history

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I have acquired a lot of knowledge about the history of the United States in this semester. However, there are three most interesting facts that I’ve learned from the history of the country. The firsts interesting knowledge is that South and North America was occupied by Indians before Europeans arrived. When the Europeans arrived to the United States, it was not a wilderness. There are communities which inhabited the land and called it their home. While the Europeans found a new world the natives considered it an ancient homeland (Foner, 2013). I learnt this information from the course textbook as well as from other external sources related to the coursework.

South and North America was inhabited by Indians and contained irrigation systems, roads, cities as well as large structures like the pyramid temples which until today inspire wonder by their beauty. Tenochtitlan, the capital City of Aztec Empire with a population of approximately 250,000 people was considered to be one of the largest cities in the world in that period. The Aztec empire is what toy is referred to as Mexico. In the far south, was the Inca kingdom what is referred to as Peru in the modern society. The kingdom’s dense population was characterized by complex road and bridge systems.

In North America, Indian civilization had not developed the centralized, scale or grandeur of the Inca and Aztec societies in the south. However, the Indians in the North America lacked the technology that the Europeans had such as gun power, machines and metal tools as well as the scientific knowledge that helped them to navigate in the sea. They were also illiterate although some could make maps. This led to their conquest by the Europeans. Nevertheless, the Indian societies had acquired techniques of fishing, farming and hunting, established structures of religious beliefs and political power and engaged in extensive communication and trade networks.

This information is shocking because I thought that North and South America were inhabited by white people before the European arrived. It is also interesting how the Indian societies had mastered various skills even without literacy. This information is very important to my understanding of the history of America since it helps understand were we have come from and appreciate the efforts put in by our fore fathers to realize the kind of life we live today. It also helps me to relate the history of America with the culture and the lifestyle we embrace today.

Some other interesting information I learnt in this course is that there existed social classes in the colonial period. I learnt this information from the course textbook as well as from other external sources related to the coursework. As the colonial society evolved, a group of elites emerged which dominated the society and politics. The expansion of trade led to the emergence of upper class merchants who were closely associated with London firms or families. By eighteenth century, the communication and trade between Britain and American colonies intensified. Wealthy Americans wanted to be like the British people and therefore adopted their behavior and etiquette (Shi & Tindall, 2016).

On the other hand, poverty emerged representing the colonial life of the eighteen century. While most colonists did not consider slaves as part of their society, the number of people living in impoverished conditions increased significantly. Poverty became widespread among the free Americans. As the colonists populations increased, land was becoming scarce forcing many colonial males to seek employment in other colonies or cities. This led to the increase of property less wage earners in the cities. The poor were largely considered shiftless, lazy and responsible for what they were going through.

There were also the middle ranks. Most of the free Americans were in this class of the society which represented the people living between the extremes of poverty and wealth (Merritt, 2017). Together with ethnic and racial diversities, this class could be distinguished from the Europeans by the economic autonomy and wide distribution of land. Most of them were famers who owned various parcels of land. Women in this period were considered the centre of family (Merritt, 2017). They played a significant role in the household economy. The society expected women to dedicate their lives in being good wives to their husbands. With the colonial structure gaining momentum, opportunities that existed before this period for women decreased (Merritt, 2017).

This information is shocking because I would expect that the issue of social class came with urbanization and civilization. Being colonies of Europe, one would expect that Americans would pull together and embrace unity to avoid being mistreated by the Europeans. That was however not the case. This information helps me to get a better understanding of the origin of social class that exists in our current society. This also helps me to understand the condition that led to the American community of the colonial period to adopt such systems. By gaining such historical knowledge I can be able to relate with what is happening today in our society.

Some other interesting information I learnt in this course is the changes that were brought by the war. The civil war brought in significant transformation of the society and the American government. I obtained this information from the course book as well as other related secondary sources. This transformation in the society was referred to as the second American transformation. A good example was the change in status of Blacks. During the civil, freedom contested nature than never before. Although liberty was declared, it did not mean the same thing for different people in the society (Gallagher, 2016).

To the people in the north, freedom meant respect on each other and that each man enjoys the fruits of his labor. To the whites in the South, this meant mastership and to do what they please with the fruits of other people’s labor (Gallagher, 2016). The war marked a new beginning for the black Americans as it symbolized their equal status with all other Americans. The civil war also influenced the protestant clergy to develop new theories to justify that the war was not in vain. Religious believes helped people cope with the consequences of the war (Gallagher, 2016).

It is shocking that Americans had to learn the importance of treating each other as equals and with respect through a civil war which cost the lives of many people. This information is very important to my understanding of the American history since it provides insights on when people began respecting and considering each other as equals. It also helps me to understand why it is important to consider each other as equals in the society. The information that I have learned in this course has helped me to have a better understanding of where we have come from.

References

Foner, E. (2013). Give Me Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition (Vol. 1). WW Norton & Company.

Shi, D. E., & Tindall, G. B. (2016). America: A narrative history. WW Norton & Company.

Gallagher, G. W. (2016). The American Civil War: The War in the East 1861-May 1863. Routledge.

Merritt, R. L. (2017). Nation-building in America: The colonial years. In Nation Building in Comparative Contexts (pp. 56-72). Routledge.