A Summary of U.S. History
When I said I’d do a short summary of U.S. History, I didn’t
imagine how much work it is. I suppose the people in America think everything
which has to do with America is of highest importance. So I have to beg your
pardon when some for you important chapters aren’t mentioned or only
The Early America (1620-1789)
After the Discovery of America by Christoph Kolumbus in 1492, it took
almost 1 ½ Centurys until the settlement from Europe began. Before this,
England started to build up Colonies and founded new Cities in the “New
Land”. Virgina is the first Colony, named after the Kings daughter. In
1619 the first slaves where brought from the Netherlands to Virginia, after they
where ordered for the tobacco industry. In 1620 the so called
“Pilgrims” landed in the near of Cape Cod after they emigrated from
England to the Netherlands and founded “Plymouth Plantation.” On
their ship, the “Mayflower” they signed a Compact which says, that
Government and laws should follow from common decisions, without giving up the
loyalitiy to the British Crown. After this new Colonies are founded in America,
which is called New England by the Pilgrims.
Towards 1775 the people in America suffer under the treatment of England.
The Crown initializes new laws for dutys, and disturb economy. The desire of an
independent land grows, and so the Colonies turn away from their motherland and
start to fight against the british regiments. They have got a very bad equipment
and almost no chances. When british troups try to rob an armbase, the Americans
besiege Boston. The 2nd Continental Congress comes together and
declares GEORGE WASHINGTON as supreme Commander. A peace petition to the british
King is answered by him with the “Proclamation of an open
Rebellion”. Now THOMAS JEFFERSON begins to prepare the “Declaration
of Independence”, which is published first in 1776.
After some battles against Britain were lost the WAR OF INDEPENDENCE turns
in the victory of Saratoga (New York). Even if the british troups won a few
several times during 1778 and 1780 in the southern states, after the Americans
fought them in Yorktown with the help of France, the British had to capitulate.
So the War was won for the Americans and King George III. had to acknowledge the
peace contract. Canada was still british, and the other states were declared as
the United States of America. In 1787 a Convent of Constitution comes together
in Philadelphia therefore to create the first written Constitution. GEORGE
WASHINGTON becomes President of the convent. On March 4th, 1789 the
new system of government starts his activity with GEORGE WASHINGTON as first
President of the United States. It is based on the division of powers - the
congress builds the legislative and consists of the “House of
Represantatives” and the Senate. It has to decide about Peace and war,
Military, Contracts with other States, coins, weights, dutys and taxes. The
President is the Executive and has to select the civil servants, and takes care
of the execution of the Congress decisions. The Judicative is given by the
trial Court, which watches over law and constitution. In this year also the Bill
of Rights are added to the Constitution. They guarantee the basic rights, as
Liberty in faith, media and assembling, of every person etc.
The Contrast of North & South (1849-1877)
Slavery is the point which is influencing U.S. History during this period.
In the North the ethic Criticism against this System grows. In 1852 Harriet E.
Beecher Stowes Novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is published and
urges on the discussion about the situation.
In the South Slavery is defended with the Constitutional rights of property
and the rights of the states. In the argument about the Slavery ABRAHAM LINCOLN
becomes a powerful politician as member of the Republican Party which was
against Slavery. In 1860 Lincoln is refined as President. South Carolina
declares itself in due to antislavic politic as own state. Missisippi, Florida,
Alabama, Georgia, Lousiana and Texas build with it the Confederal States of
America with an own Constitution, Jefferson Davis becomes President of
In answer to it the Civil War developes, the South defends a long time
against the more powerful North. In 1863 Lincoln declares all Slaves as free,
and wins the sympathy of Europe. In July 1863 the War is won by the Union. Now
the unity of the United States is established again. All in all the War cost
over 635.000 lifes. In 1864 Lincoln is refined as President again, but on April
14th, 1865 he is assasinated by an fanatic supporter of the Southern
States. In the same breath the 13. Amendment to the Constitution removes the
Slavery, 1866 the 14. Amendment promises the civil rights to the former slaves
and 1869 the 15. Amendment says that nobody should be left out from the right of
voting due to his Coulour or his race.
America’s role in World War I and Economic Problems
First the United States declared their neutrality in World War I, but after
Britain propagrated against the German Style of War in the USA, and attempts of
arrangement failed, the USA broke off the diplomatic connections to Germany on
the 3rd of February and declared War against Germany on the
6th of April 1917. In June 1918 the US Troups first took part in
fights on the European Mainland. All in all over 2 Million US-Soldiers were sent
In October 1917 the Germans capitulated and the War ended. America lost
over 112 thousand lifes.
In 1929 Herbert Hoover becomes President. He seems to start in a land with
a great future and stability, but this hope ends with the Crash on the New York
Wall Street. Due to too high Speculations the market rates fell over 40 %. It
followed the Great Depression with a lower life standard, unemployment,
bankruptcy etc. Until spring 1933 the unemployment rate grew onto 15 Million
people (1/3). FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT promises a “new deal for the
american people” and starts an intensive social-economic reform-program.
It helps, and 1938 6 Million people have work again. The business with the World
War II (Production of Weapons etc.) helps to catch the last effects of the
America’s role in World War II
After America had come over the Great Depression, it concentrated on the
World War II.
First of all Americas ambassador in Germany was consulted back, after the
Germans did the so called “Kristallnacht”. In April 1938 President
Roosevelt tries to make an appeal to Hitler and Mussolini to save the peace in
Europe with a Non-Attack-Promise. It failed, and the european war broke out. As
in World War I the USA first declared their neutrality, but after a
USA-Submarine is hit by a German one in 1941, President Roosevelt gives the
command to shoot all German submarines. In December Italy and Germany declare
war to the USA.
Together with Great Britain, the U.S.S.R., China and 22 other states the
USA form the Allies.
On the Conference of Casablanca on January 24th 1943 Roosevelt
and Premier Churchill tell that they want to force Germany to Unconditional
Surrender. 3 days later the USA start to attack German towns through the
After Sicilia was conquested Italy capitulated and signed a contract about
armistice. Together with Stalin and Churchill Roosevelt planned in October 1944
the final stroke. Germany was attacked from Russia, France, Italy and Great
Britain and had to capitulate in May 1945. This day is called V-E Day (Victory
Europe Day) in the USA.
Interior and exterior Crisises (1945-1974)
While this happened, Japan declared war to USA. With the deployment of 2
Atom Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 Japan was forced to
capitulation, before U.S. Troups arrived on the Basic Isles.
The Korea War in 1950 followed from the beginning Cold War : Every
Communistic State was declared as enemy, so the USA had to help South Korea
which was threatened by the Communstic North Korea.
In 1962 sowjet rocket bases were found on the also communistic Cuba. In
reaction to this, President Kennedy commanded to form a blockade on the Sea, so
that the U.S.S.R. couldn’t deliver any new weapons to Cuba. One month
later the blockade is ended, after the U.S.S.R.declared they’d transport
the weapons back. On November 22th, 1963 John F. Kennedy is assasinated in
Dallas. Vice-President Lyndson B. Johnson becomes President an is more
successful in his Reformpolicy than Kennedy.
Although the U.S.A. had made the looking after Racism in Germany to their
task, there was still discrimination of black people in their own country. On
April 2nd, 1963 blak people demonstrate under leadership of Martin L.
King without violence for Race integration. On Reaction on this, over 3300
demonstrators were arrested. In August over 200.000 white and black people
demonstrate for new civil rights, which include the same rights for all people.
After a march to Washington Martin L. King held his most popular speech
(“I have a dream ... ”) in front of the Lincoln-Memorial. In
Juny 1964 the Congress passes the new Civil-Rights-Law, which guarantees equal
rights for all Americans. On April 6th, 1968 Martin Luther King is
assasinated in Memphis by an escaped prisoner.
From 1961 to 1973 the United States fight their longest and most senseless
war : The Vietnam War. It has been again due to Communism - North Vietnam wanted
to force South-Vietnam to become communistic. Many people in America
demonstrated against the US policy in this case. 56241 American Soldiers lost
their lifes in this war, 1344 are still missing and 303616 Soldiers were
The Cold War seems to calm down - in May 1972 Nixon is the first President
who visits the USSR. In Moscow the SALT I (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) were
In Juny 1972 five persons were arrested while they broke into the Election
Headquarter of the Democratic Party which was accommodated in the
Watergate-Apartments. They wanted to install bugs on behalf of the Petition for
Reelection of the President. Civil Servants and Nixon’s assistance try to
veil the connections. In 1974 the House of Represantatives wants to achieve a
removal Nixon’s from office because a few more scandals are uncovered. For
example offences against personality rights, misuse of public money
On August 9th, 1974 President Nixon steps back. The following
President Gerald R. Ford pardons him, so Nixon cannot be prosecuted.
The Gulf War
After an assault of the Irak under ledaing of Saddam Hussein against Kuweit
in August 1990 the USA send troups to Saudi-Arabia. They shall save the country
against the Irak and force them to retreat. After the United Nations tried about
several months to make peace, after a long economy embargo the “Operation
Desertstorm” begins. Together with the USA Saudi Arabia, the United Arabic
Emirates, Great Britain, Oman, Egypt, France and Pakistan start a five-weeks
taking Air-Offensive. On February 24th, a offensive on the ground is
started, about 100 hours later Irak is beaten and has to retreat themselves. But
Saddam Hussein is still President of the Irak and isn’t very cooperative
referring to UN-Resolutions and UN-Weapon Inspectors. Until today there are
discussions about the Irak-Problem.