American History Slave Revolts Although Term Paper

Length: 20 pages Sources: 1 Subject: American History Type: Term Paper Paper: #54831518 Related Topics: American History, 12 Years A Slave, Ulysses S Grant, Alexander Hamilton
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Alexander Hamilton carried on an affair with the wife of "a notorious political schemer," Maria Reynolds. Andrew Jackson married Rachel Jackson before her divorce from Lewis Robards was finalized and therefore was accused of marrying a married woman. Jackson's opponent in 1828, John Quincy Adams, was in turn accused of "corrupt bargaining" during his term. Jackson also championed Margaret O'Neill Timberlake, who married his secretary of war, John Eaton. "Peggy O'Neill" was considered a woman of "questionable virtue," and as a result Martin Van Buren became Jackson's successor in the presidency. After the death of Jackson and Eaton, Peggy married a 19-year-old dance teacher (which raised eyebrows, as she was 59), who embezzled her money and ran off to Europe with her 17-year-old granddaughter.

Other scandals concerned Richard Mentor Johnson, who ran for vice president in 1836 with Martin Van Buren. He supposedly shot Tecumseh during the War of 1812, which was considered positive, but he married a mulatto, Julia Chinn, which was a negative. Despite this, Van Buren and Johnson were elected to office. John Tyler, who became president upon the death of Harrison, soon began "dating" when his paralyzed wife died during his term, courting the beautiful Julia Gardiner, a woman 30 years younger than he. They married and Tyler was severely criticized. However, their marriage was a long and fruitful one.

Franklin Pierce, nominated in 1852 as the Democratic presidential candidate, was a known alcoholic and criticized because of this. When Pierce's only son died in a car accident, his wife went into a deep mourning that involved wearing black for years, talking to an empty chair and writing letters to the dead boy. This situation also affected Pierce, who had problems dealing with his duties, as a result.

Other scandals involved James Buchanan, who was known to be the companion of a known "gay," and they were "openly happy" together through decades of Washington social life. Abraham Lincoln was also the close companion of Joshua Speed and it was said they were lovers, but neither Buchanan nor Lincoln were hurt by gossip about this issue and served long and illustrious careers.


The American Revolution began on April 19, 1775, at Lexington and Concord, when the British tried to arrest leaders of the Massachusetts' rebel government and seize military supplies. The first shot was fired by mistake as militiamen were yielding to the demands of British officers to disperse. The British then fired upon the militia and charged as the men fled. This encounter left 18 colonists killed or wounded and ignited the war. That day Colonial militia attached redcoats wherever they were. At the end of the day there were 73 English dead, 174 wounded and 26 missing. American losses were 49 dead, 41 wounded and 5 missing.

The conflict spread to Boston, where negotiations were attempted, but neither side agreed with any concessions, so the war continued to spread. The 2nd Continental Congress became the government of the colonies, as it organized the army and appointed George Washington to command it, enlisted troops and tried to supply weapons and provisions to the militia. Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen were authorized to expand the war and attack the British in New York. The two of them captured Ticonderoga on May 10, 1775 without a shot being fired. There were few supplies and little money for the Continental Army and Congress constantly interfered into military matters and commands. Throughout the war the soldiers suffered from want of pay, food, uniforms, equipment and transportation. But Washington was a fine, experienced leader and proved to be the ideal General.

In Boston, on June 17, 1775 the battle of Bunker Hill was fought on Breed's Hill between the Continental and British forces. Major General William Howe of the British army fought a massive battle against motivated and well-led Continental soldiers, but the British prevailed. This struggle which obviously taxed the British, only encouraged the Americans, who felt they had held their ground.

In July, Washington became commander and for the next eight years led an army short on supplies and money, ammunition,


They were battered not only by the enemy, but brutal winters and hot summers. By March 17, 1776, they had made the British evacuate Boston and throughout the next year, while the government was forming, fought to become a separate nation. The British troops had little motivation and sometimes morally defeated troops, facing the militia who fought a slippery enemy on their home turf. They fought in Canada, New York, New Jersey and eventually won a few victories, after being routed from most of the Northeast. In Philadelphia, Washington was defeated, but the American army was only deterred in an eventual win north of the city, where a divided British army was struggling through vast wilderness land. Burgoyne's army was defeated in October 1777 near Saratoga on the Hudson River, where they had been surrounded by an American force that was larger than they. After Saratoga, the tide turned and with victory in sight, the French joined the fray on the side of the Americans, followed by Spain and Holland.

In Valley Forge, faced with short supplies and untrained personnel, Washington utilized French and German generals to train and lead his forces. Benedict Arnold betrayed the army by switching sides in 1780, but with no actual loss to the Americans. The Ohio River Valley was secured by Continental forces from Virginia, but then the British invaded Charleston in March of 1780 and captured it. General Nathaniel Greene led the British forces into the wilderness and away from their supply lines, which exhausted English troops and forced Cornwallis to withdraw to North Carolina and go back to Charleston. Disagreements among the British forces allowed American forces to further deteriorate British forces as they moved north to attach themselves to northern troops. At Yorktown, they isolated Cornwallis' troops and starved them out. This forced Cornwallis to surrender and the defeated British left. The current cabinet in England fell and the new cabinet ordered peace talks with America. At the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the British granted the colonies their independence from England and gave the new United States all of the territory in North America along the Atlantic Coast from Canada to Florida.


Leon Martin Ennis describes the major cause of the Civil war to be fundamental differences between the North and the South. Slavery was originally entrenched in the North and the South before the 18th century. In the Colonies, slavery had been imposed on not only Blacks, but Whites and Native Americans. During the 1700s, the South began to believe that Blacks were preferred as slaves and soon used them predominantly. Meanwhile, 28 million people were rounded up in Africa and forced to board ships, where they were sometimes brutally treated, being tied to decks or below deck, for the long voyage to the American Colonies (and elsewhere, as slavery was not only confined to this continent). Until slaves arrived and began to be the labor force in a largely agricultural economy in the South and an industrial economy in the north, the colonies were not profitable ventures.

In the North, the Quakers and other cultural forces began to discourage the holding of slaves in order to exist economically. They also opposed the institution as being immoral. However, slavery did exist in the North and some of those who wrote the Declaration of Independence owned slaves. The issue of slavery was not addressed in the Declaration or in the Constitution because of the internal debate that was going on in the nation about it. The paradox was argued at the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and its many complexities were considered as the Constitution was drafted. The Southern representatives were granted compromises, as they "maintained that slaves were property, yet they demanded that slaves be included in population totals which influenced representation in Congress" (Page 268).

When the cotton gin was invented, cotton production became cost effective and cotton was needed to supply the demand for the product. By 1840, the production of cotton in the South increased to over 60% of the world's cotton, as did the system's dependence on slaves to produce over one billion pounds by 1860. Conflicts with foreign power approached and Alien and Sedition acts banned criticism of the government. In reaction, Virginia and Kentucky enacted "nullification" laws, enabling states to nullify or disregard unconstitutional federal laws and the idea of states rights began.

The South used this issue to validate the secession of southern states in 1860. By then new territory and states had been added to the Union and Slave states equaled Free states. As Western states were added and slavery spread, the Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery beyond 36 degrees 30 minutes N. latitude. It appeared the balance was made…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Ferling, John. Adams vs. Jefferson: the tumultuous election of 1800. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.

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