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Доклад: History of the USA бесплатно рефераты

regarded the standing army of about 6,000 troops maintained by London in the

colonies after 1763 with great suspicion--such a peacetime force had never

been present before. British authorities defended the force as necessary to

preserve peace on the frontier, especially after PONTIAC'S REBELLION (1763-

65), which had been launched by the brilliant Indian leader Pontiac to expel

the British from the interior and restore French rule. In another attempt to

quell Indian unrest, London established the Proclamation Line of 1763. Set

along the crest of the Appalachians, the line represented a limit imposed on

colonial movement west until a more effective Indian program could be

developed. The colonists were much angered by the prohibition. Historical

memories of the use of standing armies by European kings to override liberty

caused widespread suspicion among the colonists that the soldiers stationed

on the Line of 1763 were to be employed not against the Indians, but against

the colonials themselves should they prove difficult to govern.

Indeed, for many years colonists had been reading the radical British press,

which argued the existence of a Tory plot in England to crush liberty

throughout the empire. Surviving from the English Civil War of the previous

century was a profound distrust of monarchy among a small fringe of radical

members of Britain's Whig party, primarily Scots and Irish and English

Dissenters--that is, Protestants who were not members of the Church of

England. As members of the minority out-groups in British life, they had

suffered many political and economic disadvantages. Radical Whigs insisted

that a corrupt network of Church of England bishops, great landlords, and

financiers had combined with the royal government to exploit the community at

large, and that--frightened of criticism--this Tory conspiracy sought to

destroy liberty and freedom.

In the cultural politics of the British Empire, American colonists were also

an out-group; they bitterly resented the disdain and derision shown them by

the metropolitan English. Furthermore, most free colonists were either

Dissenters (the Congregationalists in New England and the Presbyterians and

Baptists in New York and the South); or non-English peoples with ancient

reasons for hating the English (the Scots-Irish); or outsiders in a British-

dominated society (Germans and Dutch); or slaveowners sharply conscious of

the distaste with which they were regarded by the British at home.

A divisive controversy racked the colonies in the mid-18th century concerning

the privileges of the Church of England. Many believed in the existence of an

Anglican plot against religious liberty. In New England it was widely

asserted that the colonial tie to immoral, affluent, Anglican-dominated

Britain was endangering the soul of America. Many southerners also

disapproved of the ostentatious plantation living that grew out of the

tobacco trade--as well as the widespread bankruptcies resulting from dropping

tobacco prices--and urged separation from Britain.

The current ideology among many colonists was that of republicanism. The

radicalism of the 18th century, it called for grounding government in the

people, giving them the vote, holding frequent elections, abolishing

established churches, and separating the powers of government to guard

against tyranny. Republicans also advocated that most offices be elective and

that government be kept simple, limited, and respectful of the rights of


Deterioration of Imperial Ties

In this prickly atmosphere London's heavy-handedness caused angry reactions

on the part of Americans. The Quartering Act of 1765 ordered colonial

assemblies to house the standing army; to override the resulting protests in

America, London suspended the New York assembly until it capitulated. In 1767

the TOWNSHEND ACTS levied tariffs on many articles imported into the

colonies. These imports were designed to raise funds to pay wages to the army

as well as to the royal governors and judges, who had formerly been dependent

on colonial assemblies for their salaries. Nonimportation associations

immediately sprang up in the colonies to boycott British goods. When mob

attacks prevented commissioners from enforcing the revenue laws, part of the

army was placed (1768) in Boston to protect the commissioners. This action

confirmed the colonists' suspicion that the troops were maintained in the

colonies to deprive them of their liberty. In March 1770 a group of soldiers

fired into a crowd that was harassing them, killing five persons; news of the

BOSTON MASSACRE spread through the colonies.

The chastened ministry in London now repealed all the Townshend duties except

for that on tea. Nonetheless, the economic centralization long reflected in

the NAVIGATION ACTS--which compelled much of the colonial trade to pass

through Britain on its way to the European continent--served to remind

colonials of the heavy price exacted from them for membership in the empire.

The Sugar Act of 1764, latest in a long line of such restrictive measures,

produced by its taxes a huge revenue for the crown. By 1776 it drained from

the colonies about 600,000 pounds sterling, an enormous sum. The colonial

balance of trade with England was always unfavorable for the Americans, who

found it difficult to retain enough cash to purchase necessary goods.

In 1772 the crown, having earlier declared its right to dismiss colonial

judges at its pleasure, stated its intention to pay directly the salaries of

governors and judges in Massachusetts. Samuel ADAMS, for many years a

passionate republican, immediately created the intercolonial Committee of

Correspondence. Revolutionary sentiment mounted. In December 1773 swarms of

colonials disguised as Mohawks boarded recently arrived tea ships in Boston

harbor, flinging their cargo into the water. The furious royal government

responded to this BOSTON TEA PARTY by the so-called INTOLERABLE ACTS of 1774,

practically eliminating self-government in Massachusetts and closing Boston's


Virginia moved to support Massachusetts by convening the First CONTINENTAL

CONGRESS in Philadelphia in the fall of 1774. It drew up declarations of

rights and grievances and called for nonimportation of British goods.

Colonial militia began drilling in the Massachusetts countryside. New

Englanders were convinced that they were soon to have their churches placed

under the jurisdiction of Anglican bishops. They believed, as well, that the

landowning British aristocracy was determined, through the levying of ruinous

taxes, to reduce the freeholding yeomanry of New England to the status of

tenants. The word "slavery" was constantly on their lips.

The War for Independence

In April 1775, Gen. Thomas GAGE in Boston was instructed to take the

offensive against the Massachusetts troublemakers, now declared traitors to

the crown. Charged with bringing an end to the training of militia and

gathering up all arms and ammunition in colonial hands, on April 19, Gage

sent a body of 800 soldiers to Concord to commandeer arms. On that day, the

Battles of LEXINGTON AND CONCORD took place, royal troops fled back to

Boston, and American campfires began burning around the city. The war of the


It soon became a world war, with England's European enemies gladly joining in

opposing England in order to gain revenge for past humiliations. British

forces were engaged in battle from the Caribbean and the American colonies to

the coasts of India. Furthermore, the United Colonies, as the Continental

Congress called the rebelling 13 colonies, were widely scattered in a huge

wilderness and were occupied by a people most of whom were in arms. The

dispersion of the American population meant that the small (by modern

standards) cities of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia could be taken and

held for long periods without affecting the outcome.

LOYALISTS numbered about 60,000, living predominantly along the coast where

people of English ethnic background and anglicized culture were most

numerous, but they were widely separated and weak. Pennsylvania's Quakers had

looked to the crown as their protector against the Scots-Irish and other

militant groups in Pennsylvania. The Quakers were appalled at the rebellion,

aggressively led in the Middle Colonies by the Presbyterian Scots-Irish, and

refused to lend it support. London deluded itself, however, with the belief

that the Loyalists represented a majority that would soon resume control and

end the conflict.

Within a brief period after the Battle of Concord, practically all royal

authority disappeared from the 13 colonies. Rebel governments were

established in each colony, and the Continental Congress in Philadelphia

provided a rudimentary national government. The task now before the British

was to fight their way back onto the continent, reestablish royal governments

in each colony, and defeat the colonial army. By March 1776 the British

evacuated Boston, moving to take and hold New York City. Within days of the

British arrival in New York, however, the Congress in Philadelphia issued

(July 4) the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. In December 1776, Gen. George

WASHINGTON reversed the early trend of American defeats by a stunning victory

at Trenton, N.J. (see TRENTON, BATTLE OF). Thereafter, as the fighting wore

on and the cause survived, Washington became in America and abroad a symbol

of strength and great bravery.

In February 1778 the French joined the conflict by signing an alliance with

the Continental Congress. With the aid of the French fleet the British army

in the north was reduced to a bridgehead at New York City. Shifting its

efforts to the south, the royal army campaigned through Georgia and the

Carolinas between 1778 and 1780, marching to the James Peninsula, in

Virginia, in 1781. Here, in the YORKTOWN CAMPAIGN, by the combined efforts of

Washington's troops and the French army and navy, Lord CORNWALLIS was forced

to surrender on Oct. 19, 1781. The fighting, effectively, was over. In

September 1783 the Treaty of Paris secured American independence on generous

terms. The new nation was given an immense domain that ran westward to the

Mississippi River (except for Britain's Canadian colonies and East and West

Florida, which reverted to Spanish rule).


The first federal constitution of the new American republic was the ARTICLES

OF CONFEDERATION. With ratification of that document in 1781, the nation had

adopted its formal name, the United States of America.

Government under the Articles of Confederation

Under the Articles the only national institution was the Confederation

Congress, with limited powers not unlike those of the United Nations. The

states retained their sovereignty, with each state government selecting

representatives to sit in the Congress. No national executive or judiciary

had been established. Each state delegation received an equal vote on all

issues. Congress was charged with carrying on the foreign relations of the

United States, but because it had no taxing powers (it could only request

funds from the states), it had no strength to back up its diplomacy. In

addition, it had no jurisdiction over interstate commerce; each state could

erect tariffs against its neighbors.

The Confederation Congress, however, achieved one great victory: it succeeded

in bringing all 13 of the states to agree on a plan for organizing and

governing the western territories (the "public lands") beyond the

Appalachians. Each state ceded its western claims to the Congress, which in

three ordinances dealing with the Northwest (1784, 1785, and 1787) provided

that new states established in the western regions would be equal in status

to the older ones. After a territorial stage of quasi self-government, they

would pass to full statehood. The land in the NORTHWEST TERRITORY (the Old

Northwest, that is, the area north of the Ohio River) would be surveyed in

square parcels, 6 mi (9.7 km) on a side, divided into 36 sections, and sold

to settlers at low cost; one plot would be reserved for the support of public

schools. Furthermore, slavery was declared illegal in the Northwest

Territory. (The Southwest Territory, below the Ohio, was organized by the

later federal Congress in 1790 as slave country.)

The Confederation Congress, however, did not survive. Because of its lack of

taxing power, its currency was of little value; widespread social turbulence

in the separate states led many Americans to despair of the new nation. The

republic--regarded as a highly precarious form of government in a world of

monarchies--was founded with the conviction that the people would exercise

the virtue and self-denial required under self- government. Soon, however,

that assumption seemed widely discredited. SHAYS'S REBELLION in Massachusetts

(1786-87) was an attempt to aid debtors by forcibly closing the court system;

mobs terrorized legislators and judges to achieve this end. The new state

legislatures, which had assumed all powers when royal governors were

expelled, confiscated property, overturned judicial decisions, issued floods

of unsecured paper money, and enacted torrents of legislation, some of it ex

post facto (effective retroactively).

The established social and political elite (as distinct from the rough new

antiauthoritarian politicians who had begun to invade the state legislatures,

talking aggressively of "democracy" and "liberty") urgently asserted the need

for a strong national government. The influence that the London authorities

had formerly provided as a balance to local government was absent. Minorities

that had been protected by the crown, such as the Baptists in Massachusetts

and the Quakers in Pennsylvania, were now defenseless. The wealthy classes

maintained that they were at the mercy of the masses. The new United States

was so weak that it was regarded contemptuously all over the world and its

diplomats ignored.

The Constitutional Convention of 1787

A chain of meetings, beginning with one between Virginia and Maryland in 1786

to solve mutual commercial problems and including the larger ANNAPOLIS


Philadelphia in 1787. Deciding to start afresh and fashion a new national

government independent of, and superior to, the states, the delegates made a

crucial decision: the nation's source of sovereignty was to lie in the people

directly, not in the existing states. Using the British Parliament as a

model, they provided for a CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES that would have two

houses to check and balance one another. One house would be elected directly

by the people of each state, with representation proportionate to population;

the other would provide equal representation for each state (two senators

each), to be chosen by the state legislatures.

The powers of the national government were to be those previously exercised

by London: regulation of interstate and foreign commerce, foreign affairs and

defense, and Indian affairs; control of the national domain; and promotion of

"the general welfare." Most important, the Congress was empowered to levy

"taxes, duties, imposts, and excises." The states were prohibited from

carrying on foreign relations, coining money, passing ex post facto laws,

impairing the obligations of contracts, and establishing tariffs.

Furthermore, if social turbulence within a state became serious, the federal

government, following invitation by the legislature or the executive of that

state, could bring in troops to insure "a republican form of government."

A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES with powers much like those of the British

king, except that the office would be elective, was created. Chosen by a

special body (an ELECTORAL COLLEGE), the president would be an independent

and powerful national leader, effectively in command of the government.

Recalling the assaults on judicial power that had been rampant in the states,

the Constitutional Convention also created a fully independent SUPREME COURT

OF THE UNITED STATES, members of which could be removed only if they

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