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United States History - History

United States History - History

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United States History

The study of United States History at UNC–CH has long been one of the school’s most distinguished programs. The program has a long tradition of excellence, with library resources and institutional support to match. With a faculty of more than twenty specialists, the program in American History is strong in virtually all periods. Our broad strength in social and cultural history is complemented by specialization in African American, Native American history, military and international history, constitutional history, economic and business history, and gender and women’s history.

The history of the U.S. South is a particular interest at UNC–CH, not only in terms of course offerings, but also because of special resources on or near campus, including the Southern Oral History Program, the Center for the Study of the American South, and the invaluable materials in the Southern Historical, Southern Folklife, and North Carolina collections. The department is also a noted center of study in the history of African Americans. Not only are a significant number of faculty currently engaged in research on the topic, but also the Southern Oral History Program is engaged in on-going work in the area.

Undergraduate Program

The major concentration in U.S. History covers all aspects of history in North America. Courses in this concentration focus on the colonization of North America, the emergence of the United States in the eighteenth century and key developments and issues in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition, several courses examine the experiences of indigenous American peoples and African Americans and their complex relationships with people of European descent. Students have a wide choice of courses ranging from general surveys to more specialized courses such as “Native Americans in the East,” the “History of American Business,” and “Sexuality in America.”

Graduate Program

Traditionally we admit between five and ten students a year, and we are committed to seeing all of them get PhDs. Our students get ample teaching experience, and they often have the opportunity to assume full responsibility for a course before entering the job market (where our recent graduates have been quite successful). Graduate students in American History are expected to demonstrate competency in three chronological areas—colonial, nineteenth century, and modern America—as well as one topical/thematic area. Examples include African-American history, Native American history, women’s history, and American cultural history. Aside from the research seminars required of all PhD students, students focusing on the United States must take a two-semester sequence of seminars devoted to American historiography. We encourage cross-disciplinary approaches, and consequently our graduate students often exploit relevant course offerings in literature, art history, anthropology, and other academic departments.

Graduate students in US History also benefit from the proximity of North Carolina State and Duke Universities. Many UNC–Chapel Hill students work with U.S. History faculty and take courses at these schools, include faculty from Duke and NC State on their committees, and participate in gatherings of area scholars interested in American History.

For information on the U.S. History field graduate comprehensive exams, consult the Graduate Student Handbook.

For a current list of graduate students working in the Field of United States History, please go to the Graduate Students page and click “United States History” in the Interests/Concentrations tab.

Fields of Study

554A Pauli Murray Hall*
102 Emerson Dr., CB #3195
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3195

*Though the History Department uses the name Pauli Murray Hall for our building, on official maps you will find it as Hamilton Hall. Joseph Grégoire de Roulhac Hamilton’s intellectually dishonest historical and archival work promoted white supremacy. In contrast, Pauli Murray marshaled unassailable evidence and analysis in the service of racial and gender equality. In July 2020, all of the departments housed in the building agreed to adopt the name Pauli Murray Hall in place of Hamilton Hall. An official request with the Chancellor is pending. For more information, please see here.

Hispanic and Latino Heritage and History in the United States

Within the United States, “America” serves as shorthand for the country alone—but the national borders that separate the United States from the rest of the landmass that constitutes “the Americas,” North and South, are relatively recent creations. Even with the introduction and evolution of those borders, the histories of the United States and what we now call Latin America have remained thoroughly entwined, connected by geography, economy, imperialism, immigration, and culture.

Since 1988, the U.S. Government has set aside the period from September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month to honor the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made and continue to make to the United States of America. Our Teacher's Guide brings together resources created during NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes, lesson plans for K-12 classrooms, and think pieces on events and experiences across Hispanic history and heritage.

Guiding Questions

Who is included in your curriculum and who can be added when teaching Hispanic history?

What are the lasting contributions of Hispanic people and groups to the culture and history of the United States?

How is Latino history woven into the fabric of U.S. history?

What are some historical and cultural connections between Latin America and the United States?

Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción (Spanish version: Misión de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, San Antonio, Texas, 1755) is one of the oldest surviving stone churches in America. In the EDSITEment lesson plan, Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World, students are invited to use the image of the mission to explore the way Spanish missionaries and native American tribes worked together to build a community of faith in the Southwest in the mid-17th century. The NEH Summer Landmark for School teachers, The Fourteenth Colony: A California Missions Resource for Teachers produced a collection of K-12 instructional resources with multimedia spanning Native Californians, Missions, Presidios, and Pueblos of the Spanish, Mexican, and early American traditions and eras. Key resources for the study of this cultural heritage include primary sources, maps and images to document the cultural and historical geography of the California missions.

Another valuable resource is the NEH-funded PBS series Latino Americans, which chronicles the rich and varied histories of Latinos from the first European settlements to the present day. The website contains trailers from all episodes, a timeline, and an opportunity to upload your own video history. It contains a new education initiative which invites teachers and learners to explore the many ways that Latinos are woven into the fabric of the United States' story.

Accounts of ventures into uncharted territories by Hispanic explorers and missionaries of the Southeast and Southwest form a vital part of U.S. literary and historical heritage. A prime example, the journey of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, can be found by visiting the EDSITEment-reviewed resource New Perspectives on the West. Students can then embark on The Road to Santa Fe: A Virtual Excursion to journey to one of America's oldest and most historic cities along the ancient Camino Real to discover the multilayered heritage of the peoples who call New Mexico their homeland. For another perspective on Spanish exploration and settlement, visit Web de Anza, an EDSITEment-recommended website, packed with primary source documents and multimedia resources covering Juan Bautista de Anza's two overland expeditions that led to the colonization of San Francisco in 1776.

This section provides historical context and framing for EDSITEment’s resources on Latin American and Latino history, as well as ways to integrate NEH-funded projects into the classroom. Lessons are grouped into four thematic and chronological clusters: the indigenous societies of Mesoamerica and the Andes the colonization of the Americas by Spain the Mexican Revolution and immigration and identity in the United States. By no means are these clusters exhaustive their purpose is to provide context for learning materials available through EDSITEment and NEH-funded projects, and to serve as jumping-off points for further exploration and learning. For each theme, a series of framing questions and activities provides suggestions for connecting and extending the lessons and resources listed for that topic.

Indigenous Mesoamerica and Andes

Model of Tenochtitlan as it may once have stood. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City, Mexico.

Indigenous peoples inhabited the Americas long before their “discovery” by Europeans at the end of the fifteenth century. Major civilizations had risen and fallen here, just as they had in Eurasia. One of the most famous archaeological sites in the Americas, Teotihuacan, was home to a complex and wealthy society that collapsed nearly a millennium before Christopher Columbus set out from the Spanish port of Palos in 1492. Students can explore the history and culture of the best-known of the major Mesoamerican civilizations in the lessons The Aztecs: Mighty Warriors of Mexico and Aztecs Find a Home: The Eagle Has Landed. In the South American Andes, the Incas came to control a vast territory crisscrossed with an impressive network of roads traversed by couriers. Students can learn more about the Inca empire and its communication system in Couriers in the Inca Empire: Getting Your Message Across. The NEH-funded project, Mesoamerican Cultures and Their Histories, provides dozens of additional lesson plans about indigenous societies and cultures.

Framing questions and activities:

  • Terminology and periodization: Often, names and time periods are taken for granted. These discussion questions prompt students to think critically about the names used to refer to groups of people and to the ways they think about the division of time around the period of European contact with the Americas.
    • While we use the term “the Aztecs” most commonly today, this was not what the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan would have called themselves. Historians usually use either Nahuas/Nahua-speaking, to refer to the language these people spoke (and which is still spoken to this day), or Mexica, which refers to the most powerful of the three groups in the Triple Alliance that controlled Tenochtitlan and the Valley of Mexico when Hernán Cortés arrived in 1519. Ask students to reflect on these different names. Why might “Aztec,” which is not what the Mexica specifically or Nahuas generally would have called themselves, have become so common? What is gained from a better understanding of the history of these names and their meanings?
    • Ask students to read and explore this timeline of Mesoamerican civilizations. Reflect on the words often used to describe these civilizations and what happened to them after the arrival of Europeans to the New World. What words come to mind? Have students research indigenous language use in Mexico. This map, from Mexico’s National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, is a good place to start. How does what they find complicate the use of tools like a timeline to understand indigenous civilizations and cultures, or the use of common phrases like “the fall” of a particular civilization? Ask them to reflect on the terms “Pre-Hispanic” and “Pre-Columbian.” What do these terms communicate, and what do they omit? Why do these questions about terminology and periodization matter? Can they think of alternative ways to refer to these time periods? What are the pros and cons of these alternatives?

    Contact, Conquest, Colonization

    A segment of Diego Rivera's mural in the Palacio Nacional (Mexico City), depicting the burning of Maya literature by the Catholic Church.

    When Spanish conquistadors reached the New World, they encountered these complex indigenous societies with their sophisticated, surplus-producing economies, as well as smaller, nomadic societies. The early Spanish colonizers, far fewer in number than the populous New World civilizations they sought to conquer, often attempted to graft onto existing tribute systems to extract this surplus wealth, with major indigenous cities like Tenochtitlan (situated where Mexico’s capital city is to this day) serving as the geographic loci of early colonization. Spanish colonization was helped along by Spain’s military technology, alliances with rival indigenous groups, and, most crucially, disease. The Spaniards introduced contagious diseases, such as smallpox, to which indigenous people had little immune resistance. Indigenous populations were decimated by the combination of warfare, disease, and harsh labor on Spanish plantations. As Spain’s empire expanded, the Spanish crown depended heavily on the Catholic Church to subjugate indigenous peoples, both settled and nomadic, and integrate them into the colonial economy. Along New Spain’s northern frontier, which stretched into the present-day United States and where contact and conflict with other burgeoning European empires was likely, fortified missions relying on coerced indigenous settlement and labor were important institutions for expanding the geographic and demographic reach of the Spanish empire. In the EDSITEment lesson plan, Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World, students are invited to use the image of the mission to explore one instance of the missionary institution in the mid-17th century. This lesson might be further enriched with an exploration of Spanish mission sites in California in The Road to Santa Fe: A Virtual Excursion.

    The processes of conquest and colonization were often carefully documented by Spaniards, creating a rich—and problematic—historical and literary record. A prime example, the journey of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, can be found by visiting New Perspectives on the West. For another perspective on Spanish exploration and settlement, visit Web de Anza, which is packed with primary source documents and multimedia resources covering Juan Bautista de Anza's two overland expeditions that led to the colonization of San Francisco in 1776. Surviving indigenous perspectives are more difficult to find. Even when available, these sources pose significant interpretive challenges because they were often mediated through Spanish individuals or institutions. For grades 11-12, The Conquest of Mexico provides a plethora of primary and secondary sources (including texts produced by indigenous people), lesson plans, and exercises in historical analysis. Finally, Southwest Crossroads offers lesson plans, in-depth articles, and hundreds of digitized primary sources that explore the many narratives people have used to make sense of this region, from colonization to the present.

    Framing questions and activities:

    • Source interpretation: In several EDSITEment lessons about Spanish colonization, students are asked to analyze images to glean information about colonial institutions and practices. They have also confronted the problem of authorship and perspective in primary sources from this period, with the archive of the colonizer serving as the main paradigm through which the processes of conquest and colonization are understood. Two lessons from the NEH-funded website, Southwest Crossroads: Cultures and Histories of the American Southwest, throw this problem into sharp relief. In Encounters—Hopi and Spanish Worldviews, students work with texts written by both Hopi and Spanish authors, as well as maps and images, to learn about missionaries’ violent attempts to convert Hopi villagers to Catholicism and to reflect on the lasting impacts of those attempts for Hopi culture and society. In Invasions—Then and Now, students work with a Spanish account of a sixteenth-century expedition, a map of similar expeditions, and a twentieth-century poem to reflect on the echoes and reverberations of the colonial past.
    • Image analysis: The EDSITEment lesson Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World is based on the analysis of a watercolor painting of the mission. Students can learn more about the architecture of Spanish missions from the National Park Service, and use their insights to analyze the architecture of other missions pictured in the University of California’s digital exhibition of Spanish mission sites in California. They can explore additional photographs of Spanish missions, as well as get a sense for the distribution of missions in what is now the United States, from Designing America, a website created by the Fundación Consejo España-Estados Unidos and the National Library of Spain. Ask students to think critically about this last source in particular as they read through its descriptions of mission architecture and function. How does this information compare with, for example, this Hopi author’s account of the construction of a Spanish mission? Why might this be?

    The Mexican Revolution

    Stereograph cards, like this one of Pancho Villa's headquarters in Juárez, could be viewed with stereoscopes to create the illusion of a three-dimensional scene. They were popular souvenirs this one was produced by the Keystone View Company, in Pennsylvania.

    Beginning in 1910 and continuing for a decade, the Mexican Revolution had profound ramifications for both Mexican and U.S. history. The EDSITEment Closer Readings Commentry on the Mexican Revolution provides background on the conflict and its cultural, artistic, and musical legacies. A lesson plan for the Mexican Revolution covers the context for, unfolding of, and legacies of the Revolution for later social movements. Students can learn about the role played by the United States in the Mexican Revolution in the EDSITEment lesson plan “To Elect Good Men”: Woodrow Wilson and Latin America.

    Framing questions and activities:

    • Guided research: Ask students to explore the Mexican Revolution in greater detail. Useful sources, in addition to those already mentioned, include:
      • The Newberry’s Perspectives on the Mexican Revolution
      • The Library of Congress’s The Mexican Revolution and the United States
      • The Getty’s Faces of the Mexican Revolution
      • Journalist John Reed’s 1914 analysis of the Mexican Revolution

      The following questions and prompts can guide their research:

      • Describe Mexican political, economic, and social conditions during the Porfiriato.
      • What were some of the causes of the Mexican Revolution?
      • Who were some of the major military actors in the Mexican Revolution? Why were they involved, and what were they fighting for?
      • How have different people experienced and understood the Mexican Revolution? Provide at least two different individuals’ perspectives.

      Before students begin their research, ask them to review the sources provided and give examples of primary and secondary sources. As they answer the guiding questions, they should use at least one primary and one secondary source to support each of their answers.

      • Comparing and contrasting: After studying the Mexican Revolution and U.S. involvement in it, ask students to make comparisons with another revolution or conflict that they have studied. They might consider the following factors:
        • Major divisions and conflicts
        • The role of foreign intervention
        • Outcomes of the conflicts
        • Major actors involved in the conflict
        • The way the conflict was represented in contemporary accounts (for example, by researching coverage in historic newspapers on Chronicling America)
        • Ways the conflict is commemorated today

        Students should create presentations of their findings to present to each other. As they listen to their classmates, ask students to take notes about the various revolutions. Use their observations to start a discussion about the word “revolution.” What should be classified as a revolution? Could a coup be a revolution? A civil war? Why do they think some civil wars are classified as such, while others are labeled revolutions, even though the impacts of both might be equally profound?

        Immigration and Identity in the United States

        Photo of Cesar Chávez with farm workers in California, ca. 1970.

        The border between the United States and Mexico has changed over time, and much of the territory that now forms the southwestern United States was at one point Mexican. But the movement of people, goods, money, and ideas has always been a feature of this border. That movement, especially of people, has not always been voluntary. During the Great Depression, many thousands—and by some estimates as many as two million—Mexicans were forcibly deported from the United States. Over half of those deported were U.S. citizens.

        Less than a decade later, U.S. policy changed completely: rather than deporting Mexican-Americans and Mexicans, the United States was desperate to draw Mexican laborers into the country to ease agricultural labor shortages caused by World War II. As a result, the Mexican and U.S. governments established the Bracero Program, which allowed U.S. employers to hire Mexican laborers and guaranteed those laborers a minimum wage, housing, and other necessities. However, braceros’ wages remained low, they had almost no labor rights, and they often faced violent discrimination, including lynching. Oral histories from braceros, as well as several lesson plans about the program, can be found at the NEH-funded Bracero History Archive

        The Bracero program ended in 1964. Two years before, in 1962, César Chávez had co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) with Dolores Huerta. The NFWA would later become the United Farm Workers (UFW). In response to the low wages and terrible working conditions experienced by farmworkers, Chávez and Huerta organized migrant farmworkers to press for higher wages, better working conditions, and labor rights. Students can learn more about Chávez and Huerta in the EDSITEment lesson "Sí, se puede!": Chávez, Huerta, and the UFW.

        The UFW was part of the larger civil rights movement of the 1960s and beyond. The Chicano movement fought for the rights of Mexican-Americans and against anti-Mexican racism and discrimination. It was also important in the creation of a new collective identity for, and sense of solidarity among, Mexican-Americans. Other ethnic categories sought to include a greater number of people of Latin American heritage and to capture aspects of their shared experience in the United States. In the 1970s, activists pushed for the inclusion of “Hispanic” on the U.S. Census in order to disaggregate poverty rates among Latinos and whites. Since then, different terms have emerged to describe this diverse population, including Latino and Latinx. The PBS project Latino Americans (available in English and Spanish) documents the experiences of Latinos in the United States and includes a selection of lesson plans for grades 7-12, as well as shorter, adaptable classroom activities. Additional resources for teaching immigration history include the Closer Readings Commentary “Everything Your Students Need to Know About Immigration History,” which provides an overview of immigration history in the United States, and Becoming US, a collection of teaching resources on migration and immigration created by the Smithsonian Institution.

        Framing questions and activities:

        • Terminology and identity: There are many words to describe the experiences and identities of Latinos in the United States. The words “Hispanic” and “Latino” are intentionally broad and meant to capture a wide diversity of identities and experiences, which means that they can also erase or diminish specific individuals and their stories. Teaching Tolerance has created and compiled a selection of educational materials, including readings, discussion questions, and suggestions for teachers, to help address this topic in the classroom. Within this Teacher’s Guide, the lessons in the section “Borderlands: Lessons from the Chihuahuan Desert” address questions of identity, belonging, and difference in greater depth.
        • Comparing and contrasting: Like "Sí, se puede!": Chávez, Huerta, and the UFW, the EDSITEment lesson Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and the Power of Nonviolence addresses the civil rights movement and the use of nonviolent protest to fight racism, discrimination, and exploitation. Ask students to research a specific protest organized by the UFW and one by leaders of the movement for African American civil rights. They might return to the lessons for some ideas, or work on a protest not included in the lesson plans. Ask them to discuss the following questions with respect to their chosen protests:
          • What actors were involved? What united them?
          • What were they protesting?
          • What strategies did they use? Describe the mechanics of the protest: its location and duration, what actions the protesters took, how they responded to any resistance or confrontations, how and why the protest ended. Depending on the protest they have chosen, a timeline and/or map may be a good way to represent this information.
          • Were there any divisions, controversies, or conflicts within the movement?
          • What responses met the protest? How was the protest represented in different media outlets from the time?
          • How has the protest been commemorated or remembered since it took place? How have those commemorations changed over time?
          • If you were to design a monument, event, or other public commemoration of this protest, what would you create? Why?

          A large selection of reviewed websites that explore the cultural legacy of Mexico, Central America, parts of the Caribbean, as well as other Latin American nations is also featured on EDSITEment. NPR’s Afropop Worldwide introduces the great variety of music with African roots today in countries like Colombia. A Collector's Vision of Puerto Rico features a rich timeline. Other EDSITEment resources focus on the history and culture of other countries. The EDSITEment lesson plan, Mexican Culture and History through Its National Holidays, encourages students to learn more about the United States’ closest southern neighbor by highlighting Mexico’s Independence Day and other important Mexican holidays.

          Additional EDSITEment-created resources help students attain a deeper understanding of the history and cultural wealth of that large and diverse country. EDSITEment marked the Mexican Revolution’s centennial (1910-2010) with a special EDSITEment-created bilingual spotlight that explores the revolution’s historical background, including the muralist movement, and the musical legacy of the corrido tradition. EDSITEment also notes Mexico’s vital role in world literature by saluting one of the most important poets in the Spanish language and the first great Latin American poet, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in a fully bilingual academic unit. Here, teachers and students will find two lesson plans, accompanying bilingual glossaries, an interactive timeline, numerous worksheets, listening-comprehension exercises, and two interactive activities, one of which entails a detailed analysis of her portrait.

          Contemporary authors writing about Hispanic heritage in the United States include Pam Muñoz Ryan, whose award-winning work of juvenile fiction is featured in the EDSITEment lesson plan, Esperanza Rising: Learning Not to Be Afraid to Start Over (the lesson plan is also available in Spanish). Set in the early 1930s, twenty years after the Mexican Revolution and during the Great Depression, Esperanza Rising tells the story of a young Mexican girl's courage and resourcefulness when, at the tender age of thirteen, she finds herself living in a strange new world. Pam Muñoz Ryan also enriches her story with extensive historical background. Students are given an opportunity to engage in interesting classroom activities that encourage them to imagine the difficult choices facing those who decide to leave home and immigrate to the United States.

          On the literature front, both Latin America and Spain have a rich heritage. Set in the Dominican Republic during the rule of Rafael Trujillo, In the Time of the Butterflies fictionalizes historical figures in order to dramatize heroic efforts of the Mirabal sisters to overthrow this dictator’s brutal regime. EDSITEment lesson plan, Courage In the Time of the Butterflies, has students undertake a careful analysis of the sisters to see how each demonstrates courage. Students additionally analyze a speech delivered in 2006 by a daughter of one of the sisters to understand the historical legacy of these extraordinary women.

          A new EDSITEment curriculum unit of three lessons, Magical Realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude for the Common Core, has students uncover how Gabriel García Márquez meshes magical elements with a reality which is, in his view, fantastical in its own right. García Márquez actually recapitulates episodes in the history of Latin America through the novel's story of real and fantastical events experienced over the course of one century by the Buendía family.

          Students can learn more about some of the most important poets from the Spanish Golden Age and from the twentieth century through the feature Six Hispanic Literary Giants (this feature is also available in Spanish).

          Borderlands narratives have historically been seen as peripheral to the development of American history and identity and the binational spaces border people occupy have been portrayed as dangerous, illegitimate, and as part of a distinct counter-culture. During "Tales from the Chihuahuan Desert: Borderlands Narratives about Identity and Binationalism," a summer institute for educators (grades 6-12) sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and offered by The University of Texas at El Paso, scholars and teachers examine debates about American history and identity by focusing on the multicultural region and narratives of the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez metroplex.

          The lessons and materials provided below were created by institute attendees in the interest of developing "their own creative ways of implementing diverse storytelling methodologies into their teaching philosophies in order to more holistically reflect on the complex histories and identities of border peoples and of the binational spaces they inhabit." The complete portfolio of lesson plans is available at the "Tales from the Chihuahuan Desert: Borderlands Narratives about Identity and Binationalism" homepage.

          Smokestack Memories: A Borderlands History During the Gilded Age—The second industrialization also known as the Gilded Age from about 1870s-1900s is one of the most significant time periods in American history. In 1887, a smelter was established in El Paso which would become known as ASARCO. The purpose of this lesson is to understand and contextualize the global, national, border, and regional impact of industry during the Gilded Age. (Grade: 7, 8, 11) (Subject: U.S. History, AP U.S. History)

          Push/Pull Factors and the Quest for God, Gold, and Glory—Through these two lessons that connect early European exploration of US territories with contemporary immigration, students draw upon the familiar to understand the past and the long history of the United States as a nation by and for people of many cultures. (Grade: 8) (Subject: U.S. History, World History)

          Making a Nation—Through these lessons, students will produce an interactive map of North America in the earliest days of colonization that demonstrates the multiple nations and borderlands that cut across the physical space that we now consider to be clearly defined that they can then use throughout their study of American history. (Grade: 8) (Subject: Language Arts and Social Studies)

          Borders Near and Far: A Global and Local Investigation of Borderlands—This lesson is designed as an introduction for exploring the theme of borders and borderlands throughout a literature course. Compelling questions and text-based examples are provided to prepare students for independent close readings and discussions of borders at multiple points during the school year. (Grade: 11-12) (Subject: Literature and Language Arts)

          Know Thyself—This unit focuses on the topics of identity, stereotypes, culture, and biculturalism. It is a four-part unit intended to extend throughout the semester with supplemental activities and resources in between. This unit is presented in English to serve lower level Spanish courses, however, it can be adapted and taught in Spanish with additional vocabulary instruction and scaffolding. (Grade: 9-12) (Subject: Language, Spanish level 1, 2)

          Borders: Understanding and Overcoming Differences—Students will examine the concept of borders, both literal and figurative, as well as what a border is and how it is created. They will use this knowledge as they learn about the U.S.-Mexico border and will delve deeper into the idea of borders as they examine their own lives. (Grade: 8-10) (Subject: Spanish and Social Studies)

          Latino Americans is an NEH-funded documentary series that chronicles the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos from the first European settlements to the present day. The website contains trailers from all episodes, a timeline, and an opportunity to upload your own video history. The related education initiative invites teachers and learners to explore the many ways that Latinos have contributed to the history and culture of the United States.

          To accompany Episode 3: War and Peace, Humanities Texas offers a collection of resources to explore the contributions of Latino Americans during the second world war and the experience of returning servicemen who faced discrimination despite their service. These lesson plans and activities include viewing guides to support students as they watch the episode and primary sources to draw out key themes and events introduced by the film.

          Social Studies and History

          The Mexican Revolution —In order to better understand this decade-long civil war, we offer an overview of the main players on the competing sides, primary source materials for point of view analysis, discussion of how the arts reflected the era, and links to Chronicling America, a free digital database of historic newspapers, that covers this period in great detail.

          Chronicling America's Spanish-language newspapers—The Spanish-language newspapers in Chronicling America, along with those published in English, allow us to look beyond one representation of the communities and cultures pulled into the United States by wars and treaties of the 19th century. Spanish-language newspapers reveal how these communities reported on their own culture, politics, and struggles to form an identity in a brand new context.

          Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World—Focusing on the daily life of Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, the lesson asks students to relate the people of this community and their daily activities to the art and architecture of the mission.

          Literature and Language Arts

          Esperanza Rising: Learning Not to Be Afraid to Start Over (also available in Spanish)—In this lesson students will explore some of the contrasts that Esperanza experiences when she suddenly falls from her lofty perch as the darling child of a wealthy landowner surrounded by family and servants to become a servant herself among an extended family of immigrant farm workers.

          Magical Realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude (Curriculum Unit)—Author Gabriel García Márquez meshes magical elements with a reality which is, in his view, fantastical in its own right. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, García Márquez vividly retells episodes in the history of Latin America through the story of real and fantastical events experienced over the course of one century by the Buendía family.

          Women and Revolution: In the Time of the Butterflies—In this lesson, students undertake a careful analysis of the main characters to see how each individually demonstrates courage in the course of her family’s turbulent life events in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorial rule of Rafael Trujillo.

          Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: The First Great Latin American Poet (Curriculum Unit, also available in Spanish)—Through this curriculum unit students will gain an understanding of why Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz is considered one of the most important poets of Latin America, and why she is also considered a pioneering feminist writer and poet.

          "Every Day We Get More Illegal" by Juan Felipe Herrera—In his poem “Every Day We Get More Illegal” Juan Felipe Herrera, the former Poet Laureate of the United States, gives voice to the feelings of those “in-between the light,” who have ambiguous immigration status and work in the United States.

          "Translation for Mamá" by Richard Blanco—Richard Blanco wrote the poem “Translation for Mamá” for his mother, who came to the United States from Cuba to create a new life for herself and her family. Using both English and Spanish language translation, Blanco honors the bridge between his mother’s new identity and the losses she faced in emigration.

          Culture and Arts

          Picturing America (Available in Spanish)—The Picturing America project celebrates Hispanic heritage with a handsome visual reminder of the Spanish influence on American history, religion, and culture.

          La Familia—Students will learn about families in various Spanish cultures and gain a preliminary knowledge of the Spanish language, learning the Spanish names for various family members.

          De Colores—This lesson plan is designed for young learners at the novice or novice-intermediate level of proficiency in Spanish. The vocabulary, the colors, is appealing to young learners because colors are easy for them to comprehend and observe while connecting the newly acquired vocabulary to familiar objects.

          Origins of Halloween and the Day of the Dead—This EDSITEment feature can be used with students as a framework for discussing the origins and history of the Halloween festival and introducing them to the Mexican festival, the Day of the Dead (el Día de Muertos), recognizing the common elements shared these festivals of the dead as well as the acknowledging the differences between them.

          Mexican Culture and History through Its National Holidays—This lesson will focus on holidays that represent and commemorate Mexico's religious traditions, culture, and politics over the past five hundred years.

          United States history


          The land that became the United States has been inhabited for some 60,000 years. The first people to live on the land were hunters who most likely migrated to North America from Asia. Eventually these people and their descendants—the Native Americans—spread across North and South America.

          Europeans Arrive in the Americas

          The history of the Americas forever changed when the explorer Christopher Columbus arrived from Spain in 1492. This voyage and three later ones revealed vast new lands to the Europeans. The continents of North and South America and the nearby islands became known as the New World. Columbus’ discovery began an era of European exploration and colonization that had a devastating effect on the Native Americans. Many died of diseases carried by the Europeans. Others were killed in warfare or forced into slavery.

          When the king and queen of Spain learned of what Columbus had found, they laid claim to much of the new lands. The Spanish established colonies in the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

          The first Spanish explorer to reach the shores of what is now the United States was Juan Ponce de León. He landed in what is now Florida in 1513 and claimed it for his country. Through later explorations, Spain also established control over what is now the southwestern United States.

          Meanwhile, three other countries also became interested in the new land: England, France, and the Netherlands. In 1497 the Englishman John Cabot explored the coast of what is now eastern Canada. England laid claim to North America based on this voyage, though for decades it made little effort to colonize the land. In 1524 a French expedition commanded by Giovanni de Verrazzano explored the coast of North America from North Carolina northward to Canada. Ten years later another French expedition led by Jacques Cartier sailed up the Saint Lawrence River. In 1609 Henry Hudson, in command of a Dutch ship, sailed into New York Bay and up the river that later was named after him. (See also Americas, Exploration and Settlement of the.)

          The Colonial Period

          The 13 Colonies Are Established

          The English founded their first permanent settlement on the continent at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. In 1619 the people of Virginia organized the first representative assembly in America. This was the House of Burgesses (or citizens).

          The second English colony to be established in America was Plymouth. It was founded by the Pilgrims in 1620. The Pilgrims were a group of Protestants who left England because they objected to some of the beliefs and practices of the Church of England. They crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a ship called the Mayflower. After landing in what became the state of Massachusetts, they established their colony. Near Plymouth, another group of English Protestants called the Puritans founded the larger Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. The Puritans also had left England because of disagreements with the Church of England. Plymouth Colony was made part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

          English colonies spread along the coast near Massachusetts and Virginia in the 1620s and 1630s. Permanent settlements were made in what is now New Hampshire in 1623. People from the Massachusetts Bay Colony established the colonies of Connecticut in 1635 and Rhode Island in 1636. Maryland, just north of Virginia, was settled in 1634.

          Meanwhile, in 1624, Dutch settlers had founded a colony called New Netherland in the area of the Hudson River. The English colonists in New England and Virginia viewed the Dutch as intruders. In 1664 an English fleet seized the Dutch colony. The English changed its name from New Netherland to New York. The English also seized nearby New Jersey and Delaware from the Dutch in 1664. Pennsylvania was founded in 1681 by an English Quaker named William Penn.

          South of Virginia, the land known as Carolina was settled by the English during the second half of the 1700s. In 1729 the territory was divided into the colonies of North and South Carolina. Georgia, the last of the original 13 colonies, was settled in 1733.

          Early Relations with the Native Americans

          Life in the colonies was influenced by the Native American tribes that had lived on the land since long before the Europeans arrived. The early colonists adopted Native American foods and herbs, methods of raising crops, war techniques, and words. Some of the colonists established friendly relations with the Native Americans living near them. Over the years, however, the interaction between the colonists and the Native Americans turned more often to conflict.

          Colonial Government and Economy

          Most of the colonies established assemblies similar to the English Parliament to govern themselves. Only citizens who owned property or paid taxes, however, were allowed to vote or to become a member of the assembly. In New England, where most of the people lived in villages and towns, local government was conducted in town meetings. In the South, where most people lived on large farms and plantations, the county was the basis for local government.

          Most of the early colonists were farmers because they had to grow their own food. In time, however, the living patterns of the colonists changed. In New England people turned their land over to livestock raising and began lumbering, shipbuilding, and fishing industries. In the South colonists grew tobacco, rice, and indigo, which they traded with other colonies and with England. The large plantations in the South were worked by enslaved peoples brought from Africa. The colonists of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania grew grains for their own use and for export.

          Expansion of the Colonies

          Along with economic development, the colonies steadily made gains in such areas as religious freedom, education, travel, communication, and self-government. These advancements led to rapid population growth. In 1700 about 250,000 people lived in the 13 colonies. By 1760 this number had reached nearly 1.7 million. Many of the newcomers had come from Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and France. Part of the population growth, however, was due to huge increases in the number of African slaves brought to the colonies. By 1765, for example, Blacks outnumbered whites in South Carolina by about 2 to 1.

          As the population of the colonies grew, people began to expand their settlements westward. This brought them into conflict with the Native Americans already living in the territory. The colonists and the Native Americans often fought for control of the land. In nearly every struggle the outcome was the same: the Europeans pushed the Native Americans farther and farther from their homelands.

          The expansion of the colonies also heightened tensions between the English and the French. French people had settled in the Saint Lawrence Valley, the Great Lakes region, and the Mississippi Valley. The English and French soon came into conflict over fishing rights, the fur trade, and Native American alliances. There was also bitter hostility between France and England in Europe. Between 1689 and 1748 the two countries fought three separate wars, both in Europe and in America. In 1754 French and British forces began another conflict, which came to be called the French and Indian War. The war ended in 1763 with the defeat of France and its Native American allies. The victory gave Great Britain control over all French lands in Canada and between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Britain had become the supreme power in North America.

          The American Revolution

          After the French and Indian War, relations between the British government and the American colonies began to break down. For more than 150 years the colonies had been developing their own society, economy, and some self-government. The British had governed them only lightly. But in 1763 this began to change. The British decided that the colonies should help pay for the cost of the war just ended and for their future defense.

          Events Leading to the Revolution

          The British Parliament passed a series of acts (laws) calling for taxes on colonial trade. The colonists argued that because the colonies did not have representatives in the English Parliament, it was wrong for the British to tax them. Many colonists refused to pay the taxes and organized protests. Sometimes they clashed with British forces. In 1770 British soldiers fired into an angry mob in Boston. Five Americans were killed in the incident, which became known as the Boston Massacre. In 1773, in response to a tax on tea, colonists disguised as Native Americans dumped tea from British ships into Boston Harbor. This event was later called the Boston Tea Party.

          First and Second Continental Congresses Meet

          The British government responded to the Tea Party by passing restrictive laws that angered the colonists even more. In 1774 representatives from all 13 colonies except Georgia met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to discuss their complaints against the British government. This meeting was called the First Continental Congress. A few representatives from New England and Virginia talked about gaining independence from Britain. Most of the representatives, however, favored putting pressure on Parliament by refusing to trade with Britain. This approach failed, and in April 1775 fighting broke out in Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, between colonists and British troops. The colonists were known as minutemen because they could be ready to fight at a moment’s notice. These battles began the American Revolution.

          The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in May 1775. The representatives chose George Washington to command the colonial troops. In 1776 Thomas Jefferson and other representatives drafted a statement calling for separation from Britain. This document, called the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.


          The war for independence did not go well for the colonists at first. General Washington barely managed to keep his small army together because of defeats and lack of supplies. Finally the tide turned in the colonists’ favor in 1777, when the British were defeated at the battle of Saratoga in New York. After that victory, France joined the colonies in their war against Britain. The fighting ended in 1781 with the surrender of the British at Yorktown, Virginia. By the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Britain recognized the independence of the American colonies. The new nation extended from Canada on the north to Florida on the south and westward to the Mississippi River. (See also Revolution, American.)

          The New Nation

          The Constitution

          Before the war ended, the Second Continental Congress drafted a plan of government called the Articles of Confederation. The Articles, adopted in 1781, provided for a loose union of states and kept most of the powers of government for the individual states. It soon became clear that the Articles were not adequate for governing the growing nation.

          In 1787 a convention was held in Philadelphia to amend the Articles of Confederation. Soon the representatives decided to draft an entirely new constitution. The new document was approved by the states in 1788 and took effect in 1789. The Constitution provided for a federal type of government: a union of states under a strong central government. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution—known as the Bill of Rights—were adopted in 1791. (See also United States Constitution.)

          The first elections under the new Constitution were held in 1789. George Washington became the first president. Alexander Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury, and others who believed in a strong central government came to be called Federalists. Thomas Jefferson and his followers, who feared that the national government might exercise too much power, were called Anti-Federalists, or Republicans. These groups marked the beginning of political parties in the United States.

          Westward Expansion

          After the United States became independent, people began to move into the region between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. The first states created west of the Appalachians were Kentucky in 1792 and Tennessee in 1796. Most of the people who lived in the West were farmers. They shipped their farm products down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans for shipping outside the country.

          At the time, New Orleans and the surrounding area were French territories. In 1803 Thomas Jefferson, who had been elected president in 1800, decided that the United States should buy New Orleans and the land along the lower Mississippi River from France. In a surprise move, France agreed to sell all of its land west of the Mississippi to the United States for about 15 million dollars. This land was known as the Louisiana Territory, and the deal was called the Louisiana Purchase. It nearly doubled the size of the United States. Between 1804 and 1806 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led an exploration of this territory (see Lewis and Clark Expedition). The movement into the lands west of the Appalachians then became a flood. The United States also expanded to the south. In 1819 Spain signed a treaty that gave Florida to the United States.

          The New Country’s Foreign Policies

          Foreign affairs caused the United States much concern during the early 1800s. Wars between Britain and France interfered with U.S. trade. To make matters worse, the British began stopping U.S. ships to search for British seamen who had deserted. Sometimes they forced U.S. sailors to serve on British ships. In 1812 the United States declared war on Britain. The two countries fought for more than two years. Neither side was able to win a clear victory before a peace treaty was signed in 1814. (See also War of 1812.)

          During the early 1800s Spain’s colonies in Central and South America declared themselves independent. Later Spain tried to regain control over these colonies, and it appeared that some European powers might help. President James Monroe responded by issuing the Monroe Doctrine in 1823. It stated that North and South America were no longer open to colonization. It also declared that the United States would not allow European countries to interfere with independent governments in the Western Hemisphere. From then on the Monroe Doctrine was a key part of U.S. foreign policy.

          Developments in Industry and Transportation

          The 1800s was a period of great industrial growth in the United States. An important development was Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in 1793. This machine speeded up the process of separating seeds from cotton fibers. It led to a major expansion of the textile industry. It also caused the growing of cotton to spread throughout the Southern states. Farmers in the North were helped by other inventions, such as Cyrus McCormick’s mechanical reaper for harvesting grain. Ironworks were set up to manufacture these farm tools, along with household utensils, factory machines, and other items.

          A key part of the economic growth of the United States in the 1800s was the development of better means of transportation. Goods had to be shipped from factories to farms and from farms to towns and cities. To meet this need, new roads and canals were built. The Erie Canal, opened in 1825, connected Lake Erie with the Hudson River. It provided a major boost to shipping between New York City and the Great Lakes region. The invention and improvement of the steam engine led to even more important developments in transportation and trade. The first successful steamboat was built by Robert Fulton. It made its first voyage on the Hudson in 1807. In the early 1830s the first American railroads were built. Thousands of miles of track were laid in the following decades.

          Manifest Destiny

          Improvements in transportation encouraged further expansion to the west. The growth of the United States was also encouraged by an idea called manifest destiny. In the mid-1800s many Americans came to believe that the United States was destined to expand westward to the Pacific Ocean, and even beyond. But the push toward the Pacific coast led to conflict with foreign powers. Mexico owned Texas, California, and much of the Southwest. The British had a strong claim to Oregon. In each case Americans first penetrated and then won complete control of the area.

          The conquest of the Mexican territories began in Texas. In 1836 Americans who had settled in Texas revolted against Mexican rule and declared their independence. Nine years later Texas became part of the United States. The addition of Texas to the United States led to a conflict known as the Mexican War, which lasted from 1846 to 1848. After Mexico was defeated, the United States took possession of Texas, California, and almost the entire Southwest. The discovery of gold in California in 1848 attracted tens of thousands of newcomers to the Pacific coast.

          Meanwhile, pioneers had begun following the Oregon Trail to the Pacific Northwest. Heavy migration to Oregon won the region for the United States. In 1846 the United States and Britain agreed on the boundary line between British Canada and the United States.

          The Country Divides and Reunites

          Dissension in the Union

          The westward expansion of the United States heightened tensions over the issue of slavery. The growth of cotton and tobacco plantations in the South had made the Southern economy increasingly dependent on slave labor. Meanwhile, many Americans, especially in the northern states, began to oppose slavery. They wanted to abolish (end) the practice because they thought it was wrong. By 1804 all of the states north of Maryland had abolished slavery. (See also abolitionist movement.)

          This difference of opinion regarding slavery led to conflict when the new Western territories began to apply for admission to the Union (the United States). When Missouri asked to be admitted as a “slave” state—one that allowed slavery—the northern states objected. In 1820 Congress reached an agreement known as the Missouri Compromise. Missouri entered the Union as a slave state and Maine entered as a “free” state—one that prohibited slavery. In addition, slavery was prohibited north of the southern border of Missouri. Another compromise over slavery came in 1850. California had asked to join the Union as a free state. California was admitted as a free state, and slavery was prohibited in the District of Columbia. But the people who lived in the rest of the territory that had been won in the Mexican War were to decide for themselves whether they would have slavery.

          Many people thought that these compromises had solved the matter of slavery for good. In 1854, however, Congress passed the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act. This law permitted the Kansas and Nebraska territories—both north of the Missouri Compromise line—to decide whether they should have slavery. People from both the North and South rushed into Kansas to help decide the matter, and fighting broke out. Eventually, in 1861, Kansas was admitted as a free state.

          The Civil War

          Slavery was the main campaign issue in the presidential election of 1860. Abraham Lincoln of the antislavery Republican Party became the new president. Shortly after Lincoln’s election, the Southern states began to secede (withdraw) from the Union. They formed the Confederate States of America and elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as president.

          The American Civil War began in April 1861 when Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Neither side was ready for war, but the North had more ships, railroads, soldiers, and supplies. Fierce battles were fought in both the East and the West. In 1863 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a document that freed enslaved people in the Southern states. In that same year the Union Army won major battles at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania and Vicksburg in Mississippi. But fighting continued until April 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. (See also Civil War, American.)


          Only a few days after the close of the war, Lincoln was assassinated, and Vice President Andrew Johnson became president. At the close of the war the South lay in ruins, for most of the fighting had occurred there. Nevertheless, the Republicans who controlled Congress after the war still wanted to punish the Southern states for leaving the Union. The South was placed under military rule, and new state governments were formed. The new governments were made to accept the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which provided citizenship to all of the former enslaved people. The Southern states were readmitted to the Union between 1866 and 1870.

          In the decade after the war, plantation farming by enslaved people was replaced by the sharecropping system. Sharecroppers farmed a piece of land owned by someone else in return for a share of the crops that they produced. The very low incomes provided by this system forced on Blacks a miserable existence that was little better than slavery. This difficult period of political, social, and economic changes in the South after the Civil War is known as Reconstruction.

          Growth of the Nation

          The population of the United States in 1880 was slightly more than 50 million. In 1900 it was almost 76 million, a gain of more than 50 percent. Much of the population increase was due to millions of immigrants who entered the country during this period. They sought new jobs and new homes in a prosperous land. Many came from northern or western Europe, as they had since the earliest days of the republic. Beginning in the 1890s, however, the majority of the immigrants arrived from southern or eastern Europe—largely Italy, Poland, Greece, and Russia. Most of them settled in big cities such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Many other Americans moved from farms to cities during this period as well.

          Movement to the West

          As the cities grew, other Americans continued moving westward across the vast, mostly unpopulated plains in the country’s heartland. Some sought mineral wealth. In the 30 years after the discovery of gold in California, prospectors found gold or silver in every state and territory of the Far West. Others began to raise cattle on the open ranges of such states as Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. The expansion of the railroads provided a way for the cattle ranchers to ship their goods to the East and West. The first railroad to cross the entire country was completed in Utah in 1869.

          Treatment of Native Americans

          The government had set aside large tracts of land in the West for the use of Native American tribes. But these lands were invaded during the westward movement of the prospectors, cattlemen, farmers, and railroads. By 1870 these invasions had resulted in the outbreak of a series of savage wars between the Native Americans and the white settlers. By the late 1880s most Native Americans had been forced off their lands and onto reservations. The final defeat of the Native Americans came in the battle of Wounded Knee in South Dakota in 1890.

          Industrial Development

          The movement of people from farms to cities was a sign of the tremendous industrial growth in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s. People went to the cities to work in the rapidly expanding factories. In the 1880s and 1890s industrial production and the number of workers employed in industry more than doubled.

          Many factors combined to produce this burst of industrial activity. The construction of railroads led to increased demand for steel rails and the growth of the steel industry. A new method of steelmaking—called the Bessemer process—resulted in improved products. The coming of the gasoline engine led to the development of the automobile and of the airplane. By 1893 the Duryea brothers had made the first successful gasoline-driven automobile in the United States. Within a decade several people, including Henry Ford, had built factories to manufacture cars. In 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight in an airplane. The production of aircraft had just started when World War I began in 1914.

          Advancements in manufacturing procedures during this period made factories much more productive. In 1913, for example, Henry Ford introduced the assembly-line method of making cars. In this method each worker performed only one step in the manufacturing process. Splitting up the work in this way is known as the division of labor. By the beginning of the 1900s factories were producing all sorts of goods, from locomotives and farm machinery to household utensils. Through developments in transportation and sales techniques, all kinds of goods and services became available to almost everyone.

          This industrial activity was led by a group of powerful businessmen. The best known were Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. They were among the first people in the United States to organize business on a large scale. Carnegie made a fortune as the leader of the enormous expansion of the steel industry. Rockefeller grew wealthy after founding the Standard Oil Company, which dominated oil production in the United States.

          Reform Movements

          As industry developed, competing firms began joining together to form large organizations capable of dominating an entire industry. These organizations were called trusts. Because they had no competition, trusts could control production within an industry and set high prices for their goods. Many people, including small business owners and workers, protested against the trusts. In 1890 Congress passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which outlawed practices that allowed trusts to gain a monopoly (complete control) of an industry. In 1914 Congress created an agency called the Federal Trade Commission to prevent unfair methods of business competition.

          Even with the restrictions placed on industry, individual workers found it difficult to protect their rights as businesses expanded. To deal with this problem, workers joined together in labor unions. The first important national labor organization in the United States was the Knights of Labor (KOL), founded in 1869. In the late 1800s the American Federation of Labor (AFL) replaced the KOL as the country’s most powerful union. The AFL brought together craft and trade unions (such as the carpenters’ union) into a loose federation. It worked for reforms such as the establishment of a shorter workday and workweek. In the 1900s the AFL merged with another labor federation, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), to form the AFL-CIO.

          The labor movements also helped improve working conditions for women and children. Another victory for women in this period was the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment, adopted in 1919, gave women the right to vote.

          New Territories

          In the second half of the 1800s the United States took over lands that lay far beyond its borders. In 1867 Russia sold Alaska to the United States for 7.2 million dollars. In 1898 the United States claimed possession of the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Alaska and Hawaii would be made states in 1959.

          In 1898 the United States and Spain went to war because of U.S. support for the independence movement in Cuba, which was then ruled by Spain. At the close of the war the United States gained control over Puerto Rico and the island of Guam. The United States also took possession of the Philippines after paying Spain 20 million dollars. Cuba was granted independence. This conflict, known as the Spanish-American War, began the rise of the United States as a world power.

          Around this time the United States became interested in building a canal across the Central American country of Panama. The waterway would provide a valuable short cut for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. At the time Colombia ruled Panama. When Colombia objected to U.S. plans for the project, Panama declared its independence. The United States immediately recognized Panama as an independent country. Two weeks later the two countries signed a treaty that allowed the United States to build the canal. Construction began in 1904, and the Panama Canal opened in 1914.

          World War I

          The United States paid a price for its growing status in world politics. In 1914 war broke out in Europe. On one side were the Central Powers—Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria. On the other side were the Allies—more than 20 nations led by Britain and France. The United States tried to remain neutral. The American people reelected President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 partly because he had kept the country out of the war. By 1917, however, the United States found it impossible to remain outside the struggle. Soon after German submarines began sinking U.S. ships, the United States declared war on the Central Powers. Two million U.S. soldiers helped the Allies to victory on the battlefields of Europe. The fighting ended in November 1918. (See also World War I.)

          The peace treaty that officially ended the war was signed in Versailles, France, in 1919. President Wilson insisted that the treaty provide for the creation of the League of Nations. This organization was designed to maintain peace among the countries of the world. The United States Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles, however. As a result, the United States never joined the League of Nations.

          From Prosperity to Depression

          After the difficult war years, the United States hoped for a return to what was called “normalcy.” Americans wanted to put reminders of the war behind them. And for most of the 1920s they enjoyed peace and prosperity. Business boomed, providing many jobs at good wages. Banks loaned money freely to farmers and businessmen to buy land and machinery. Consumers demanded and received an endless variety of goods—from refrigerators and radios to new homes and cars. Millions of people began buying stocks and bonds in the hope of making quick profits.

          Many Americans began to think that prosperity had come to stay. In October 1929, however, a financial panic occurred. Prices on the stock market tumbled as thousands of stockholders tried to sell their stocks. The stock market crash was the beginning of a severe worldwide financial downturn known as the Great Depression.

          Herbert Hoover, who had been elected president in 1928, and Congress took steps to try to improve the economy. But when the presidential election of 1932 arrived, millions of U.S. workers were still without jobs. Years of poor land use combined with drought to turn large rural areas in the West into a so-called “dust bowl.” Farmers lost their farms when they could not repay loans to banks. Banks closed because they were unable to collect the loans they had made. State and local governments were no longer able to provide relief payments to the unemployed. Amid these difficult conditions, voters elected Franklin D. Roosevelt to replace Hoover. The new president promised a “New Deal” in the United States.

          The New Deal

          Roosevelt began work on the New Deal as soon as he took office in 1933. He encouraged Congress to pass laws to help banks that were in trouble and to reopen closed banks. Other new laws provided relief for the unemployed and encouraged industry and agriculture. New public-works projects provided work for millions of people. Perhaps the most far-reaching New Deal measure was the Social Security Act, passed in 1935. It provided financial assistance to people of retirement age, to the blind, and to mothers and dependent children. It also set up a system of unemployment insurance. The Social Security system was later expanded to provide benefits for more workers.

          By the end of the 1930s the United States had made some progress toward recovering from the depression. Factory production had increased and more people were back at work. Farmers were enjoying better incomes. But what ultimately pulled the country out of the depression was the production of supplies for World War II.

          World War II

          War broke out in Europe in 1939 when Germany attacked Poland. Germany was led at the time by the Nazi party of Adolf Hitler. In response to the invasion of Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Soon Germany was joined by Italy and Japan. These countries formed the Axis powers. The countries opposed to the Axis powers were called the Allies.

          In the early part of the war the United States supported the Allies by supplying military aid. At the same time it began to strengthen its own armed forces. The question of how much and what type of additional aid should be given to the Allies was a major issue of the presidential election of 1940. Roosevelt was elected to a third term. He was the first U.S. president to serve more than two terms.

          United States Enters the War

          Soon U.S. involvement in the war changed drastically. On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The surprise attack crippled the U.S. fleet. The United States declared war on Japan the next day. Three days later Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

          War at Home and Abroad

          Millions of American men and women joined the military. Industry was expanded to produce ships, tanks, planes, and other war supplies. By 1944 U.S. factories were producing twice as much as all the factories of Germany, Italy, and Japan combined. In the months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, however, the United States was not prepared to begin fighting in the Pacific. The Japanese were able to capture the Philippines and other Pacific islands. But in June 1942 Allied forces defeated the Japanese on Midway Island. This battle was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

          Meanwhile, U.S. forces fought with other Allied troops in Europe and North Africa. Italy surrendered in September 1943, leaving Germany to fight alone in Europe. On June 6, 1944, Allied forces invaded France. This attack is known as the D-Day invasion. For months thereafter Germany fought a losing battle against advancing Soviet armies in the east and Allied armies in the west. Germany surrendered in May 1945, ending the war in Europe.

          End of the War and Plans for Peace

          The war in the Pacific ended a few months later. In August 1945 the United States dropped atom bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These new, very powerful weapons devastated the cities and killed tens of thousands of people. Japan surrendered within days of the second bombing. (See also World War II.)

          Even before the end of the war, Allied leaders had taken steps aimed at ensuring the future peace of the world. In April 1945 representatives from 50 countries met in San Francisco to plan the organization of the United Nations (UN). The purpose of the UN was to promote peace and to advance the social, economic, and political progress of all peoples of the world.

          The Cold War Begins

          During World War II the United States and the Soviet Union worked together against a common enemy. When peace came, however, a rivalry developed between the two great powers. The United States became the leader of the Western nations, which mostly had democratic governments. The Soviet Union, with a Communist government, achieved dominance over eastern Europe. The Soviets also encouraged the rise of Communism in other parts of the world. The United States was determined to stop Communism from spreading. The tense competition between the United States and the Soviet Union became known as the Cold War.

          New foreign policies announced by the United States in the late 1940s were aimed at combating Communism. One major new policy was the Truman Doctrine, named after Harry S. Truman, who had become president upon the death of Roosevelt in 1945. It provided money and military aid to countries that were threatened by the spread of Communism. Another new policy was the Marshall Plan, named after secretary of state George C. Marshall. It offered money to the countries of Europe so that they could recover from the war. The United States believed that creating stable economies in European countries would help them stay free of Communist influence. In 1949 the United States joined Canada and 10 European countries in forming the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a defense against possible Soviet attacks.

          Korean War

          In 1950 war broke out in Asia. Troops sent by the Soviet-supported, Communist government of North Korea invaded South Korea. They wanted to unite the country under Communist rule. The UN Security Council voted to help to South Korea, and the United States and other UN countries sent troops. Chinese Communist troops went to the aid of North Korea. This conflict became known as the Korean War. The war ended in 1953 with the establishment of a neutral zone between North and South Korea. (See also Korean War.)

          The Space Race

          The Cold War expanded into the realm of space exploration in 1957. In October of that year the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. The achievement stunned the United States. In response, the government of President Dwight D. Eisenhower encouraged space research in the United States. The first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, was launched in January 1958. In 1969 the United States landed the first man on the moon.

          One of the most serious issues to develop after World War II was that of the spread of nuclear weapons. Both the United States and the Soviet Union built up large arsenals of such weapons. Tensions between the two powers often led to fears of nuclear warfare. These fears reached new levels in 1962, when the U.S. government learned that the Soviet Union had set up nuclear missiles in Cuba. Communists had taken control of Cuba in 1959. U.S. President John F. Kennedy demanded that the missiles be removed. Many people feared war. After two tense weeks, however, the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles. This confrontation is known as the Cuban missile crisis.

          Civil Rights

          The 1960s was a troubled decade at home as well. One especially notable development was the growth of the civil rights movement. More and more African Americans began protesting against laws that were unfair to them. They had already won an important victory in 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools could no longer be segregated—that is, white and Black students could not be required to go to different schools. The best-known leader of the civil rights movement was Martin Luther King, Jr. He used nonviolent methods such as marches to draw attention to his causes.

          The civil rights movement had a great impact on the United States and its leaders. President Kennedy stressed civil rights legislation and submitted a major civil rights bill to Congress in June 1963. On November 22, 1963, however, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson immediately took over as president. He successfully urged Congress to pass the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. Johnson also supported a number of other social reforms, including increased funds for education and antipoverty measures. Despite these efforts, however, many Blacks were dissatisfied with the slow progress they were making. In the mid-1960s race riots broke out in most of the nation’s large cities. Rioting began again after Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated in 1968.

          Vietnam War and Watergate

          The biggest problem faced by President Johnson was war in Vietnam. Since the late 1950s rebels supported by the Communist government of North Vietnam had been trying to overthrow the anti-Communist government of South Vietnam. Kennedy had sent military advisers and supplies to the South Vietnamese. Under Johnson, U.S. participation in the war greatly expanded. The United States sent soldiers and began bombing the North. By the end of 1967 about 500,000 United States troops were in South Vietnam. The huge cost of the war and the growing casualties upset many Americans, especially young people. Protests against the war took place throughout the country. Johnson became unpopular and chose not to run for reelection in 1968.

          Richard M. Nixon followed Johnson as president. At first he continued to support the war. Soon, however, Nixon began pulling U.S. troops out of Vietnam. A peace treaty was signed in 1973, but fighting continued after the U.S. departure(see Vietnam War). Nixon’s historic visit to Communist China in 1972 led to the establishment of official relations between the United States and that country. Later that year Nixon was reelected. But after the election an investigation showed that Nixon had been involved in illegal activities that helped him win. As a result of this scandal—known as Watergate—Nixon resigned from the presidency in 1974. Vice President Gerald R. Ford became president.

          The economy was a problem during the terms of both Ford and the next president, Jimmy Carter. Energy shortages during the late 1970s led to attempts to get the United States to rely less on imported oil. In 1977 the United States and Panama signed treaties in which the United States agreed to turn over control of the Panama Canal in 1999. In November 1979 a group of Iranians seized the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran. They held the Americans inside the embassy as hostages until January 1981.

          Reagan and Bush Administrations

          In the 1980 presidential election Ronald Reagan defeated Carter by a huge margin to become the 40th president. He was reelected in 1984. In his second term Reagan supported Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts to achieve economic and social changes in the Soviet Union. The two leaders also signed the intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) treaty in 1987. The treaty was a step toward reducing the nuclear threat in the two countries.

          In 1989 Reagan was succeeded by his vice president, George Bush. Initially Bush worked with Congress to resolve the federal government’s economic problems. Overall, however, he was more active in foreign affairs. He signed two nuclear arms treaties, one with Soviet leader Gorbachev and the second with Russian President Boris Yeltsin after the Soviet Union had dissolved.

          In December 1989 Bush ordered an invasion of Panama to capture that country’s leader, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega was then put on trial in the United States for his role in international sales of illegal drugs. After Iraq invaded the neighboring country of Kuwait in 1990, the United States led a group of countries in a war against Iraq. This short conflict was known as the Persian Gulf War. It began in January 1991 and ended six weeks later with the defeat of Iraq.

          After the Cold War

          The Clinton Administration

          The breakup of the Soviet Union in late 1991 left the United States as the world’s only superpower. The first U.S. president to be elected following the end of the Cold War was Bill Clinton. He defeated Bush in the election of 1992 and was reelected in 1996. Under Clinton the economy improved dramatically. Economic production rose while unemployment and the national debt fell. The Clinton government also signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which encouraged trade between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

          Despite these economic successes, however, Clinton’s presidency was troubled by several scandals. The biggest of these scandals centered on an affair between Clinton and a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. In 1998–99 Clinton was accused of lying about this affair and impeached (put on trial) by Congress, which had the power to remove him from office. Clinton was not found guilty of the charges against him and remained in office. He was only the second president in United States history to be impeached.

          The Bush Administration

          The 2000 presidential election was one of the closest in U.S. history. The candidates were Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore, and former president Bush’s son, Governor George W. Bush of Texas. The outcome of the election remained undecided for several weeks because of a controversy regarding the counting of votes in Florida. Eventually the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of Bush.

          During his first year in office Bush faced a major crisis—the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history. In September 2001 terrorists hijacked four airplanes. They crashed two of the planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, destroying both buildings. The third plane was flown into the Pentagon, the center of U.S. military operations, near Washington, D.C. The fourth crashed in Pennsylvania. The United States blamed Osama bin Laden for the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people. The United States also accused the Taliban, the government of Afghanistan, of sheltering bin Laden and his terrorist group. Within a month the United States launched attacks against Afghanistan. By the end of the year the Taliban government had collapsed, but the fight against terrorism continued.

          In 2002 President Bush turned the world’s attention to Iraq. He accused the government of Iraq of having ties to terrorists. He also accused the government of ignoring a weapons ban that had been imposed on Iraq at the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. In the years since the end of the war inspectors from the UN had been sent to Iraq to make sure that Iraq had destroyed its weapons. President Saddam Hussein refused to cooperate with the inspectors, and the situation turned into an ongoing dispute.

          The United States brought the matter before the UN in November 2002, and the inspectors were eventually allowed to return to Iraq. Bush soon declared that Iraq was not cooperating with the inspectors. While several member countries of the UN Security Council called for further talks between the two sides, the United States and Great Britain threatened to take military action against Iraq. In March 2003 the talks came to an end, and U.S.-led troops invaded Iraq. They soon overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein, and in December they captured the former leader. Advisers from the United States and other countries then attempted to help establish a new government in Iraq. But fighting in the country continued.

          A powerful hurricane struck the southeastern United States in late August 2005. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath claimed more than 1,800 lives. It ranked as the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

          In 2008 the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were still going on as several candidates campaigned to become the next president. In the late summer of that year the country’s economy began to develop major problems. People lost their jobs and their homes. Because of the problems at home and abroad many citizens were unhappy with the government and wanted change. The two main candidates were Barack Obama, of the Democratic Party, and John McCain, of the Republican Party. Both were members of the Senate, but McCain belonged to the same political party as President Bush. In the election held on November 4 Obama defeated McCain. Obama was the first African American to be elected president of the United States.

          The Obama Administration

          During his first year in office, President Obama worked to improve the economy and to reform the health care system. In 2010 he signed a new health care law. Republicans and a new conservative movement called the Tea Party were very critical of the law. They thought that the government should be less involved in health care. They also thought that the government needed to cut its spending. At times, debate between Democrats and Republicans became very tense.

          In April 2010 an explosion on an oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico caused a massive oil spill. The oil slick spread over thousands of square miles and killed many fish, birds, and other animals. The leaking oil well finally was stopped that July.

          The last U.S. combat troops left Iraq in 2010, but the war in Afghanistan continued. In 2011 the United States joined in military actions against the government of Libya. Later that year U.S. forces killed bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist group al-Qaeda, in Pakistan.

          In April 2011 several hundred tornadoes ripped across the southeastern United States. Hundreds of people were killed, mainly in Alabama, and many buildings were destroyed. The “Super Outbreak” of 2011 was the largest outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded.

          In 2012 Obama ran for a second term as president. His opponent was Mitt Romney, a wealthy businessman who had been the governor of Massachusetts. The election was close, but Obama was reelected in November.

          In 2014 an extremist Islamic group, often known as ISIL, emerged in Iraq and took over important cities in Iraq and Syria. The United States began air strikes against ISIL in August 2014. In December 2014 Obama announced that the United States would open up relations with Cuba for the first time in 50 years.

          The candidates for the 2016 presidential election were former first lady and senator Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump. After a close election, Trump emerged the winner.

          (See articles on individual presidents, states, cities, and geographic features.) (See also United States Constitution United States government.)


          The colonial economy differed significantly from that of most other regions in that land and natural resources were abundant in America but labor was scarce.

          From 1700 to 1776 the output of the thirteen colonies increased 12-fold, [ citation needed ] giving the colonies an economy about 30% the size of Britain's at the time of independence. Population growth was responsible for over three-quarters of the economic growth of the British American colonies. The free white population had the highest standard of living in the world. [1] [2] There was very little change in productivity and little in the way of introduction of new goods and services.

          Under the mercantilist system Britain put restrictions on the products that could be made in the colonies and put restrictions on trade outside the British Empire.

          Demographics Edit

          Initial colonization of North America was extremely difficult and most settlers before 1625 died in their first year. Settlers had to depend on what they could hunt and gather, what they brought with them, and uncertain shipments of food, tools, and supplies until they could build shelters and forts, clear land, and grow enough food, as well as build gristmills, sawmills, ironworks, and blacksmith shops to be self-supporting. They also had to defend themselves against raids from hostile Indians. After 1629 population growth was very rapid due to high birth rates (8 children per family versus 4 in Europe) and lower death rates than in Europe, in addition to immigration. [3] The long life expectancy of the colonists was due to the abundant supplies of food and firewood and the low population density that limited the spread of infectious diseases. The death rate from diseases, especially malaria, was higher in the warm, humid southern colonies than in cold New England.

          The higher birth rate was due to better employment opportunities. Many young adults in Europe delayed marriage for financial reasons, and many servants in Europe were not permitted to marry. [4] The population of white settlers grew from an estimated 40,000 in 1650 to 235,000 in 1700. In 1690, there were an estimated 13,000 black slaves. The population grew at an annual rate of over 3% throughout the 18th century, doubling every 25 years or less. [5] By 1775 the population had grown to 2.6 million, of which 2.1 million were white, 540,000 black and 50,000 Native American, giving the colonies about one-third of the population of Britain. The three most populated colonies in 1775 were Virginia, with a 21% share, and Pennsylvania and Massachusetts with 11% each.

          The economy Edit

          The colonial economy of what would become the United States was pre-industrial, primarily characterized by subsistence farming. Farm households also were engaged in handicraft production, mostly for home consumption, but with some goods sold, mainly gold. [1]

          The market economy was based on extracting and processing natural resources and agricultural products for local consumption, such as mining, gristmills and sawmills, and the export of agricultural products. The most important agricultural exports were raw and processed feed grains (wheat, Indian corn, rice, bread and flour) and tobacco. [6] Tobacco was a major crop in the Chesapeake Bay region and rice a major crop in South Carolina. Dried and salted fish was also a significant export. North Carolina was the leading producer of naval stores, which included turpentine (used for lamps), rosin (candles and soap), tar (rope and wood preservative) and pitch (ships' hulls). Another export was potash, which was derived from hardwood ashes and was used as a fertilizer and for making soap and glass.

          The colonies depended on Britain for many finished goods, partly because laws Navigation Acts of 1660 prohibited making many types of finished goods in the colonies. These laws achieved the intended purpose of creating a trade surplus for Britain. The colonial balance trade in goods heavily favored Britain however, American shippers offset roughly half of the goods trade deficit with revenues earned by shipping between ports within the British Empire. [7]

          The largest non-agricultural segment was ship building, which was from 5 to 20% of total employment. [8] About 45% of American made ships were sold to foreigners. [1]

          Exports and related services accounted for about one-sixth of income in the decade before revolution. [8] Just before the revolution, tobacco was about a quarter of the value of exports. Also at the time of the revolution the colonies produced about 15% of world iron, although the value of exported iron was small compared to grains and tobacco. [9] The mined American iron ores at that time were not large deposits and were not all of high quality however, the huge forests provided adequate wood for making charcoal. Wood in Britain was becoming scarce and coke was beginning to be substituted for charcoal however, coke made inferior iron. [10] Britain encouraged colonial production of pig and bar iron, but banned construction of new colonial iron fabrication shops in 1750, but the ban was mostly ignored by the colonists. [11]

          Settlement was sparse during the colonial period and transportation was severely limited by lack of improved roads. Towns were located on or near the coasts or navigable inland waterways. Even on improved roads, which were rare during the colonial period, wagon transport was very expensive. Economical distance for transporting low value agricultural commodities to navigable waterways varied but was limited to something on the order of less than 25 miles. [12] In the few small cities and among the larger plantations of South Carolina, and Virginia, some necessities and virtually all luxuries were imported in return for tobacco, rice, and indigo exports. [13]

          By the 18th century, regional patterns of development had become clear: the New England colonies relied on shipbuilding and sailing to generate wealth plantations (many using slave labor) in Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas grew tobacco, rice, and indigo and the middle colonies of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware shipped general crops and furs. Except for slaves, standards of living were even higher than in England itself. [14]

          New England Edit

          The New England region's economy grew steadily over the entire colonial era, despite the lack of a staple crop that could be exported. All the provinces and many towns as well, tried to foster economic growth by subsidizing projects that improved the infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, inns and ferries. They gave bounties and subsidies or monopolies to sawmills, grist mills, iron mills, pulling mills (which treated cloth), salt works and glassworks. Most importantly, colonial legislatures set up a legal system that was conducive to business enterprise by resolving disputes, enforcing contracts, and protecting property rights. Hard work and entrepreneurship characterized the region, as the Puritans and Yankees endorsed the "Protestant Ethic", which enjoined men to work hard as part of their divine calling. [15]

          The benefits of growth were widely distributed in New England, reaching from merchants to farmers to hired laborers. The rapidly growing population led to shortages of good farm land on which young families could establish themselves one result was to delay marriage, and another was to move to new lands farther west. In the towns and cities, there was strong entrepreneurship, and a steady increase in the specialization of labor. Wages for men went up steadily before 1775 new occupations were opening for women, including weaving, teaching, and tailoring. The region bordered New France, and in the numerous wars the British poured money in to purchase supplies, build roads and pay colonial soldiers. The coastal ports began to specialize in fishing, international trade and shipbuilding—and after 1780 in whaling. Combined with growing urban markets for farm products, these factors allowed the economy to flourish despite the lack of technological innovation. [16]

          The Connecticut economy began with subsistence farming in the 17th century, and developed with greater diversity and an increased focus on production for distant markets, especially the British colonies in the Caribbean. The American Revolution cut off imports from Britain, and stimulated a manufacturing sector that made heavy use of the entrepreneurship and mechanical skills of the people. In the second half of the 18th century, difficulties arose from the shortage of good farmland, periodic money problems, and downward price pressures in the export market. [17] The colonial government from time to time attempted to promote various commodities such as hemp, potash, and lumber as export items to bolster its economy and improve its balance of trade with Great Britain. [18] [19]

          Urban centers Edit

          Historian Carl Bridenbaugh examined in depth five key cities: Boston (population 16,000 in 1760), Newport Rhode Island (population 7500), New York City (population 18,000), Philadelphia (population 23,000), and Charles Town (Charlestown, South Carolina), (population 8000). He argues they grew from small villages to take major leadership roles in promoting trade, land speculation, immigration, and prosperity, and in disseminating the ideas of the Enlightenment, and new methods in medicine and technology. Furthermore, they sponsored a consumer taste for English amenities, developed a distinctly American educational system, and began systems for care of people in need. [20]

          On the eve of the Revolution, 95 percent of the American population lived outside the cities—much to the frustration of the British, who captured the cities with their Royal Navy, but lacked the manpower to occupy and subdue the countryside. In explaining the importance of the cities in shaping the American Revolution, Benjamin Carp compares the important role of waterfront workers, taverns, churches, kinship networks, and local politics. [21] Historian Gary B. Nash emphasizes the role of the working class, and their distrust of their social superiors in northern ports. He argues that working class artisans and skilled craftsmen made up a radical element in Philadelphia that took control of the city starting about 1770 and promoted a radical Democratic form of government during the revolution. They held power for a while, and used their control of the local militia to disseminate their ideology to the working class, and to stay in power until the businessmen staged a conservative counterrevolution. [22]

          Political environment Edit

          Mercantilism: old and new Edit

          The colonial economies of the world operated under the economic philosophy of mercantilism, a policy by which countries attempted to run a trade surplus, with their own colonies or other countries, to accumulate gold reserves. Colonies were used as suppliers of raw materials and as markets for manufactured goods while being prohibited from engaging in most types of manufacturing. [23] : 214 The colonial powers of England, France, Spain and the Dutch Republic tried to protect their investments in colonial ventures by limiting trade between each other's colonies.

          Spain clung to old style mercantilism, primarily concerned with enriching the Spanish government by accumulating gold and silver, mainly from mines in their colonies. The Dutch and particularly the British approach was more conducive to private business. [24]

          The Navigation Acts, passed by the British Parliament between 1651 and 1673, affected the British American colonies.

          Important features of the Navigation Acts included:

          • Foreign vessels were excluded from carrying trade between ports within the British Empire
          • Manufactured goods from Europe to the colonies had to pass through England
          • Enumerated items, which included furs, ship masts, rice, indigo and tobacco, were only allowed to be exported to Great Britain.

          Although the Navigation Acts were enforced, they had a negligible effect on commerce and profitability of trade. In 1770 illegal exports and smuggling to the West Indies and Europe were about equal to exports to Britain. [23] : 216

          On the eve of independence Britain was in the early stage of the Industrial Revolution, with cottage industries and workshops providing finished goods for export to the colonies. At that time, half of the wrought iron, beaver hats, cordage, nails, linen, silk, and printed cotton produced in Britain were consumed by the British American colonies. [25]

          Free enterprise Edit

          The domestic economy of the British American colonies enjoyed a great deal of freedom, although some of their freedom was due to lack of enforcement of British regulations on commerce and industry. Adam Smith used the colonies as an example of the benefits of free enterprise. [26] Colonists paid minimal taxes.

          Some colonies, such as Virginia, were founded principally as business ventures. England's success at establishing settlements on the North American coastline was due in large part to its use of charter companies. Charter companies were groups of stockholders (usually merchants and wealthy landowners) who sought personal economic gain and, perhaps, wanted also to advance England's national goals. While the private sector financed the companies, the king also provided each project with a charter or grant conferring economic rights as well as political and judicial authority. The colonies did not show profits, however, and the disappointed English investors often turned over their colonial charters to the settlers. The political implications, although not realized at the time, were enormous. The colonists were left to build their own governments and their own economy.

          Taxation Edit

          The colonial governments had few expenses and taxes were minimal.

          Although the colonies provided an export market for finished goods made in Britain or sourced by British merchants and shipped from Britain, the British incurred the expenses of providing protection against piracy by the British Navy and other military expenses. An early tax became known as the Molasses Act of 1733.

          In the 1760s the London government raised small sums by new taxes on the colonies. This occasioned an enormous uproar, from which historians date the origins of the American Revolution. The issue was not the amount of the taxes—they were quite small—but rather the constitutional authority of Parliament versus the colonial assemblies to vote taxes. [27] [28] New taxes included the Sugar Act of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765 and taxes on tea and other colonial imports. Historians have debated back and forth about the cost imposed by the Navigation Acts, which were less visible and rarely complained about. [29] However, by 1795, the consensus view among economic historians and economists was that the "costs imposed on [American] colonists by the trade restrictions of the Navigation Acts were small." [30]

          The American Revolution Edit

          Americans in the Thirteen Colonies demanded their rights as Englishmen, as they saw it, to select their own representatives to govern and tax themselves – which Britain refused. The Americans attempted resistance through boycotts of British manufactured items, but the British responded with a rejection of American rights and the Intolerable Acts of 1774. [31] In turn, the Americans launched the American Revolution, resulting in an all-out war against the British and independence for the new United States of America. The British tried to weaken the American economy with a blockade of all ports, but with 90% of the people in farming, and only 10% in cities, the American economy proved resilient and able to support a sustained war, which lasted from 1775 to 1783. [32]

          The American Revolution (1775–1783) brought a dedication to unalienable rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", which emphasize individual liberty and economic entrepreneurship, and simultaneously a commitment to the political values of liberalism and republicanism, which emphasize natural rights, equality under the law for all citizens, civic virtue and duty, and promotion of the general welfare.

          Britain's war against the Americans, French and Spanish cost about £100 million. The Treasury borrowed 40% of the money it needed and raised the rest through an efficient system of taxation. [33] [34] Heavy spending brought France to the verge of bankruptcy and revolution.

          Congress and the American states had no end of difficulty financing the war. [35] In 1775 there was at most 12 million dollars in gold in the colonies, not nearly enough to cover existing transactions, let alone on a major war. The British government made the situation much worse by imposing a tight blockade on every American port, which cut off almost all imports and exports. One partial solution was to rely on volunteer support from militiamen, and donations from patriotic citizens. Another was to delay actual payments, pay soldiers and suppliers in depreciated currency, and promise it would be made good after the war. Indeed, in 1783 the soldiers and officers were given land grants to cover the wages they had earned but had not been paid during the war. Not until 1781, when Robert Morris was named Superintendent of Finance of the United States, did the national government have a strong leader in financial matters. Morris used a French loan in 1782 to set up the private Bank of North America to finance the war. Seeking greater efficiency, Morris reduced the civil list, saved money by using competitive bidding for contracts, tightened accounting procedures, and demanded the federal government's full share of money and supplies from the states. [36]

          Congress used four main methods to cover the cost of the war, which cost about 66 million dollars in specie (gold and silver). [37] Congress made two issues of paper money, in 1775–1780, and in 1780–81. The first issue amounted to 242 million dollars. This paper money would supposedly be redeemed for state taxes, but the holders were eventually paid off in 1791 at the rate of one cent on the dollar. By 1780, the paper money was "not worth a Continental", as people said, and a second issue of new currency was attempted. The second issue quickly became nearly worthless—but it was redeemed by the new federal government in 1791 at 100 cents on the dollar. At the same time the states, especially Virginia and the Carolinas, issued over 200 million dollars of their own currency. In effect, the paper money was a hidden tax on the people, and indeed was the only method of taxation that was possible at the time. The skyrocketing inflation was a hardship on the few people who had fixed incomes—but 90 percent of the people were farmers, and were not directly affected by that inflation. Debtors benefited by paying off their debts with depreciated paper. [38] The greatest burden was borne by the soldiers of the Continental Army, whose wages—usually in arrears—declined in value every month, weakening their morale and adding to the hardships suffered by their families.

          Starting in 1776, the Congress sought to raise money by loans from wealthy individuals, promising to redeem the bonds after the war. The bonds were in fact redeemed in 1791 at face value, but the scheme raised little money because Americans had little specie, and many of the rich merchants were supporters of the Crown. Starting in 1776, the French secretly supplied the Americans with money, gunpowder and munitions in order to weaken its arch enemy, Great Britain. When France officially entered the war in 1778, the subsidies continued, and the French government, as well as bankers in Paris and Amsterdam loaned large sums to the American war effort. These loans were repaid in full in the 1790s. [39]

          Beginning in 1777, Congress repeatedly asked the states to provide money. But the states had no system of taxation either, and were little help. By 1780 Congress was making requisitions for specific supplies of corn, beef, pork and other necessities—an inefficient system that kept the army barely alive. [40] [41]

          The cities played a major role in fomenting the American Revolution, but they were hard hit during the war itself, 1775–83. They lost their main role as oceanic ports, because of the blockade by the Royal Navy. Furthermore, the British occupied the cities, especially New York 1776–83, and the others for briefer periods. During the occupations they were cut off from their hinterland trade and from overland communication. When the British finally departed in 1783, they took out large numbers of wealthy merchants who resumed their business activities elsewhere in the British Empire. [42]

          Confederation: 1781–1789 Edit

          A brief economic recession followed the war, but prosperity returned by 1786. [43] About 60,000 to 80,000 Americans loyalists left the U.S. for elsewhere in the British Empire, especially Canada. They took their slaves but left lands and properties behind. [44] Some returned in the mid-1780s, especially to more welcoming states like New York and South Carolina. [45] [46] Economically mid-Atlantic states recovered particularly quickly and began manufacturing and processing goods, while New England and the South experienced more uneven recoveries. [47] Trade with Britain resumed, and the volume of British imports after the war matched the volume from before the war, but exports fell precipitously. [48] John Adams, serving as the minister to Britain, called for a retaliatory tariff in order to force the British to negotiate a commercial treaty, particularly regarding access to Caribbean markets. However, Congress lacked the power to regulate foreign commerce or compel the states to follow a unified trade policy, and Britain proved unwilling to negotiate. [49] While trade with the British did not fully recover, the U.S. expanded trade with France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and other European countries. Despite these good economic conditions, many traders complained of the high duties imposed by each state, which served to restrain interstate trade. Many creditors also suffered from the failure of domestic governments to repay debts incurred during the war. [50] Though the 1780s saw moderate economic growth, many experienced economic anxiety, and Congress received much of the blame for failing to foster a stronger economy. [51] On the positive side, the states gave Congress control of the western lands and an effective system for population expansion was developed. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 abolished slavery in the area north of the Ohio River and promised statehood when a territory reached a threshold population, as Ohio did in 1803. [52] [53]

          The Constitution, adopted in 1787, established that the entire nation was a unified, or common market, with no internal tariffs or taxes on interstate commerce. The extent of federal power was much debated, with Alexander Hamilton taking a very broad view as the first Secretary of the Treasury during the presidential administration of George Washington. Hamilton successfully argued for the concept of "implied powers", whereby the federal government was authorized by the Constitution to create anything necessary to support its contents, even if it not specifically noted in it (build lighthouses, etc.). He succeeded in building strong national credit based on taking over the state debts and bundling them with the old national debt into new securities sold to the wealthy. They in turn now had an interest in keeping the new government solvent. Hamilton funded the debt with tariffs on imported goods and a highly controversial tax on whiskey. Hamilton believed the United States should pursue economic growth through diversified shipping, manufacturing, and banking. He sought and achieved Congressional authority to create the First Bank of the United States in 1791 the charter lasted until 1811. [54]

          After the war, the older cities finally restored their economic basis newer growing cities included Salem, Massachusetts (which opened a new trade with China), New London, Connecticut, and Baltimore, Maryland. The Washington administration under the leadership of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton set up a national bank in 1791, and local banks began to flourish in all the cities. Merchant entrepreneurship flourished and was a powerful engine of prosperity in the cities. [55]

          World peace lasted only a decade, for in 1793 a two decades of war between Britain and France and their allies broke out. As the leading neutral trading partner the United States did business with both sides. France resented it, and the Quasi-War of 1798–99 disrupted trade. Outraged at British impositions on American merchant ships, and sailors, the Jefferson and Madison administrations engaged in economic warfare with Britain 1807–1812, and then full-scale warfare 1812 to 1815.

          Industry and commerce Edit

          Transportation Edit

          There were very few roads outside of cities and no canals in the new nation. In 1792 it was reported that the cost of transport of many crops to seaport was from one-fifth to one half their cost. [56] The cheapest form of transportation was by water, along the seacoast or on lakes and rivers. In 1816 it was reported that "A ton of goods could be brought 3000 miles from Europe for about $9, but for that same sum it could be moved only 30 miles in this country". [57]

          Automatic flour mill Edit

          In the mid 1780s Oliver Evans invented a fully automatic mill that could process grain with practically no human labor or operator attention. This was a revolutionary development in two ways: 1) it used bucket elevators and conveyor belts, which would eventually revolutionize materials handling, and 2) it used governors, a forerunner of modern automation, for control.

          Cotton gin Edit

          Cotton was at first a small-scale crop in the South. Cotton farming boomed following the improvement of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney. [58] It was 50 times more productive at removing the seeds than with a roller. Soon, large cotton plantations, based on slave labor, expanded in the richest lands from the Carolinas westward to Texas. The raw cotton was shipped to textile mills in Britain, France and New England. [59]

          Mechanized textile manufacturing Edit

          In the final decade of the 18th century England was beginning to enter the rapid growth period of the Industrial Revolution, but the rest of the world was completely devoid of any type of large scale mechanized industry. Britain prohibited the export of textile machinery and designs and did not allow mechanics with such skills to emigrate. Samuel Slater, who worked as mechanic at a cotton spinning operation in England, memorized the design of the machinery. He was able to disguise himself as a laborer and emigrated to the U.S., where he heard there was a demand for his knowledge. In 1789 Slater began working as a consultant to Almy & Brown in Rhode Island who were trying to successfully spin cotton on some equipment they had recently purchased. Slater determined that the machinery was not capable of producing good quality yarn and persuaded the owners to have him design new machinery. Slater found no mechanics in the U.S. when he arrived and had great difficulty finding someone to build the machinery. Eventually he located Oziel Wilkinson and his son David to produce iron castings and forgings for the machinery. According to David Wilkinson: "all the turning of the iron for the cotton machinery built by Mr. Slater was done with hand chisels or tools in lathes turned by cranks with hand power". [60] By 1791 Slater had some of the equipment operating. In 1793 Slater and Brown opened a factory in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, which was the first successful water powered roller spinning cotton factory in the U.S. ( See: Slater Mill Historic Site ). David Wilkinson went on to invent a metalworking lathe which won him a Congressional prize.

          Finance, money and banking Edit

          The First Bank of the United States was chartered in 1791. It was designed by Alexander Hamilton and faced strenuous opposition from agrarians led by Thomas Jefferson, who deeply distrusted banks and urban institutions. They closed the Bank in 1811, just when the War of 1812 made it more important than ever for Treasury needs. [61] [62]

          The United States was pre-industrial throughout the first third of the 19th century. Most people lived on farms and produced much of what they consumed. A considerable percentage of the non-farm population was engaged in handling goods for export. The country was an exporter of agricultural products. The U.S. built the best ships in the world. [63]

          The textile industry became established in New England, where there was abundant water power. Steam power began being used in factories, but water was the dominant source of industrial power until the Civil War.

          The building of roads and canals, the introduction of steamboats and the first railroads were the beginning of a transportation revolution that would accelerate throughout the century. [64]

          Political developments Edit

          The institutional arrangements of the American System were initially formulated by first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, who proposed the creation of a government-sponsored bank and increased tariffs to encourage industrial development. [65] Following Hamilton's death, the American school of political economy was championed in the antebellum period by Henry Clay and the Whig Party generally. [66]

          Specific government programs and policies which gave shape and form to the American School and the American System include the establishment of the Patent Office in 1802 the creation of the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 and other measures to improve river and harbor navigation the various Army expeditions to the west, beginning with Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery in 1804 and continuing into the 1870s, almost always under the direction of an officer from the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, and which provided crucial information for the overland pioneers that followed the assignment of Army Engineer officers to assist or direct the surveying and construction of the early railroads and canals the establishment of the First Bank of the United States and Second Bank of the United States as well as various protectionist measures (e.g., the tariff of 1828).

          Thomas Jefferson and James Madison opposed a strong central government (and, consequently, most of Hamilton's economic policies), but they could not stop Hamilton, who wielded immense power and political clout in the Washington administration. In 1801, however, Jefferson became president and turned to promoting a more decentralized, agrarian democracy called Jeffersonian democracy. (He based his philosophy on protecting the common man from political and economic tyranny. He particularly praised small farmers as "the most valuable citizens".) However, Jefferson did not change Hamilton's basic policies. As president in 1811 Madison let the bank charter expire, but the War of 1812 proved the need for a national bank and Madison reversed positions. The Second Bank of the United States was established in 1816, with a 20-year charter. [67]

          Thomas Jefferson was able to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 for $15 million, although the treasury at the time only had $10 million. The Louisiana Purchase greatly expanded the size of the United States, adding extremely good farmland, the Mississippi River and the city of New Orleans. Wars from 1793 to 1814 caused withdrawal of most foreign shipping from the U.S., leaving trade in the Caribbean and Central and South America open for the U.S. Seizure of U.S. ships by France and Britain during the Napoleonic Wars led to the Embargo Act of 1807 which prohibited most foreign trade. [68] The War of 1812, by cutting off almost all foreign trade, created a home market for goods made in the U.S. (even if they were more expensive), changing an early tendency toward free trade into a protectionism characterized by nationalism and protective tariffs. [69]

          States built roads and waterways, such as the Cumberland Pike (1818) and the Erie Canal (1825), opening up markets for western farm products. The Whig Party supported Clay's American System, which proposed to build internal improvements (e.g. roads, canals and harbors), protect industry, and create a strong national bank. The Whig legislation program was blocked at the national level by the Democrats, but similar modernization programs were enacted in most states on a bipartisan basis. [70]

          The role of the Federal Government in regulating interstate commerce was firmly established by the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Gibbons v Ogden, which decided against allowing states to grant exclusive rights to steamboat companies operating between states.

          President Andrew Jackson (1829–1837), leader of the new Democratic Party, opposed the Second Bank of the United States, which he believed favored the entrenched interests of the rich. When he was elected for a second term, Jackson blocked the renewal of the bank's charter. Jackson opposed paper money and demanded the government be paid in gold and silver coins. The Panic of 1837 stopped business growth for three years. [71]

          Agriculture, commerce and industry Edit

          Population growth Edit

          Although there was relatively little immigration from Europe, the rapid expansion of settlements to the West, and the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, opened up vast frontier lands. The high birth rate, and the availability of cheap land caused the rapid expansion of population. The average age was under 20, with children everywhere. The population grew from 5.3 million people in 1800, living on 865,000 square miles of land to 9.6 million in 1820 on 1,749,000 square miles. By 1840, the population had reached 17,069,000 on the same land. [72]

          New Orleans and St. Louis joined the United States and grew rapidly entirely new cities were begun at Pittsburgh, Marietta, Cincinnati, Louisville, Lexington, Nashville and points west. The coming of the steamboat after 1810 made upstream traffic economical on major rivers, especially the Hudson, Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, and Cumberland rivers. [73] Historian Richard Wade has emphasized the importance of the new cities in the Westward expansion in settlement of the farmlands. They were the transportation centers, and nodes for migration and financing of the westward expansion. The newly opened regions had few roads, but a very good river system in which everything flowed downstream to New Orleans. With the coming of the steamboat after 1815, it became possible to move merchandise imported from the Northeast and from Europe upstream to new settlements. The opening of the Erie Canal made Buffalo the jumping off point for the lake transportation system that made important cities out of Cleveland, Detroit, and especially Chicago. [74]

          Labor shortage Edit

          The U.S. economy of the early 19th century was characterized by labor shortages, as noted by numerous contemporary observers. The labor shortage was attributed to the cheapness of land and the high returns on agriculture. All types of labor were in high demand, especially unskilled labor and experienced factory workers. Labor prices in the U.S. were typically between 30 and 50 percent higher than in Britain. Women factory workers were especially scarce. The elasticity of labor was low in part because of lack of transportation and low population density. The relative labor scarcity and high price was an incentive for capital investment, particularly in machinery. [75]

          Agriculture Edit

          The U.S. economy was primarily agricultural in the early 19th century. Westward expansion plus the building of canals and the introduction of steamboats opened up new areas for agriculture. Much land was cleared and put into growing cotton in the Mississippi valley and in Alabama, and new grain growing areas were brought into production in the Midwest. Eventually this put severe downward pressure on prices, particularly of cotton, first from 1820 to 1823 and again from 1840 to 1843.

          Before the Industrial Revolution most cotton was spun and woven near where it was grown, leaving little raw cotton for the international marketplace. World cotton demand experienced strong growth due to mechanized spinning and weaving technologies of the Industrial Revolution. Although cotton was grown in India, China, Egypt, the Middle East and other tropical and subtropical areas, the Americas, particularly the U.S., had sufficient suitable land available to support large scale cotton plantations, which were highly profitable. [76] A strain of cotton seed brought from Mexico to Natchez, Mississippi in 1806 would become the parent genetic material for over 90% of world cotton production today it produced bolls that were three to four times faster to pick. [76] : 114 The cotton trade, excluding financing, transport and marketing, was 6 percent or less of national income in the 1830s. [77] Cotton became the United States' largest export.

          Sugarcane was being grown in Louisiana, where it was refined into granular sugar. Growing and refining sugar required a large amount of capital. Some of the nation's wealthiest people owned sugar plantations, which often had their own sugar mills.

          Southern plantations, which grew cotton, sugarcane and tobacco, used African slave labor. Per capita food production did not keep pace with the rapidly expanding urban population and industrial labor force in the Antebellum decades. [78]

          Roads Edit

          There were only a few roads outside of cities at the beginning of the 19th century, but turnpikes were being built. A ton-mile by wagon cost from between 30 and 70 cents in 1819. Robert Fulton's estimate for typical wagonage was 32 cents per ton-mile. The cost of transporting wheat or corn to Philadelphia exceeded the value at 218 and 135 miles, respectively. [80] To facilitate westward expansion, in 1801 Thomas Jefferson began work on the Natchez Trace, which was to connect Daniel Boone's Wilderness Road, which ended in Nashville, Tennessee, with the Mississippi River.

          Following the Louisiana Purchase the need for additional roads to the West were recognized by Thomas Jefferson, who authorized the construction of the Cumberland Road in 1806. The Cumberland Road was to connect Cumberland Maryland on the Potomac River with the Wheeling (West) Virginia on the Ohio River, which was on the other side of the Allegheny Mountains. Mail roads were also built to New Orleans.

          The building of roads in the early years of the 19th century greatly lowered transportation costs and was a factor in the deflation of 1819 to 1821, which was one of the most severe in U.S. history. [80]

          Some turnpikes were wooden plank roads, which typically cost about $1,500 to $1,800 per mile, but wore out quickly. Macadam roads in New York cost an average of $3,500 per mile, [81] while high-quality roads cost between $5,000 and $10,000 per mile.

          Canals Edit

          Because a horse can pull a barge carrying a cargo of over 50 tons compared to the typical one ton or less hauled by wagon, and the horse required a wagoner versus a couple of men for the barge, water transportation costs were a small fraction of wagonage costs. Canals' shipping costs were between two and three cents per ton-mile, compared to 17–20 cents by wagon. [9] The cost of constructing a typical canal was between $20,000 and $30,000 per mile. [82]

          Only 100 miles of canals had been built in the U.S. by 1816, and only a few were longer than two miles. The early canals were typically financially successful, such as those carrying coal in eastern Pennsylvania, where canal building was concentrated until 1820. [83]

          The 325-mile Erie Canal, which connected Albany, New York, on the Hudson River with Buffalo, New York, on Lake Erie, began operation in 1825. Wagon cost from Buffalo to New York City in 1817 was 19.2 cents per ton-mile. By Erie Canal c. 1857 to 1860 the cost was 0.81 cents. [84] The Erie Canal was a great commercial success and had a large regional economic impact.

          The Delaware and Raritan Canal was also very successful. Also important was the 2.5-mile canal bypassing the falls on the Ohio River at Louisville, which opened in 1830. [64]

          The success of some of the early canals led to a canal building boom, during which work began on many canals which would prove to be financially unsuccessful. As the canal boom was underway in the late 1820s, a small number of horse railways were being built. These were quickly followed by the first steam railways in the 1830s.

          Steam power Edit

          In 1780 the United States had three major steam engines, all of which were used for pumping water: two in mines and one for New York City's water supply. Most power in the U.S. was supplied by water wheels and water turbines after their introduction in 1840. By 1807 when the North River Steamboat (unofficially called Clermont) first sailed, there were estimated to be fewer than a dozen steam engines operating in the U.S. Steam power did not overtake water power until sometime after 1850. [85]

          Oliver Evans began developing a high pressure steam engine that was more practical than the engine developed around the same time by Richard Trevithick in England. The high pressure engine did away with the separate condenser and thus did not require cooling water. It also had a higher power to weight ratio, making it suitable for powering steamboats and locomotives.

          Evans produced a few custom steam engines from 1801 to 1806, when he opened the Mars Works iron foundry and factory in Philadelphia, where he produced additional engines. In 1812 he produced a successful Colombian engine at Mars Works. As his business grew and orders were being shipped, Evans and a partner formed the Pittsburgh Steam Engine Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Steam engines soon became common in public water supply, sawmills and flour milling, especially in areas with little or no water power. [86]

          Mechanical power transmission Edit

          In 1828 Paul Moody substituted leather belting for gearing in mills. [87] Leather belting from line shafts was the common way to distribute power from steam engines and water turbines in mills and factories. In the factory boom of the late 19th century it was common for large factories to have many miles of line shafts. Leather belting continued in use until it was displaced by unit drive electric motors in the early decades of the 20th century. [88]

          Shipbuilding Edit

          Shipbuilding remained a sizable industry. U.S.-built ships were superior in design, required smaller crews and cost between 40 and 60 percent less to build than European ships. The British gained the lead in shipbuilding after they introduced iron-hulled ships in the mid 19th century. [64]

          Steamboats and steam ships Edit

          Commercial steamboat operations began in 1807 within weeks of the launch of Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat, often referred to as the Clermont.

          The first steamboats were powered by Boulton and Watt type low pressure engines, which were very large and heavy in relation to the smaller high pressure engines. In 1807 Robert L. Stevens began operation of the Phoenix, which used a high pressure engine in combination with a low pressure condensing engine. The first steamboats powered only by high pressure were the Aetna and Pennsylvania designed and built by Oliver Evans. [89]

          In the winter of 1811 to 1812, the New Orleans became the first steamboat to travel down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. The commercial feasibility of steamboats on the Mississippi and its tributaries was demonstrated by the Enterprise in 1814.

          By the time of Fulton's death in 1815 he operated 21 of the estimated 30 steamboats in the U.S. The number of steamboats steadily grew into the hundreds. There were more steamboats in the Mississippi valley than anywhere else in the world. [90]

          Early steamboats took 30 days to travel from New Orleans to Louisville, which was from half to one-quarter the time by keel boat. Due to improvements in steamboat technology, by 1830 the time from New Orleans to Louisville was halved. In 1820 freight rates for keel boats were five cents per ton-mile versus two cents by steamboat, falling to one-half cent per pound by 1830. [91]

          The SS Savannah crossed from Savannah to Liverpool in 1819 as the first trans-Atlantic steamship however, until the development of more efficient engines, trans-ocean ships had to carry more coal than freight. Early trans-ocean steamships were used for passengers and soon some companies began offering regularly scheduled service.

          Railroads Edit

          Railroads were an English invention, and the first entrepreneurs imported British equipment in the 1830s. By the 1850s the Americans had developed their own technology. The early lines in the 1830s and 1840s were locally funded, and connected nearby cities or connected farms to navigable waterways. They primarily handled freight rather than passengers. [92] The first locomotives were imported from England. One such locomotive was the John Bull which arrived in 1831. While awaiting assembly, Matthias W. Baldwin, who had designed and manufactured a highly successful stationary steam engine, was able to inspect the parts and obtain measurements. Baldwin was already working on an experimental locomotive based on designs shown at the Rainhill Trials in England. Baldwin produced his first locomotive in 1832 he went on to found the Baldwin Locomotive Works, one of the largest steam locomotive manufacturers. In 1833 when there were few locomotives in the U.S., three quarters were made in England. In 1838 there were 346 locomotives recorded in the U.S., three-fourths of which were made in the U.S. [93]

          Ohio had more railroads built in the 1840s than any other state. Ohio's railroads put the canals out of business. [94] A typical mile of railroad cost $30,000 compared to the $20,000 per mile of canal, but a railroad could carry 50 times as much traffic. Railroads appeared at the time of the canal boom, causing its abrupt end, although some canals flourished for an additional half-century.

          Manufacturing Edit

          Starting with textiles in the 1790s, factories were built to supply a regional and national market. The power came from waterfalls, and most of the factories were built alongside the rivers in rural New England and upstate New York. [95]

          Before 1800, most cloth was made in home workshops, and housewives sewed it into clothing for family use or trade with neighbors. In 1810 the secretary of the treasury estimated that two-thirds of rural household clothing, including hosiery and linen, was produced by households. [96] By the 1820s, housewives bought the cloth at local stores, and continued their sewing chores. [97] The American textile industry was established during the long period of wars from 1793 to 1815, when cheap cloth imports from Britain were unavailable. Samuel Slater secretly brought in the plans for complex textile machinery from Britain, and built new factories in Rhode Island using the stolen designs. [98] By the time the Embargo Act of 1807 cut off trade with Britain, there were 15 cotton spinning mills in operation. These were all small operations, typically employing fewer than 50 people, and most used Arkwright water frames powered by small streams. They were all located in southeastern New England. [99] In 1809 the number of mills had grown to 62, with 25 under construction. To meet increased demand for cloth several manufacturers resorted to the putting-out system of having the handloom weaving done in homes. The putting-out system was inefficient because of the difficulty of distributing the yarn and collecting the cloth, embezzlement of supplies, lack of supervision and poor quality. To overcome these problems the textile manufacturers began to consolidate work in central workshops shops where they could supervise operations. Taking this to the next level, in 1815 Francis Cabot Lowell of the Boston Manufacturing Company built the first integrated spinning and weaving factory in the world at Waltham, Massachusetts, using plans for a power loom that he smuggled out of England. This was the largest factory in the U.S., with a workforce of about 300. It was a very efficient, highly profitable mill that, with the aid of the Tariff of 1816, competed effectively with British textiles at a time when many smaller operations were being forced out of business. [100]

          The Fall River Manufactory, located on the Quequechan River in Fall River, Massachusetts, was founded in 1813 by Dexter Wheeler and cousin David Anthony. By 1827 there were 10 cotton mills in the Fall River area, which soon became the country's leading producer of printed cotton cloth. [76] : 384

          The U.S. began exporting textiles in the 1830s the Americans specialized in coarse fabrics, while the British exported finer cloth that reached a somewhat different market. [101] Cloth production—mostly cotton but also wool, linen and silk—became the leading American industry. [102] The building of textile machinery became a major driving force in the development of advanced mechanical devices. [103]

          The shoe industry began transitioning from production by craftsmen to the factory system, with division of labor. [104]

          Low return freight rates from Europe offered little protection from imports to domestic industries. [105]

          Development of interchangeable parts Edit

          Standardization and interchangeability have been cited as major contributors to the exceptional growth of the U.S. economy. [106]

          The idea of standardization of armaments was originated by French General Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval, who in 1765 began instituting the Gribeauval system. Honoré Blanc, who had served as inspector general of the three French arsenals, began producing muskets with interchangeable locks in France when Thomas Jefferson was minister to France. Jefferson wrote a letter to John Jay about these developments in 1785. [107] The idea of armament standardization was advocated by Louis de Tousard, who fled the French Revolution and in 1795 joined the U.S. Corps of Artillerists and Engineers where he taught artillery and engineering he learned in France. At the suggestion of George Washington, Tousard had been working on an artillery manual, which he published as The American Artillerist's Companion (1809). Tousard's manual, which was a standard textbook for officer training, stressed the importance of a system of standardized armaments. [107]

          Fears of war stemming from the XYZ Affair caused the U.S. to begin offering cash advance contracts for producing small arms to private individuals in 1798. Two notable recipients of these contracts associated with interchangeable parts were Eli Whitney and Simeon North. Although Whitney was not able to make interchangeable parts, he was a proponent of using machinery for gun making however, he employed only the simplest machines in his factory. North eventually made progress toward some degree of interchangeability and developed special machinery. North's shop used the first known milling machine (c. 1816 ), a fundamental machine tool. [107]

          The experience of the War of 1812 led the War Department to issue a request for contract proposals for firearms with interchangeable parts. Previously, parts from each firearm had to be carefully custom fitted almost all infantry regiments necessarily included an artificer or armorer who could perform this intricate gunsmithing. The requirement for interchangeable parts forced the development of modern metal-working machine tools, including milling machines, grinders, shapers and planers. The Federal Armories perfected the use of machine tools by developing fixtures to correctly position the parts being machined and jigs to guide the cutting tools over the proper path. Systems of blocks and gauges were also developed to check the accuracy and precision of the machined parts. Developing the manufacturing techniques for making interchangeable parts by the Federal Armories took over two decades however, the first interchangeable small arms parts were not made to a high degree of precision. It wasn't until the mid century or later that parts for U.S. rifles could be considered truly interchangeable with a degree of precision. In 1853 when the British Parliamentary Committee on Small Arms questioned gun maker Samuel Colt, and machine tool makers James Nasmyth and Joseph Whitworth, there was still some question about what constituted interchangeability and whether it could be achieved at a reasonable cost. [107]

          The machinists' skills were called armory practice and the system eventually became known as the American system of manufacturing. Machinists from the armories eventually spread the technology to other industries, such as clocks and watches, especially in the New England area. It wasn't until late in the 19th century that interchangeable parts became widespread in U.S. manufacturing. Among the items using interchangeable parts were some sewing machine brands and bicycles. [107]

          The development of these modern machine tools and machining practices made possible the development of modern industry capable of mass production however, large scale industrial production did not develop in the U.S. until the late 19th century. [107] [108] [109] [110]

          Finance, money and banking Edit

          The charter for the First Bank of the United States expired in 1811. Its absence caused serious difficulties for the national government trying to finance the War of 1812 over the refusal of New England bankers to help out. [111]

          President James Madison reversed earlier Jeffersonian opposition to banking, and secured the opening of a new national bank. The Second Bank of the United States was chartered in 1816. Its leading executive was Philadelphia banker Nicholas Biddle. It collapsed in 1836, under heavy attack from President Andrew Jackson during his Bank War. [112] [113]

          There were three economic downturns in the early 19th century. The first was the result of the Embargo Act of 1807, which shut off most international shipping and trade due to the Napoleonic Wars. The embargo caused a depression in cities and industries dependent on European trade. The other two downturns were depressions accompanied by significant periods of deflation during the early 19th century. The first and most severe was during the depression from 1818 to 1821 when prices of agricultural commodities declined by almost 50 percent. A credit contraction caused by a financial crisis in England drained specie out of the U.S. The Bank of the United States also contracted its lending. The price of agricultural commodities fell by almost 50 percent from the high in 1815 to the low in 1821, and did not recover until the late 1830s, although to a significantly lower price level. Most damaging was the price of cotton, the U.S.'s main export. Food crop prices, which had been high because of the famine of 1816 that was caused by the year without a summer, fell after the return of normal harvests in 1818. Improved transportation, mainly from turnpikes, significantly lowered transportation costs. [114]

          The third economic downturn was the depression of the late 1830s to 1843, following the Panic of 1837, when the money supply in the United States contracted by about 34 percent with prices falling by 33 percent. The magnitude of this contraction is matched only by the Great Depression. [115] A fundamental cause of the Panic of 1837 was depletion of Mexican silver mines. [116] Despite the deflation and depression, GDP rose 16 percent from 1839 to 1843, partly because of rapid population growth. [115]

          In order to dampen speculation in land, Andrew Jackson signed the executive order known as the Specie Circular in 1836, requiring sale of government land to be paid in gold and silver. Branch mints at New Orleans Dahlonega, Georgia and Charlotte, North Carolina, were authorized by congress in 1835 and became operational in 1838.

          Gold was being withdrawn from the U.S. by England and silver had also been taken out of the country because it had been undervalued relative to gold by the Coinage Act of 1834. Canal projects began to fail. The result was the financial Panic of 1837. In 1838 there was a brief recovery. The business cycle upturn occurred in 1843.

          Economic historians have explored the high degree of financial and economic instability in the Jacksonian era. For the most part, they follow the conclusions of Peter Temin, who absolved Jackson's policies, and blamed international events beyond American control, such as conditions in Mexico, China and Britain. A survey of economic historians in 1995 show that the vast majority concur with Temin's conclusion that "the inflation and financial crisis of the 1830s had their origin in events largely beyond President Jackson's control and would have taken place whether or not he had acted as he did vis-a-vis the Second Bank of the U.S." [117]

          Economics of the War of 1812 Edit

          The War of 1812 was financed by borrowing, by new issues of private bank notes and by an inflation in prices of 15%. The government was a very poor manager during the war, with delays in payments and confusion, as the Treasury took in money months after it was scheduled to pay it out. Inexperience, indecision, incompetence, partisanship and confusion are the main hallmarks. The federal government's management system was designed to minimize the federal role before 1812. The Republicans in power deliberately wanted to downsize the power and roles of the federal government when the war began, the Federalist opposition worked hard to sabotage operations. Problems multiplied rapidly in 1812, and all the weaknesses were magnified, especially regarding the Army and the Treasury. There were no serious reforms before the war ended. [118] In financial matters, the decentralizing ideology of the Republicans meant they wanted the First Bank of the United States to expire in 1811, when its 20-year charter ran out. Its absence made it much more difficult to handle the financing of the war, and caused special problems in terms of moving money from state to state, since state banks were not allowed to operate across state lines. The bureaucracy was terrible, often missing deadlines. On the positive side, over 120 new state banks were created all over the country, and they issued notes that financed much of the war effort, along with loans raised by Washington. Some key Republicans, especially Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin realized the need for new taxes, but the Republican Congress was very reluctant and only raised small amounts. The whole time, the Federalists in Congress and especially the Federalist-controlled state governments in the Northeast, and the Federalist-aligned financial system in the Northeast, was strongly opposed to the war and refused to help in the financing. [119] Indeed, they facilitated smuggling across the Canadian border, and sent large amounts of gold and silver to Canada, which created serious shortages of specie in the US. [120]

          Across the two and half years of the war, 1812–1815, the federal government took in more money than it spent. Cash out was $119.5 million, cash in was $154.0 million. [121] Two-thirds of the income was borrowed and had to be paid back in later years the national debt went from $56.0 million in 1812 to $127.3 million in 1815. Out of the GDP (gross domestic product) of about $925 million (in 1815), this was not a large burden for a national population of 8 million people it was paid off in 1835. [122] A new Second Bank of the United States was set up in 1816, and after that the financial system performed very well, even though there was still a shortage of gold and silver. [123]

          The economy grew every year 1812–1815, despite a large loss of business by East Coast shipping interests. Wartime inflation averaged 4.8% a year. [125] The national economy grew 1812–1815 at the rate of 3.7% a year, after accounting for inflation. Per capita GDP grew at 2.2% a year, after accounting for inflation. [126] Money that would have been spent on imports—mostly cloth—was diverted to opening new factories, which were profitable since British cloth was not available. [127] This gave a major boost to the industrial revolution, as typified by the Boston Associates. The Boston Manufacturing Company built the first integrated spinning and weaving factory in the world at Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1813. [128]

          The middle 19th century was a period of transition toward industrialization, particularly in the Northeast, which produced cotton textiles and shoes. The population of the West (generally meaning from Ohio to and including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri and south to include Kentucky) grew rapidly. The West was primarily a grain and pork producing region, with an important machine tool industry developing around Cincinnati, Ohio. The Southern economy was based on plantation agriculture, primarily cotton, tobacco and sugar, produced with slave labor.

          The market economy and factory system were not typical before 1850, but developed along transportation routes. Steamboats and railroads, introduced in the early part of the century, became widespread and aided westward expansion. [129] The telegraph was introduced in 1844 and was in widespread use by the mid 1850s.

          A machine tool industry developed and machinery became a major industry. Sewing machines began being manufactured. The shoe industry became mechanized. Horse drawn reapers became widely introduced, significantly increasing the productivity of farming.

          The use of steam engines in manufacturing increased and steam power exceeded water power after the Civil War. [130] coal replaced wood as the major fuel.

          The combination of railroads, the telegraph and machinery and factories began to create an industrial economy.

          The longest economic expansion of the United States occurred in the recession-free period between 1841 and 1856. [131] A 2017 study attributes this expansion primarily to "a boom in transportation-goods investment following the discovery of gold in California." [131]

          Commerce, industry and agriculture Edit

          The depression that began in 1839 ended with an upswing in economic activity in 1843.

          Table 1: Sector shares
          Employment % Output % (1860 prices)
          Year Agriculture Industry Services Agriculture Industry Services
          1840 68 12 20 47 21 31
          1850 60 17 23 42 29 29
          1860 56 19 25 38 28 34
          1870 53 22 25 35 31 34
          1880 52 23 25 31 32 38
          1890 43 26 31 22 41 37
          1900 40 26 33 20 40 39
          Source: Joel Mokyr [132]

          Railroads Edit

          Railroads opened up remote areas and drastically cut the cost of moving freight and passengers. By 1860 long distance bulk rates had fallen by 95%, less than half of which was due to the general fall in prices. [133] This large fall in transportation costs created "a major revolution in domestic commerce." [134]

          As transportation improved, new markets continuously opened. Railroads greatly increased the importance of hub cities such as Atlanta, Billings, Chicago, and Dallas. [135]

          Railroads were a highly capital intensive business, with a typical cost of $30,000 per mile with a considerable range depending on terrain and other factors. [90] Private capital for Railroads during the period from 1830 to 1860 was inadequate. States awarded charters, funding, tax breaks, land grants, and provided some financing. Railroads were allowed banking privileges and lotteries in some states. Private investors provided a small but not insignificant share or railroad capital. [136] A combination of domestic and foreign investment along with the discovery of gold and a major commitment of America's public and private wealth, enabled the nation to develop a large-scale railroad system, establishing the base for the country's industrialization.

          Table 2: Railroad Mileage Increase by Groups of States
          1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
          New England 2,507 3,660 4,494 5,982 6,831
          Middle States 3,202 6,705 10,964 15,872 21,536
          Southern States 2,036 8,838 11,192 14,778 29,209
          Western States and Territories 1,276 11,400 24,587 52,589 62,394
          Pacific States and Territories 23 1,677 4,080 9,804
          TOTAL NEW TRACK USA 9,021 30,626 52,914 93,301 129,774
          Source: Chauncey M. Depew (ed.), One Hundred Years of American Commerce 1795–1895 p. 111

          Railroad executives invented modern methods for running large-scale business operations, creating a blueprint that all large corporations basically followed. They created career tracks that took 18-year-old boys and turned them into brakemen, conductors and engineers. [137] They were first to encounter managerial complexities, labor union issues, and problems of geographical competition. Due to these radical innovations, the railroad became the first large-scale business enterprise and the model for most large corporations. [138]

          Historian Larry Haeg argues from the perspective of the end of the nineteenth century:

          Railroads created virtually every major American industry: coal, oil, gas, steel, lumber, farm equipment, grain, cotton, textile factories, California citrus. [139]

          Iron industry Edit

          The most important technological innovation in mid 19th century pig iron production was the adoption of hot blast, which was developed and patented in Scotland in 1828. Hot blast is a method of using heat from the blast furnace exhaust gas to preheat combustion air, saving a considerable amount of fuel. It allowed much higher furnace temperatures and increased the capacity of furnaces.

          Hot blast allowed blast furnaces to use anthracite or lower grade coal. Anthracite was difficult to light with cold blast. High quality metallurgical coking coal deposits of sufficient size for iron making were only available in Great Britain and western Germany in the 19th century, [140] but with less fuel required per unit of iron, it was possible to use lower grade coal.

          The use of anthracite was rather short lived because the size of blast furnaces increased enormously toward the end of the century, forcing the use of coke, which was more porous and did not impede the upflow of the gases through the furnace. Charcoal would have been crushed by the column of material in tall furnaces. Also, the capacity of furnaces would have eventually exceeded the wood supply, as happened with locomotives. [141]

          Iron was used for a wide variety of purposes. In 1860 large consumers were numerous types of castings, especially stoves. Of the $32 million of bar, sheet and railroad iron produced, slightly less than half was railroad iron. The value added by stoves was equal to the value added by rails. [77]

          Coal displaces wood Edit

          Coal replaced wood during the mid-nineteenth century. In 1840 wood was the major fuel while coal production was minor. In 1850 wood was 90% of fuel consumption and 90% of that was for home heating. By 1880 wood was only 5% of fuel consumption. [142] Cast iron stoves for heating and cooking displaced inefficient fireplaces. Wood was a byproduct of land clearing and was placed along the banks of rivers for steamboats. By mid century the forests were being depleted while steamboats and locomotives were using enough wood to create shortages along their routes however, railroads, canals and navigable internal waterways were able to bring coal to market at a price far below the cost of wood. Coal sold in Cincinnati for 10 cents per bushel (94 pounds) and in New Orleans for 14 cents. [143]

          Charcoal production was very labor and land intensive. It was estimated that to fuel a typical sized 100 ton of pig iron per week furnace in 1833 at a sustained yield, a timber plantation of 20,000 acres was required. The trees had to be hauled by oxen to where they were cut, stacked on end and covered with earth or put in a kiln to be charred for about a week. Anthracite reduced labor cost to $2.50 per ton compared to charcoal at $15.50 per ton. [144] [145]

          Manufacturing Edit

          Manufacturing became well established during the mid 19th century. Labor in the U.S. was expensive and industry made every effort to economize by using machinery. [107] Woodworking machinery such as circular saws, high speed lathes, planers and mortising machines and various other machines amazed British visitors, as was reported by Joseph Whitworth. [146] See: American system of manufacturing#Use of machinery

          In the early 19th century machinery was made mostly of wood with iron parts. By the mid century machines were being increasingly of all iron, which allowed them to operate at higher speeds and with higher precision. The demand for machinery created a machine tool industry that designed and manufactured lathes, metal planers, shapers and other precision metal cutting tools. [147]

          The shoe industry was the second to be mechanized, beginning in the 1840s. Sewing machines were developed for sewing leather. A leather rolling machine eliminated hand hammering, and was thirty times faster. Blanchard lathes began being used for making shoe lasts (forms) in the 1850s, allowing the manufacture of standard sizes. [104]

          By the 1850s much progress had been made in the development of the sewing machine, with a few companies making the machines, based on a number of patents, with no company controlling the right combination of patents to make a superior machine. To prevent damaging lawsuits, in 1856 several important patents were pooled under the Sewing Machine Combination, which licensed the patents for a fixed fee per machine sold.

          The sewing machine industry was a beneficiary of machine tools and the manufacturing methods developed at the Federal Armories. By 1860 two sewing machine manufacturers were using interchangeable parts. [107]

          The sewing machine increased the productivity of sewing cloth by a factor of 5.

          In 1860 the textile industry was the largest manufacturing industry in terms of workers employed (mostly women and children), capital invest and value of goods produced. That year there were 5 million spindles in the U.S. [148]

          Steam power Edit

          The Treasury Department's steam engine report of 1838 was the most valuable survey of steam power until the 1870 Census. According to the 1838 report there were an estimated 2,000 engines totaling 40,000 hp, of which 64% were used in transportation, mostly in steamboats. [149]

          The Corliss steam engine, patented in 1848, was called the most significant development in steam engineering since James Watt. The Corliss engine was more efficient than previous engines and maintained more uniform speed in response to load changes, making it suitable for a wide variety of industrial applications. It was the first steam engine that was suitable for cotton spinning. Previously steam engines for cotton spinning pumped water to a water wheel that powered the machinery.

          Steam power greatly expanded during the late 19th century with the rise of large factories, the expanded railroad network and early electric lighting and electric street railways.

          Steamboats and ships Edit

          The number of steamboats on western rivers in the U.S. grew from 187 in 1830 to 735 in 1860. Total registered tonnage of steam vessels for the U.S. grew from 63,052 in 1830 to 770,641 in 1860. [150]

          Until the introduction of iron ships, the U. S. made the best in the world. The design of U.S. ships required fewer crew members to operate. U.S. made ships cost from 40% to 60% as much as European ships, and lasted longer. [63]

          The screw propeller was tested on Lake Ontario in 1841 before being used on ocean ships. [151] Propellers began being used on Great Lakes ships in 1845. [152] Propellers caused vibrations which were a problem for wooden ships. [153] The SS Great Britain, launched in 1845, was the first iron ship with a screw propeller. Iron ships became common and more efficient multiple expansion engines were developed. After the introduction of iron ships, Britain became the leading shipbuilding country. The U.S. tried to compete by building wooden clipper ships, which were fast, but too narrow to carry economic volumes of low value freight.

          Telegraph Edit

          Congress approved funds for a short demonstration telegraph line from Baltimore to Washington D.C., which was operational in 1844. The telegraph was quickly adopted by the railroad industry, which needed rapid communication to coordinate train schedules, the importance of which had been highlighted by a collision on the Western Railroad in 1841. Railroads also needed to communicate over a vast network in order to keep track of freight and equipment. [154] Consequently, railroads installed telegraphs lines on their existing right-of-ways. By 1852 there were 22,000 miles of telegraph lines in the U.S., compared to 10,000 miles of track. [155]

          Urbanization Edit

          By 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, 16% of the people lived in cities with 2500 or more people and one third of the nation's income came from manufacturing. Urbanized industry was limited primarily to the Northeast cotton cloth production was the leading industry, with the manufacture of shoes, woolen clothing, and machinery also expanding. Most of the workers in the new factories were immigrants or their children. Between 1845 and 1855, some 300,000 European immigrants arrived annually. Many remained in eastern cities, especially mill towns and mining camps, while those with farm experience and some savings bought farms in the West. [156]

          United States: History

          The American Revolutionary War is sparked by the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The war lasts until 1783, when Britain accepted the loss of their American colonies by virtue of signing the Treaty of Paris.

          The United States purchases the Louisiana territories from France.

          The War of 1812 occurs between the U.S. and Britain, which is due in part to British restrictions on U.S. trade during the Napoleonic Wars.

          The U.S. acquires vast amount of Mexican territory, including California and New Mexico, in the wake of the Mexican War.

          Eleven southern states secede from the union to form the Confederate States of America and a civil war ensues. The northern states had an industrial based economy that favored protectionist policies, and were anti-slavery. The southern states had an agriculturally based economy which was powered by slave labor. In addition, these states favored free trade policies as they depended on exporting their produce aboard. The Confederate states are eventually defeated in 1865 and slavery is abolished.

          The United States gains Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and Cuba following the Spanish-American war. Cuba, however, becomes an independent country rather than a U.S. territory.

          The United States completes construction of the Panama Canal. The canal greatly expedites international maritime trade by linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

          The Wall Street stock market crash triggers the Great Depression, leading to massive unemployment.

          The US fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii is attacked by Japanese warplanes the US declares war on Japan and Germany shortly thereafter.

          Nazi Germany is defeated in May, ending the war in Europe. Japan surrenders in August, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

          The U.S. commits $13 billion to reviving post-war European economies under the Marshall Plan.

          The U.S., which had been supporting anti-communist South Vietnamese forces since 1955, escalates its military involvement by deploying regular ground forces. The proxy war against communist forces, namely the Soviet Union, continued until the signing of the Paris Peace Accord in 1973.

          Ronald Reagan wins the presidency and implements his plan of supply side economics, dubbed "Reaganomics". This economic policy leads to several years of economic expansion, but triples the national debt as a cost.

          Congress passes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA establishes free trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

          Coordinated terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and other high profile targets, lead the U.S. to declare a "war on terror", which leads to the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

          The United States faces its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression after Lehman Brothers, a major investment bank, collapses. "The Great Recession" creates a global financial crisis.

          More Comments:

          Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

          I support the above call for statistics, and on the text texts specifically.

          I checked the oldest (1924) U.S. history textbook, on my shelf - a volume designed for 8th graders. Written during World War I, it is full of patriotic fervor: stanzas from Oliver Wendell Holmes on the Boston Tea Party, Emerson on Lexington, eight lines from Longfellow beneath a painting of a galloping Paul Revere, etc. And yet: There are five distinct mentions of Patrick Henry, from his 1765 anti-stamp tax speech to his opposition to the constitution in 1787, in this 500 plus page book, but the "Liberty or death" speech appears nowhere.

          Maybe our problem is that we need to rely MORE on the (better quality) standard textbooks and less on teachers' faulty memories or expensive gimmicks such as computer graphics.

          Richard Newby - 12/23/2006

          Ray Raphael mentions Professor Loewen's book "Lies My Teacher Told Me" in his first paragraph on history textbooks and the American Revolutionary War (Are History Textbooks Still Full of Lies . . . ? Let me quote from page 232 in Loewen: "It is even possible that the FBI or the CIA was involved in the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. "Raoul' in Montreal, who supplied King's convicted killer, James Earl Ray, with the alias "Eric Gault," was apparently a CIA agent. Certainly Ray, a country boy with no income, could never have traveled to Montreal, arranged a false identity, and flown to London without help. Despite or because of threse incongruities, the FBI has never shown any interest in uncovering the conspiracy that killed King." In July 2002 I emailed my criticism of this passage to Professor Loewen. My e-mail of July 16 was answered by Professor Loewen on July 18. Professor Loewen's response is far off the mark. Professor Loewen twice acknowledged to me that he has not read Gerald Posner's book "Killing the Dream." Loewen's analysis of King's assassination on page 232 is a dandy topic for research. I had 16-year-old students in the 60s who would have pounced on this topic. With zest!

          Mark A Montgomery - 9/26/2006

          I enjoyed this article very much. I learned a lot about some of my own blind spots in US history.

          I am equally concerned about the content and structure of textbooks in our public schools. We don't pay enough attention to their instuctional design, either.

          John Edward Philips - 2/15/2006

          You can't trash the textbook too often without the students wondering what it was assigned for. Yes, you have to correct for biases, omissions and distortions, and god forbid you should just go over the text in class the way some students want you to, but the better the textbook the better the overall experience. Text and lecture should be complimentary, not competing with each other.

          John Guy Fought - 6/4/2005

          Although the proportion of rifles to (smoothbore) muskets in the hands of militiamen seems to have varied regionally, I think you are both underestimating the number and distance of hits and misses by omitting this factor. Also, 45 seconds seems a bit slow unless you are speaking of volley fire. Civil War reenactors manage three aimed shots per minute. As for bayonets, I suggest that their main use in combat in those days was in fending off or discouraging cavalry attacks on infantry.

          Chad faulkner ryan - 12/6/2004

          All text books are written by a variation of one to a dozen different authors. Many of which happen to be self involved know it alls that beleive they have the only correct information. Not all, just a select few. A great deal of these texts make a valiant effort to convey the most reliable and proven information, and they usually do a decent job. The fact is that with the availability of information on the internet it is easy to see how small facts or folk tales can be misinterpreted. When every author of a new history text book wants to put his special mark in he may jazz up a story or elaborate on a statistic. The human error will always come into play when texts are involved. Authors always include their opinons in what they write. Whether it is intentional or not, the authors beleifs are always between the lines. This bias can greatly alter the composition of the text. When it comes to an American history book, the author could be extremely patriotic and portray the past the way he sees it. He could see westward expansion as the great manifest destiny, while someone else may see it as the murder of the indian nation. Human error and opinon cannot be avoided in texts.

          Val Jobson - 9/28/2004

          The rugged individualist myth works better in the movies, whether he's the good guy or the bad guy. Remember the ads for the movie "The Untouchables" which depicted Al Capone as one man who terrorized an entire city?

          I did a small amount of research after seeing the movie [no Internet then] and learned two facts 1. Frank Nitty, the hit man who gets thrown off the roof in the movie, was in fact one of two men who took over leadership of the mob when Capone was jailed. 2. In the movie Capone smashes a man with a baseball bat and everyone else sits there in shock and fear in reality, he led a group of men who all beat two men to death.

          The point is that the mob had continuity and it acted as a group. Demonizing and removing the leader does not mean you have cleaned up the whole mob.

          Andrew D. Todd - 9/25/2004

          A fair amount can be discovered about ancient climates. It works out to measuring tree rings, digging up and analyzing pond sediments, stuff like that. In the case of human bones, starvation episodes during childhood leave a kind of "tree-ring," the Harris Line of Growth Arrest.

          Stephen M Garcia - 9/25/2004

          There is much in this article to give one pause.
          - The 90 earlier Declarations of Independence
          - The five man team to write the DOI
          - The 1774 defacto overthrow of the British rule in Massachusetts
          - The network of now-unknown people who contributed efforts, far beyond what I had known

          I AM impressed with all this. It is, I agree with the author, important to know that it was NOT the lone small broup or even individual. The myth of the rugged individualist as archetype or resident genius turns instead into an anarchism of whole communities. A conpiracy theorist might say, "THAT might just be the lesson someone might not be too crazy about the kids learning about". That is a book I would love to read through. . . and to have my kids and grandkids read as well.

          Stephen M Garcia - 9/25/2004

          Having been adept at mathematics, I agree, you cannot start with the calculus (Newton's fluxions). But history is quite a bit different. Was there any single point in what the author wrote in this article that a typical 5th-grader (maybe even a 4th-grader) could not understand? Math may at times be rocket science, but history - to understand what this author is talking about - certainly is not. Nothing he has stated are confusing to non-advanced students.
          Are you, sir, advocating that the schools start out teaching that 2+2 does not equal 4, as preparation to the day when they can handle the complexities of the true history? In what manner do untruths lead the young mind to higher truths?
          Color me perplexed why it would be disadvantageous to teach what really happened - especially when the facts in themsleves in many cases are as fascinating as the myths?

          Vernon Clayson - 9/24/2004

          Speaking of lies and half-truths, why should history texts be any different than today's media reports and the everyday statements by politicians?? (I also take exception to the mention of the coldest winter in 400 years at Morristown in 1814, who kept the records in the area that became Morristown in 1414?) Mr. Raphael's version of history is fine for advanced students but the "myths" he mentions are at best an introduction to beginning students, one has to start somewhere and these young people will grow in the subject. They don't start mathematics with methods of the calculus or the sciences with DNA research.

          William R. Clay - 9/21/2004

          Mr. Lederer’s analyst of combat closeness during this time period is well done. It took an extremely well trained army of riflemen (an admittedly incorrect term for the revolutionary period) to concentrate fire and maintain it in any volume or accuracy while under return fire. Over the intervening years the distances in which death could be dealt has indeed increased. In fact, one could say now that a killing blow could be administered from the other side of the globe with the mid-20th century development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. That being said the actual range of combat for a rifle platoon today is still far closer than what you might expect. Let me put it this way, the bayonet is still a valid military tool in the 21st century. If one is in doubt about the range of combat today, read into the urban firefights in Iraq during the so-called active part of the invasion. It doesn’t get more up close and personal than that.

          Ben H. Severance - 9/21/2004

          While I agree that textbooks often oversimplify or even overlook some important issues, the textbook should not be the central learning device in the classroom. The instructor's lectures should be the principal means of imparting knowledge. If a textbook provides only cursory coverage of a topic that the instructor considers crucial, then let the instructor address that in class. Ray Raphael seeks a perfect textbook. What then is the need for a teacher? Besides, the author is overly harsh. There are many fine U.S. textbooks that competently cover the main people and events and themes of American history.

          Regarding the comment about combat from afar or up close, I echo the complaints of John Lederer.

          John H. Lederer - 9/20/2004

          “Do not fire till you see the whites of their eyes” insinuates that Revolutionary warfare was all close combat in fact, most killing then, as now, was done from afar.

          I am curious whether there is support for this? In general military history shows a long term trend for combatants killing range to increase with time.
          Artillery, the great killer of today (possibly about to be supplanted by air) is generally thought to have first become significant in the Napoleonic wars, small arms fire in the American Civil War (rifling and the minie ball were the two critical technologies).

          The effective range in combat of smoothbore muskets is generally thought to be under 100 yds. My own experiments suggest that this is optimistic for other than expereinced ,trained troops. Flintlocks require substantial discipline and training for accuracy as there is a substantial period of time between trigger pull and actual exit of the projectile during which the shooter must remain on target.

          There are a number of accounts of numbers of troops volley firing in combat at individuals at quite close range and missing.

          The following are approximate rates of advance for troops:

          walk (slow with time to dress ranks) =

          12 seconds for ten yards
          walk (quick march) =

          6 seconds for ten yards
          run (charge) =

          The effective rate of aimed volley fire for a flintlock musket is about 45 seconds. As one can see, there are attractions to one short range unhurried volley rather than one long range and one hurried short range.

          The military literature of the era is replete with admonitions to hold fire till short range. The worst situation is to shoot at too long a range and then not be able to get off a second shot. Some attribute accounts of troops fleeing before contact to a number of individual calculations by soldiers that would not be reloaded in time.

          Diminution of fire is a second problem. Mechanical failure (the flint is a notriously weak element of a flintlock) and operator error are quite common. One observer in the Civil War describes a second volley at Bull Run as looking like archery fire at Agincourt for the number of ramrods sailing across the battlefield from the fire of inexperienced troops (General Bee was killed by one of these ramrods). The "raggedness" so frequently described for a second volley may weel be caused by the inability of many to successfully reload and refire.

          Are there any statistical accounts of wound types in the American Revolution?

          John H. Lederer - 9/20/2004

          “Do not fire till you see the whites of their eyes” insinuates that Revolutionary warfare was all close combat in fact, most killing then, as now, was done from afar.

          I am curious whether there is support for this? In general military history shows a long term trend for combatants killing range to increase with time.
          Artillery, the great killer of today (possibly about to be supplanted by air) is generally thought to have first become significant in the Napoleonic wars, small arms fire in the American Civil War (rifling and the minie ball were the two critical technologies).

          The effective range in combat of smoothbore muskets is generally thought to be under 100 yds. My own experiments suggest that this is optimistic for other than expereinced ,trained troops. Flintlocks require substantial discipline and training for accuracy as there is a substantial period of time between trigger pull and actual exit of the projectile during which the shooter must remain on target.

          There are a number of accounts of numbers of troops volley firing in combat at individuals at quite close range and missing.

          The following are approximate rates of advance for troops:

          walk (slow with time to dress ranks) =

          12 seconds for ten yards
          walk (quick march) =

          6 seconds for ten yards
          run (charge) =

          The effective rate of aimed volley fire for a flintlock musket is about 45 seconds. As one can see, there are attractions to one short range unhurried volley rather than one long range and one hurried short range.

          The military literature of the era is replete with admonitions to hold fire till short range. The worst situation is to shoot at too long a range and then not be able to get off a second shot. Some attribute accounts of troops fleeing before contact to a number of individual calculations by soldiers that would not be reloaded in time.

          Diminution of fire is a second problem. Mechanical failure (the flint is a notriously weak element of a flintlock) and operator error are quite common. One observer in the Civil War describes a second volley at Bull Run as looking like archery fire at Agincourt for the number of ramrods sailing across the battlefield from the fire of inexperienced troops (General Bee was killed by one of these ramrods). The "raggedness" so frequently described for a second volley may weel be caused by the inability of many to successfully reload and refire.

          Are there any statistical accounts of wound types in the American Revolution?

          Oscar Chamberlain - 9/20/2004

          I nearly responded with a flip "so what else is new" sort of comment. Happily I read on. Your examples concerning the American revolution and the "traditional" narrative are excellent precisely because they can transform the older narratives in ways that do justice to the idealism of Americans in that era.

          United States Era 8

          Participants of this era are still alive, and their common memories of cataclysmic events–from the Crash of 1929 through World War II–are still common points of reference today. Our closeness to this era should help students see how today’s problems and choices are connected to the past. Knowledge of history is the precondition of political intelligence, setting the stage for current questions about government’s role and rule, foreign policy, the continuing search for core values, and the ongoing imperative to extend the founding principles to all Americans.

          The Great Depression and the New Deal deserve careful attention for four reasons. First, Americans in the 1930s endured–and conquered–the greatest economic crisis in American history. Second, the Depression wrought deep changes in people’s attitudes toward government’s responsibilities. Third, organized labor acquired new rights. Fourth, the New Deal set in place legislation that reshaped modern American capitalism.

          In its effects on the lives of Americans, the Great Depression was one of the great shaping experiences of American history, ranking with the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the second industrial revolution. More than Progressivism, the Great Depression brought about changes in the regulatory power of the federal government. It also enlarged government’s role in superimposing relief measures on the capitalist system, bringing the United States into a mild form of welfare state capitalism, such as had appeared earlier in industrial European nations. This era provides students with ample opportunities to test their analytic skills as they assay Franklin Roosevelt’s leadership, the many alternative formulas for ending the Great Depression, and the ways in which the New Deal affected women, racial minorities, labor, children, and other groups.

          World War II also commands careful attention. Although it was not the bloodiest in American history, the war solidified the nation’s role as a global power and ushered in social changes that established reform agendas that would preoccupy public discourse in the United States for the remainder of the 20th century. The role of the United States in World War II was epochal for its defense of democracy in the face of totalitarian aggression. More than ever before, Americans fought abroad, not only winning the war but bringing a new cosmopolitanism home with them. As before, the war was an engine of social and cultural change. In this war, Americans of diverse backgrounds lived and fought together, fostering American identity and building notions of a common future. Similarly, on the homefront, public education and the mass media promoted nationalism and the blending of cultural backgrounds. Yet students should learn about the denial of the civil liberties of interned Japanese Americans and the irony of racial minorities fighting for democratic principles overseas that they were still denied at home as well as in military service itself.

          Students will need to assess carefully the course of the war, the collapse of the Grand Alliance, and its unsettling effects on the postwar period. Also, they should evaluate the social effects of war on the homefront, such as internal migration to war production centers, the massive influx of women into previously male job roles, and the attempts of African Americans and others to obtain desegregation of the armed forces and end discriminatory hiring.

          Each standard was developed with historical thinking standards in mind. The relevant historical thinking standards are linked in the brackets, [ ], below.

          STANDARD 1

          The causes of the Great Depression and how it affected American society.

          The student understands the causes of the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.

          9-12 Assess the economic policies of the Harding and Coolidge administrations and their impact on wealth distribution, investment, and taxes. [Analyze multiple causation]
          5-12 Analyze the causes and consequences of the stock market crash of 1929. [Compare competing historical narratives]
          5-12 Evaluate the causes of the Great Depression. [Analyze multiple causation]
          9-12 Explain the global context of the depression and the reasons for the worldwide economic collapse. [Evaluate major debates among historians]
          7-12 Explore the reasons for the deepening crisis of the Great Depression and evaluate the Hoover administration’s responses. [Formulate a position or course of action on an issue]

          The student understands how American life changed during the 1930s.

          5-12 Explain the effects of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl on American farm owners, tenants, and sharecroppers. [Analyze multiple causation]
          7-12 Analyze the impact of the Great Depression on industry and workers and explain the response of local and state officials in combating the resulting economic and social crises. [Analyze multiple causation]
          7-12 Analyze the impact of the Great Depression on the American family and on ethnic and racial minorities. [Consider multiple perspectives]
          9-12 Explain the cultural life of the Depression years in art, literature, and music and evaluate the government’s role in promoting artistic expression. [Draw upon visual, literary, and musical sources]

          STANDARD 2

          How the New Deal addressed the Great Depression, transformed American federalism, and initiated the welfare state.

          The student understands the New Deal and the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

          5-12 Contrast the background and leadership abilities of Franklin D. Roosevelt with those of Herbert Hoover. [Assess the importance of the individual in history]
          7-12 Analyze the links between the early New Deal and Progressivism. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]
          9-12 Contrast the first and second New Deals and evaluate the success and failures of the relief, recovery, and reform measures associated with each. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]
          7-12 Analyze the factors contributing to the forging of the Roosevelt coalition in 1936 and explain its electoral significance in subsequent years. [Examine the influence of ideas]
          9-12 Analyze the involvement of minorities and women in the New Deal and its impact upon them. [Assess the importance of the individual in history]
          7-12 Explain renewed efforts to protect the environment during the Great Depression and evaluate their success in places such as the Dust Bowl and the Tennessee Valley. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

          The student understands the impact of the New Deal on workers and the labor movement.

          5-12 Explain how New Deal legislation and policies affected American workers and the labor movement. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
          7-12 Explain the re-emergence of labor militancy and the struggle between craft and industrial unions. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]
          7-12 Evaluate labor union positions on minority and women workers. [Consider multiple perspectives]
          9-12 Explain the impact of the New Deal on nonunion workers. [Formulate a position or course of action on an issue]

          The student understands opposition to the New Deal, the alternative programs of its detractors, and the legacy of the New Deal.

          Unit 1: Period 1: 1491–1607

          You’ll learn about Native American societies as well as how and why Europeans first explored, and then began to colonize, the Americas.

          • Native American societies before European contact
          • European exploration in the New World
          • The Columbian Exchange
          • Labor, slavery, and caste in the Spanish colonial system
          • Cultural interactions between Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans

          On The Exam

          Unit 2: Period 2: 1607–1754

          You'll study the colonies established in the New World by the Spanish, French, Dutch, and British.

          • How different European colonies developed and expanded
          • Transatlantic trade
          • Interactions between American Indians and Europeans
          • Slavery in the British colonies
          • Colonial society and culture

          On The Exam

          Unit 3: Period 3: 1754–1800

          You'll explore the events that led to the American Revolution and the formation of the United States and examine the early years of the republic.

          • The Seven Years’ War
          • The American Revolution
          • The Articles of Confederation
          • The creation and ratification of the Constitution
          • Developing an American identity
          • Immigration to and migration within America

          On The Exam

          Unit 4: Period 4: 1800–1848

          You’ll examine how the young nation developed politically, culturally, and economically in this period.

          • The rise of political parties
          • American foreign policy
          • Innovations in technology, agriculture, and business
          • Debates about federal power
          • The Second Great Awakening
          • Reform movements
          • The experience of African Americans

          On The Exam

          Unit 5: Period 5: 1844–1877

          You’ll learn how the nation expanded and you’ll explore the events that led to the secession of Southern states and the Civil War.

          • Manifest Destiny
          • The Mexican–American War
          • Attempts to resolve conflicts over the spread of slavery
          • The election of 1860 and Southern secession
          • The Civil War
          • Reconstruction

          On The Exam

          Unit 6: Period 6: 1865–1898

          You’ll examine the nation’s economic and demographic shifts in this period and their links to cultural and political changes.

          • The settlement of the West
          • The "New South"
          • The rise of industrial capitalism
          • Immigration and migration
          • Reform movements
          • Debates about the role of government

          On The Exam

          Unit 7: Period 7: 1890–1945

          You’ll examine America’s changing society and culture and the causes and effects of the global wars and economic meltdown of this period.

          • Debates over imperialism
          • The Progressive movement
          • World War I
          • Innovations in communications and technology in the 1920s
          • The Great Depression and the New Deal
          • World War II
          • Postwar diplomacy

          On The Exam

          Unit 8: Period 8: 1945–1980

          You’ll learn about the rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States, the growth of various civil rights movements, and the economic, cultural, and political transformations of this period.

          • The Cold War and the Red Scare
          • America as a world power
          • The Vietnam War
          • The Great Society
          • The African American civil rights movement
          • Youth culture of the 1960s

          On The Exam

          Unit 9: Period 9: 1980–Present

          You’ll learn about the advance of political conservatism, developments in science and technology, and demographic shifts that had major cultural and political consequences in this period.

          • Reagan and conservatism
          • The end of the Cold War
          • Shifts in the economy
          • Migration and immigration
          • Challenges of the 21st century

          On The Exam

          Northwest Ordinance July 13, 1787

          Section 1. Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, That the said territory, for the purposes of temporary government, be one district, subject, however, to be divided into two districts, as future circumstances may, in the opinion of Congress, make it expedient.

          Sec 2. Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the estates, both of resident and nonresident proprietors in the said territory, dying intestate, shall descent to, and be distributed among their children, and the descendants of a deceased child, in equal parts the descendants of a deceased child or grandchild to take the share of their deceased parent in equal parts among them: And where there shall be no children or descendants, then in equal parts to the next of kin in equal degree and among collaterals, the children of a deceased brother or sister of the intestate shall have, in equal parts among them, their deceased parents' share and there shall in no case be a distinction between kindred of the whole and half blood saving, in all cases, to the widow of the intestate her third part of the real estate for life, and one third part of the personal estate and this law relative to descents and dower, shall remain in full force until altered by the legislature of the district. And until the governor and judges shall adopt laws as hereinafter mentioned, estates in the said territory may be devised or bequeathed by wills in writing, signed and sealed by him or her in whom the estate may be (being of full age), and attested by three witnesses and real estates may be conveyed by lease and release, or bargain and sale, signed, sealed and delivered by the person being of full age, in whom the estate may be, and attested by two witnesses, provided such wills be duly proved, and such conveyances be acknowledged, or the execution thereof duly proved, and be recorded within one year after proper magistrates, courts, and registers shall be appointed for that purpose and personal property may be transferred by delivery saving, however to the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskies, St. Vincents and the neighboring villages who have heretofore professed themselves citizens of Virginia, their laws and customs now in force among them, relative to the descent and conveyance, of property.

          Sec. 3. Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be appointed from time to time by Congress, a governor, whose commission shall continue in force for the term of three years, unless sooner revoked by Congress he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein in 1,000 acres of land, while in the exercise of his office.

          Sec. 4. There shall be appointed from time to time by Congress, a secretary, whose commission shall continue in force for four years unless sooner revoked he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein in 500 acres of land, while in the exercise of his office. It shall be his duty to keep and preserve the acts and laws passed by the legislature, and the public records of the district, and the proceedings of the governor in his executive department, and transmit authentic copies of such acts and proceedings, every six months, to the Secretary of Congress: There shall also be appointed a court to consist of three judges, any two of whom to form a court, who shall have a common law jurisdiction, and reside in the district, and have each therein a freehold estate in 500 acres of land while in the exercise of their offices and their commissions shall continue in force during good behavior.

          Sec. 5. The governor and judges, or a majority of them, shall adopt and publish in the district such laws of the original States, criminal and civil, as may be necessary and best suited to the circumstances of the district, and report them to Congress from time to time: which laws shall be in force in the district until the organization of the General Assembly therein, unless disapproved of by Congress but afterwards the Legislature shall have authority to alter them as they shall think fit.

          Sec. 6. The governor, for the time being, shall be commander in chief of the militia, appoint and commission all officers in the same below the rank of general officers all general officers shall be appointed and commissioned by Congress.

          Sec. 7. Previous to the organization of the general assembly, the governor shall appoint such magistrates and other civil officers in each county or township, as he shall find necessary for the preservation of the peace and good order in the same: After the general assembly shall be organized, the powers and duties of the magistrates and other civil officers shall be regulated and defined by the said assembly but all magistrates and other civil officers not herein otherwise directed, shall during the continuance of this temporary government, be appointed by the governor.

          Sec. 8. For the prevention of crimes and injuries, the laws to be adopted or made shall have force in all parts of the district, and for the execution of process, criminal and civil, the governor shall make proper divisions thereof and he shall proceed from time to time as circumstances may require, to lay out the parts of the district in which the Indian titles shall have been extinguished, into counties and townships, subject, however, to such alterations as may thereafter be made by the legislature.

          Sec. 9. So soon as there shall be five thousand free male inhabitants of full age in the district, upon giving proof thereof to the governor, they shall receive authority, with time and place, to elect a representative from their counties or townships to represent them in the general assembly: Provided, That, for every five hundred free male inhabitants, there shall be one representative, and so on progressively with the number of free male inhabitants shall the right of representation increase, until the number of representatives shall amount to twenty five after which, the number and proportion of representatives shall be regulated by the legislature: Provided, That no person be eligible or qualified to act as a representative unless he shall have been a citizen of one of the United States three years, and be a resident in the district, or unless he shall have resided in the district three years and, in either case, shall likewise hold in his own right, in fee simple, two hundred acres of land within the same Provided, also, That a freehold in fifty acres of land in the district, having been a citizen of one of the states, and being resident in the district, or the like freehold and two years residence in the district, shall be necessary to qualify a man as an elector of a representative.

          Sec. 10. The representatives thus elected, shall serve for the term of two years and, in case of the death of a representative, or removal from office, the governor shall issue a writ to the county or township for which he was a member, to elect another in his stead, to serve for the residue of the term.

          Sec. 11. The general assembly or legislature shall consist of the governor, legislative council, and a house of representatives. The Legislative Council shall consist of five members, to continue in office five years, unless sooner removed by Congress any three of whom to be a quorum: and the members of the Council shall be nominated and appointed in the following manner, to wit: As soon as representatives shall be elected, the Governor shall appoint a time and place for them to meet together and, when met, they shall nominate ten persons, residents in the district, and each possessed of a freehold in five hundred acres of land, and return their names to Congress five of whom Congress shall appoint and commission to serve as aforesaid and, whenever a vacancy shall happen in the council, by death or removal from office, the house of representatives shall nominate two persons, qualified as aforesaid, for each vacancy, and return their names to Congress one of whom congress shall appoint and commission for the residue of the term. And every five years, four months at least before the expiration of the time of service of the members of council, the said house shall nominate ten persons, qualified as aforesaid, and return their names to Congress five of whom Congress shall appoint and commission to serve as members of the council five years, unless sooner removed. And the governor, legislative council, and house of representatives, shall have authority to make laws in all cases, for the good government of the district, not repugnant to the principles and articles in this ordinance established and declared. And all bills, having passed by a majority in the house, and by a majority in the council, shall be referred to the governor for his assent but no bill, or legislative act whatever, shall be of any force without his assent. The governor shall have power to convene, prorogue, and dissolve the general assembly, when, in his opinion, it shall be expedient.

          Sec. 12. The governor, judges, legislative council, secretary, and such other officers as Congress shall appoint in the district, shall take an oath or affirmation of fidelity and of office the governor before the president of congress, and all other officers before the Governor. As soon as a legislature shall be formed in the district, the council and house assembled in one room, shall have authority, by joint ballot, to elect a delegate to Congress, who shall have a seat in Congress, with a right of debating but not voting during this temporary government.

          Sec. 13. And, for extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all laws, constitutions, and governments, which forever hereafter shall be formed in the said territory: to provide also for the establishment of States, and permanent government therein, and for their admission to a share in the federal councils on an equal footing with the original States, at as early periods as may be consistent with the general interest:

          Sec. 14. It is hereby ordained and declared by the authority aforesaid, That the following articles shall be considered as articles of compact between the original States and the people and States in the said territory and forever remain unalterable, unless by common consent, to wit:

          Art. 1. No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments, in the said territory.

          Art. 2. The inhabitants of the said territory shall always be entitled to the benefits of the writ of habeas corpus, and of the trial by jury of a proportionate representation of the people in the legislature and of judicial proceedings according to the course of the common law. All persons shall be bailable, unless for capital offenses, where the proof shall be evident or the presumption great. All fines shall be moderate and no cruel or unusual punishments shall be inflicted. No man shall be deprived of his liberty or property, but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land and, should the public exigencies make it necessary, for the common preservation, to take any person's property, or to demand his particular services, full compensation shall be made for the same. And, in the just preservation of rights and property, it is understood and declared, that no law ought ever to be made, or have force in the said territory, that shall, in any manner whatever, interfere with or affect private contracts or engagements, bona fide, and without fraud, previously formed.

          Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.

          Art. 4. The said territory, and the States which may be formed therein, shall forever remain a part of this Confederacy of the United States of America, subject to the Articles of Confederation, and to such alterations therein as shall be constitutionally made and to all the acts and ordinances of the United States in Congress assembled, conformable thereto. The inhabitants and settlers in the said territory shall be subject to pay a part of the federal debts contracted or to be contracted, and a proportional part of the expenses of government, to be apportioned on them by Congress according to the same common rule and measure by which apportionments thereof shall be made on the other States and the taxes for paying their proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the district or districts, or new States, as in the original States, within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled. The legislatures of those districts or new States, shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by the United States in Congress assembled, nor with any regulations Congress may find necessary for securing the title in such soil to the bona fide purchasers. No tax shall be imposed on lands the property of the United States and, in no case, shall nonresident proprietors be taxed higher than residents. The navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the carrying places between the same, shall be common highways and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of the said territory as to the citizens of the United States, and those of any other States that may be admitted into the confederacy, without any tax, impost, or duty therefor.

          Art. 5. There shall be formed in the said territory, not less than three nor more than five States and the boundaries of the States, as soon as Virginia shall alter her act of cession, and consent to the same, shall become fixed and established as follows, to wit: The western State in the said territory, shall be bounded by the Mississippi, the Ohio, and Wabash Rivers a direct line drawn from the Wabash and Post Vincents, due North, to the territorial line between the United States and Canada and, by the said territorial line, to the Lake of the Woods and Mississippi. The middle State shall be bounded by the said direct line, the Wabash from Post Vincents to the Ohio, by the Ohio, by a direct line, drawn due north from the mouth of the Great Miami, to the said territorial line, and by the said territorial line. The eastern State shall be bounded by the last mentioned direct line, the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the said territorial line: Provided, however, and it is further understood and declared, that the boundaries of these three States shall be subject so far to be altered, that, if Congress shall hereafter find it expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two States in that part of the said territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan. And, whenever any of the said States shall have sixty thousand free inhabitants therein, such State shall be admitted, by its delegates, into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever, and shall be at liberty to form a permanent constitution and State government: Provided, the constitution and government so to be formed, shall be republican, and in conformity to the principles contained in these articles and, so far as it can be consistent with the general interest of the confederacy, such admission shall be allowed at an earlier period, and when there may be a less number of free inhabitants in the State than sixty thousand.

          Art. 6. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided, always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.

          Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the resolutions of the 23rd of April, 1784, relative to the subject of this ordinance, be, and the same are hereby repealed and declared null and void.

          Done by the United States, in Congress assembled, the 13th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of their soveriegnty and independence the twelfth.

          Watch the video: Timeline of US History (August 2022).