A Social and Political History of the United States Term Paper

September 4, 2022 by Essay Writer

Discovery and Settlement of the New World

Historians claim the first Americans were of Asian origin, and they started migrating to the country thirty thousand years ago using a land bridge at the Bering Strain. The main economic activities of the first population were hunting and gathering.

When Europeans arrived to the New World, there were already over one hundred million Asians living there. Agricultural innovations and development led to cultural diversity in many parts of the country. As people settled to establish industries, they did away with hunting and gathering as their major economic activities.

Europe and Desire for Discovery

Europe witnessed major monetary and societal changes between the eleventh and the fourteenth centuries. At the time, each person had a role to play in the society, and the financial system was feudal in nature. The lords owned vast properties, while the laborers worked without compensation and were only given small pieces of land to cultivate.

With time, cities were developed, which attracted many people to shift to urban areas. The founding of the New World corresponded with the rise of mercantilism as a production model (Deitch, 2007). The system was applied effectively in the 16th and the 17th centuries to improve the financial systems of European countries.

Spanish and French Exploration

The discoveries that Columbus made played a critical role in the formation of European empires in the New World. Spanish, Portuguese, and French monarchs ordered their scientists and administrators to visit the region and recommend appropriate courses of actions. Civilizations set up largely in the southern and central regions were the main targets, since they had established administrative and economic structures. European powers had to enter into various negotiations to prevent conflict of interests.

Colonial Life

Before the British settled in the New World, Portuguese and Spanish had already established an agricultural economy that depended on slave labor. Portuguese were the first ones to set up a production model based on slavery in the West Africa.

Many locals existed as servants in their land since they had to provide the much-needed labor whenever called upon to do so. In this regard, colonial life was miserable given the fact that colonialists owned everything while the locals had nothing to offer to the economy apart from their free labor.

French and Indian War

Locals were tired of the conditions in which they lived, since they were growing poorer and there was no hope of change. In this regard, they decided to engage in a liberation war with the French who had ruled them for several years (Bellamy, & MacDonald, 2003). The French occupied the modern day Canada, which was referred to as New France at the time. The natives had suffered from various diseases introduced in the region by foreigners, and they thought it was the correct time to act.

Imperial Reorganization

Due to continuous resistances and conflicts witnessed, the European powers had to do something to ensure their interests were realized. The Stamp Treaty was signed between the French and the Indians in the modern day Canada ending the war that had posed a great threat to the British. The colonial powers realized that American independence was inevitable and they moved in to introduce new taxes to boost their economies at home. However, the locals responded by engaging in illegal trade through smuggling of products to Asia.

Philosophy of American Revolution

European powers had enormous political, economic, and social supremacy, something that forced the locals to develop strong philosophies to counter them. Through radical changes in doctrine, attitudes, and feelings, the social customs and political ideas of the region were affected. The freedom fighters were concerned with representation in government, state economy, control of the central government, and foreign relations. The locals were interested in forming a self-government based on the American democratic ideas.

Declaration of Independence

The ideas of philosophers and freedom fighters inspired many Americans to demand for their rights and freedoms from the European powers. The locals went ahead to attack Britons and their properties forcing parliament to change laws to enhance domination. The new laws popularly referred to as Intolerable Acts in the US increased hatred towards Britons (Wood, Borstelmann, May, & Ruiz, 2007). The colonial government had no option other than granting independence to the unmanageable state.

The Revolutionary War

In 1774, workers in Boston demonstrated against the injustices meted out to them in tea plantations following the passage of various bills prohibiting them from associating freely in the society. Many Americans were willing to engage in conflict with the colonial government whereby they organized boycotts. The revolutionaries were in need of the establishment of the continental congress to champion for their rights. The Crown ordered for the arrest of demonstrators and militias formed in various parts of the country leading to more protests.

Articles of Confederation

With persistent conflicts and resistance, the colonial government could not continue ruling the country. This forced the Crown to grant independence, but the country was faced with the greatest challenge of establishing the Constitution. Americans were divided on the best system of government since some wanted a federal system while some supported the idea of empowering states. The articles of Confederation served the state for a few years before the current Constitution was formulated.


Bellamy, E., & MacDonald, A. (2003). Looking backward, 2000-1887. Peterborough: Broadview Press.

Deitch, R. (2007). Hemp — American History Revisited: Vital Resource to Contentious Weed. New York: Algora Pub.

Wood, P., Borstelmann, T., May, T., & Ruiz, V. (2007) Created Equal: A Social and Political History of the United States. New York: Longman Pub Group.

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