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Доклад: History of the USA бесплатно рефераты

committed a crime. Then, most important, the document that was drawn up at

Philadelphia stated that the Constitution, as well as laws and treaties made

under the authority of the U.S. government, "shall be the supreme Law of the


The proposed constitution was to be ratified by specially elected ratifying

conventions in each state and to become operative after nine states had

ratified it. In the national debate that arose over ratification, ANTI-

FEDERALISTS opposed the concentration of power in the national government

under the document; a key question was the absence of a BILL OF RIGHTS. Many

Americans thought that a bill of rights was necessary to preserve individual

liberties, and to accommodate this view proponents of the Constitution

promised to add such a bill to the document after ratification. With the

clear understanding that amendments would be added, ratification by nine

states was completed (1788) and the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES became

operative. The Bill of Rights was then drafted by the first Congress and

became the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

Diverging Visions of the American Republic

In the first elections for the new federal Congress (1789), those favoring

the new system won a huge majority. George Washington was unanimously elected

to be chief executive, the only president so honored. He was inaugurated in

the temporary capital, New York City, on Apr. 30, 1789. The American

experiment in republican self-government now began again. The unanimity

expressed in Washington's election would prove short- lived.

Under the leadership of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander HAMILTON,

Congress pledged (1790) the revenues of the federal government to pay off all

the outstanding debt of the old Articles of Confederation government as well

as the state debts. Much of the domestic debt was in currency that had badly

depreciated in value, but Congress agreed to fund it at its higher face

value; at one stroke, the financial credit of the new government was assured.

Southerners, however, mistrusted the plan, claiming that it served only to

enrich northern speculators because the southern states had largely paid off

their debts. Many southerners feared, too, that the new nation would be

dominated by New Englanders, whose criticism of southern slavery and living

styles offended them. Before assenting to the funding proposal, the

southerners had obtained agreement that the national capital (after 10 years

in Philadelphia) would be placed in the South, on the Potomac River.

In 1791, Hamilton persuaded Congress to charter the BANK OF THE UNITED

STATES, modeled after the Bank of England. Primarily private (some of its

trustees would be federally appointed), it would receive and hold the

government's revenues, issue currency and regulate that of state-chartered

banks, and be free to invest as it saw fit the federal tax moneys in its

vaults. Because it would control the largest pool of capital in the country,

it could shape the growth of the national economy. Hamilton also proposed

(with limited success) that protective tariffs be established to exclude

foreign goods and thus stimulate the development of U.S. factories. In short,

he laid out the economic philosophy of what became the FEDERALIST PARTY: that

the government should actively encourage economic growth by providing aid to

capitalists. Flourishing cities and a vigorous industrial order: this was the

American future he envisioned. His strongly nationalist position gained the

support of the elites in New York City and Philadelphia as well as broad-

based support among the Yankees of New England.

On the other hand, southerners, a rural and widely dispersed people, feared

the cities and the power of remote bankers. With Thomas JEFFERSON they worked

to counteract the Federalists' anglicized vision of the United States.

Southerners rejected the concept of an active government, preferring one

committed to laissez-faire (that is, allowing people to act without

government interference) in all areas--economic and cultural. Jefferson

declared that close ties between government and capitalists would inevitably

lead to corruption and exploitation. In his view, behind-the-scene schemers

would use graft to secure special advantages (tariffs, bounties, and the

like) that would allow them to profiteer at the community's expense.

The Middle Atlantic states at first supported the nationalistic Federalists,

who won a second term for Washington in 1792 and elected John ADAMS to the

presidency in 1796. However, many of the Scots-Irish, Germans, and Dutch in

these states disliked Yankees and distrusted financiers and business

proprietors. The growing working class in Philadelphia and New York City

turned against the Federalists' elitism. By 1800 the ethnic minorities of the

Middle Atlantic states helped swing that region behind Jefferson, a

Virginian, and his Democratic-Republican party, giving the presidency to

Jefferson. Thereafter, until 1860, with few intermissions, the South and the

Middle Atlantic states together dominated the federal government. Although

the U.S. Constitution had made no mention of POLITICAL PARTIES, it had taken

only a decade for the development of a party system that roughly reflected

two diverging visions for the new republic. Political parties would remain an

integral part of the American system of government.

During the 1790s, however, foreign affairs became dominant, and dreams of

republican simplicity and quietude were dashed. A long series of wars between

Britain and Revolutionary France began in that decade, and the Americans were

inevitably pulled into the fray. By JAY'S TREATY (1794) the United States

reluctantly agreed to British wartime confiscation of U.S. ship cargoes,

alleged to be contraband, in return for British evacuation of western forts

on American soil and the opening of the British West Indies to U.S. vessels.

Under John Adams, similar depredations by the French navy against American

trading ships led to the Quasi-War (1798-1801) on the high seas. Federalist

hysteria over alleged French-inspired subversion produced the ALIEN AND

SEDITION ACTS (1798), which sought to crush all criticism of the government.

The Democratic Republic

As president, Jefferson attempted to implement the Democratic- Republican

vision of America; he cut back the central government's activities, reducing

the size of the court system, letting excise taxes lapse, and contracting the

military forces. Paradoxically, in what was perhaps Jefferson's greatest

achievement as president, he vastly increased the scope of U.S. power: the

securing of the LOUISIANA PURCHASE (1803) from France practically doubled

American territory, placing the western boundary of the United States along

the base of the Rocky Mountains.

In 1811, under Jefferson's successor, James MADISON, the 20- year charter of

the Bank of the United States was allowed to lapse, further eroding the

Federalists' nationalist program. Renewed warfare between Britain and France,

during which American foreign trade was progressively throttled down almost

to nothing, led eventually to the WAR OF 1812. The British insisted on the

right freely to commandeer U.S. cargoes as contraband and to impress American

sailors into their navy. To many Americans the republic seemed in grave


With reluctance and against unanimous Federalist opposition, Congress made

the decision to go to war against Britain. Except for some initial naval

victories, the war went badly for the Americans. Western Indians, under the

gifted TECUMSEH, fought on the British side. In 1814, however, an invading

army from Canada was repelled. Then, just as a peace treaty was being

concluded in Ghent (Belgium), Andrew JACKSON crushed another invading British

army as it sought to take New Orleans. The war thus ended on a triumphant

note, and the republic was confirmed. The Federalists, who in the HARTFORD

CONVENTION (in Connecticut, 1814) had capped their opposition to the war with

demands for major changes in the Constitution, now were regarded as disloyal,

and their party dwindled down to a base in New England and in the 1820s

dissolved. Robbed of their enemy, Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans broke

into factions, effectively disappearing as a national party.


The volatile and expansive years from 1815 to 1850 were, in many ways, an age

of boundlessness when limits that had previously curbed human aspirations

seemed to disappear.

Economic and Cultural Ferment

After 1815 the American economy began to expand rapidly. The cotton boom in

the South spread settlement swiftly across the Gulf Plains: the Deep South

was born. Farmers also moved into the Lake Plains north of the Ohio River,

their migration greatly accelerating after the completion of the ERIE CANAL

in 1825. Practically all Indians east of the Mississippi were placed on small

reservations or forced to move to the Great Plains beyond the Missouri River.

Canals and railroads opened the interior to swift expansion, of both

settlement and trade. In the Midwest many new cities, such as Chicago,

appeared, as enormous empires of wheat and livestock farms came into being.

From 1815 to 1850 a new western state entered the Union, on the average,

every two and one-half years.

The westward movement of the FRONTIER was matched in the Northeast by rapid

economic development. National productivity surged during the 1820s; prices

spurted to a peak during the 1830s and dropped for a time during the 1840s;

both prices and productivity soared upward again during the 1850s, reaching

new heights. A business cycle had appeared, producing periods of boom and

bust, and the factory system became well developed. After the GOLD RUSH that

began in California in 1848-49, industrial development was further stimulated

during the 1850s by the arrival of $500 million in gold and silver from the

Sierra Nevada and other western regions. A willingness to take risks formerly

thought wildly imprudent became a national virtue. Land values rose, and

hundreds of new communities appeared in the western states.

Meanwhile, property tests for voting were disappearing, white manhood

suffrage became the rule, and most offices were made elective. A

communications revolution centering in the inexpensive newspaper and in a

national fascination with mass education (except in the South) sent literacy

rates soaring. The Second Great Awakening (1787-1825), a new religious

revival that originated in New England, spread an evangelical excitement

across the country. In its wake a ferment of social reform swept the northern

states. The slave system of the South spread westward as rapidly as the free

labor system of the North, and during the 1830s ABOLITIONISTS mounted a

crusade to hammer at the evils of slavery.

Expansion of the American Domain

The years 1815-50 brought further expansion of the national domain. In the

Anglo-American Convention of 1818, the 49th parallel was established as the

border between Canada and the United States from the Lake of the Woods to the

Rockies, and in the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819, Spain ceded Florida and its

claims in the Oregon Country to the United States. During the 1840s a sense

of MANIFEST DESTINY seized the American mind (although many individuals,

especially in New England, were more restrained in their thinking).

Continent-wide expansion seemed inevitable. Texas, which had declared its

independence from Mexico in 1835-36 (see TEXAS REVOLUTION), was annexed in

1845. Then a dispute with Mexico concerning the Rio Grande as the border of

Texas led to the MEXICAN WAR (1846-48). While U.S. armies invaded the

heartland of Mexico to gain victory, other forces sliced off the northern

half of that country--the provinces of New Mexico and Alta California. In the

Treaty of GUADALUPE HIDALGO (1848), $15 million was paid for the Mexican

cession of those provinces, more than 3 million sq km (roughly 1 million sq


In 1846, Britain and the United States settled the OREGON QUESTION,

concluding a treaty that divided the Oregon Country at the 49th parallel and

bringing the Pacific Northwest into the American nation. In addition, by the

GADSDEN PURCHASE of 1853 the United States acquired (for $10 million) the

southern portions of the present states of New Mexico and Arizona. By 1860

the Union comprised 33 states, packed solid through the first rank beyond the

Mississippi and reaching westward to include Texas, as well as California and

Oregon on the Pacific Coast. Fed by a high birthrate and by the heavy

immigration from Ireland and Germany that surged dramatically during the

1840s, the nation's population was leaping upward: from 9.6 million in 1820

to 23 million in 1850 and 31.5 million in 1860.

Domestic Politics: 1815-46

In a nationalist frame of mind at the end of the War of 1812, Congress

chartered the Second Bank of the United States in 1816, erected the first

protective tariff (see TARIFF ACTS), and supported internal improvements

(roads and bridges) to open the interior. President James MONROE presided

(1817-25) over the so-called Era of Good Feelings, followed by John Quincy

ADAMS (1825-29).

Chief Justice John MARSHALL led the Supreme Court in a crucial series of

decisions, beginning in 1819. He declared that within its powers the federal

government could not be interfered with by the states (MCCULLOCH V. MARYLAND)

and that regulation of interstate and international commerce was solely a

federal preserve (GIBBONS V. OGDEN and BROWN V. MARYLAND). In 1820, in the

MISSOURI COMPROMISE, Congress took charge of the question of slavery in the

territories by declaring it illegal above 36 deg 30 min in the huge region

acquired by the Louisiana Purchase. Witnessing the Latin American revolutions

against Spanish rule, the American government in 1823 asserted its

paramountcy in the Western Hemisphere by issuing the MONROE DOCTRINE. In

diplomatic but clear language it stated that the United States would fight to

exclude further European extensions of sovereignty into its hemisphere.

During the presidency of Andrew JACKSON (1829-37), a sharp bipolarization

occurred again in the nation's politics. Of Scots-Irish descent, Jackson

hated the English, and he was, in turn, as thoroughly disliked by New

Englanders, who thought him violent and barbaric. He made enemies in the

South, as well, when in 1832 South Carolina, asserting superior STATE RIGHTS,

attempted to declare null and void within its borders the tariff of 1828 (see

NULLIFICATION). In his Nullification Proclamation (1832), Jackson declared

that the federal government was supreme according to the Constitution. He

skillfully outmaneuvered the South Carolinians, forcing them to relent. In

1832 he vetoed the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States on

the grounds that it caused the booms and busts that so alarmed the country

and that it served the wealthy while exploiting the farmers and working

people. To oppose him, the old Federalist coalition was reborn in the form of

the American WHIG PARTY. With a DEMOCRATIC PARTY emerging behind Jackson and

embodying the old Jeffersonian Democratic- Republican coalition, two-party

rivalries appeared in every state. By the 1840s modern mass political

parties, organized down into every ward and precinct, had appeared.

Led by Henry CLAY and Daniel WEBSTER, the Whigs called for protective

tariffs, a national bank, and internal improvements to stimulate the economy.

Moralists in politics, they also demanded active intervention by state

governments to maintain the sanctity of the Sabbath, put down alcoholic

beverages, and "Americanize" the immigrants in the public schools. Yankees,

who by now had migrated in great numbers into the Midwest, leaned strongly

toward the Whigs. Many southerners admired Yankee ways and tended to vote for

Whig candidates, too.

Democrats continued to condemn banks and tariffs as sources of corruption and

exploitation, and in Jefferson's tradition insisted on cultural laissez-

faire, the freedom of people to live as they desired. The minority out-

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