Term Paper: People &amp Events in Pennsylvania

Pages: 9 (2872 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: American History  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … People & Events in Pennsylvania

The history of how America was founded all starts in the land of Pennsylvania, where famous events such as the creation of the Declaration of Independence was written, the creation and signing of the United States Constitution, and a host of famous people contributed to the beginnings of our great nation. Before the discovery of the "New World," the Pennsylvania area was occupied by a number of Native American tribes, most of whom perished when the first settlers from Europe came to America (History, 1). Specific tribes included the Delawares, the Susquehannocks, the Shawnees, and different Iroquois tribes known as the Five Nations which actually expanded past Pennsylvania territory to present day New York (History, 1). It is uncertain of which nation abroad first visited Pennsylvania, but history is almost sure that a handful of explorers, namely Captain John Smith and Henry Hudson did visit the surrounding areas in Virginia and Delaware (History, 2-3).

William Penn's History

With this small background history before Pennsylvania becomes the historical site it is today, I will retrace the steps of some of America's most influential people and the events that helped to shape what America is today, and how those people and events helped to shape what patriotism is to Americans today. We shall now go back to when Pennsylvania was the sole focus of a man named William Penn, who was responsible for the religious freedoms enjoyed by the Quaker religion (Hudson). William Penn was born in London in 1644, and after much persecution of the Quaker faith throughout his life, he decided to send a letter to the King in 1680 pleading with him for a grant of land in the New World (Hudson). King Charles acquiesced his plea, and even decided to name the acres of land to be given, Pennsylvania, after his old friend William Penn (Hudson). In 1681 Penn sent his cousin, William Markham, to Pennsylvania to act as the deputy governor, and once his cousin had arrived Penn began to send him documents he had drawn up in England, which set down certain constitutions and governmental ideas that would establish the Quaker Province within Pennsylvania (History, 4). It was not until 1682 when Penn finally stepped onto Pennsylvania soil; however, he only spent about five years on the land he worked so hard for before he needed to go back to England to settle a land dispute with Maryland, and was not seen again for 16 years (Hudson). While in Pennsylvania, William Penn completed a very important peace treaty with the Lenni Lanpe Indian tribe who inhabited the areas Penn sought to govern, in order to live in complete peace (Hudson; Taylor, 2).

While in England, Penn continues to write papers and articles advocating religious freedoms and civil rights including "participatory government, interracial brotherhood, and international peace," (Hudson) for citizens of England. Although Penn has probably never able to get English citizens and the government behind his principles, he did model Pennsylvania after the religious freedoms he fought hard for abroad. Due to his radical ideals, Penn was often in debt and sometimes even imprisoned for his points-of-view. We mourned his death in 1718, but it was also cause for celebration because he was able to secure control of the Pennsylvania territory to his descendants until the American Revolution, and in 1983 the state of Pennsylvania made William Penn and his wife honorary United States citizens for all their contributions to the development and peace of the state (Hudson).

The Halls, Liberty Bell & Betsy Ross

While Pennsylvania was coming into its own statehood, and developing our major city, Philadelphia (which was helped along in conception by William Penn as well) was serving as a very important meeting place for important members of the New World who sought to form a more complete government (History, 8). Indeed, Philadelphia has been serving as the nation's capitol, and Andrew Hamilton has designed a building whose main function will be to house meeting for Congress, as well as any court proceedings (Taylor, 4). The Independence Hall has been finished in the year 1753, and has also been present to the signing of the Declaration of Independence from England's rule, the celebrations have been quite high and there have been a number of political events happening over the coming days (History, 9; Taylor, 4). Finally, in 1787 the United States Constitution has been signed and agreed upon to guide America, and this document has also been deliberated over and signed in the Independence Hall (History, 9; Taylor, 4).

Perhaps the most beautiful feature of Independence Hall is what is known as the Liberty Bell, which sometimes summons us to meetings, it has a crack in it already, but that does not matter because what it does have is an inscription that speaks to all our freedoms envisioned by William Penn, Levictus 25:10, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof." (Peattie, 342) Now, every time it rings (which is plenty, for all occasions!), the fine people of Pennsylvania may think of our freedoms. Beginning in the 1800s the Bell is going on a trip around the country to remind those opposing the Civil War and freedom for the slaves, that freedom is a gift to everyone in our great country as is inscribed on the Bell itself (Taylor, 13). I think the Bell will send a powerful message to those who perhaps have forgotten how hard it has been for those of us who first came to this country with nothing and no one, seeking our own freedoms from religious persecution, and I have a feeling that is exactly what the slaves are hoping for as well.

We have another important building here in Philadelphia, which is the Congress Hall. It has house Congress from 1790 to 1800, and during that time has admitted three new states to our great nation; Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee (Taylor, 9). In addition, the Bill of Rights has been approved here and George Washington's second term as president was sworn in as well as John Adams' inauguration happened here as well (Taylor, 9).

We have two libraries here in Philadelphia, the first is located on the same block as Independence Hall, which is the Philosophical Hall, which is a privately owned building and holds Ben Franklin's clock and library chair as well as Jefferson's chair that he used while writing the Declaration of Independence (Taylor, 19). The other library is Library Hall, which holds some of the books and documents Philosophical Hall was not able to find room for, and this building is the first public library and holds some of the more famous documents, such as the handwritten Declaration of Independence, as well as the journals from Lewis and Clark's expedition, Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin's writings (Taylor, 18).

Recently a committee made up of George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross have found a woman named Betsy Ross to design and make our nations flag, which is to be a stars and stripes design using the colors red, white and blue; with white stars symbolizing 13 of our states (Taylor, 21). The flag is expected to be done in 1777 and will probably make an official debut, and most likely Mrs. Ross will be commissioned to make more flags for the other surrounding states to hang in their capitols as well (Taylor, 21). It seems most exciting that our nation finally has a flag of our own, which means we are officially our own country, standing alone and apart from England, something we have all yearned for, for so long!

Important Founders & Presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln & Franklin

I must now speak about our first President, George Washington. It was most obvious that he be our first President after he presided over the Constitutional Convention and helped to bring this important document to life (New World Encyclopedia). Born from humble beginnings in Virginia in 1732, he has managed to toss together a manageable education from different places abroad, and compared to some other important men involved in our countries beginnings, his education is quite common (New World Encyclopedia).

After joining the army and fighting in several wars, including the French and Indian War, he was eventually chosen as the commander-in-chief to run the American Revolution, setting a precedent by asking to only be compensated for his expense, and receive no salary (New World Encyclopedia). After returning home after the Revolution, he was asked to participate and preside over the Convention, in which he was offered the title of king, but he of course rejected that idea (another precedent) (New World Encyclopedia). It is a strong historical belief that the Founding Fathers wanted to a create a government with Washington in mind, a wise choice indeed for he is considered to be one of the greatest presidents America has ever had (New World Encyclopedia). Another precedent that Washington set was voluntarily serving… [END OF PREVIEW]

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