How old is America/United State of America

Uncategorized
Spread the love

We begin in 1750 in North America. It’s been 150 years since settlers from WesternEurope, mostly fleeing poverty, famine, or religious and political persecution, firstarrived on the continent. Their arrival came at the expense of millions of native Americans who lived there for thousands of years, mostly in tribes. On the East Coast, Great Britain has establishedcolonies inhabited by 1.5 million people. The northern regions depend mainly on fishingand trade, while in the south, the climate is ideal for growing products such as tobacco, rice and cotton. Rich landowners – called the Planters – seizevast territories that they exploit by buying slaves from Africa, via the triangular trade. Further west, the Appalachian mountains forma natural boundary. Beyond it, is the vast French colony, which lives mainly off the fur trade. Tensions rise between the French and Britishcolonies. When the Seven Years’ War breaks out in Europe, Britain dominates and takes hold of New France. Native American tribes living there uniteto demand the departure of the British and the recognition of their own state. To calm the situation, the British governmenthurriedly carves out an Indian reservation between the Appalachians, the MississippiRiver and the Great Lakes. This does not please the colonists who wanted to seize the opportunity to extend their territories to the west. In addition, war proves costly for Britain. The country expects its colonies to repaypart of its debts through new taxes, which further angers the settlers. In Boston, in protest of taxes on tea, colonistsdisguised as Native Americans climb on board British East India Company ships and throwout its tea cargo into the ocean. With the situation tense, representativesfrom 12 colonies gather in Philadelphia to organize the First Continental Congress. They decide to boycott British goods. The following year, the War of Independencebreaks out, pitting the insurgents — also called the patriots — against the Britishand its loyalists. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress proclaims the independence of the United States of America. France sees an opportunity to avenge its defeatin the Seven Years’ War. Having invested heavily in its military fleet, the country has the means to compete with the Royal Navy. France allies with the patriots. Spain and the United Provinces of the Netherlands,in turn, go to war against Great Britain. In 1783, the patriots prevail, forcing Britainto recognize the independence of the country. The United States receives territories untilMississippi, while Spain seizes Florida. This marks the first time a European colonygains independence. The United States adopts a constitution basedon a strict separation of powers. The legislative power formed by Congress passeslaws and budgets, the judiciary with the Supreme Court upholds the constitution, and finally there is the executive power with the US president, the head of government. On the other hand, the 13 states retain sovereigntywith their own constitution and governor. It was decided to build the new capital, Washington,along the Potomac River. In the West, each new territory with at least60,000 free citizens would be allowed to form a new state equal to the others. Pioneers set off to relocate there, pushing back Amerindian tribes further west of the Mississippi River. In 1800, France obtained Louisiana from Spainin exchange for the kingdom of Etruria. But it proves difficult to protect this vast,far-away & relatively less known territory. Fearing the loss of Louisiana to the UnitedKingdom in war, France decides to sell the region to the United States. Congress then funds expeditions to exploreand reach the Pacific Ocean. In Europe, France and the UK clash again. The United States first tries to remain neutral,but following tensions with Britain, enters the war. It fails in a bid to invade the colony ofCanada, as a British maritime raid reaches Washington and burns the city. At the end of the war, the United States abandonsits ambitions in the north and focuses on the south where the Spanish Empire is in decline. A military incursion in Florida allows — afternegotiations — the annexation of the territory. In the West, Oregon is shared with the UnitedKingdom. East of the Mississippi, five Amerindian tribesare adapted to the settlers’ sedentary and agrarian lifestyle, but Congress neverthelessdecides to take over the land and pushes the natives to a reserve west of the Mississippi. Thousands die of exhaustion on the way. In Mexico, Texas, which is populated mainly by settlers from the United States, declares its independence. After a war, the Republic of Texas is createdand in 1845 is annexed to the United States. But as the border is poorly defined, bothcountries are at war. The United States prevails and takes the opportunityto annex New Mexico and California, where the discovery of gold causes a rush that attractshundreds of thousands of pioneers of all origins. With the land route proving dangerous, private funds are invested in the construction of a railway in Panama. The state of California is admitted, whichdoes not have slavery. Southern states are largely agrarian, and have slavery; while Northern states are industrial and abolitionist. Both sides wish to extend their model to the new western states, causing the gap between them to widen. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln, who is hostile toslavery, is elected president of the country. In response, southern states secede from theUnited States one by one and band together to proclaim the Confederate States of America. Then begins the Civil War which pits the Unionistsof the North against the Confederates of the South. The North sets up a maritime blockade on theAtlantic coast, cutting out any potential support from Europe and blocking cotton exports. In 1865, the North prevails and takes theopportunity to impose its policies. Slavery is abolished, and 3.5 million slavesare freed. But African-Americans are now victims of segregationand racism, especially through the emergence of Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organization. Many migrate to the North, while others moveto cities. The Russian Empire fears losing Alaska toBritain, so chooses to sell the territory to the United States. To accelerate its conquest of the West, the government finances the construction of transcontinental railway lines. In the center of the country, the inventionof new machinery allows intensive agriculture. Vast plantations of wheat, corn and largepastures are set up at the expense of the last 250,000 Amerindians who are kept on reserves. On the other hand, the rich soil allows rapiddevelopment of industry. The old continent, Europe, now views the UnitedStates as an El Dorado. Fleeing poverty and religious persecution,many Southern and Eastern Europeans migrate to the United States where they work as cheaplabor. But the economic boom only benefits a minority. An elite group of industrialists grows richquickly by establishing monopolies in sectors such as steel, railways, oil and banks atthe expense of workers and peasants, including women and children working in harsh conditions. Strikes and protests erupt demanding betterconditions, but these are often met with violence by private militias or the National Guard. While European powers colonize a large partof the world, the United States also looks to project its power on the internationalscene. While annexing Hawaii in the middle of thePacific, the country turns to Cuba where there is a revolt against the Spanish. The United States supports Cuban independentists. After the mysterious explosion of a US Navyship in the port of Havana, war breaks out between Spain and the United States. The United States wins, obtains the independence of Cuba and seizes Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. The country thus becomes a colonial power. In Colombia, a French company begins constructionof a canal that would connect the two oceans, greatly shortening the journey between theUS East and west Coast. The United States buys the project and thenintervenes to support the independence of Panama. In return, the new government of Panama offersthe United States a strip of land, which helps complete the construction of the canal, inaugurated in 1914. In Europe, World War I begins. With workers and peasants on the frontlines,industry on the continent slows down. The US industry takes advantage of this and– despite the country’s neutrality in the war — sells on credit ammunition, food, clothesand automobiles to the Entente countries. In response, Germany tries to impose a maritimeblockade by sinking merchant ships in British waters. In 1917, a German telegram destined for Mexicois intercepted, proposing a military alliance against the United States. This pushes the United States to go to waron the side of the Entente, and 2 million soldiers are sent to European fronts. 116,000 soldiers lose their lives. After the victory of the Entente, Europe findsitself indebted to the United States. The economy of the US prospers. In factories, improvements in the assemblyline cause production to skyrocket and decrease prices. The rise in purchasing power and credit resultsin a boom for the sale of cars, all kinds of appliances, and bank shares. Hollywood becomes a major industry with globalinfluence. Thanks to the sale of radios, music genressuch as jazz become popular. In New York mainly, night clubs open, stimulatingthe sale of alcohol. The more conservative government tries tostem the phenomenon by voting for prohibition, forbidding the production, transport or saleof alcohol. In response, thousands of speakeasies springup throughout the country. Mafia networks seize the market and get richquickly. Meanwhile, the South misses out on this waveof prosperity. Falling prices for agricultural products plungethe region into poverty. The Ku Klux Klan comes back into prominence, this time also targeting Catholics, Jews and immigrants in addition to African-Americans. The organization reaches 5 million members,and is then banned after several lynching episodes. In 1929, the Wall Street Stock Market crashtakes place. The US economy collapses. In a few short years, a string of bankruptciesof companies and banks pushes a quarter of the active population into unemployment. Prohibition is lifted, and steps are taken to try to revive the economy and improve working conditions. In Europe, World War II breaks out. The United States, although officially neutral,prepares for war by reinstating military service. In addition, the country sells arms mainlyto the United Kingdom and the USSR. In the Pacific Ocean, in order to curb theexpansion of imperialist Japan allied to Nazi Germany, the United States imposes upon thecountry an embargo on steel and oil. In response, Japan launches a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, causing the United States to enter the war. The country secretly embarks upon a researchprogram to create the atomic bomb. In 1945, the Allies overcome Germany. The USSR and the United States then uniteagainst Japan. A ground invasion by the Soviets and the twoatomic bombs dropped by the United States on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki forceJapan to surrender. At the end of the war, the United States supportsthe creation of the United Nations whose primary role is to maintain peace and security inthe world. Europe finds itself in ruins and is exhaustedby war. The United States and the USSR emerge as thetwo great world powers. After World War II, the USSR and the UnitedStates try and peddle their influence in Europe. The United States implements the MarshallPlan, while the Soviet Union supports pro-communist governments in Eastern countries. The old continent is found divided by theIron Curtain. The USSR and the United States engage in a cold war — that is an arms race without direct confrontation. The US, largely spared the ravages of waron its territory, has an industrial, economic and military advantage. Inside the country, federal officials sympatheticto communist ideas are dismissed. Hollywood is also used to churn out anti-communistpropaganda. On the global arena, the country employs aninterventionist policy, aimed at stemming at all costs the spread of communism. The US intervenes in Greece, China, and engagesits military in Korea and Vietnam. The Soviet Union, for its part, invests heavilyto catch up with the US. After developing atomic weapons of its own,it becomes the first country to send a satellite into orbit, and further outdoes itself bysending the first man into space. The United States then launches the Apolloprogram which aims to send the first astronaut to the Moon. In Cuba, an attempt to overthrow the new communistgovernment fails. The Soviet Union takes advantage to ally withthe country, and installs nuclear missiles on its territory, pointed at the United States. Tensions build to a point where it seemeda third world war was imminent. However, an accord is reached between the two world powers, resulting in the USSR withdrawing from Cuba. Within the country, more and more civil rightsmovements gain momentum, forcing the government to review its social policies. African-Americans begin non-violent actionsto combat segregation. More and more women enter the workforce anddemand equal pay. Native Americans also fight for better conditions. Moreover, with the US at war in Vietnam, studentsand hippie pacifist movements call for peace. In 1969, the country sends the first man tothe moon. Worldwide, millions of viewers watch the eventlive on their television. On the global arena, the United States triesto ease tensions. It begins diplomatic rapprochement with China,and signs agreements with the USSR to limit the global arms race. In the Middle East, the US supports Israelin the Yom Kippur War, for which it is then subject to an oil embargo imposed by OPEC countries. In Vietnam, after negotiations, the UnitedStates withdraws their army. Two years later, the Communists prevail inthe country, tarnishing the image of the United States. The USSR takes this opportunity to intensifyits international policy. The country occupies Afghanistan, and in reaction the United States provides militarily support to the Mujahideen. In Central America, US also intervenes in Nicaragua and Guatemala to counter communist revolutions. Iran, after a revolution, becomes an Islamicrepublic that goes against US policy. The latter strengthens its military presencein the Middle East to ensure the security of oil supply. On the Soviet side, the USSR struggles tocontain the revolutions in Eastern Europe. With its economy in tatters, despite attemptsat reform, in 1991, the USSR collapses, marking the end of the Cold War. The United States emerges as the only majorworld power. Domestically, the population calls for moreinvestment in the fight against poverty, crime, gangs and drugs. However, the US continues to primarily focuson its foreign policy, showing an apparent willingness to become the world’s policeman of sorts. When Iraq invades Kuwait, which then held9% of the known oil reserves in the world, the United States forms a coalition and neutralizesthe Iraqi army. The US then establishes a list of countries considered as rogue and threatening global peace and stability. These nations are subjected to blockades andembargoes. Meanwhile, the military presence of an allyof Israel in the Middle East bothers radical Islamists, including the terrorist group AlQaeda headed by Osama bin Laden, who is a former ally from the Afghan war. US facilities and assets around the worldare targeted by terrorist attacks. On September 11, 2001, the United States becomesthe victim of a large-scale terrorist attack on its territory. Terrorism thus becomes the new enemy of thecountry. But it proves more difficult to fight thiswar as terrorist organizations operate discreetly in mobile networks without borders. Having launched a war against the Talibanin Afghanistan, the US hardens its stance against North Korea, Iran and Iraq, which it considers part of an “Axis of Evil”. A new war is launched against Iraq, but UStroops – after quickly overthrowing the government – find themselves fighting against severalterrorist groups in the region. In 2007, the subprime mortgage shock, followedby the financial crisis plunges the global economy into turmoil. The country tries to revive its economy, amongother measures, by boosting the extraction of shale oil on its territory. Today the interventionist policy of the countryis increasingly countered by rising powers such as Russia and China. The United States, however, remains the mostpowerful economy and military in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *