Misc 1600-1800 Term Paper

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American History

SLAVE REVOLTS

Although African-American slaves revolted in ways that ranged from subtle sabotage to downright murder of their individual masters, there were also several major insurrections. These rebellions only strengthened the white resistance to allowing African-Americans to seek freedom, as the government enacted stricter laws that compelled both Blacks and whites to bind the African-American even tighter to his enforced servitude.

Attempted slave revolts during the 1600s and 1700s took the form of escaping British or colonial slavery and going to live with Native Americans, or running to "maroon" societies that were communities of escaped slaves. Some of these societies enlisted Native Americans to help them escape. British laws, already set up to enforce slavery of whites and Indians, supported the plantation system in both the north and south of the American colonies with patrol officers, written passes and white constables.

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There were two major rebellions in New York City in the early 1700s, when thousands of Blacks were living in the cities. Arson was most effectively used by these insurrectionists to get back at their masters. After trials of the slaves who had revolted, along with other innocents who were wrongly accused, horrible means of death were meted out to those convicted, creating fear in all remaining slaves and squelching any further thoughts of rebellion. The first revolt took place in Providence Rhode Island in 1638. Then there were rebellions in 1712, 1720, 1734, 1738, and 1739 in the northern colonies. There was a major rebellion in New York in 1741.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Misc 1600-1800 Assignment

In the South there were rebellions in 1687 and 1730 in Virginia, and a famous one in 1739 in South Carolina called the Stono rebellion. Charleston, South Carolina was the site of a plot to destroy it by fire in 1740. Other rebellions occurred in Sourh Carolina in 1761 and 1765, when many Blacks rose up against their white masters. In 1774, a group of slaves who arose against their masters in Georgia, were captured and put to death, but the next year, two more conspiracies took place in the Carolinas with the same results. In 1781 there was a small attack of local plantations in Virginia and some slaves set fire to public buildings in Williamsburg.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS

Frederick Douglass was a slave born in Maryland in 1817 or 1818, whose father was probably the master of the farm where his mother lived and served. On his mother's side of the family, he inherited Native American blood. Early in his life, he was deliberately separated from his mother, who was not allowed to see him, and he lived with an aunt. As a child, Douglass witnessed and experienced many episodes of cruel treatment by the masters and their overseers, from beatings to murders, of his fellow Blacks. Douglass was forced to work and allowed only a few pieces of clothing from the time he was very small. Sometimes he was systematically starved and often beaten.

As a young boy, he was sent to Baltimore to work for a family named Auld. The wife began to teach him how to read and when she bragged to her husband about how well Douglass was doing he stated that she should immediately stop because literacy would allow Blacks to escape slavery. Overhearing this, Douglass determined to educate himself. The wife no longer schooled him, so he went to other children on the streets who knew how, to learn to read. He worked on the docks, in the shipyards and learned the caulking trade. He was returned to plantation life to be "broken" by a slave-master named Covey. However, he turned on Covey and fought him hand to hand and was able to prevail. After changing hands, he went to Baltimore again to be hired out to earn wages for his master, a Mr. Freeland. He worked in the shipyards for a wage, which he handed over to his master. Douglass determined to free himself, which he did by writing his own letters of passage to the North. Douglass had met his former wife in Baltimore and they ran away together in 1838.

Douglass's freedom was still not secure in the North. He wrote under a pseudonym and worked toward freeing the African-American people, surviving many fights and threats in doing so. He raised his family, wrote books and went on a lecture tour to advance the cause of the African-American. His books gained in popularity and he made money giving lectures regarding the institution of slavery. He finally purchased his own freedom in 1846. It cost $711. He wrote several books, including a couple of autobiographies, and campaigned for antislavery laws. In his later life he achieved respect and was considered an honored statesman.

AMERICAN POLITICS

Political parties existed early during the first president's term, as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson clashed over many issues, representing two different perspectives toward solving the problems of the nation. Jefferson's followers called themselves Democratic-Republicans or simply Republicans, while Hamilton's followers called themselves Federalists. George Washington preferred the Federalist point-of-view.

The early period of Federalist-Republican clashes lasted until the early 1820s, when candidates were presented to run for most political offices and there was fierce competition for political office. The reasons for becoming a two-party system may have had its roots in the British system, but Gudelunas says that the U.S. has "always had 'single member-simple plurality' or 'single-member-winner take all' electoral districts" and this is why the two party system has prevailed. If one side splits its votes up among candidates with similar viewpoints, then the other side will win. Therefore, it is better to have a two-party system, where the votes might be split closer to 50-50.

The Federalists favored more governmental control, a federal bank and promotion of business and commerce, while the Democratic-Republicans opposed taxes, a federal bank and other governmental controls. After the Federalists appeared to support Britain in the war of 1812, the tide turned against them and the Federalists did not support a presidential candidate and James Monroe won in 1820. After that, Henry Clay and John Adams ran against each other and from then on the Republicans opposed the Democrats. This ideological division has continued to this day in the two-party system.

ENSURING AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY and AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY

From the beginning of the political history in the United States, the country has relied upon allies to aid in times of war, to take up for them in international councils and for trade agreements. The first alliance was made in 1783, when England and the U.S. signed the Definitive Treaty of Peace officially ending the American Revolution, signed in Paris, since France had been the U.S. ally. Various repercussions were felt from that treaty, since the British, French and Americans were all unhappy with the final outcome of the Colonies' war with England.

The U.S. Constitution says that the federal government has authority to make foreign policy, to "make war, negotiate treaties, raise armies, establish diplomatic missions and regulate commerce with foreign nations." While the president may negotiate treaties, the Senate must ratify them by a 2/3s vote.

Problems in war with France and in shipping and trade with Britain forced President George Washington to appoint John Jay to negotiate maritime concerns and seek solutions to British problems. By 1796, Jay's diplomatic wrangling accomplished only the evacuation of posts in the northwest U.S. while the majority of problems remained unsolved; American negotiations with foreign bodies was begun and tensions eased between the U.S. And Britain. After that, Thomas Pinkney forged an alliance with Spain in 1795 and George Washington advised the country to "steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world," advising only temporary alliances. The U.S. did not sign any more alliances until 1942, with the Declaration of United Nations against the Axis Powers, in World War II. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was signed in 1949, to aid European nations to fight Communism. Since the time of George Washington, the presidents of the United States have dictated foreign policy. In the beginning of the nation, national security meant keeping the nation free of foreign influences, but eventually internal strife over slavery brought national security concerns into internal affairs that dealt with problems within and between the states.

PRESIDENTIAL SOCIAL SCANDALS

Private issues in public campaigns have always been of concern to the public since the birth of the nation. Personal attacks by one's opponent in a political race may either test one's mettle or determine whether, morally, one is fit to take public office. But false accusations and slander have mortally wounded some candidates that may have been worthy of their candidacy. The free press has taken a hand in this dissemination of facts and rumors, willingly publishing everything that can be found about public candidates, allowing the public to choose their candidate upon their public and private merits and deciding whether or not to believe what was said about him or her.

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