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American History Essays
From the very beginning of the settlement of America, English colonists built farms. They established colonies, which were divided into counties. County courts were the places for local government. Virginia was one of the first American colonies. In 1649, Lord-proprietor Baltimore wrote the Act Concerning Religion, which guaranteed toleration to Christians, irrespective of their church. It was the first manifestation of equality of people in the world because all human beings were proclaimed equal before God. In March 1665, the Duke's Laws established elected Assembly as a local government institution in New Jersey. In 1677, the governor of New Jersey created the first plan of democratic government based on the laws and agreements. Therefore, American colonies became establishments of civil societies of free Christians with local administrations. The colonists were from almost all European countries. They preserved their languages, traditions, culture, and faith. At the same time, the British Empire did its best to make them subjects of the British Crown. In distinction from Great Britain, American settlers from Europe did not suffer from religious and ethnic oppression.
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American colonies turned into the supplier of raw materials for Britain. During the 17th century, the British Parliament passed various acts to declare that all American raw materials belong to the United Kingdom (the Navigation Act). In 1701, Penn created Pennsylvania's constitution in the shape of the Charter of Liberties. Under the Charter, the local Assembly had the right to pass laws and conduct independent business activities. In the 18th century, the British Empire passed various acts restricting American trade: the White Pine Act (1711, 1722, and 1729), the Molasses Act (1733), the Felt and Felt Act (1732), the Iron Act (1750). As result, American colonies had a trade deficit, because they had to buy more goods in Great Britain than they produced. Continuous armed conflicts with France were one of the most important reasons for American debts and increasing tensions with the British Empire. Thus, in June 1745, William Pepperrell occupied Louisbourg, the strategic French fort on the St. Lawrence River. In 1748, Great Britain returned the fort to France. Americans realized that Britain did not want to defend the interests of the colony. In July 1758, the British Army occupied Louisbourg again. British officers were very scornful towards Americans. They considered Americans as cowards and traitors. Therefore, it was the second reason for tensions between Great Britain and America. After the Seven Years War, Great Britain wanted American colonies to contribute to the needs of the Army. In 1764, the Parliament passed the Sugar Act. Though the tax on molasses was reduced to 3 pence per gallon, Americans claimed that their right to assess revenues was violated. In 1765, Parliament passed the Stamp Act. Under the Act, Americans would have to pay 60,000 pounds annually for special stamps on legal documents. It caused protests in the form of boycott movements all over America. Colonial women were active participants of the movement because they had no right to vote, but they wanted to defend their husbands from British injustice. In 1768, the British soldiers killed five Americans. The conflict arose from the fact that American boys threw snowballs on soldiers. In December 1773, the Boston Tea Party took place. They threw into the sea 340 chests of tea, continuing to boycott the British goods. In January 1774, Parliament passed the Coercive Acts to pacify Americans. Britain required Americans to pay back the cost of the tea, to turn over organizers of the Boston Tea Party, and to maintain the British Army. Moreover, Great Britain closed the port of Boston.
All the above-mentioned events: restriction of liberties, humiliation, the dictatorship of the British king and government caused the boycott movements, and The First Continental Congress made the first step on the way to the independence of America.
Supporters of Jefferson (Republicans) and Hamilton (Federalists) considered that the United States would be a powerful country. Jefferson considered that states' rights and observing the Constitution was above all. Moreover, Jefferson was a supporter of friendship with France. Jefferson thought that agriculture would be the main source of economic growth in the United States. He considered that the United States could exchange its agricultural products for any industrial production, which was not produced in the United States. He criticized Great Britain for corruption in its financial system and warned against the commercialization of the state institutions of the United States. At the same time, Hamilton was a supporter of friendship with Great Britain and a strong government. He supported the central planning system and considered state rules and acts above all. He admitted using Armed Force to maintain order in the republic. Moreover, Hamilton considered that a powerful banking system could solve all problems in the economy of the United States, and developed industry was the main source of economic growth in the republic. He did not consider that commercialization of the republic institutions would lead to crime. Hamilton thought that more money could lead to a prosperous society by increasing the welfare of every individual. He did not consider that observing the Constitution was the strict duty of every citizen of the United State. He thought it could be helpful to break some Articles for the sake of benefits. Jefferson considered that anarchy was the main threat for the United States, while in the view of Hamilton, democracy was the main threat.
In 1790, Hamilton made a Report on Public Credit. The United States debt was 54 million dollars. The debts of states were approximately 25 million dollars. The United States issued government certificates. Hamilton forced the government to sell the certificates to the speculators. As result, twenty thousand people possessed the state's debt for approximately 40 million dollars. Only 20 percent were the real creditors. Hamilton forced the United States to pay foreign and domestic loans and exchange old certificates for the new ones, irrespective of how they were obtained. Moreover, Hamilton forced the government to take responsibility to pay the remaining debts. Hamilton wanted to persuade European countries that the risks are worth taking. He considered that European countries would make investments in the industry of the United States. He expected the richest people of the United States to make investments. As result, only his closest friends invested in the United States industry, because they had bought their certificates for the cheapest prices. Many friends criticized Hamilton, because he forced citizens and soldiers to sell their certificates for low prices, and rich citizens bought them to become even richer. Moreover, some states paid the debts, but Hamilton rewarded Massachusetts and South Carolina, which did not pay their debts. Thus, there was corruption, criticized by Jefferson. Another scheme was to sell lands for the certificates. For instance, they could purchase a thousand acres for 150 dollars. Therefore, the opponents of Hamilton defeated his plan. Hamilton established legal horse-trading to support the building of the new capital and maintain northern Virginia. Most of his opponents supported him. The next idea of Hamilton was to charter the national bank. It was a threat to the United States because British banks could charge great interest rates. President Washington vetoed this act. To conclude, Hamiltons' point of view on the future development of the United States was very dangerous for the young republic, because it developed a corrupt system.