Act Declaring War Between The United States Of America And The Kingdom Of Spain [1898] - History

Act Declaring War Between The United States Of America And The Kingdom Of Spain [1898] - History

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Be it enacted . ., including said day, between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain.

Second. That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces of the United States, and to call into the actual service of the United States the militia of the several States, to such extent as may be necessary to carry this Act into effect.

United Kingdom and the American Civil War

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland remained officially neutral throughout the American Civil War (1861–1865). It legally recognised the belligerent status of the Confederate States of America (CSA) but never recognised it as a nation and neither signed a treaty with it nor ever exchanged ambassadors. Over 90 percent of Confederate trade with Britain ended, causing a severe shortage of cotton by 1862. Private British blockade runners sent munitions and luxuries to Confederate ports in return for cotton and tobacco. In Manchester, the massive reduction of available American cotton caused an economic disaster referred to as the Lancashire Cotton Famine. [1] Despite the high unemployment, some Manchester cotton workers refused out of principle to process any cotton from America, leading to direct praise from President Lincoln, whose statue in Manchester bears a plaque which quotes his appreciation for the textile workers in "helping abolish slavery". [2] Top British officials debated offering to mediate in the first 18 months, which the Confederacy wanted but the United States strongly rejected.

The British elite tended to support the Confederacy, but ordinary people tended to support the Union. Large-scale trade continued between Britain and the whole of the US. The US shipped grain to Britain, and Britain sent manufactured items and munitions to the US. Immigration continued into the US, with many Britons volunteering for its army. [ quantify ] British trade with the Confederacy fell over 90% from the prewar period, with a small amount of cotton going to Britain and some munitions and luxury goods slipped in by numerous small blockade runners. They were operated and funded by British private interests. They were legal under international law and caused no dispute between the US and Britain. [3]

The Confederate strategy for securing independence was based largely on the hope of military intervention by Britain and France. That never happened because the US threatened war, which would have cut off much of Britain's food supply. A serious diplomatic dispute erupted over the "Trent Affair" in late 1861 but was resolved peacefully after five weeks.

British intervention was likely only in co-operation with France, which had an imperialistic venture underway in Mexico. By early 1863, intervention was no longer seriously considered, as Britain turned its attention elsewhere, especially toward Russia and Greece. [4] In addition, at the outbreak of the American conflict, for both the United Kingdom and France the costly and controversial Crimean War (October 1853 to February 1856) was in the still-recent past, the United Kingdom had major commitments in British India in the wake of the Great Rebellion of 1857, and France had embarked on or was considering military ventures in Morocco, China, Vietnam, North Africa, the Italian War for Independence, and an invasion of Mexico.

A long-term issue was sales of warships to the Confederacy. A British shipyard (John Laird and Sons) built two warships for the Confederacy, including the CSS Alabama, [5] over vehement protests from the US. Known as the Alabama Claims, the controversy was resolved peacefully after the Civil War when the US was awarded $15.5 million in arbitration by an international tribunal for damages caused by the warships.

The fact that British private interests operated blockade runners was not a cause of serious tension. In the end, British involvement did not significantly affect the outcome of the war. [6] The US diplomatic mission, headed by Minister Charles Francis Adams Sr., proved to be much more successful than the Confederate missions, which were never officially recognized by Britain. [7]

Major causes of the war

The tensions that caused the War of 1812 arose from the French revolutionary (1792–99) and Napoleonic Wars (1799–1815). During this nearly constant conflict between France and Britain, American interests were injured by each of the two countries’ endeavours to block the United States from trading with the other.

American shipping initially prospered from trade with the French and Spanish empires, although the British countered the U.S. claim that “free ships make free goods” with the belated enforcement of the so-called Rule of 1756 (trade not permitted in peacetime would not be allowed in wartime). The Royal Navy did enforce the act from 1793 to 1794, especially in the Caribbean Sea, before the signing of the Jay Treaty (November 19, 1794). Under the primary terms of the treaty, American maritime commerce was given trading privileges in England and the British East Indies, Britain agreed to evacuate forts still held in the Northwest Territory by June 1, 1796, and the Mississippi River was declared freely open to both countries. Although the treaty was ratified by both countries, it was highly unpopular in the United States and was one of the rallying points used by the pro-French Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, in wresting power from the pro-British Federalists, led by George Washington and John Adams.

After Jefferson became president in 1801, relations with Britain slowly deteriorated, and systematic enforcement of the Rule of 1756 resumed after 1805. Compounding this troubling development, the decisive British naval victory at the Battle of Trafalgar (October 21, 1805) and efforts by the British to blockade French ports prompted the French emperor, Napoleon, to cut off Britain from European and American trade. The Berlin Decree (November 21, 1806) established Napoleon’s Continental System, which impinged on U.S. neutral rights by designating ships that visited British ports as enemy vessels. The British responded with Orders in Council (November 11, 1807) that required neutral ships to obtain licenses at English ports before trading with France or French colonies. In turn, France announced the Milan Decree (December 17, 1807), which strengthened the Berlin Decree by authorizing the capture of any neutral vessel that had submitted to search by the British. Consequently, American ships that obeyed Britain faced capture by the French in European ports, and if they complied with Napoleon’s Continental System, they could fall prey to the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy’s use of impressment to keep its ships fully crewed also provoked Americans. The British accosted American merchant ships to seize alleged Royal Navy deserters, carrying off thousands of U.S. citizens into the British navy. In 1807 the frigate H.M.S. Leopard fired on the U.S. Navy frigate Chesapeake and seized four sailors, three of them U.S. citizens. London eventually apologized for this incident, but it came close to causing war at the time. Jefferson, however, chose to exert economic pressure against Britain and France by pushing Congress in December 1807 to pass the Embargo Act, which forbade all export shipping from U.S. ports and most imports from Britain.

The Embargo Act hurt Americans more than the British or French, however, causing many Americans to defy it. Just before Jefferson left office in 1809, Congress replaced the Embargo Act with the Non-Intercourse Act, which exclusively forbade trade with Great Britain and France. This measure also proved ineffective, and it was replaced by Macon’s Bill No. 2 (May 1, 1810) that resumed trade with all nations but stipulated that if either Britain or France dropped commercial restrictions, the United States would revive nonintercourse against the other. In August, Napoleon insinuated that he would exempt American shipping from the Berlin and Milan decrees. Although the British demonstrated that French restrictions continued, U.S. Pres. James Madison reinstated nonintercourse against Britain in November 1810, thereby moving one step closer to war.

Britain’s refusal to yield on neutral rights derived from more than the emergency of the European war. British manufacturing and shipping interests demanded that the Royal Navy promote and sustain British trade against Yankee competitors. The policy born of that attitude convinced many Americans that they were being consigned to a de facto colonial status. Britons, on the other hand, denounced American actions that effectively made the United States a participant in Napoleon’s Continental System.

Events on the U.S. northwestern frontier fostered additional friction. Indian fears over American encroachment coincidentally became conspicuous as Anglo-American tensions grew. Shawnee brothers Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (The Prophet) attracted followers arising from this discontent and attempted to form an Indian confederation to counteract American expansion. Although Maj. Gen. Isaac Brock, the British commander of Upper Canada (modern Ontario), had orders to avoid worsening American frontier problems, American settlers blamed British intrigue for heightened tensions with Indians in the Northwest Territory. As war loomed, Brock sought to augment his meagre regular and Canadian militia forces with Indian allies, which was enough to confirm the worst fears of American settlers. Brock’s efforts were aided in the fall of 1811, when Indiana territorial governor William Henry Harrison fought the Battle of Tippecanoe and destroyed the Indian settlement at Prophet’s Town (near modern Battle Ground, Indiana). Harrison’s foray convinced most Indians in the Northwest Territory that their only hope of stemming further encroachments by American settlers lay with the British. American settlers, in turn, believed that Britain’s removal from Canada would end their Indian problems. Meanwhile, Canadians suspected that American expansionists were using Indian unrest as an excuse for a war of conquest.

Under increasing pressure, Madison summoned the U.S. Congress into session in November 1811. Pro-war western and southern Republicans (War Hawks) assumed a vocal role, especially after Kentucky War Hawk Henry Clay was elected speaker of the House of Representatives. Madison sent a war message to the U.S. Congress on June 1, 1812, and signed the declaration of war on June 18, 1812. The vote seriously divided the House (79–49) and was gravely close in the Senate (19–13). Because seafaring New Englanders opposed the war, while westerners and southerners supported it, Federalists accused war advocates of expansionism under the ruse of protecting American maritime rights. Expansionism, however, was not as much a motive as was the desire to defend American honour. The United States attacked Canada because it was British, but no widespread aspiration existed to incorporate the region. The prospect of taking East and West Florida from Spain encouraged southern support for the war, but southerners, like westerners, were sensitive about the United States’s reputation in the world. Furthermore, British commercial restrictions hurt American farmers by barring their produce from Europe. Regions seemingly removed from maritime concerns held a material interest in protecting neutral shipping. “Free trade and sailors’ rights” was not an empty phrase for those Americans.

The onset of war both surprised and chagrined the British government, especially because it was preoccupied with the fight against France. In addition, political changes in Britain had already moved the government to assume a conciliatory posture toward the United States. Prime Minister Spencer Perceval’s assassination on May 11, 1812, brought to power a more moderate Tory government under Lord Liverpool. British West Indies planters had been complaining for years about the interdiction of U.S. trade, and their growing influence, along with a deepening recession in Great Britain, convinced the Liverpool ministry that the Orders in Council were averse to British interests. On June 16, two days before the United States declared war, the Orders were suspended.

Some have viewed the timing of this concession as a lost opportunity for peace because slow transatlantic communication meant a month’s delay in delivering the news to Washington. Yet, because Britain’s impressment policy remained in place and frontier Indian wars continued, in all likelihood the repeal of the Orders alone would not have prevented war.

First Barbary War

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First Barbary War, also called Tripolitan War, (1801–05), conflict between the United States and Tripoli (now in Libya), incited by American refusal to continue payment of tribute to the piratical rulers of the North African Barbary States of Algiers, Tunis, Morocco, and Tripoli. This practice had been customary among European nations and the nascent United States in exchange for immunity from attack on merchant vessels in the Mediterranean.

A demand from the pasha of Tripoli for greater tribute and his dramatic declaration of war on the United States (May 14, 1801) coincided with a decision by U.S. Pres. Thomas Jefferson’s administration to demonstrate American resolve. Despite his opposition to the expense of maintaining a navy, Jefferson dispatched an American naval squadron to Tripolitan waters. By means of a special “Mediterranean Fund,” the navy—which had been partially dismantled and was perhaps nearing extinction—actually increased in size.

During the following years, American warships fought in the waters around Tripoli, and, in 1803, when Commodore Edward Preble became commander of the Mediterranean squadron, greater successes ensued. The intrepid Preble sailed into Tangiers to rescue a number of American prisoners, and, on February 16, 1804, he ordered his young lieutenant, Stephen Decatur, to undertake the spectacular raid in which the captured U.S. frigate Philadelphia was destroyed in the harbour of Tripoli.

The combination of a strong American naval blockade and an overland expedition from Egypt finally brought the war to a close, with a treaty of peace (June 4, 1805) favourable to the United States. The other Barbary rulers, though considerably chastened, continued to receive some tribute until 1816.

To read the Spanish Declaration of War, click here.

The following letter, dated April 25, 1898 is President William McKinley's declaration of war with Spain.

The Letter:

WASHINGTON April 25, 1899.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America:

I transmit to the Congress for its consideration and appropriate action, copies of correspondence recently had with the representative of Spain in the United States, with the United States minister at Madrid, and through the latter with the Government of Spain, showing the action taken under the joint resolution approved April 20, 1898, "for the recognition of the independence of the people of Cuba, demanding that the Government of Spain relinquish its authority and Government in the island of Cuba, and to withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters, and directing the President of the United States to use the land and naval forces of the United States to carry these resolutions into effect."

Upon communicating to the Spanish minister in Washington the demand which it became the duty of the Executive to address to the Government of Spain in obedience, to said resolution, the minister asked for his passports and withdrew. The United States minister at Madrid was in turn notified by the Spanish minister for foreign affairs that the withdrawal of the Spanish representative from the United States had terminated diplomatic relations between the two countries, and that all official communications between their respective representatives ceased therewith.

I commend to your especial attention the note addressed to the United States minister at Madrid by, the Spanish minister of foreign affairs on the 21st instant, whereby the foregoing notification was conveyed. It will be perceived therefrom that the Government of Spain, having cognizance of the joint resolution of the United States Congress, and in view of the things which the President is thereby required and authorized to do, responds by treating the reasonable demands of this Government as measures of hostility, following with that instant and complete severance of relations by its action which by the usage of nations accompanies an existent state of war between sovereign powers.

The position of Spain being thus made known, and the demands of the United States being denied, with a complete rupture of intercourse, by the act of Spain, I have been constrained, in the exercise of the power conferred upon me by the joint resolution aforesaid, to proclaim, under date of April 22, 1898, a blockade of certain ports of the north coast of Cuba, between Cardenas and Bahia Honda, and the port of Cienfugos, on the south coast of Cuba, and to issue my proclamation dated April 23, 1898, calling forth volunteers.

I now recommend the adoption of a joint resolution declaring that a state of war exists between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain, that the definition of the international status of the United States as a belligerent power may be made known and the assertion of all its rights in the conduct of a public war may be assured.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, First. That war be, and the same is hereby, declared to exist, and that war has existed since the 21st day of April, A. D. 1898, including said day, between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain.

Second. That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces of the United States and to call into the actual service of the United States the militia of the several States to such extent as may be necessary to carry this act into effect.

    (1783) recognizes the independence of the United States of America
  • John Hancock
  • Henry Laurens
  • John Jay
  • Samuel Huntington
  • Thomas McKean
  • John Hanson
  • Elias Boudinot
  • Thomas Mifflin
  • Richard Henry Lee
  • John Hancock
  • Nathaniel Gorham
  • Arthur St. Clair
  • Cyrus Griffin
  • John Hancock
  • Henry Laurens
  • John Jay
  • Samuel Huntington
  • Thomas McKean
  • John Hanson
  • Elias Boudinot
  • Thomas Mifflin
  • Richard Henry Lee
  • John Hancock
  • Nathaniel Gorham
  • Arthur St. Clair
  • Cyrus Griffin

Presidents of the United States:

  • Guadeloupe
  • Peaceful cessation of Franco-American alliance
  • End of French privateer attacks on American shipping
  • American neutrality and renunciation of claims by France

Location: Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Tripoli

  • Spain cedes Spanish Florida to the United States in the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819
  • The United States forcibly relocates Seminole in northern Florida to a reservation in the center of the peninsula in the Treaty of Moultrie Creek of 1823
  • End of Native armed resistance to U.S. expansion in the Old Northwest (1832)
  • The United States purchases Potawatomi land in the Treaty of Tippecanoe (1832)
  • The United States purchases the rest of Potawatomi land west of the Mississippi River in the Treaty of Chicago (1833)
  • Out of the Texan soldiers serving from January through March 1836, 78% had arrived from the United States after October 2, 1835. [Note 1][5]
  • The Republic of Texas gains its independence.
  • Texas is annexed into the United States in 1845.

William Henry Harrison(March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841)

John Tyler (April 4, 1841 –March 4, 1845)

Zachary Taylor (March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850)

Millard Fillmore (July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853)

Franklin Pierce (March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857)

Zachary Taylor (March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850)

Millard Fillmore (July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853)

Franklin Pierce (March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857)

James Buchanan (March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861)

Abraham Lincoln (March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865)

Andrew Johnson (April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869)

Ulysses S. Grant (March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877)

Rutherford B. Hayes (March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881)

James A. Garfield (March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881)

Chester A. Arthur (September 19, 1881 – March 4, 1885)

Grover Cleveland (March 4, 1885 – March 4, 1889)

Benjamin Harrison (March 4, 1889 – March 4, 1893)

Grover Cleveland (March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1897)

William McKinley (March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901)

Theodore Roosevelt (September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909)

William Howard Taft (March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913)

Woodrow Wilson (March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921)

Warren G. Harding (March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923)

Calvin Coolidge (August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929)

James Buchanan (March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861)

  • By late 1850s, most Seminoles forced to leave their land a few hundred remain deep in the Everglades on land unwanted by white settlers

James Buchanan (March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861)

James Buchanan (March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861)

James Buchanan (March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861)

  • Resolution through negotiation replaced as governor of the territory
  • Full amnesty for charges of sedition and treason issued to the citizens of Utah Territory by President James Buchanan on the condition that they accept American Federal authority

James Buchanan (March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861)

James Buchanan (March 4, 1857 – March 4, 1861)

Abraham Lincoln (March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865)

Part of pre-Civil War conflicts

  • Dissolution of the Confederate States
  • U.S. territorial integrity preserved
  • Beginning of the Reconstruction Era
  • U.S. Federal government expands further control over land and railroad rights in the Indian Territory.

Abraham Lincoln (March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865)

Andrew Johnson (April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869)

Ulysses S. Grant (March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877)

Location: Minnesota and Dakota

Andrew Johnson (April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869)

Ulysses S. Grant (March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877)

American military victory

American diplomatic failure

  • Withdrawal of American forces
  • Korea retains isolationist policies
  • Eventual signing of the United States–Korea Treaty of 1882

Location: Texas and Mexico

Location: Montana, Dakota and Wyoming

Location: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana

Location: Texas and Mexico

Location: Arizona and Mexico

William McKinley (March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901)

Theodore Roosevelt (September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909)

William Howard Taft (March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913)

Woodrow Wilson (March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921)

  • Allies and Rebels compromise for peace Tripartite Convention
  • United States acquires American Samoa
  • United Kingdom withdraws claim in exchange for concessions in the Solomon Islands
  • Germany acquires German Samoa becomes paramount chief of Samoa

Limited Foreign Support:
Empire of Japan

Theodore Roosevelt (September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909)

Theodore Roosevelt (September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909)

William Howard Taft (March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913)

Woodrow Wilson (March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921)

Warren G. Harding (March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923)

Calvin Coolidge (August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929)

  • Permanent border wall established
  • Pancho Villa's troops no longer an effective fighting force [6]
  • Mexican Constitutionalist faction leader Venustiano Carranzarecognised as the sole leaders of the Mexican government by the United States

Woodrow Wilson (March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921)

Woodrow Wilson (March 4, 1913 – March 4, 1921)

Warren G. Harding (March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923)

Calvin Coolidge (August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929)

Herbert Hoover (March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933)

Location: Utah and Colorado

Warren G. Harding (March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923)

Calvin Coolidge (August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929)

Herbert Hoover (March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933)

Franklin D. Roosevelt (March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945)

Warren G. Harding (March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923)

Calvin Coolidge (August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929)

Location: Europe, Africa, Asia, Middle East, the Pacific Islands, and coast of North and South America

  • End of the German, Russian, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian empires
  • Formation of new countries in Europe and the Middle East
  • Transfer of German colonies and regions of the former Ottoman Empire to other powers
  • Establishment of the League of Nations

Location: Russia, Mongolia, and Iran

  • Collapse of the Third Reich
  • Fall of Japanese and Italian Empires
  • Creation of the United Nations
  • Emergence of the United States and the Soviet Union as superpowers
  • Beginning of the Cold War

Franklin D. Roosevelt (March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945)

Harry S. Truman (April 12, 1945 –January 20, 1953)

  • Occupation of Hopeh and Shantung provinces
  • Japanese and Koreans repatriated
  • American and other foreign nationals evacuated

Dwight D. Eisenhower (January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961)

Location: Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos

  • Withdrawal of American forces from Indochina
  • Dissolution of the Republic of Vietnam
  • Communist governments take power in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia[7]

John F. Kennedy (January 20, 1961 –November 22, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson (November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969)

Richard Nixon (January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974)

Gerald Ford (August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977)

Part of the Korean conflict and the Cold War

Richard Nixon (January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974)

  • Brazil
  • Paraguay
  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Honduras
  • Fall of the Bosch regime elected as the new president
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sudan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Libya
  • South Yemen
  • Multinational forces fail to prevent collapse of Lebanese Army into Syrian- or Israeli- supported militias [8][9]
  • Multinational forces evacuated after the US embassy and US Marine barracks are bombed by the Islamic Jihad Organization
  • Multinational forces oversee withdrawal of Palestine Liberation Organization continues until 1990
  • President Hafez al-Assad continues his occupation of Lebanon until his son and later president Bashar al-Assad orders a withdrawal from the country

Ronald Reagan (January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989)

  • Military dictatorship of Hudson Austin deposed
  • Defeat of Cuban military presence
  • Restoration of constitutional government

George H. W. Bush (January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993)

Bill Clinton (January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001)

George W. Bush (January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009)

  • Failure to capture SNA leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid specific Aidid lieutenants captured
  • Withdrawal of U.S. forces 5 months after losses in the Battle of Mogadishu
  • The UN mandate saved close to 100,000 lives, before and after U.S. withdrawal is ongoing

Bill Clinton(January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001)

  • Ceasefire reached through Kumanovo Agreement of June 1999. after Russian and Finnish envoys visit Belgrade
  • Yugoslav forces pull out of Kosovo
  • UN Resolution 1244 confirming Kosovo as de jure part of FRY
  • De facto separation of Kosovo from FR Yugoslavia under UN administration
  • Return of Albanian refugees after attempted ethnic cleansing of Albanians
  • KLA veterans join the UÇPMB, starting the Preševo insurgency
  • Around 200,000 Serbs, Romani, and other non-Albanians fleeing Kosovo and many of the remaining civilians becoming victims of abuse
  • Three Chinese journalists were killed in United States bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade
  1. ^ Advisory role from the forming of the MAAG in Vietnam to the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
  2. ^ Direct U.S. involvement ended in 1973 with the Paris Peace Accords. The Paris Peace Accords of January 1973 saw all U.S forces withdrawn the Case–Church Amendment, passed by the U.S Congress on 15 August 1973, officially ended direct U.S military involvement .
  3. ^ The war reignited on December 13, 1974 with offensive operations by North Vietnam, leading to victory over South Vietnam in under two months.

Taliban splinter groups

    (2001) (2001)
  • Destruction of al-Qaeda and Taliban militant training camps (2001)
  • Fall of the Taliban government (2001)
  • Establishment of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan under the Karzai administration
  • Start of Taliban insurgency in May 2011
  • Death of Mohammed Omar in July 2013
  • Over two-thirds of Al-Qaeda's operatives killed or captured (ISAF) disbanded in December 2014
  • Commencement of Resolute Support Mission in December 2014
  • All US troops to withdraw by September 11, 2021

Barack Obama (January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017)

Donald Trump (January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021)

Joe Biden (January 20, 2021 –Incumbent)

    and occupation of Iraq
  • Overthrow of Ba'ath Party government
  • Emergence of significant insurgency, rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and severe sectarian violence[16]
  • Subsequent reduction in violence and depletion of al-Qaeda in Iraq [17][18]
  • Establishment of democratic elections and formation of new Shia-led government of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011
  • Stronger Iranian influence in Iraq [19] [dubious – discuss] [20][21][22] leading to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the successor of al-Qaeda in Iraq [23][24]

Barack Obama (January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017)

Barack Obama (January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017)

Donald Trump (January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021)

Joe Biden (January 20, 2021 –Incumbent)

  • Number of pirate attacks dramatically decreased
  • The US Office of Naval Intelligence have officially reported that in 2013, only 9 incidents of piracy were reported and that none of them were successfully hijacked [citation needed]
  • Piracy drops 90% [27]
  • Overthrow of the Gaddafi government and the killing of Muammar Gaddafi
  • Assumption of interim control by National Transitional Council (NTC) of NTC as sole governing authority for Libya by 105 countries, UN, EU, AL and AU leading to the second civil war in 2014 [28]
  • Founder and leader of the LRA Joseph Kony goes into hiding
  • Senior LRA commander Dominic Ongwen surrenders to American forces in the Central African Republic and is tried at the Hague[7][8]
  • Majority of LRA installations and encampments located in South Sudan and Uganda abandoned and dismantled
  • Small scale LRA activity continues in eastern DR Congo, and the Central African Republic

Donald Trump (January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021)

Joe Biden (January 20, 2021 –Incumbent)

  • Tens of thousands of ISIL fighters killed
  • American-led forces launch over 13,300 airstrikes on ISIL positions in Iraq
  • Heavy damage dealt to ISIL forces, ISIL loses 40% of its territory in Iraq by January 2016, and all of its territory in Iraq in December 2017
  • Multinational humanitarian and arming of ground forces efforts
  • 200 ISIL created mass graves found containing up to 12,000 people [29]
  • Ongoing US-led Coalition advising and training of Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces
  • US maintains limited military presence in Iraq

Donald Trump (January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2021)

Joe Biden (January 20, 2021 –Incumbent)

Israel (limited involvement against Hezbollah and government forces only)

The United States and the United Kingdom fought each other in the American Revolution and again in the War of 1812. During the Civil War, the British were thought to have sympathies for the South, but this did not lead to a military conflict. In World War I, the U.S. and the U.K. fought together, and in World War II the United States entered the European portion of the conflict to defend the United Kingdom and other European allies. The two countries were also strong allies during the Cold War and the first Gulf War. The United Kingdom was the only top world power to support the United States in the Iraq War.

The American-British relationship has been marked by close friendships and working alliances between top leaders. These include the links between Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan, and Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George Bush.

Act Declaring War Between The United States Of America And The Kingdom Of Spain [1898] - History

The 1763 Treaty of Paris, which marked the end of the “French and Indian Wars”, excluded France from further expansion.

Spain claimed the Western regions of the continent, but was forced to give up Florida. All the territory from the Atlantic to the Mississippi was now under British rule.

Declaration of Independence

On July 4, 1776, the American colonies declared their independence from British rule. Thomas Jefferson drafted the document, which was ratified by the Continental Congress.

Benjamin Franklin (first U.S. Ambassador to France), John Adams and John Jay represented the United States at the treaty signing. David Hartley represented King George III.

In the second Treaty of Paris in 1783, the United Kingdom recognized the 13 colonies as «Free and sovereign States» and ceded all its territories as far as the Mississippi River.

Unresolved disputes between the colonies and the British crown, including tax revolts, erupted into armed conflict in 1775.

By 1778 France provided financial and military aid to the Continental Army, leading to British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia in 1779. Battles continued, however, until 1783.

George Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and one of the Founding Fathers of the new nation. In 1789 he became the first president of the United States.

For additional information please refer to the animated map "The War of Independence" in our series The United States : a territorial history.

The Ordinance of 1787 established that the Northwest Territories would be placed under the authority of the Federal Government and that, when the population of any one state reached 60,000, a convention would be elected to draft its Constitution and to submit its request to become a new State of the Union. It included protection of civil rights and banned slavery in those territories.

This Ordinance, with modifications in 1789, while declaring respect for Indian lands and rights, lead to territorial expansion that would eventually extend to the Pacific coast. The slavery issue south of the Northwest Territories became increasingly contentious in the political balance of power as new states petitioned to enter the Union.

For additional information please refer to the animated map "Admission of New States and the Slavery Issue" in our series The United States : a territorial history.

The first census conducted in the United States reported an approximate 4 million residents.

In 1803, Jefferson negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with France. This covered the area around New Orleans that was already inhabited and the largely unexplored lands to the west of the Mississippi. With this acquisition, the United States doubled in size.

In 1818, a treaty with United Kingdom established a new frontier as far as the Rocky Mountains along the 49th parallel and provided for shared control over the Oregon Territory.

The Adams-Onis Treaty was negotiated with Spain in 1819. The United States acquired Florida and the boundary with Spanish territory was re-defined from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean.

For additional information please refer to the animated map "Westward Expansion" in our series The United States : a territorial history.

The request for statehood by the slaveholding Missouri territory ignited yet another power-struggle in Congress.

After much debate the petition for Maine statehood became part of a compromise that set a precedent for a balance of power, pairing the admission of slave and free states.

In 1821, Mexican Independence marked the end of the Spanish presence in North America.

In 1823, President Monroe called on the European powers to withdraw from the American continent. The Monroe Doctrine warned against any interference or colonization in the New World.

In 1830, as pioneers gradually moved westward, Congress voted a law authorizing the purchase of Indian land and the "voluntary" deportation of Indian tribes to ‘reserves’ west of the Mississippi.

For additional information please refer to the animated map "The Indian Removal Program" in our series The United States : a territorial history.

Beginning in 1835 Texan colonists fought against the Mexican government for their independence.

The Battle of the Alamo in 1836 resulted in a crushing defeat by the superior forces of Mexican General Santa Anna, fueling a desire for revenge and the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo.”

The war ended with the defeat of the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1936 and the creation of the Republic of Texas.

For additional information please refer to the animated map "Texan Independence" in our series The United States : a territorial history.

Towards the mid-19th century, the ideology of ‘Manifest Destiny’ provided a justification for further territorial expansion, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

In 1845 an influential newspaper columnist John O’Sullivan had coined the term in an article supporting the annexation of Texas and Oregon Country.

An agreement was reached with the United Kingdom in 1846 that extended the northern border of the Oregon Territory along 49th parallel, westward to the Pacific Ocean.

For additional information please refer to the animated map "The Northern Frontier and the Oregon Territory" in our series The United States : a territorial history.

The U.S. annexation of Texas in 1845 triggered war with Mexico, who claimed Texan territory.

In 1848 the Guadalupe Hidalgo Peace Treaty added huge territories in New Mexico and California to the United States, with the Rio Grande as the negotiated boundary.

For additional information please refer to the animated map "Westward Expansion" in our series The United States : a territorial history.

The last minor acquisition from Mexico was the Gadsden Purchase, which incorporated the southern part of New Mexico in 1853.

In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Agreement stated that the inhabitants of new territories were free to choose or reject slavery. Bloody riots between partisans and opponents of slavery in Kansas showed that tensions were increasing and led to delays in the admission of this territory.

The American Civil War pitted the south against the north over the issue of slavery.

Southern slave states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy.

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, declaring that “all persons held as slaves are and henceforward shall be free.”

After 4 years of bloody war, the Confederate Army surrendered, and a difficult period of reconstruction began.

Immigration and the “melting pot”

New immigrants arrived primarily from western Europe – Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia – but also later from Russia and eastern Europe.

The majority settled in the large cities on the east coast: New York, Boston with others making their way to the Midwest for farming and industry.

For additional information please refer to the animated map "Immigration and the melting pot" in our series The United States : a territorial history.

The Spanish-American War resulted from United States intervention in Cuba’s struggle for independence from Spain.

At the peace negotiations that same year, Spain withdrew from the Western Hemisphere, giving up Cuba and Puerto Rico. The United States also gained control over Guam and the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean.

The United States emerged as a world power and, with its acquired territories in Carabian and the Pacific Ocean, increased its strategic influence in international affairs.

As of 1960 the multi-cultural United States population reached almost 180 million.

World at War- Adulthood for the First Empire 1915-30

1914- After the heir to the Austrian throne is assassinated, tensions in Europe simmer to the boiling point, resulting in World War I. Hearst declares U.S neutrality in order to focus on problems closer to home. Mexican aggression is becoming increasingly dangerous. Many U.S businesses in Mexico are subject to high taxes, and often violence. Some businesses are even nationalized by the Zapata government. Tension with Mexico increases due to the "yellow journalism" of Hearst controlled newspapers, since Hearst's personal property in Northern Mexico was seized by the Zapata government. Hearst prepares to deal with Mexico militarily if necessary, expanding the U.S navy while spreading inflammatory rhetoric about Mexicans.

1915- After a military dictator takes control in Haiti, Hearst sends in the Marines. The marines overthrow him and occupy the country. Mexico feels threatened by this military move and declares war on the U.S after Mexican ships are attacked in the Alabama affair. Accepting a treaty of alliance with Germany, Mexican soldiers cross the Rio Grande on October 12th. Soon, German submarines begin attacking American shipping. Congress declares war on both of these nations. Hearst sends troops under the command of Lieutenant General John Pershing into Texas, crushing the invading forces at the Battle of Corpus Christi. Pershing heads south, capturing the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sonora, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon. Meanwhile, American troops occupy Veracruz, and attack the Yucatan. However, the Germans lead a surprise assault on Miami, and land a relief squad in Mexico. These attacks, and the workings of German diplomats, lead to another revolution in Guatemala. The revolutionaries join the war, allying themselves with Mexico to prevent total American encirclement. Colombia, taking advantage of the distractions, lands troops in Panama, attempting to take over its former territory and the recently completed canal. It is defeated at the battle of Panama City. With limited German attacks on American holdings in the Caribbean, and uprisings in Nicaragua and Honduras, soon all of Central America is engaged in war. This leads to the solidification of Anglo-American relations, with Britain allowing the United States access to its bases in Belize and the Caribbean.

1916- As battles rage across Mexico and Central America, British and American troops repel Guatemalan raids, and in early February, invade the country. The takeover is complete by April. Also in February Pershing captures Monterrey and Durango, and Baja falls in March. The war is proceeding well for the United States, but a German-backed coup in the Dominican Republic leads the U.S diverting troops there to prevent German occupation. German interference in the Americas and British pressure, leads Hearst to deploy troops to Europe to aid British and French troops despite his reluctance to commit to the Entente. Eventually, this and the German navy's defeat at the Battle of Barbados leads to the Germans withdrawing nearly entirely from the Americas. American troops continue to press into Mexico and Columbia, despite heavy guerrilla resistance across Central America. The military begins to feel overextended. Mexico City falls in late October, but it comes too late for Hearst, for the long war has cost his reelection, losing to Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.

1917- Unlike Hearst, President Lodge supports a strong alliance with Britain and France. Lodge is also an imperialist who envisions an American Empire stretching across all of the Caribbean and Central America. During his presidency, several nations are annexed, and the U.S truly becomes an American Empire. Guatemala is the first, shortly annexed after his inauguration. While fighting against Mexican resistance soldiers, Lodge orders an invasion of Colombia, and the United States slowly proceeds south to Bogota. As the navy sinks German ships in the Atlantic, Lodge steps up the pressure on Germany by sending a significantly more troops to France. And slowly but surely, the Central Powers are being squeezed. Bogota falls in August, and the remaining sections of the Mexican army fall at Nayarit the next month. Lodge builds military bases across the newly conquered lands, and further solidifies American holdings.

1918- As the allies slowly converge on Germany, on August 9th, the Kaiser calls for a ceasefire. With the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires collapsing, the Kaiser is deposed. A ceasefire is agreed upon on August 12th. American troops are called home to manage Central America. The region is stabilizing, so Lodge begins withdrawing troops from the area, though several thousand troops remain. Mexico is annexed. Pancho Villa leads a rebellion against occupying American forces that becomes a pain to manage.

1919- The Allies negotiate and sign the Treaty of Versailles with Germany. The treaty imposes harsh terms on Germany, splitting much of its territories to the allies. Due to Lodge's imperialist ambitions, Secretary of State Charles Fairbanks secures British backed mandates for Armenia and the Hejaz. Armenia is placed under direct administration, while the Hejaz is established as a puppet state under the Emir of Mecca. No American troops enter the Holy City. Soon, Allied troops stationed in the Caucasus aid White Russian troops in the Russian civil war. Border disputes with Azerbaijan leads to Azerbaijan being assimilated into American Armenia. Soon, White Russian troops use it as a base against the Socialist government. Eventually, the Treaty of Stockholm leads to a power sharing deal between the Socialist revolutionaries and the Conservatives, ending the war, and creating a temporary peace.

1920- In the Treaty of Montreal, Britain cedes its remaining territories in the Caribbean to the U.S. The U.S congress annexes British Honduras, Jamaica, Guyana, the Bahamas, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands. It also formalizes the Anglo-American alliance, stating that both sides will aid each other in times of war. The United States agrees to forgive some British war debts in exchange for the territory. In Asia, Allied forces partition Anatolia, with American Armenia gaining a coast on the Black Sea, and Greece receiving Istanbul and much of Turkey. Italy, France and Britain gain territories in Southern Anatolia. In Mexico, Pancho Villa is captured, heavily damaging the Mexican rebellion.

1921-29- The Roaring Twenties- A time of great prosperity for the U.S, reaping the harvests from its colonial empire.

1921- The Dominican Republic is annexed, along with Columbia. Meanwhile, the Republic of Georgia invades Armenia over a border dispute. American troops stationed there invade and conquer Georgia, which brings them into tension with Russia. Lodge signs a treaty with Greece allowing easier access to Armenia, and allying itself with Greece. Britain also aids U.S efforts in the Caucasus.

1922- Haiti is annexed by the U.S. and American troops stationed in the Hejaz repel Ghazi holy warriors with British help. France, seeking to repay war debts, cedes the island of Martinique to the U.S.

1923- Nicaragua is annexed by the U.S.

1924- Costa Rica, surrounded by the U.S and its territories, applies to become an American protectorate. In the treaty of Panama City, Costa Rica allows free access to the Americans, but retains sovereignty. Later this year, General Leonard Wood is elected President over Al Smith. Honduras is annexed. More Ghazi warriors are repelled.

1925- Workers in Panama strike, leading to a small revolution. This revolt is crushed by the U.S with little effort.

1926- An anti-American military government takes power in Ecuador. Fearing an invasion of Colombia, or the government otherwise threatening U.S interests, the U.S army crushes the Ecuadorian army, and Wood orders occupation of the nation. Imperialists who have been clamoring for expansion southward gain more support. Wood does not extend the occupation, but does not appear averse to the Imperialists within his party.

1927- More Ghazi warriors attempting to take Mecca are killed with British aid. Leonard Wood dies, resulting in Charles Dawes becoming president. Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett become the first pilots to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

Act Declaring War Between The United States Of America And The Kingdom Of Spain [1898] - History

The United States of America has been labeled as a young nation, given its actual beginning in the year 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed. In reality, the journey these United States have been going through begins before 1776.

Native Americans were the first inhabitants of this rich land. They are believed to have come over from the Eurasian continent by way of the area we know today as Alaska and Canada.

It is easy to follow the chronological timeline of the United States. Its history often begins with Leif Ericson, who is believed to have travelled to this land in the year 1000. Then by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the pilgrims in the 16th century, later followed by other European nations such as Spain, Portugal, and Britain.

As we fast-forward through the years, the role of this young nation is evident in every part of the world. There is not one part of the world that has not been touched by the influence of the United States of America.

Brief Overview

The story of the United States begins with the thirteen colonies which by the late 18th century had 2.5 million people. In its struggle towards independence, the Declaration of Independence led to the American Revolution in 1776. Between the Revolution against Britain and the American Civil War in 1861, the young nation went through a myriad of storms, politically and socially, in addition to the significant progress it went through. Slavery of Africans was already an issue early in those days, which perhaps contributed to the formation of the Confederate States of America, leading to the Civil War. As the war broke out, lines were drawn on the sands of these United States.

The Civil War was followed by the reconstruction era in which a change in the overall atmosphere brought in a change that comes with growth. Slavery ended, states that broke off from the union were readmitted, and the national government grew stronger. All 48 contiguous states had been admitted in 1912, Alaska and Hawaii were added later in the mid 20th century.

Between the 1890s through the 1920s, the progressives ushered in a different tone. People were getting tired with the corruption, waste, and the practice of old politics. The movement saw the advancement of women’s suffrage and the prohibition of alcohol added to the constitution.

When World War I broke out in 1914, the United States had maintained its neutrality under Woodrow Wilson. Wilson tried to keep the U.S. out of the war, but then in 1917 relented and declared war against Germany.

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 came after a decade of prosperous living, the years that followed marked a world wide Great Depression that lasted for ten years. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and other politicians presented the people a form of relief in what was called the New Deal. This brought in various types of programs that included relief, recovery, and reform. Unfortunately, all this did was realign the political landscape that produced the Democratic Party, big political machines in the major cities, so-called intellectuals, and the white south.

December 8, 1941, “A day that will live in infamy…” These words spoken by FDR marked the entry of the United States into its Second World War in less than 25 years. The Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on that date led to the first use of the atomic bomb. This also marked the defeat of Nazi Germany under the Allied Forces.

The Cold War was born immediately after World War II. Even though there was a brief period of rest for the US during those years following World War II, by 1950, the United States found itself embroiled in the Korean War, 1959 saw the total involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. Both wars have been described as “proxy wars” wherein a third party is used in a war.

The cold War ended in 1991, but a different kind of War ensued in the decades that followed, the War on Terror. The story of the United States is still being written, and the rest of the world continues to watch with great anticipation.

The First Explorer

Leif Ericson is regarded as the very first European to have landed in North America in AD 1000. He was the son of Erik Thorvaldsson who most people know as Erik the Red. Leif Ericson came to North America five hundred years before Christopher Columbus.

Leif was initially going for Greenland but wound up landing in what is now North America. He was following the trail blazed by his father Erik the Red to bring Christianity to the people they encounter during their voyages.

Colonial Years – Old World meets the New World 15th-16th Century

The existence of the New World, the Americas remained a mystery to most of Europe until the 15th century. Many European countries were in search for a northwest passage to reach East Asia instead of the long silk route or Silk Road.

Christopher Columbus, originally from Italy, in 1485 attempted to raise the funds required for his expedition to King John II of Portugal. He was rejected. It was not until he had a face to face with the monarchs of Spain, and through the help of Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II did Columbus receive the funds to prepare for the voyage.

In 1492, Columbus went on the 1st of four voyages to the new world, all of them supported by the Spanish crown. He departed commanding three galleons, the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. He had reached what is now the United States during his second voyage arriving in Puerto Rico in 1493. John Cabot, a fellow Italian, received his financing for his voyages from the British monarchy in 1497 explored portions of the east Coast of North America.

French, Spanish and Dutch Colonization

These were followed by expeditions by other European countries hoping to colonize other parts of the New World. Spain sent expeditions beginning in the Appalachian Mountains all the way west to the Grand Canyon. Hernando De Soto and Francisco Vazquez de Coronado explored the rest of the land in 1540. Coronado recruited native Mexican Americans to help in the exploration of the new world reaching the Arizona-Mexican border. St. Augustine in Florida had the first permanent settlement on the continent. Other Spanish settlements spread throughout the new frontier, these included places like present day Albuquerque, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Fe, San Francisco, and even Tucson in Arizona.

Entering the 17th century, the Dutch claimed the territory that was found along the Hudson River Valley. France colonized much of North America between 1534 through 1763. Most of the French settlers made Quebec their home early on. Their main means of commerce was fur trading with Indian tribes who in turn became their allies against the British. France’s territories were divided into five colonies, Acadia (part of present day Quebec), Canada, Hudson Bay, Louisiana, and Newfoundland.

Colonization by Britain

A little known fact about colonial America is that half of European immigrants, who came, arrived as what was called “indentured servants.” What this means is that a person is contracted to work over a period of time determined by the employer, often in an unskilled capacity. The “servant” in turn receives food, lodging, clothing, and if necessary, transportation during their period of service. No wages are paid to them. These often are men and women under 21 years of age.

In the year 1607, Jamestown, Virginia is where the English first established a colony, mainly a colony composed of businessmen and their families. Perhaps the most famous story ever told about the colonization of America is that of the pilgrims and the mayflower. The pilgrims were composed of dissenters and separatists from England, all one hundred and two passengers reached Plymouth harbor in 1620. Their original destination of the mayflower, the ship they were riding on, was the Hudson River at that time was part of the Virginia colony.

Landmark events during British Colonization

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1628 – English settlement established on the North American east coast in what is today Boston and Salem. The colony was financed by the Massachusetts Bay Company.

King Philip’s War, 1675-1676 – Conflict using weapons between Native American Indians and the English colonists and their allies. The opposing side was led by Metacomet, to whom the English gave the name King Philip.

Yamasee War, 1715-1717 – Attempt by Native American tribes to destroy the English settlers in South Carolina. The tribes included Apalachee, Apalachicola, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and the Yamasee, just to name a few.

The Great Awakening, 1730s through 1740s – A religious revival that spanned across the Atlantic ocean that touched British America and protestant Europe. Preacher Jonathan Edwards gave the message to listeners their need for salvation through Jesus Christ. The Great Awakening allowed the people to personalize their faith, not through ceremony and rituals.

French and Indian War, 1754-1763 – also known as the Seven Years War. This was a conflict in North America between France and Great Britain.

Boston Massacre, March 1770 – An event caused by the death of five colonial civilians by the firing of the muskets by British soldiers. It has also been referred to as the Boston Riot, and believed to have been a precursor to the American Revolutionary War.

Boston Tea Party, 1773 – Action taken against the East India Company and the British government by colonists in Massachusetts. Three ships in the Boston harbor were boarded by colonists to dump the tea the ships were transporting into the harbor.

American Revolution 1775–1783 & Declaration of Independence

The year 1775 saw the rebellion of the thirteen colonies against British rule. The United States was able to overcome the British forces through the help of France and Spain. The continental congress made the Declaration of Independence signed on July 4, 1776. This became the rallying cry for the newly formed United States against the British government. The declaration and signing took place in Philadelphia. The ideals of this new nation were based on liberal enlightenment ideas and republican doctrine. Both ideals are dependent on one another. The liberal enlightenment is described by what the 3rd President of the United States and a principal drafter of the declaration, Thomas Jefferson, as “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Republicanism reflects these values written on the declaration stressing liberty and inalienable rights at the very core of this belief. This belief basically states that the people are sovereign, requiring civic duty, opposed elitism, and apprehensive towards corruption. They did not recognize the rule of kings based on heritage.

People have tried to identify who actually formed the words written in the declaration of independence Thomas Jefferson explained in 1825 that the declaration did not contain anything original attributed to one man. Everything written on the document, include sentiments by those who supported the American Revolt. There were fifty-six signers on the Declaration of Independence.

Post Revolutionary War

The American Revolutionary War ended in 1783. Immediately thereafter, a time of prosperity took place. The new national government addressed matters such as the western territories which eventually became US territories and became states beginning in 1791.

George Washington became the first president of the United States in 1789 under a new constitution. He ran for president as an independent. 1791 was the year that the United States Bill of Rights came into effect. There had been many accomplishments that took place under the leadership of George Washington. Under Washington, the establishment of a stable national government became a priority this included the creation of the Bank of the United States which eventually helped the financial system. The inception of a tax system was introduced the system also addressed tariffs for imports and other debts owed by the states.

It was also during Washington’s time as president that a new political party was established, the Federalist Party, also known as the first American political party. Federalists supported a fiscally sound and nationalistic type of government.

In 1794, the Jay Treaty was reached in which the United States, represented by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, restored civil relations with the British. Jefferson supporters did not agree with this move which led to voters giving their allegiance for one party or the other, creating the First Party System. Even though the treaty was signed, the birth of heated politics became prevalent.

Significant events and milestones after the American Revolution

Fugitive Slave Act, 1793 – Meant to protect property, in which slaves were considered. Any man who captures or harms or even kills a slave will have to repay damages done to the slave.

Whiskey Rebellion, 1794 – Protest against federal taxes by settlers in several Pennsylvania counties located in the Allegheny Mountains

Alien and Sedition Acts, 1798 – Bills passed in 1798 by Federalists in an undeclared war with France.

Quasi-War, 1798 – 1800 – Undeclared war between France and the United States fought in the high seas. Also known as Franco-American War and The Pirates War.

Louisiana Purchase, 1803 – The United States acquired Louisiana from France, who had a claim on the territory. The US paid $11,250,000 in addition to cancelling $3,750,000 in debt by France.

Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, 1807 – When a British warship, the HMS Leopard attacked an American vessel, the Chesapeake in which three men died and eighteen people injured.

War of 1812, Conflict between the British Empire which included parts of present day Canada, and the USA.

Hartford Convention, December 1814 – January 1815 – Event marking the opposition of New England states against the War of 1812. The states had threatened to secede from the United States.

Battle of New Orleans, 1815 – Culmination of the War of 1812. Major General Andrew Jackson led American forces to defeat the British army who invaded trying to gain hold of New Orleans. Numerous Native Americans lost their lives during this battle they had allied themselves with the British.

Missouri Compromise, 1820 – This agreement was made to regulate slavery in western territories. Involved in the agreement were anti-slavery and pro-slavery camps.

Monroe Doctrine, 1823 – Introduced by President James Monroe, this is a policy issued by the United States warning other European countries from making further attempts to try and colonize or interfere with American states. Such attempts would be seen as an act of aggression. It is said that the words implied the Western Hemisphere.

Indian Removal Act, 1830 – Act signed by President Andrew Jackson leading to the moving of thousands of American Indians to the western states.

Texas Statehood, 1845 – The Republic of Texas becomes the 28th state of the United States of America this led to Mexican-American in 1846.

Mexican-American War, 1846 – 1848 – A result of the annexation of Texas to the United States in 1845. Consequence of the war was Mexico giving up Alta California and New Mexico for $18 million dollars. Alta California was made up of what are today, California, western Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and southwestern Wyoming.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 1848 – Treaty for peace as dictated by the United States after the surrender of Mexico.

Civil War 1849-1865

The 19th century was supposed to be a time of reconciliation for the young United States of America. They were supposed to iron out their differences in their approaches towards government, economics, societal matters, and slavery. Soon after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the confederate states of America had been formed. These were composed of eleven southern states. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas had seceded before President Lincoln took the oath of office in 1861. Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia followed soon and declared their secession from the union after confederate soldiers attacked South Carolina’s Fort Sumter in April of 1861.

After the attack on the fort, Lincoln ordered union soldiers from the different states to protect the capital, recapture the forts, and “preserve the Union.” The war was fought in two seats of war, or theater, the eastern and the western. Virginia and West Virginia led by General Robert E. Lee, representing the Confederates, fought against the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania battled in the eastern theater wherein the Union experienced defeat early during the campaign.

Battles of the Civil War

First Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861 – The confederates called this the First Battle of Manassas it was the first land battle of major proportions in the Civil War. The battle took place on July 1861 near the city of Manassas in Prince William County, Virginia.

Peninsular Campaign, March-July 1862 – The Unions first large scale offensive in the Eastern theater which was commanded by George B. McClellan. The operation involved 121,500 men, 15,000 horses, 1,150 wagons, 44 artillery batteries and tons of supplies and equipment.

Second Battle of Bull Run, August 1862 – There were 62,000 Union soldiers when the battle started, 10,000 were killed and wounded. The Confederate had 50,000 out of whom 1,300 were killed and 7,000 wounded.

Battle of Antietam, September 1862 – This battle was fought near Sharpsburg, Maryland and the Antietam Creek. It is considered the bloodiest one day battle of the Civil War there were 23,000 casualties from both sides.

Battle of Perryville, October 1862 – This battle took place in Chaplin Hills which is west of Perryville, Kentucky. It has also been called as the Battle of Chaplin Hills.

Battle of Fredericksburg, December 11-15, 1862 – Fought in Fredericksburg, Virginia between the forces of General Robert E. Lee’s North Virginia Confederate Army and Major General Ambrose E. Burnside’s Union Army of the Potomac. There were 12,653 casualties with 1,284 killed on the Union side the Confederate army had lost 5,377, 608 killed.

Battle of Chancellorsville, April-May 1863 – A major battle in the Civil War that took place in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. Despite a Confederate victory, it was dampened by the loss of Lt. General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, General Lee’s right hand man.

Siege of Vicksburg, May-July 1863 – Army of the Tennessee led by Ulysses S. Grant drives Lt. General John Pemberton and his confederate forces back to their defensive lines in Vicksburg, Virginia.

Battle of Gettysburg, July 1863 – Fought in and around the town of Gettysburg, Virginia, this battle had claimed the most number of casualties during the Civil War. An approximate total of
165,620 Americans fought at this battle over a three day period. There were a total of 7,863 that were killed.

Battle of the Wilderness, May 1864 – The battle pitted Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. This was literally a battle of wits, one general trying to outsmart the other. Estimates say casualty estimates reach 30,000 from both sides.

Battle of Spotsylvania, May 1864 – Part of the Overland Campaign, the battle represented another example of the fierceness of the Civil War. Total casualties numbered at 32,000. Again, General Lee had the upper-hand during the skirmishes.

Appomattox Campaign, March-April 1865 – Described as an array of battles in Virginia that were fought between the end of March 1865 and early April 1865. It is seen as the campaign that led to the eventual surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia and thus leading to the end of the civil war.

The Civil War not only cost money, but more than anything, it cost lives. This was the deadliest war in the history of the United States. Eight percent of white males between the ages of 13 and 43 was said to have died in the war in addition, eighteen percent in the south and about six percent in the North of males died.


In the years that followed the Civil War, a period of reconstruction took place. Among the changes that took place was the expansion of civil rights for black Americans through the passing of the “Reconstruction Amendments.” Significant among the amendments passed were the 13th (outlawed slavery), 14th (gave citizenship for all people either born or naturalized on U.S. territory), and 15th (gave men the right to vote no matter what their race is) amendments.

In response to the new amendments in reconstruction, a group of people opposed to the advancement of black civil rights formed a group to show their opposition, the KKK, better known as the Ku Klux Klan. The reconstruction era allowed the south to be governed by the military and corruption.

Gilded Age of Mark Twain

Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain called the years that ended the 19th century and post civil war years as the “Gilded Age.” This was a time when the population grew and economics boomed in the United States. In 1890, production and earnings by Americans exceeded those of their counterparts in other countries. This was also a time wherein immigrants from Europe were allowed in to make up the workforce needed, thus creating a diversity that has been a trademark of the American culture. Twenty-two million people migrated to the United States between 1880 through 1914.

The years that followed saw the introduction of the labor movement. The rise in prominence of industrial leaders such as John D. Rockefeller in the oil industry and Andrew Carnegie in the steel industry became evident.

Economics was not the only area the United States was being transformed. This period is also recognized as the “progressive era.” A time wherein social reform and activism dominated the political landscape. This was a time wherein prohibition became the governments scourge, a time where women’s suffrage became the most discussed topic in the halls of government. Anti-trust laws, regulation of various industries, and the addition four new amendments to the constitution were topics discussed at the local barber shop.

The women’s movement had its beginnings as early as 1848, but did not get enough steam until after the civil war. Among its earliest leaders included Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, and Lucretia Mott. The declaration of sentiments was instrumental in pushing the “first-wave of feminism” in the limelight. Most western states had given women full voting rights toward the end of the 19th century in addition to other legal matters which included property and custody of children. By 1912, the movement had grown which brought it once again into the national spotlight leading to the drafting of the 19th amendment which was ratified in august 1920 the amendment prohibits “any citizen of the united states to be denied the right to vote based on sex.”


With its domestic scene growing economically and socially, expansion was next on the agenda for America late in the 19th century and into the early 20th century. The Spanish-American war was the main event when it came to symbolizing American imperialism. The Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico had been acquired by the United States during the Treaty of Paris. There were those in the halls of congress that opposed America’s step towards imperialism. America staved off attempts of Filipino nationalists in 1902 in a war that began in 1898, this was known as the Philippine-American War. Eventually, the Americans lost interest in these pacific islands in 1908, their attention was diverted to places closer to home, the Caribbean, specifically the Panama Canal.

World War I

America maintained a position of neutrality while World War I raged in Europe. The entry of the United States of America into 1st World War did not take place until 1917 when a disagreement emerged with Germany regarding the use of submarines. The entry of the United States into this war led to the creation of the selected services act in which nearly three million men had been drafted. This enabled the United States to send ten thousand soldiers daily to the battlefront in France.

Towards the end of the First World War, the United States gained stature militarily and economically. They were recognized as a world power. The United States did not acquiesce to signing the Treaty of Versailles, and in doing so earned the reputation of being isolationists. The revolution in Russia sent shockwaves throughout America, the fear of communism became real to people of the United States and what it would do to their way of life.

The 1920s was perhaps the most decadent period in the history of the United States, rivaled only later by the 1960s. This was a period whose ripple effects can still be felt to this day. A period wherein prohibition was the topic of conversation the reformation of the KKK in which up to four million members were counted by the year 1924 the Immigration Act of 1924 was passed, this act limited the number of people who would be admitted as immigrants and the birth of the Jazz age gave the youth of that decade something to talk about.

Despite a “roaring” start to the 1920s, the United States was not able to sustain the roar. By October of 1929, the stock market crashed. A worldwide depression ensued leading to what is known as the Great Depression. Between 1929 and 1933, nearly 25 percent unemployment was experienced in the United States. Nearly every industry, especially in manufacturing, had reached a point where in their output had been reduced to one-third.

As in previous challenges, the Americans would not let something like the Great Depression keep them down. Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigned in 1932 that he had “new deal” for America. What this period represented was the introduction of entitlement programs that gave way to new ways to spend taxpayers’ money and give certain social programs a voice in the halls of congress. The Social Security Act, the Economy Act Works Progress Administration, and the Emergency Banking Act, had all been part of President Roosevelt’s “new deal.”

World War II

While the United States and the rest of the world were dealing with their economic woes, Europe was being besieged by the rumblings from Nazi Germany and Fascists from Italy, and that of imperial Japan flexing their muscles in East Asia. The French and the British continued to exercise appeasement to avoid war throughout Europe. The United States passed legislation that was meant to prevent America from getting involved with conflicts outside their shores this piece of legislation is known as the Neutrality Acts.

This changed when Germany invaded Poland in 1939 this was the beginning of World War II. President Roosevelt called the U.S. the arsenal of democracy, promising financial and supplies, in the form of munitions, in support of the Allies in Europe. No troop support was promised. In an attempt to keep the United States from exercising their power in the pacific, in December 8, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. This pushed the United States into the fracas, motivated by revenge.

Primarily, the Allies were composed of Britain, China, the Soviet Union, the United States, and other countries like Australia, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and more. These fought the forces of Germany, Italy, and Japan which had been known as the Axis powers.

During the war, the economy of the United States improved. The War Production Board of FDR helped take the economy out of the doldrums of the Great Depression. Full time employment suddenly became a reality and not just wishful thinking. A majority of the labor force in America had a role to play during the wartime efforts, including black people and women.

With the eventual victory of the allies over the axis of powers, another kind of war brewed behind the scenes amongst the nations. The United States’ position after the war made them a superpower and by a bipartisan vote decided to join the United Nations. The significance of this action is that this is the first time the United States has broken from their long held tradition of acting unilateral, or being isolationists.

The underlying reason for the move may have been an attempt to prevent the dreaded expansion of communism throughout Europe by the Soviets. The united states in 1949 formed the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) which was meant to safeguard countries from unwarranted attacks (from the Soviet Union specifically) from other countries. An attack on one member of NATO would be considered an attack on all members. Members of NATO included the United Kingdom, the USA, Italy, France, Iceland, Canada, Portugal, and other signatories of the North Atlantic Treaty. Other countries later joined the organization. In response to NATO, the Soviet Union put together the Warsaw pact which was a compilation of other communist states in Eastern Europe. Thus the Cold War had its beginnings.

The Cold War

The years following the World War II gave birth to events we often hear from the history books and the history channel. Cold war battles were fought through proxy wars which includes the Korean War in 1950 and the Vietnam War in 1955. In a battle for supremacy in the area of technology and innovation, the United States officially joined the Space Race in 1957 after it saw the progress the soviets had made.

The United States influenced the rest of the world in all aspects of everyday life not just economically, but also technology, politically, militarily, socially, and culturally. The 1960 elections saw the rise of John Fitzgerald Kennedy into the political arena. Considered a charismatic politician, President Kennedy found himself faced with international conflicts at perhaps what could be called the height of the cold war. Robert F Kennedy, brother of JFK, as part of the cabinet, was named attorney general.

During his brief three years in office as the US President, John F Kennedy faced: the growing role of the US in the Vietnam war the US drive to winning the Space Race the Bay of Pigs invasion Cuban missile crisis the civil rights movement, highlighted by the jailing of Martin Luther King Jr. President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 during a visit to Dallas, Texas.

Liberalism and Social Activism

As Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office after the assassination of President Kennedy. Johnson introduced and passed through congress what was then known as the Great Society programs. The programs included the end of segregation, civil rights, Medicare, federal aid for education, the extension of welfare benefits, just to name a few. This period has historically been seen as the rise of liberalism in America.

The civil rights movement continued to gain traction, but at a cost. Those from the south opposed this new threat to their way of life. It has been said that institutional racism swept across in many parts of America. Leaders in the movement were led by the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. The women’s movement also found an audience, not just in the shores of America, but throughout the world. The continuing push for women’s rights coincided with the civil rights movement. Names that stand out in the women’s rights movement included Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.

While judicial activism by the warren court, social programs doling out money, the United States was fighting two wars internationally the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Social boundaries, feminism, environmental issues, civil rights all became a political force of its own. Many of what was previously accepted as the norm, was being dismissed by the prevailing social and political wind. The Counterculture Movement of the early 1950s into the mid 1970s paved the way events such as the hippie movement, sex, drugs, Woodstock, the Oil Embargo in 1973 by OPEC, and of course, Watergate.

The 70s

In 1969, Richard Millhouse Nixon was elected as the president of the United States. He was later replaced by his vice-president Gerald Ford in 1974 after resigning from the office of the president due to his involvement in the Watergate scandal. 1976 saw the election of Jimmy Carter, whose campaign appeal was that he had been a peanut farmer. Carter helped in bringing together Israel and Egypt to the table in what is known as the Camp David Accords. Towards the end of his term in office, carter was faced with another crisis in the middle east, hostages, American hostages were taken by Iranians in Tehran. This event left the rest of the world at a standstill,waiting to see what the Americans would do. The Iran hostage crisis became history, and the reason for Jimmy Carter’s one term presidency.

Ronald Wilson Reagan became the 40th president during a landslide victory in 1980. President Reagan served two terms in which he implemented was has been known as Reaganomics through the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 in which income taxes were lowered from a high of seventy percent taking it down over seven years to 28%. Reagan once again reinforced the might of the American military by supporting a build-up in every department of the armed forces. He also introduced a missile defense system , the Strategic Defense Initiative. Ronald Reagan ensured the military strength of the USA would not be trifled with, he helped improve the economic condition of the nation over the years he was in office, and he stood toe-to-toe against the Soviet Union. The actions he took late in his presidency led to the end of the cold War.

World Superpower 1991 – present

The end of the Cold War had been punctuated by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 leading to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. Ronald Reagan paved the way in a speech he gave in 1987 in which he challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Leader at the time, “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

When Ronald Reagan left office after two terms, George Herbert Walker Bush was elected president after serving as Vice-President to Reagan.

The world saw the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, which left the United States as only remaining superpower in the world. It made them the sole monitor in the affairs of the rest of the world. 1990 also marked the involvement of the United States in what was known as the Persian Gulf War.

This was a war in which the United Nations authorized a coalition from 34 nations to wage war against then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. The United States led the coalition forces to battle against the Iraqi forces in its invasion and attempt to annex Kuwait, an Arab state. Many have referred to this US led military response as “Operation Desert Storm,” others called it “the Mother of All Battles.”

During the 1992 elections, William “Bill” Jefferson Clinton won the presidential elections beating George H.W. Bush. The Clinton years had its ups downs economically and politically. This period also saw the arrival of the digital revolution wherein the “dotcom” era created by the introduction of the internet, provided economic opportunities in the U.S.

Political turmoil fell on the Clinton administration when Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for lying about a sexual relationship he had with an intern, he was charged of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

The 21st century was ushered in by a tightly contested election in November 2000, when George Walker Bush (son of George H.W.) beat out Democratic candidate Al Gore by the slimmest of margins. The results went through numerous legal hurdles before the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in. The recount showed Bush ahead when the U.S. Supreme Court determined to halt the recount.

In his first year in office, months after he took the oath of office, George W. Bush and the people of the United States saw a new war fall on their shores. The morning of September 11, 2001, the American people were rudely awakened by two hijacked airliners being flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The planes were piloted by al-Qaeda terrorists. Two other planes were seized by members of the same terrorist group one was flown into the Pentagon in the Arlington, Virginia countryside, the fourth plane was crashed in the fields of rural Pennsylvania, in the city of Shanksville. The fourth plane was believed to have been headed for the white house or the capitol building in Washington D.C.

More than 3,000 people died that morning of September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror.” The United States and its NATO allies proceeded to invade the country of Afghanistan, who at that time was believed to be ruled by the Taliban who provided refuge for al-Qaeda members and its leader, Osama Bin Laden. The United States launched another invasion in the middle-east this one was known as “the invasion of Iraq,” against a familiar foe in Saddam Hussein. It was believed that Hussein possessed “weapons of mass destruction.

During the early days of the war in Iraq, the United States were met with resistance from not only from those loyal to Hussein, but also from combatants from anti-American factions from the middle-east. Some Americans were against the war in Iraq. This produced a different kind of opposition to the war, although at closer look, will remind you of that seen during the Vietnam War era. Although Bush was re-elected in 2004, he became unpopular because of the invasion of Iraq.

By the year 2007, the United States and many parts of Europe began to experience a recession that had not been seen since the early 1930s. Every aspect of the American economy has been affected, even to this day. Different industries were affected, the housing market, the automotive industry, to mention a few there was also the crisis of rising unemployment, the rise of oil prices, and all this has led to a devastating financial crisis the Americans had seen since the Great Depression.

This financial crisis ushered the 2008 elections in which Barack Hussein Obama was voted as the 44th President of the United States (POTUS). Once he took office, Obama provided a $787 billion economic stimulus package in hopes of helping give the economy a boost. This included bail out assistance to General Motors and Chrysler, a move meant to alleviate the crisis from completely engulfing the automotive industry.

To date, the United States is in debt for $14.3 trillion dollars. The debt owed by the United States includes nearly 5 trillion to China and other countries. The young nation continues to face challenges, part of its growing pains.

The unemployment rate sits at or above 12 percent going into the year 2011. In November 2010, voters made known their displeasure on how the current administration and the Democratic Party had been handling the crisis. Another group, the Tea Party movement, rose to prominence in 2009 they are popular conservative arm that most Americans are representative of. They are not a new party, but a collection of like minded elected officials who are more interested in the reality than the political inclinations Capitol Hill is known for.

They used the power of the vote to express their displeasure by electing members of the other party, Republicans and a few independents, to represent them. In the month of May 2011, a threat of a government shutdown loomed due to the lack of a budget for the year. This would have meant that all sectors of the national government, with the exception of the military, would not be able to meet their payroll. Leadership from the House of Representatives and the Senate met with Obama to try and come up with an equitable solution that all sides could agree to. Fortunately, the shutdown was averted. Just because it was averted, does not mean the nation is out of the woods with continuing financial crisis.

The federal budget needs to be addressed, the issue of healthcare reform remains an ugly specter hanging in the midst of those politicians in Washington D.C, and there are many domestic matters the United States needed to face. In addition, the crisis in Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria and Israel, remain at the forefront of US foreign policy. The one high note for the United States is the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin laden in May 2011 under the orders of President Obama.

Like I said at the beginning, the story of the United States is still being written, only history students in the future will make a final determination. Whether the United States of America “returns to it first love,” sit back, relax, and we shall soon see.

Watch the video: Ψυχρός Πόλεμος (July 2022).


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