American Revolution and the Civil War


Political Motivations for English imperialism

Encouragement from British Monarch provided motivation for English imperialism. The British monarch was interested in developing the colonies as a source of power and wealth. Groups of businessmen were granted charters by the British Monarch to establish economic operations in the new world (Marsh, 2011). The success of Spain encouraged the British Monarch to pursue colonies in the Americas in search of precious metals such as silver and gold. They believed that silver and gold were in abundance in the Americas. The businessmen granted charters also helped the colonists to settle in the “New World.”

The British Monarch also expanded to the Americas to increase its political power. The settlement presented opportunities for the British Monarch to expand their influence beyond England. Having colonies in the Americas strengthened the British Monarch as it provided its merchants and farmers with cheap land. Availing land to tenant farmers and peasants strengthened loyalty to the British Monarchy

Social Pressures that contributed to the English Colonization of North America

            The majority of the colonists had faced difficult lives in Britain, Scotland, Ireland, or Germany. Therefore, they came to the Americas to escape warfare, poverty, political turmoil, famine, and disease. The prospect of new opportunities in the Americas encouraged many colonialists to support the spread of English imperialism to the Americas (Wolfe, 1997). Besides, the protestant groups also sought to leave England for the Americas to establish their communities, worship God in their way. Therefore, protestant groups such as the Puritans and Pilgrims found religious freedom in the Americas. Quakers, Catholics, and Jews also came years later to the colonies seeking freedom of worship.

B Economic, Social, and Political Systems

Massachusetts Bay Colony

            John Winthrop founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony and about 1,000 Puritans after King Charles 1 granted to the Massachusetts Bay Company a charter to trade and colonize New England between the Merrimack and Charles rivers. The Puritans established communities in Boston, Medford, Charlestown, Roxbury, Dorchester, Watertown, and Lynn (Pratt, 2014). The communities were governed by a theocratic government that limited the franchise to church members. Therefore, the Puritans were intolerant of other religious beliefs with anyone expressing differing religious beliefs being banished. The economy of the Massachusetts Bay Colony depended on fishing, shipbuilding, fur, and lumber trades.

Virginia Colony

            In 1607, John Smith and other colonists established the Virginia Colony. The growth of the colony was supported by economic activities such as agriculture, fishing, and lumber trades. Agriculture was possible throughout the year because Virginia had a warmer climate that enabled the colonists to establish large plantations of cotton, tobacco, fruit, vegetable, grain, and livestock using slave labor (Marsh, 2011). The crops from the plantations were traded for farm tools, household goods, and shoes. Unlike the other English colonies, different religious views were tolerated in Virginia.

The Carolinas

            The North and the South Carolina colonies were divided in the 1660s after the proprietors recognized the vastness of the Carolina colony, which made it impossible to be governed by one governor. The long distances between major settlements in Charlestown, Cape Fear, and Albemarle made it difficult and time-consuming to govern (Pratt, 2014). The fairly warm climate supported agricultural activities throughout the year and made the colonies suitable for plantations. Using slave labor, the colonists established was the plantations to grow tobacco, rice, cotton, sugar, and other crops that were traded for shoes, household goods, and farm tools.

C Major Ideas and Events that led to the American Revolution

            The American Revolution was a consequence of key ideas and events between the British and the American colonists. The introduction of the Stamp Act in 1765 was the first major event that soured relationships between the British and American colonists. The Stamp Act contravened the autonomy of each colonial government to decide its taxes. Two years later, the Townshend Act of 1767 introduced a tax on tea in colonies and prohibited smuggling. In March 1770, a disagreement between a British soldier and an apprentice wigmaker led to the Boston massacre (Wolfe, 1997). The heightening tension between the British and the American colonists led to the Boston Tea Party in 1773. A year later, the British Parliament introduced the Coercive Acts and the Quartering Act. The Lexington and Concord confrontation in 1775, followed by British attacks of coastal towns in 1776, eventually ignited the revolutionary war.

            The key ideas contributing to the American Revolutionary War were the European enlightenment and traditional British legal values. The enlightenment perspective promoted individual liberties and reasoned logic. Knowledge should be based on genuinely valid and immutable facts rather than on religious teachings. This is besides challenging the divine right of kings to rule over other people as humanity is capable of good character and intelligence to decide what is right and wrong (Marsh, 2011). Achievable through a legal framework steeped in traditional British legal values contained in the First Continental Congress Declaration and Resolves that all freeborn English men should be treated fairly and equally before the law and Parliament.

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D Political and Social Impact of the American Revolution

The political and social changes following the American Revolution adversely affected Native Americans. The American Revolution marked the opening of western settlements and the creation of governments that were hostile to Native Americans’ territorial claims. The Native Americans had supported the British against the colonial settlers as they hoped they would restrain the expansion of the colonialists beyond the Appalachian Mountains (Pratt, 2014). Therefore, Americans’ victory and the Native American’s support for the British provided valid reasons for brutal expansion into the western territories. Consequently, the Native Americans were displaced and pushed further west throughout the 19th century.

The American Revolution had significant political and social impacts on the lives of African Americans. The British recruited black regiments in the war with the promise of freeing the slaves who would escape their masters and join the British cause (Wolfe, 1997). The former slaves also joined the continental army. However, the chaos created by the war created opportunities for hundreds of thousands of slaves to run away and secure their freedom.

The rights of women were a contentious issue during the American Revolution. However, the formation of the United States had adverse impacts on women’s rights. While women were allowed to vote in some colonies before the revolution, they lost their right to vote until 1807. 

Task 2

A Rise of Partisan Politics in the Early Republic

Political parties or factions began to emerge during the struggle over the ratification of the federal constitution of 1787. Friction between the emerging political factions increased significantly as attention shifted from creating a new federal government to the power of the federal government (Wolfe, 1997). The federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, wanted a strong federal government, a proposition that was vehemently opposed by anti-federalists led by Thomas Jefferson.

The anti-federalists advocated for state power over centralized power. The differing perception of the power of the federal government was informed by agrarian and commercial interests (Pratt, 2014). Anti-federalists favored a decentralized government because they drew their strength from an agrarian society instead of the federalists whose economies were centered on the commercial sector.         

B Development of the Second Party System

  1. The Second Party System is a phrase coined by political scientists and historians to describe the political party system prevalent in the United States during the 1800s. The Democratic and Whig party were the two main political parties during this political era. Andrew Jackson led the Democratic Party while Henry clay led the Whig party (Murrin et al., n.d.). The consistent opposition between the two parties led to the Second Party System, which America uses today. The Democratic Party wanted a weak federal government that had no involvement in the economic and social affairs of the states, while the Whigs advocated for a strong federal government through the power of the congress. 
  2. Andrew Jackson and the Democrats worked hard to get rid of the Protective tariff as well as abolish the National Bank of the United States while the Whips supported both. The striking differences in the policies were determined by whom the political parties favored. The Jacksonian’s identified with the common man, particularly the lower-class population that made their living off the land (Murrin et al., n.d.). They also supported the idea that anyone could hold a government position. On the other hand, the Whigs comprised of nationalists and industrialists who proposed policies that benefited these groups of people. They proposed a tariff that would assist big businesses and manufacturing enterprises while hurting the lower-class people, particularly farmers. They also tried to cater to the needs of the common man by introducing internal transportation and public schools. Also, the two parties differed on the need to expand to the west to gain more farming land, with the Whigs dimming the idea unnecessary.
  3. The Second Party System contributed to increased democratization of American politics by encouraging more people to vote. Starting in 1828, more people became interested in voting, as evidenced by the high turnout in political rallies and on Election Day (Liang & Hofmeister, 2011). The Second Party System also contributed to establishing partisan newspapers, which supported the ideas proposed by certain political parties. This contributed to people becoming very loyal to their political parties.

C Major Movements and Events that led to the Civil War

  1. White and black abolitionists in the first half of the 19th century engaged in a biracial attack against slavery. The abolitionist called for an end to slavery, indefinite bondage of captives, and the long-standing tradition of separating enslaved family members through the sale to different masters (Tucker, Arnold, Wiener, Paul G Pierpaoli, & Coffey, 2013). Meanwhile, pro-slavery arguments suggested a class-sensitive view of the American antebellum society. The class view perception suggested a society where a lower class of individuals was necessary to enable the higher classes to move civilization forward.
  2. The westward expansion increased sectional tension because the abolitionists and pro-slavery groups wanted to see their ideals extended to the west. Several abolitionists dominated the North, while the South was a stronghold of pro-slavery activists. They were keen to extend its influence as well as its social-cultural ideals to the west. This created tension between the two groups.
  3. The passage of The Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 was one of the critical events that led to the Civil War. The act obligated every federal official who did not arrest freedom seekers for paying a fine. It caused many black activists in the North to increase their efforts to end enslavement. It also contributed to increased activity along the Underground Railroad that many freedom seekers used to get away to Canada. Dred Scott’s loss of his case to be free in 1857 also contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War (Tucker, Arnold, Wiener, Paul G Pierpaoli, & Coffey, 2013). The Supreme Court ruled that his case to be freed could not be seen as he had no property in a free state. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 was the tipping point are South Carolina and six other states seceded from the Union. They were vehemently opposed to his reviews about enslavement.

Task 3

  1. Major Changes in Race Relations

            One of the three major changes in race relations that resulted from reconstruction was an attempt to integrate Confederate States into the Union by recognizing political and civil equality of African Americans in Southern states.

            The era of reconstruction also saw the rectification of three constitutional amendments. The 13th amendment was ratified to abolish slavery, the 14th amendment addressed the right of citizenship and equal protection under the law, while the 15th amendment eliminated discrimination in voting rights based on a person’s race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Throughout the South, former slaves reunited with their families that were separated during slavery by hardship or sale and during the war of dislocation (Wolfe, 1997). It was a momentous event for wives and husbands to reunite with their children. The reunion also encouraged many blacks to establish black settlements in a remote area to minimize contact with whites.

  1. Consequences of Industrialization on American Politics and Society

One of the major consequences of the industrialization of American politics and society was the drastic changes experienced by the American industry. Significant improvement in productivity because work was performed by machines rather than hand labor (Marsh, 2011). The development of the national railway network accelerated the distribution of goods and services across the country.

Industrialization also contributed to the creation of several inventions and products that were tailored to meet consumer needs. Besides, several banks were willing to extend credit to investors to support different business ventures. Industrialization also contributed to the massive migration from rural to urban areas.

  1. Rise of the Progressive Movement
  2. Role of Religion and Social Morality in Promoting Progressive Reforms

            Religion and social morality promote progressive reforms by establishing a standard of right and wrong that is widely accepted by everyone in the society (Tucker, Arnold, Wiener, Paul G Pierpaoli, & Coffey, 2013). The scriptures emphasize the need to do good because people will be rewarded or punished based on their actions in the afterlife.

  • Two Reforms Movements that Helped to Define the Progressive Era

            One of the significant reform movements that helped to define the progressive era was the women’s suffrage movement. Women emphasized that they could offer more than their traditional roles as housekeepers. They demanded to be granted equal rights as men when it came to social matters such as obtaining jobs, voting, and accessing higher education (Murrin et al., n.d.).

            The Prohibition movement is the second major reform that helped to shape the progressive era. The progressive era was characteristic of abstinence from alcohol consumption after numerous advocacy efforts by women and other groups. The anti-saloon league is one of the advocacy groups that joined forces with women to get alcohol banned.

  • One Impact of the Progressive movement on American politics

            One of the major impacts of the progressive movement on American politics was furthering political and social reform to curb political corruption and limit the political influence of large corporations (Liang & Hofmeister, 2011). The focus of the progressives was to establish a more accountable and transparent government that was oriented towards improving the welfare of the American Society. 

  1.  The Role of American Imperialism

Hawaiian Annexation: During the height of American imperialism, America perceived itself as different from other countries because of its specific world mission to spread democracy and liberty (Wolfe, 1997). This perception resulted in the annexation of Hawaii in 1898 to allow the United States to gain possession and control of all its harbors, buildings, ports, military equipment, and public property.

Spanish-American War: American imperialism enabled the United States to establish its dominance in the Caribbean region as well as pursue its economic and strategic interests in Asia. Engagement in the Spanish-American war of 1898 resulted at the end of the Spanish colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere (Wolfe, 1997). This enabled the United States to secure its strategic Pacific power by forcing the Spanish to relinquish control of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam, and the Philippines.

Task 4


The major courses of the great depression are bank failures, the stock market crash, America’s policy with Europe, and drought. Between 1930 and 1932, people experienced a financial panic, which led to massive simultaneous withdraws from banks, causing banks to close. The panic spread throughout the banking sector, causing more banks to close. In 1933, the banking system in the U.S. had failed with nearly half of the banks closed.

In the 1920s, the U.S. stock market expanded massively due to speculations that investors could buy stocks at the margin. The speculation caused an unprecedented increase in the price of stocks, and many people were willing to invest even by mortgaging homes or using borrowed money (Eichengreen, 2014). Unfortunately, the stocks began to falter months later, and it was apparent that investors would not make their margins calls. Nevertheless, there was a massive sell-off due to fear. People lost the value of their money and assets in the stock market. Those who had used debts to buy stocks mostly went bankrupt.

Due to the stock market crash, the consumption of imports reduced significantly. Counties that exported to the U.S. stopped, which in turn aggravated the depression. The government also tried saving the economy by reducing trade with Europe (the Tariff Act of 1930), which led to near-record taxes (Eichengreen, 2014). That led to the fall of inter-regional trade. Besides, environmental destruction led to drought and massive deaths due to climate change.


First, the New Deal established critical economic safeguards. For instance, the social security measures would ensure financial institutions are cautions of former mistakes (Kennedy, 2009). The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures the savings of Americans to combat any economic catastrophes in future. Also, new jobs were created by undertaking constrictions projects for people rendered jobless through the depression. Farmers benefited from economic reliefs from The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA) to boost their productivity and increase income.

Secondly, the New Deal led to the establishment of the labor movement. It has ensured the fixation of the wage policies and pricing to ensure fair competition through the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. Besides, it protected workers’ rights by facilitating the development of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

Thirdly, the New Deal established a fiscal policy, through Economic Act (Kennedy, 2009). This would help to avoid inflation and maintain maximum employment opportunities for smooth economic growth (Fishback, 2017). Also, the economic act proposed cutting a percentage of salaries for government employees into a federal budget. This would be used as benefits to millions of veterans, among other purposes.


The nuclear test by the USSR in 1948 created a notion for one country could be powerful than others (Leffler, 1999). Thus, the United States and the Soviet Union got into an arms race to determine the superpower, increasing Cold War tensions. Since both the United States and the Soviet Union were fairly powerful, it seemed that they would destroy each other. This caused widespread anxiety throughout both countries, as anyone of them would launch missiles. Nevertheless, some speculations held that that would not happen as the doctrine of war did not allow such destruction. Thus, the arms race confused, intensifying the cold war tensions.

The Soviet Union advocated and sought to expand communism throughout Europe and other regions. Under communism, economic resources and property belong to the state, while socialism allows economic powers to citizens. The United States advocated socialism as she appreciates democracy (Hassan & Ralph, 2011).  Thus, the U.S. opposed the Soviet Union’s decision and established containment measures used it to stop the Soviet Union. The differed ideologies increased Cold War tensions (Leffler, 1999).

On domestic policies, the cold war affected people both socially and economically. Socially, there was intensive indoctrination of people to cause social reforms (Leffler, 1999). Also, there was increased businesses growth in the war-related industry, causing an economic boost. However, the U.S. spent a significant amount of money in billion dollars through containment measures. On culture, it led to a schism between those representing capitalism and democracy, and communism and authoritarianism as some political and religious groups held differently. There were increased themes if nuclear war and espionage in the American culture propagated through films and fashion.


Civil rights movements led to the banning of discrimination and segregation, and schools could admit both black and white students. Ending discrimination is considered as one of the crowning legislative achievements. Before the Civil rights movement, black and whites were not to use similar facilities or transports. However, African Americans had helped through the previous wars considerably and deserved social justice. Also, the resultant Civil Rights Act required schools to make bold decisions in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling on the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education.

The feminist movement led to women’s suffrage, more equitable pay, and greater access to education. The women suffrage would garner women the rights to vote in national elections as men did. While it was a long fight, the feminist movement would eventually back up the women suffrage and win the voting rights.  Consequently, more women access education and close the gender wage gap.

The gay rights movement led to a change of homosexuality from mental illness to sexual orientation and legalization of same-sex marriages. Along with the civil rights movement, the gay rights movement sensitized the normalcy around homosexuality. It was controversial as religious influence had stigmatized homosexuality, and there were no legal codes to guide society. However, psychology studies later backed the movement through the evidence to show that gays were not ill but sexually oriented to homosexuality (Morris, 2009). Since then, and after legal pursuit for decades, the U.S. supreme course legalized same-sex marriages on June 26, 2015.

The religious rights movement caused the enactment of religious rights and influenced feminist movements. The religious rights include choosing or not choosing which religion to follow and when to change, and that one’s belief in that religion be respected. Before these rights – garnered through the religious rights movement, religiosity was guided by socioeconomic powers. For instance, slaves would not attend church or in some cases, pray (Raboteau, 2020). Besides, due to advocacy in social justice, the religious rights movement backed up the feminist movement.


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Fishback, P. (2017). How Successful Was the New Deal? The Microeconomic Impact of New Deal Spending and Lending Policies in the 1930s. Journal Of Economic Literature, 55(4), 1435-1485. doi: 10.1257/jel.20161054

Hassan, O., & Ralph, J. (2011). Democracy promotion and human rights in U.S. foreign policy. The International Journal Of Human Rights, 15(4), 509-519. doi: 10.1080/13642987.2011.569195

Hershey, M. R. (2017). Party Politics in America. London: Taylor & Francis.

KENNEDY, D. (2009). What the New Deal Did. Political Science Quarterly, 124(2), 251-268. Retrieved September 25, 2020, from

Lancaster, B., & Plumb, J. H. (2011). The American Revolution. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.