Wednesday, June 27, 2007
U.S. History: Am I a Dunce, or what?
This a very short summary of America's History. I was looking at Gustavo Sosa's recent history of Uruguay and thought this was a nice topic to broach....aside from the lingerie models and beautiful woman postings....
Origins: about 500 years ago - a flurry of expeditions to seek out a spice/trade route to China. A century passed before Jamestown (1607) and Plymouth Rock (1620) established the first permanent settlements. During the next 150 years, the colonies grew less self reliant on the British and other Europeans because the US had more natural resources than all of Europe put together!!! The only thing they lacked was people. (And eliminating that pesky Indian problem - was just a way to rid the area for proper utilization.)
Revolution: The American Revolution was a guerilla campaign fought by terrorists (if you look at it from a British perspective.)
The reasons for the war were tied up in the economic powers desired by the Mercantile class that were restricted by the Brits. Also, the growth of new political philosophies such as Democracy and Republicanism were making the rounds among the elite minds of the time. Educated folk in America also saw an opportunity to be rid of the Brits – because this land had everything Britain never did, both economically and socially. Other European powers wanted a slice of the New World pie and fought wars against the British to get it. France for one, who became an ally during the Revolution, wanted to upset the apple cart of British supremacy. The Declaration of Independence, Continental Congresses and Common Sense were amongst the documents and meetings that forged resolve in the ever rising feud between colonists and Brits that started in the 1760’s. Many colonists disagreed, but that was often due to perks offered by the British Crown and old connections to the Europeans.
A Growing Nation: After the war, the meager government of the Articles of Confederation was found inept. The colonies needed a structure and several plans came forth – the New Jersey and Virginia Plans amongst several proposals. With the compromise on a bicameral legislature, an executive leader and an ultimate Court of the People, the U.S. went into uncharted waters for politics and government. Unfortunately, the idea of “all men are created equal” was more lip service than reality as Slavery was condoned and taken to new heights during the late 18th century. And soon after the American Civil War was to be waged by the North versus the South. (And still is even today, but just not as clear cut as far as sides are concerned.)
After the formation of the Constitution, the U.S. still needed a way to pay off everything. ‘Taxation without Representation’ was a catch phrase of the Revolutionary march, and people didn’t see it any different in the future of the country. But once the economic engine of America got humming, and the expansion west became a necessity, convenient policies were the mantra that drove this country. Manifest Destiny – the idea of one nation from sea to shining sea – became the ultimate democratic policy. After peacefully acquiring the Louisiana Purchase, the United States did fight conquest wars to rid the area for further colonization. When not fighting Native Indians, we fought Mexicans, the Spanish, and the British again, and laid claim to various areas to increase the power of the country.
The Superpower: At the turn of the 20th century, the USA was nearly complete. It had outstripped European nations in terms of production, had a busy population of immigrants and growing everyday. Isolationism in the Western Hemisphere had ruled for 50 years. Now, with two World Wars approaching, a shift to a world spotlight became a necessary and a fruitful reality. After WWII, The USA was the ONLY powerful nation left standing – due in large part to the lack of homeland attacks that everyone else got.
The Future: As we stand in mid-2007, this nation has squandered many opportunities to set a better example in leadership. Its growth has been historic; its people innovative and steadfast; yet we’ve grown fat, lazy, uninterested and uninteresting.
What was the point? To become a world leader only to go the way of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and the British Empire? Soon, China will finally be the next world power. And only because this country has failed its credos and convictions.
I wrote this off the top of my head...and linked the terms afterwards. American History in a nutshell...
I'll tell you more when you tell me yours. ;)
Patience, grasshopper. You must use the force. Nothing MacGyver couldn't solve... My new bag: to make lives better through their health, their mindset. It's new, but we should always look for new. Take a gander there at Bringin' Gas & Dialin' 9: A Seven Score Addiction to the National Pastime. Writing is just about the only thing one can do to live on permanently - buildings will crumble, pictures can fade, memories blur before we know it, but words can remain visible, and understandable, long after we pass from this mortal coil. (That's why that Socrates guy still gets play!) So that's my story. Create your new story!