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King James I
King James I was looking forward to begin a permanent English settlement in North America. For this reason, he granted charters to a pair of English companies so that they could establish those settlements. Two companies tried to establish the same but only one was succ essful. The location proved to be very useful as it was considered to be a much protected area.
Hardships at Jamestown
However, things were not too good at a placed named Jamestown. In 1607, during the winters, the food shortages made the situation difficult for settlements. The situation seemed grim for many years. It changed however when John Smith procured Indian crops through trade. His trips managed to suffice the need for food. However, it was on one these journeys where he was ambushed by natives of the land. Even then, Smith managed to escape from the situation due to the art of persuasion! From there on, he tried to manage the colony to the best of his abilities. He soon turned powerful and this terrified the Indians. Despite everything, the Princess Pocahontas, who nurtured special feelings for him, ensured he was informed well in advance of any attacks against him. The Jamestown colony then flourished under the rule of Smith.
About the Puritans
In 1607, the Puritan separatists left England. They travelled to Netherlands but were not granted citizenship in the Netherlands. Therefore, they were unable to secure jobs and had to opt for jobs that did not require any skill. However, many Puritans were unable to bear being separated from their children and therefore tried to relocate to America. Around 35 pilgrims boarded the Mayflower which was to set sail for Virginia in 1620.
Journey on the Mayflower
The Mayflower Compact was drafted in order to guarantee an equal treatment of settlers. This Compact was signed by around 41 males who were on board. The decision at that time was to remain at Plymouth. The new settlers now turned into a group of the Council of New England. Apart from the main clause decided, it was also decided that those passengers who remained at Plymouth for seven years would be given around one hundred acres of land. The Mayflower with its passengers sailed the coasts of Massachusetts for many weeks. They finally found a perfect spot at Plymouth on the 21st of December, 1620. Life there turned out to be difficult for all. From health issues to conflicts, there were many who suffered from the same. A year later, the surviving pilgrims celebrated the first fall harvest. This feast was the first ever Thanksgiving.
This was the time of war. By 1754, the French and the Indian war began. The differences arose due to the British and French settlements in the Ohio River valley. The battles however, were fought away from here. The area had a lot of scope in terms of economy and the wildlife. This was the one of the main reasons for the French and the English to wish for possession of this land. There were many attempts made to solve the raging war between both sides in a diplomatic way. However, it did not work out.
French Colonists Warned
In order to protect the land from others, the French built forts along the Ohio River. However, this was not considered acceptable. This is the reason why George Washington was sent to deliver a British ultimatum to the French colonists. Although the warning was given, the French did not pay heed. In May, Washington planned an attack with 160 armed Virginians. The Battle of Jumonville Glen then happened. After this, Washington then constructed a makeshift stockade named as Fort Necessity in case the French attacked. As expected, the French attacked and Washington surrendered. The fort was then burnt down.
Attempts to Drive Back the French
In 1756, more plans were thought about to defeat the French. The areas targeted included those in the Ohio River Valley, North America and also areas in India, Africa, etc. This was the time when the British Prime Minister William Pitt used a military plan to defeat the French. It was also expected that the citizens serve in the military. This plan helped to drive back the French to a certain extent. However, the uprising in 1757 changed things. Even then, the British had control in North America. By 1758, the Fort Frontenac was captured. The British also joined hands with the Indians to get back the Fort Duquesne from the French.
The French Surrender
The situation finally saw a change in September, 1759. The British General James Wolfe finally defeated the French forces at Quebec. This entire battle lasted for two months. The French army surrendered in 1760 at Montreal. The French lost Canada, lands in America which were east of the Mississippi River.
The Whiskey Rebellion
The U.S. Government was in debt in 1790. This was purely due to the Revolution. This was the time when the Government passed an excise tax on all the distilled spirits like whiskey. This was a large attempt to repay the massive debts and also as a way to establish themselves. This made all the whiskey producers very unhappy. This was also because the small scale producers paid higher taxes in cash.
Resistance to the Tax
This tax exercised by the Government was resisted by many. There were instances when excise collectors were even violently threatened and they were unable to set up offices.
The resistance was seen strongly in the Western countries of Pennsylvania. The locals felt that the tax oppressed the poor and the Government did not represent their interests. Even then, there were others who tried to solve the problem peacefully. In 1794, many more protests were carried out. This was the reason President George Washington sent troops to stop the rebellion which resulted in the arrest of many protestors.
The 1860 Presidential Election
It was around 1860 when the United States had a lot of political problems. The Presidential Election in 1860 was the most important issue. There were two segments to the Democratic Party - the Northern Democrats and the Southern Democrats. Stephen A. Douglas was nominated for President by the Northern Democrats. John C. Breckinridge was nominated by the Southern Democrats. Douglas embarked upon a national speaking tour and became the first Presidential candidate to do so. The anti-slavery party nominated Abraham Lincoln. John Bell was nominated by the Constitutional Party.
The Success of Abraham Lincoln
It was in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was officially elected as the President. Although he was not even on the ballot list in around nine southern states, yet there were many reasons for his election. It was the Northern States that had higher electoral values. There was a major voting population that resided in this area. Abraham Lincoln won 17 states in total. These results however brought the country to the Civil War. In 1860, South Carolina issued a Declaration of Secession from the United States.
Reconstruction and Result of the Civil War
Post War, the southern states suffered a lot of issues. The cities and towns were burnt and destroyed. The term reconstruction, here, refers to period that followed Post Civil War. The aim now was to integrate the Southern States into the Union. This however was on the condition that the new States followed the laws as laid down due to the War. This was also the time when three Constitutional amendments were born. One amendment prohibited slavery and also granted voting rights to the Blacks. It was the Congress that enacted the plan which stated that the former states have to meet on certain conditions. This period of Reconstruction thus changed the culture of the southern society. However, the cultural transformation resulted in a large racial disturbance. In 1877, the reconstruction period ended.