Téma: American History
Zaslal(a): Tereza Skácelíková
The United States of America- History
The history of the USA started around 12,000 or even 50,000 years ago. The first inhabitants in North America were called native Americans. There were about 20 millions of people.
The American continent was first discovered around the year 1000 by Vikings who came from Norway, but it didn´t establish any settlement. After few hundred years later after Vikings was America explored by Christopher Columbus (it was in the 15th century-1492), he worked for Spain. He was searching for India, because of the natural resources such as gold, silver, spices, they wanted to have colonies. He believed that he fund India and that´s why the Native Americans were called Indians. Later Amerigo Vespucci explored the area of the South America. He helped to distinguish America as a new continent so America was named after him. We can also mention John Cabot who explored the area where the Vikings settled and also as a first European explored Canada.
The first British colony was called Virginia (to the honour of the virgin queen Elizabeth I.). In 1620, the Pilgrim Fathers arrived and settled in New England and established their first colony called Plymouth. They were followed by thousands of colonist from Europe. They were persecuted to leave England because they were Puritans- they lived according to the Bible, but the King of England was Protestant. The name of their ship was Mayflower. When they arrived they had almost no more food left and during the winter, some of them died. In spring they needed food and the Native Americans taught them everything about planting. The Pilgrim Fathers were so thankful and they invited the Native Americans to have dinner with them. It was the first Thanksgiving Day.
Colonies and Boston Tea Party
During the 17th century many colonists such as French, Irish, German, but mainly British settled in the country. In the 18th century were 13 colonies under the British control. During the 18th century, there were a seven years war between Britain and French. Britain started raising taxes on sugar, teas, and textiles because they needed to cover the costs of the war. The result was a growing protest, which ended with a very famous event called Boston Tea Party in 1773. In protest, people dressed as Native Americans threw boxes of the British tea into the Boston Harbor. They wanted to be independent so they started a war. In the year 1776, The Declaration of Independence was signed.
America expanded greatly in the 18th century. During 18th and 19th century was a period of a big war between South and North. The cause of the Civil war was that there existed two economic and social systems in the USA. The North abolished slavery, began to develop an industrial economy, there was a central of the economy as well and were industrial. On the other hand, the economy of the South was based on large plantations, where slaves used to grow tobacco, cotton, and sugar. They were poor and didn´t have a good transportation. The civil war began when Abraham Lincoln became a president, he had a strong anti-slavery stand. After the Southern capitulation, president Lincoln was assassinated in the theatre. After the war slavery was abolished in 1863.
Industrial revolution- inventions
The second half of the 19th century, the prosperity rapidly increased because of the Industrial revolution. It was a period of reconstruction and industrial growth. It included going from hand production methods to machines (manufacturing processes), new iron production, chemical manufacturing, improved efficiency of water power or the development of the steam engine. Almost every aspect of life was influenced in some way, such as transport, communication or banking. There were many new inventions like Edison´s light bulb, bicycle, telegraph, Bell´s telephone or railway. In this time was created a new idea of “American Dream”. People saw America as an easy way how to come into money and get rich very quickly.
The Great Depression- stock market crash
The Great Depression was the deepest and longest- lasting economic drop in the North America, Europe and other industrialized areas of the world. In the United States, it began soon after a stock market crash in 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic (it´s also known as a “Black Thursday” or Friday) . It destroyed millions of investors. A lot of people lost all their money during this time. In many countries, the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the beginning of the World War ll.
World War I. and II.
During World War l. , also known as “The Great war” there were two groups: Central powers and Allied. The United States were neutral until the British liner Lusitania was sunk by German submarine in 1915. In 1917, the USA declared war on Germany. America was an ally of the Great Britain.
During World War ll., The United States wanted to be again neutral, they only supported Allies with material. The USA entered the war after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Hawaii in 1941. After this attack, the USA dropped atomic bombs on Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this war played the USA a leading role, especially during the invasion of Europe. Important moments in the 1940s was founding of the United Nations, establishing the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Marshall Plan for recovering Europe. Europe was destroyed, there were no factories, houses. The post-war period was a Cold War between the capital powers the USA and the Soviet Union, the conflict between Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc. The USA didn´t want the Soviet Union to spread the communism and Russian plan to control the world. The USA and the Soviet Union were competing between each other. Vietnam attacked America, sending soldiers, many died, a memorial in the USA, Korean war started as a local conflict, Soviet Union, and China supported North Korea, Marshall plan- the USA sent money, food, machines, raw materials… Europe did not pay anything. During this time were assassinated two of the biggest figures, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King. In 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first man on the Moon.
Outstanding US presidents
John F. Kennedy- He is one of the most charismatic presidents, he brought many intellectuals into the government. He established the Peace Corps and furthered the civil rights.
Dwight Eisenhower- He was president during the Cold War, he focused on establishing the world peace. He will be also remembered for declaring racial discrimination as a national security issue.
Harry Truman– he made one of the most controversial decisions in the world- to use the first atomic bomb in the history of civilization, destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II.
Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt- he fought against corrupt businesses, he also established a number of national parks to protect the wildlife, which was becoming destroyed because of the industrialization.
Thomas Jefferson– he increased the US territory, he is also one of the founding fathers, he wrote the Declaration of Independence and fought for state rights.
George Washington– he was the very first president, his anti-monarch style of ruling was very important.
Abraham Lincoln– he was president during the Civil War and he defeated slavery. His leadership skills are said to be one of the greatest ever.