operation and constantly applied during wartime. [Eric Foner, 2006] The three article discussed above are very closely related in that they all talk about the efforts that were made in the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial times by American Nationalists with the main aim of creating an independent and sovereign United States of America.
The first article describes United States before the Revolutionary War and independence, how the government was to be run in preparation for independence, the second article gave the legal mandate to the Union of the sovereign states that were to form the United States of America and also gives a foundation for the creation of the United States Constitution, the third article gives a glimpse of the nature of legislations that were made by the independent United States of America in bid to safeguard her sovereignty and peace.
All the three articles are equally importance to the history of the US especially due to the fact that they gave the legal mandate to the laying of the foundation in the building of a democratic United States of America. [Eric Foner, 2006] References: • Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! : An American History (Seagull Edition, New York: W. W. Norton), 2006. (ISBN 0-393-92782-2) • Joseph Ellis, Founding brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (New York: Vintage), 2002. (ISBN 0-375-40544-5) • Gordon Wood, The American Revolution: A History (Modern Library Paperback Edition, New York: Random house), 2002. (ISBN 0-8129-7041-1)