American History Prior 1877 Signed Start Essay

  • Length: 6 pages
  • Subject: American History
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #29208802

Excerpt from Essay :

American History prior 1877 signed . Start introduction paragraph discuss historical events / people occurances, devote approximately page topic chosen.

"Unimportant" American Events

In spite of the fact that they had a decisive influence on the American society, particular historic events are likely to be forgotten by the masses. Little people know something regarding Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" pamphlet or about the influence that it had on colonists during the War of Independence. The Three-fifths compromise made it possible for Southerners to increase their power in the U.S. through exploiting the fact that they had slaves. The Fugitive Slave Clause of 1793 was among the first legislations issued with the purpose of allowing slaveholders to get their slaves back. The War of 1812 played an essential role in shaping U.S. history, but received little attention from the public across time. The Land Act of 1820 prohibited the acquisition of public land through credits as a result of the fact that farmers were no longer able to pay off their loans. Andrew Jackson's 1829 Spoils system provided Americans with an outrageous perspective in regard to political attitudes.

I. Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"

From the moment when it was published by an anonymous writer on January 10, 1776, the "Common Sense" text generated much controversy among people in the U.S. Even with the fact that most Americans had a complex understanding concerning the American Revolution and the impact that it would have on their society, Thomas Paine's document enabled them to understand more regarding their reasons for getting involved in a conflict and the importance of freedom as a whole. I believe that Paine organized the text with the purpose of addressing as many individuals as possible, given that he knew that only by employing such a strategy would the principal message contained by "Common Sense" be transmitted to the masses.

Paine's decision to show no connection between himself and the document was most probably a result of the fact that he did not want his countrymen to consider him to be a traitor. Considering the larger context of the Revolutionary War, it seems perfectly natural for people to focus on the conflict as a whole when considering the matter. Furthermore, Thomas Paine was well aware of the impact that his manuscript would have on people in America and put across his intention to help them with their cause without actually receiving any recognition for his work.

II. The Three-Fifths Compromise

The South was experiencing significant losses in the late eighteenth century as a result of the fact that they had a small number of individuals representing them in the government. The United States House of Representatives normally counted free inhabitants present in American states, making the South a territory where people were poorly represented in the House. As a consequence, Southerners intervened and demanded that slaves also had to be counted. The government wanted to compromise and issued a legislation meant to count slaves as three-fifths of their real numbers. Even though it did not act in accordance with the initial demands of Southerners, it provided them with a clear advantage over Northerners.

Slave states received more and more seats in the House of Representatives consequent to the moment when the law was implemented. As a result, Southerners came to dominate political affairs in the U.S. In spite of the fact that they were normally inferior to Northerners when considering the number of free people present in Southern states. The three fifths compromise made it possible for slavery to expand in other territories and enforced the concept in the states that already supported it. Even though the number of voters was disproportionate to the number of slaveholding states, representatives from these states managed to gain control over the country.

III. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 marked the beginning of a trend that dominated most of the late slavery period in the U.S. It was established with the purpose of presenting slave owners with the opportunity to recover slaves considered to have run away. Regardless of their location (south or north), slaves were not protected by the government against their masters. Moreover, this law encouraged people everywhere to act in favor of slave owners and capture any individual who seemed to be a fugitive. Given that slaves were considered to be property, people who assisted them in escaping from their masters were penalized for their actions with a fine or even with prison.

A slave who escaped his master could be returned at any time, regardless of the period of time lasting from the moment when he or she escaped and until the moment when he or she was captured. The Act was especially harmful for slaves that had already been freed because a slave catching industry emerged as a result of the document. People who took on the mission to capture particular slaves did not hesitate to persecute African-Americans who were free. Some freed black people were apparently captured and taken South where authorities denied them the right to be free.

IV. The War of 1812

The U.S. was still considered to be a underdeveloped nation during the early nineteenth century, with some of the major world powers showing little to no interest in the country. The War of 1812 influenced the international public in turning its attention toward the U.S. Also, the conflict encouraged Americans to develop a strong sense of cultural identity. American patriotism is partially believed to have emerged as a result of the War of 1812, considering that it is responsible for creating the U.S. national anthem.

The conflict started as a consequence of the fact that the U.S. wanted to reaffirm its independence through going against British troops because of Great Britain's involvement in American trade. Although the U.S. initially had success in the conflict, Britain rapidly regained its powers as it was no longer focused on fighting France. American morale was brought down by a series of British victories culminating in the siege of Washington. However, in spite of the fact that they appeared to be superior in power, the British were stopped in Baltimore after bombing Fort McHenry for approximately 25 hours without managing to capture the strategic location. This event inspired Francis Scott Key in devising a song meant to honor the American nation and the "star-spangled banner" which he saw over Fort McHenry.

V. The Land Act of 1820

The Land Act of 1820 was a U.S. federal law meant to prohibit purchases of public land using credit. Also, the legislation reduced the minimum size of the tract that could be bought, demanded that buyers should provide a down payment of $100 and lowered the price from $1.65 to $1.25 for an acre. Lands could be bought west of the U.S., in territories that were then considered to be isolated from the country's center.

Farmers experienced serious hardships at the time because they were unable to pay off their loans. Land was too expensive and a poor economy could not assist them in going through with their enterprises. The Land Act of 1820 was established as a result of a series of factors such as unemployment and economic depression. This document prevented many Americans from going bankrupt and made it possible for entrepreneurs to get actively involved in supporting U.S. expansion into western territories. As a result of the act, people could buy smaller areas of land for lesser money, thus having fewer chances of going bankrupt.

VI. The "Spoils system"

The "Spoils system" was a divisive matter regarding how officials would be appointed on the basis of their political connections instead of being elected on account of their abilities. Andrew Jackson, the 7th U.S. president, built his presidential campaign around promises regarding how he would help whoever supported him in becoming a president. Right after he became president, Jackson replaced several hundred officials with his own men and motivated this act by relating to how he wanted reform to improve conditions in the country. However, people observed that many officials who were relieved from their posts were recognized for their efficiency and that it was thus irresponsible for someone to want to fire them. It rapidly became obvious that Jackson used loyalty as a principal reason for hiring officials, with practically everyone who served him being rewarded for his or her services.

Instead of being condemned for his actions, Jackson managed to serve from 1829 until 1937 and influenced many presidents following him in adopting a similar attitude concerning their supporters. One can actually consider that Jackson's strategy can be qualified as nepotism, given the gravity of the act and the damage that it inflicted on the American society.

Conclusion

The U.S. has been significantly affected by events that are generally unknown to the common citizen and it is essential for people to learn more in regard to these events if they want to be familiar with American history and with some…

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