American studies aspect of geography and sociopolitical evolution

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Aspect of geography and sociopolitical evolution.


Unit 1:

*Settlement of the American continent.

*Formation of a nation.

*Growth of a nation.


Unit 2:





Unit 3:


-Waves 1 and 2 => 1606-1850

-Wave 3 => 1880-1924

-Wave 4 and Beyond => 1924-present


Unit 4

*American Indians






Settlement of American continent.


Origins to 1776.

Columbus sails to America in 1492.


Early contacts with America:

-Amerindians populated entire the American continent before arrival oh Europeans.

         *Arrived between 70,000 and 12,000 BC

         *Believe to be Asian origin.


First Europeans:

-First Europeans to establish contact with America were Scandinavian explorers

         *As of 1,000 CE Christian Era

         *Sporadic Europe


The Role of Europe

-Three European powers dominate exploration of America.

         *Spain, England, France.

-Conflicts in Europe determined destiny of territories in America.




Religious Movements in Europe.

-1517 Martin Luther, protestant Reformation.

         *Calvin 1536 “institutes”

-1533 Henry VIII divorces, English Reformation begins.



-1492 Christopher Columbus.

         *Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti/Dominican Republic

-1513 Florida and the pacific. Consédélion.

-1519-1521 Cortez, Conquest of Mexico

         *1551. Universities in Lima, Mexico City.

-1588 Defeat of Spanish Navy by English.



-1608 Champlain explores and founds French settlement in Québec.

-Between 1698 and 1702 area along the Mississippi between Québec and Louisiana colonized.


England – First Settlements. 

-1585 Sir Walter Raleigh. Fail.

-1606 Jamestown

         *Virginia Company – merchants

                   -Quest for gold.

                   -Bring riches to the crown.

                            -1619, first slaves sold.

-1620 Plymouth, Massachusetts


         *Protestant reforms did not go far enough.

         *Between 1629 and 1642, 14.000 to 20.000 arrived from England (Business).


England – Growth og Colonies

-English colonies grew in Massachusetts and Virginia


-Other countries settled territories between them.

         *French in the West.

         *Dutch in New Amsterdam (New York)


The Puritans

  • Divinely appointed

  • Obsessed by the presence of evil.

  • The Devil, Satan.

  • Rejected Christian holidays

  • Derived from pagan holidays and rituals.

  • A Church state

  • Repressive and intolerant


Progessive puritans

  • Mayflower Pact.

  Prototype of the constitution.

  Education best weapon to fight Satan

²  1635 Boston Latin School.

²  1636 Harvard University.

  • Printing press 1634

  • First newspaper 1700


The Thirteen Colonies.

  • Thirteen colonies were incorporated under English administration.


  • House or Burgess







Early conflicts

  • 13 colonies consolidated between 1606 (VA) and 1732 (GA)

  Conflicts with Native Americans were constant as the colonies spread west.


French and Indian Wat(1754-1763)

  • French army allied with Native –American Indian group vs the British

  Colonist fought side-by-side with British army regulars


Signifiance of French and Indian War.

  • Class system felt strongly

  • Colonist lost the fear and respect reserved for British soldier.

  • Colonist became familiar with the British military techniques and strategies.

  Not adapted to frontier conditions.



  • Growth of British territory in North America

  Increasing costs

  • Taxes imposed on all goods from England

  Food, sugar (1764), tea.


Stamp Tax

  • Approved by parliament in 1765

  All public documents

  Affected those most likely to influence public opinion.

²  Lawyers, merchants, printers, journalists.



  • Protest against the Stamp Tax followed, esp in Boston

  Led by Sam Adams and the “Sons of liberty”

  ‘No taxation without representation”

  • Boycott lead to repeal of tax in 1766.

  • British continued taxation policy.


Frontier life

  • People on the frontier complained too

  Lack of order and security

  • Local militias were formed


  South Carolina

  Justice system lacking under British control.



  • Boston massacre (1770). 17000 death.

  News spread and caused further protest throughout colonies.

  British reacted firmly.


Boston Tea Party (1773)

  • In response to Tea Act (1772)

  • England reacted even more severely

  Massachusetts placed under military control.


War for independence.

  • Continental Congress gathered in 1774.

  Representatives of each colony (exc. Georgia).

  Opposed acts of British.

  Drafted a “Declaration of Rights”.

  Discussed armed defense of Massachussetts.

  • First battle took place in 1775 (Lexington and Concord – MA)

  • Declaration of independence (1776).

  Written mainly by Thomas Jefferson.



Growth of the Nation.


The Northwest Ordinance – 1787.

  • Territory defined by the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and the great lakes

  “Old Northwest”

  • Rights, land and protections for Settlers.

  • Egalitarian principles of constitution applied to territory.

  • Statehood was main goal

  • Slavery “tolerated” in territory, until 1848

  • Indian groups did of acknowledge American sovereignty

  Hostile conflicts.

The Louisiana Purchase - 1803

  • Spain had acquired territory for France in 1763, but France acquired it back in 1800-1801.

  The U.S preferred Spanish rule.

  • Napoleon sold territory for $15m.

  • Size of U.S doubled with Purchase of Louisiana.

  • Pres. Jefferson sent expedition headed by Lewis and Clark to explore new territory and find Pacific.


War with Mexico 1846-1848.

  • Texas annexed in 1845

  • Dispute with Mexico lead to war.

  • The U.S claimed all Mexican land north of Texas.

  • Size of nation increased by a third.


Western Expansion

  • Rail road

  Transcontinental 1869

  • By 1912, with admission of Arizona and New Mexico entire continent was U.S territory

  • Liberal land distribution Policies.

  Homestead act (1862).

  “The Wheat Belt”.

  • Mining

  Gold, but also silver, copper.



Slavery and the Struggle for Civil Rights.



Early America

  • Ethnic diversity and urban population. 

  • Africans – largest ethnic group in 18tc Century.

  1700-250,000 (including slaves)

  1775- 2,5 m ( x10 increase) – 15% of population.

  1/5th of entire labor force in bondage.

  • Slavery in the colonies.

  Established practice in English colonies (1618)

  Important to economy of southern colonies.

²  Esp on large plantations

l  South Carolina.

l  Georgia.

l  Mississippi.

l  Louisiana.

  Largest ethnic group in 18th century.


Revolution and Independence.

  • Most free blacks in the North supported Revolutionary cause.

  • Many Southern slaves supported the British.

  Freedom offered to slaves who fought for British.

²  Black loyalists lefts left America after the war and settled in Caribbean or England.


Slavery after Independence.

  • After Independence, Northern states abolished slavery.

  • Slave importation prohibited in 1808.



  • Abolitionist movement grew in North (1823).

  Liberia / Back to Africa.

  • Compromises between “free” and “slave” states failed.

  • Civil war erupted in 1861.



-        1863 – Emancipation proclamation.

-        Abraham Lincoln.

-        Freedom for slaves in rebellious states.


Civil War Amendments. P31

  • After the war, three constitutional amendments

  13th – Abolished slavery (1865).

  14th – Granted citizenship and equal protection under the law to freedmen (1868).

  15th – Granted freedmen the right to vote (1870).

  • Equality

  • Civil rights and liberties.



  • Southern states instituted racial segregation policies.

  Community codes and laws separated public facilities and accommodations.


  Public transports



  • Any remained in effect until the 1960’s.



  • Southern states instuted rules that deprived black people of

  The ability to vote

²  Poll taxes

²  Literacy tests.

  The right to economic freedom

²  Property rights.

²  Work rights.


« Separate but equal »

  • These segregation policies were permitted under Supreme court decisions

  Plessy v Ferguson 1896

  “Sperate but equal” policies

  • Many remained in effect until the 1960’s

  • Much of the country today remains segregated.


Struggle for civil rights

  • Creation of NAACP 1910 (National Association for the Advancement of colored people)

  W.E.B Dubois.

  • Integration of Armed Forces 1948.

  • Brown vs Board 1954

  Supreme Court ruling against segregated schools.

  • Montgomery bus boycott 1955-1956 (Rosa Parks).








Central aspect of US history

  • American dream

  • Equal opportunity and identity

  • social disoder, discrimination


Goal of immigration?

  • Integration / homogenisation

  • Diversity / pluralistic society


Four major waves

  • 1606/1776

  • 1820/1880

  • 1890/1930

  • 1965/ present



First Wave: 1606-1776

  • After "discovery" by Europeans, America became populated by

- Spanish

- English

-Irish / Scottish

- French

- Swedes and Dutch

- Africans



  • Spanish = South and Southwest

  • Dutch and Swedish = Middle Atlantic

  • French = Canada ans West of Mississippi

  • English =

-Up and down Atlantic coast

- 1660: immigration encouraged (Scots - Irish largest group)

- 1662: Royal Africa Slave Company (140,000 slaves)

  • Germans (200,000)

-Largest non - anglophone immigrant group

- Settled in Middle colonies

  • Other groups included

- Irish

- French Huguenots

- Jews

  • By 1775

- English: 52%

- Africans: 20%

  • Despite diversity of population Anglo- Saxon culture remained dominant.



Second Wave: 1820-1880

  • "Push" factors

- Overpopulation in Europe

- Especially in cities

- Population doubles 1750-1850

- Medical and hygiene advances

- Exodus to cities

- Increase of food supply

- Transport improvements


Largest emigrating groups

  • Germans, Irish, Britans, Scandinavians.

- French canadians, Swiss, Chinese, Dutch


"Pull" factors

  • Reports of America as land of opportunity

  • Prospect of available land

  • Greater work possibilities

  • Northern European immigrants

- Settled in Mid- West

- Protestants

- Germany

- Scandinavia

- GB

- Holland


Irish immigration - an exception

  • Potato blight and subsequent famine 1840's and 1850's

  • Arrived with few funds and stayed where they landed



  • "Native" Americans vs newly arrived immigrants

  • The "Know- nothings"

  • Anti - immigrant political parti


Antagonism against

  • Germans

  • Irish

  • Chinese


Chinese arrived in West via San Fransisco

  • Angel Island

  • Work in mines and on the rail road


Chinese exclusion

  • Supported by labor organisations

  • Repealed in 1943



Third Wave: 1880 - 1930 (1934)


Decline of Immigration from Northern and Western Europe.


New Immigrants, from Southern and Eastern Europe, began arriving.

  • 15 M in 24 years.

  • Italians, Jews, Poles, Hungarians

- Mexicans, Russians, Greeks, Portuguese


Ellis Island

  • Immigration control point

  • 12 M people between 1892 and 1954

  • Under the Statue of Liberty


The New Collosus

  • Typical immigrant was less like a typical American

  • Religion

  • Language

  • Culture / manners / customs


Urban problems

- Tenements (Big building)

- Exploitive work conditionz

- Children on the streets


Progressive era: 1900 - 1920

  • Lead to social measure

- Labor laws

- Compulsary schooling

- Improved living conditions

- Pure Food and Drug Act -> FDA (Food and Drug Association)

  • Restricting immigration

  • National origins

  • Regional quotas

  • Asian exclusion repealed in 1943 (Chinese)



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