Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Summer 2018 Part 4

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America Part 1

When I think of the United States of America, I think of a multiplicity of things. It is the place of my birth and I know a great deal of its history and culture. There is nothing like the United States. I live in America. I have visited urban communities and rural communities in real life from Southampton County (in Virginia), Cambridge (in Maryland), Richmond (in Virginia), Cape Charles (in Virginia), and to Baltimore including other locations. I have tasted foods that were created by human beings among many backgrounds. I have worked among people (in many jobs) of a diversity of colors and creeds. In the United States of America, you see African Americans working in medicine greatly, Samoan Americans caring for their families, Latinx Americans being judges, Asian Americans being engineers, Italian Americans advancing sociological research, and other Americans contributing heavily in our society. Therefore, America represents the diversity of its people and the necessity for the thriving to be better. As we all know, America's history is combination of good things plus bad things. We can't be naive and sugarcoat the errors of America. The original sins of the United States of America are slavery and the genocide of the Native Americans. Likewise, heroes are found in the United States of America too. We know of Harriet Tubman who freed hundreds of black slaves. We know of Muhammad Ali who stood up against an unjust war and advanced inspirational confidence among black people. Eleanor Roosevelt came about to travel the world to promote peace, women's rights, and racial justice. Eugene Debs spoke up publicly in favor of labor rights. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, and Malcolm X courageously organized demonstrations and movements for equality and justice too.

Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn, and Stevie Wonder promoted jazz, soul music, R&B, and profound excellence in musical expression in general. Toni Morrison, Edgar Allen Poe, Maya Angelou, and Hemingway wrote some of the greatest literature that the world has ever witnessed. Therefore, legends and prominent people, who instituted wide ranging change, are all part of the repertoire of America. Unsung folks, who have positively impacted the lives of the world, outline the power of America too. Some of the not-so-famous people include some of the most righteous people in American history. America is the most diverse nation in human history. It has a combination of the some of the greatest people and some of the most evil people in human history. It is the most powerful nation militarily in human history too. Today, America has over 325 million people living in its 50 states plus other areas like Puerto Rico. It has the third most populous country in the world. The Native Americans are the original inhabitants of the United States who came here in ca. 15,000 years ago from Asia.

We have to learn about the Native Americans concretely if we desire to learn about America comprehensively. They formed diverse, complex cultures (like the Mound Cultures, the Mayan civilization, the Olmec civilization, etc.) and technological advances. European colonization changed the Americas forever with genocides, imperialism, slavery, and other evils. My black ancestors from Africa were involuntarily kidnapped and brought here as slaves centuries ago. Literally, America was developed by the blood of slaves and the genocide of the indigenous peoples. Our history has been characterized in a struggle between those who want to extend human rights to all people (including immigrants who deserve their human rights to be respected) and those who want to restrict them (our people have been involved in every U.S. war and in many social movements as well. Our forebears defeated the traitorous Confederates during the U.S. Civil War. We defeated the Axis fascists during World War II, and we will defeat the reactionaries today as one of its leaders is the bigoted occupant of the White House. His name is Donald Trump). Right now, we witness the new era of the 21st century. America had 33.4% of the total wealth on Earth, and it has the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country.

This dual reality is that America has been involved in imperial adventures overseas to the detriment of other human beings (especially poorer nations and peoples of color as tons of people have been the victims of Western colonialism and imperialism like Africans, Asians, Latin Americans, etc.) while being a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally (whose economy is post-industrial with services and knowledge-based activities along with a manufacturing sector. America has a mixed economy where large corporate oligarchical interests dominate a large aspect of our economy unfortunately). To reconcile this reality, we have to make a distinction between Americans doing evil and Americans who are caring for their families, who are fighting justice, and who possess a real conviction in believing in liberty plus justice for all. We don't desire reformism (which doesn't go far enough in establishing freedom). We desire revolutionary change to help humanity. The same democratic principles (i.e. freedom of speech, the separation of powers, the freedom of the press, the right to assemble, the separation of church and state, etc.) that we cherish are what we defend wholeheartedly. In this 12 part series, there will be no sugarcoating. The culture and histories of tons of backgrounds will be outlined here in this series. I wanted to do this for a long time and Lord Willing, this series will be historic.

Therefore, I live in the United States of America and I will continue to believe in the Dream too.

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After the Earth was formed, there was the Paleozoic era. What, is now North America, was found in the southern hemisphere. Marine life existed. Many amphibians and early reptiles existed. The continents later merged into Pangaea. Drier conditions came about. The Mesozoic era came about with dinosaurs. They spread across North America. The area of Pangaea split up and North America drifted north and westward. With the Cenozoic era, mammals dominated the area. The Eocene saw early camels and horses including the creodonts (which are carnivorous) in the western states. The climate later cooled until the Pleistocene. That was when glaciers spread. During this period, there were saber-toothed cats, wholly mammoths, mastodons, and dire wolves. Humans came into the America via a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska. They may have been involved in hunting many of these animals into extinction. Large mammals were extinct at about 10,000 years ago.

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Native American cultures (in the Pre-Colonial Period)

Native American cultures flourished during the pre-colonial period of United States history. This period of history lasted from the Upper Paleolithic period of the original human settlement of the Americas to the era of European colonization in massive scale which was about 1492 (with the voyages of that imperialist Christopher Columbus). The indigenous American cultures were complex. They were filled with diversity, imaginative power, influential creativity, and powerful growth. These Native American civilizations included cities, settlements, earthworks, art, architecture, and complex societal hierarchies. Archaeology, historical studies, and other studies have discovered more information about these civilizations. Native Americans came from Asian peoples. They entered the Americas via the Bering Land Bridge. It was called Beringia. There is mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that found multiple genetic populations migrating from Asia into the Americas. Over the millennia, Paleo-Native Americans spread across North and South America. The Clovis culture dated to 13,000 years ago and older sites date back to 20,000 years ago. Genetic studies estimate that the migration to the Americas dated between 40,000 and 13,000 years ago. Many scientists believe in 2 theories about how humans came into the America. One is called the short chronology theory, which believes that humans went from Asia, into Alaska, and to the rest of the Americas no earlier than 14,000 to 17,000 years ago. The second belief is the long chronology theory. This believed that humans came into the Americas possibly 50,000 to 40,000 years ago or earlier. Researchers found artifacts in North and South America dated to 14,000 years ago. Many believe that the Eskimo peoples have arrived later in about 2,000 years ago moving across the ice from Siberia into Alaska and beyond.

When the ice age ended, the North American climate stabilized by about 10,000 years ago. This time is called the Archaic period. Many archaeological discoveries of cultures have been found during this era of time as well. The Clovis culture lasted from ca. 9100 to 8850 B.C. It was found in North and South America. It had people using a flaked flint spear point with a notched flute. It was inserted into a shaft. It was a hunting culture. The Na-Dene speaking peoples entered North America from ca. 8,000 B.C. and reached the Pacific Northwest by 5,000 B.C. Then, they traveled along the Pacific Coast and into the interior. They were the ancestors of the Athabascan speaking peoples including the Navajo and Apache. The diversity of the climate of the Americas caused the change of Native American cultures into many culturally distinct tribes. The original Native Americans were hunter gatherers. They were small, mobile bands. Some existed in groups of 20 to 50 people in extended families which moved from place to place to get resources. Many of them hunted the extinct giant land animals like the mastodon and the ancient bison. Some had projectiles, knives, and other tools for butchering and processing. North America is vastly diverse in its climate, ecology, fauna, and landforms. This influenced the development of many distinct linguistic and cultural groups.  Oral histories from the indigenous peoples show many creation stories. These stories outline interpretations about how the world was created. Many of them domesticated, bred, and cultivated many plant species. These species were very nutritious and they make up 50-60% of all crops in cultivation worldwide.

Hunters and gatherers continued to exist among Arctic, Subarctic, and coastal peoples. Agriculture was used in more temperate plus sheltered regions. Plant cultivation grew population rates in the early Americas. The Middle Archaic period came about in about 8,000 years ago. By 6,500 B.C., people in the Lower Mississippi Valley at the Monte Santo site created complex earthwork mounds for possibly religious reasons. Mound complexes were found in modern day Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. Many archaeologists discovered these sites by the late twentieth century. Hunter gatherer societies were involved in the mound construction process. In ca. 3,400 B.C., there was Watson Brake. This was a large group of complex 11 platform mounds. It was added to over 500 years. Ceramics flowed massively in the region. The late Archaic period existed after 2,000 B.C. During this time, there was Poverty Point. It was located in the Lower Mississippi Valley. It was created in ca. 1500 B.C. The Mississippi has many similar sites too. The Poverty Point is known for its earthworks in the form of six concentric half-circles. It is divided by radial aisles with small mounts. It is nearly a mile across. Mound Building flourished in other cultures in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys too. They had effigy mounds, conical and ridge mounds plus other shapes. The Coles Creek culture is found in Louisiana. The Hohokam culture is found in the American Southwest. The civilization was created along the middle Gila River. They raised beans, squash, and corn. The ancestral Puebloan cultures are found in the four corners region of southern Utah, northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado.

From 1,000 B.C. to 1,000 A.D., there was the Woodland period in North American pre-Columbian cultures. It dealt with the Adena culture and the Hopewell tradition. There were large earthwork architecture, many exchanges plus trade networks, and mounds. Stone tools, leather working, cultivation, textile manufacture, and shelter construction existed during this time. Many Woodland peoples used spears, atlatls, bows, and arrows. The Mississippian culture is known for its mounds too. It spread from the Southeast and Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico and Upper Midwest. It was a vast civilization. The culture grew maize and other crops. Their trade networks were extensive. The Mississippian existed in ca 1000 A.D. One of the largest urban sites of the Mississippian was the location of Cahokia. It is located near modern day East St. Louis, Illinois.  Its population reached as high as 20,000 human beings. There were other chiefdoms in the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Cahokia was the most populous city of North America back then (except for some cities in Mesoamerica and South America back then). The Monk’s Mound is the ceremonial center of Cahokia which was the largest earthen construction of the prehistoric New World. It reached its zenith in ca. 1200-1400 A.D.  It declined by the arrival of Europeans. Many Mississippian peoples saw the expedition of Hernando de Soto during the 1500’s. The expedition saw Spanish people struggling for supplies while the Spanish expeditions in Mesoamerica conquered large empires with a few men. Diseases ended the Mississippian civilizations. Many of their lands became inhabited for a time. Many Native American regions include the Arctic (plus the Aleut, Inuit, and Yupik peoples), Subarctic, Northwestern Woodlands, Southwestern Woodlands, Great Plains, Great Basin, Northwest Plateau, Northwest Coast, California. Southwest (Osasisamerica). There were the sedentary pre-Columbian cultures of Pueblo people, Mandan, Hidatsa, etc.

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There was the democratic society of the Iroquois League of Nations. Mesoamerica had very complex cultures like the Olmec, Aztec, Toltec, etc. stretching from Mexico to Costa Rica plus the rest of Central America. Mesoamerican civilization had pyramid style temples, mathematics, astronomy, writing, medicine, accurate calendars, arts, agriculture, an abacus calculator, complex theology, etc. Many of these cultures had a base 20 and included 0. The largest Mesoamerican cities were Teotihuacan, Tenochtitlan, and Cholula. They had trade routes and spread information quickly. The Olmec civilization was oldest complex Mesoamerica civilization that grew from 2000 B.C. The Mayan civilization was at its peak from 250 B.C. to 650- A.D. The Aztec civilization was very powerful too. South American Native Americans tribes had geoglyphs and the Inca civilization (whose capital was the cougar shaped city of Cuzco. It existed heavily in its zenith from 1438 to 1533. It had a road system, cities built precisely with stone and terrace farming used for agriculture. Brain surgery and metalwork were also found in the Inca Empire). Some theorize South Pacific Oceanic contact with South America. Some believe that domesticated chickens were introduced to South America via Polynesia by the late pre-Columbian times. The Norte Chico civilization existed in Peru as early as 3,000 B.C. (which is about the same time as urbanization growth in Mesopotamia). Norte Chico or Caral is the oldest known complex civilization in the Americas. It existed until 1,800 B.C. The Valdivia culture transpired in the coast of Ecuador. They had fishing and farming being sedimentary people. Scholars found that Valdivians cultivated maize, kidney beans, squash, cassava, hot peppers, and cotton plants, the last of which was used to make clothing. Valdivian pottery initially was rough and practical, but it became showy, delicate, and big over time. They generally used red and gray colors; and the polished dark red pottery is characteristic of the Valdivia period. In its ceramics and stone works, the Valdivia culture shows a progression from the simplest to much more complicated works.

The Tiwanaku empire was from 300 to 1000 A.D. It is found from western Bolivia to Peru and Chile.  There is the Gate of the Sun gate in Tiwanaku. In Hawaii, it was inhabited originated by the Polynesians between the 1st century to the 10th century.  Around 1200 A.D., Tahitian explorers found and began settling the area as well. This became the rise of the Hawaiian civilization. Captain James Cook from England came into the Hawaii Islands in 1778. The founder of the Kingdom of Hawaii was Kamehameha I. By the year of 985 A.D., the Viking Erik the Red was believed to have been the first European to have discovered Greenland in 985 A.D. after being exiled from Iceland for murder in 982. He returned with 14 surviving ships as he left with 25 ships in his expedition. The Vikings were in Greenland during a warm period. So, they raised sheep and cattle for food, wool, and hides. They exported walrus ivory. By the 1300’s, settlements grew and gradually faded away. The Inuit Native Americans were called skraelings (which is a bigoted word) by the Vikings. A Norwegian ship's captain named Bjarni Herjólfsson first came across a part of the North American continent ca. 985 when he was blown off course sailing to Greenland from Iceland.  Leif Ericson also explored North America beyond Greenland. Some traded with Native American Inuit groups. There was a short lived settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows in the northern part of Newfoundland, Canada. Since 2012, five other potential settlements have been discovered ranging from Tanfield Valley in the north to Point Rosee in the south. They or the Vikings traded with the Native Americans. They were amazed at how different each other were. The Vikings left the area because of conflict. The Native Americans had advanced weaponry of bows and arrows. The Newfoundland area was called Vinland by the Vikings. Vikings may have visited Svalbard as early as the 12th century. Various foods found in the Americas include corn, potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, peanuts, strawberries, blueberries, papaya, avocados, cocoa beans, etc. Over two-thirds of all types of food crops grown worldwide came from the Americas.

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The Colonial period

The Colonial period from 1492 to 1776 changed the world forever. It was a time where European, African, and Native American cultures interacted with each other. It was the time of massive European exploitation of the Americas for a diversity of reasons. Some Europeans wanted to control resources via imperialism and mercantilism. Some Europeans wanted to advance the evil scourge of slavery. Other Europeans wanted to have religious freedom or organize businesses. Europeans brought with them horses, cattle, and hogs to the Americas. They brought back to Europe maize, turkeys, potatoes, tobacco, beans, and squash. This existence of the exchange of goods is called the Columbian Exchange. Also, millions of black Africans slaves were kidnapped from the Motherland of Africa and sent into the Americas. Most African slaves were in South America and the Caribbean not North America. Many Native Americans died by smallpox and measles (when they had no immunity to them) plus genocides. To understand the colonial period, we have to look at these realities chronologically.

The first Europeans of the colonial period who explored were from Spain and Portugal. Christopher Columbus was Italian, but he worked for Spain. His first voyage was started on August 3, 1492 when he left Spain with 3 ships (called the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina). He reached the Bahamas by October 1492 and later to Hispaniola. During his second expedition, he reached Puerto Rico on November 19, 1493 (after he sat sail from Cadiz on September 1493 with 17 ships). He reached Florida in 1513. It is a historical fact that Columbus and his imperialist allies used murder, abuse, rape, and other heinous acts against the Native American peoples of the Caribbean like the Arawak peoples, the Taino, and the Lucayan. Spanish explorers reached the Appalachian Mountains, the Mississippi River, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Plains. By 1497, John Cabot landed in Newfoundland. This started the British colonial presence in the continental North America. In 1513, Vasco Núñez de Balboa crosses isthmus of Panama, sees Pacific Ocean and in that same year, Juan Ponce de León defeats Tlaxcala, a small state neighboring the Aztec Empire. The Spanish begin the conquest of the Maya civilization during the 1520’s and in 1521, Hernan Cortes destroyed the Aztec empire. By 1524, Giovanni da Verrazzano (working for France) explored coastline form present day Maine to North Carolina. In 1540, Hernando de Soto explored the Southwest. Many other Spanish explorers investigated the Chesapeake Bay too by the 1500’s. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored places from Arizona to central Kansas. Spanish settlements grew to be major cities like San Antonio (in Texas), Albuquerque (in New Mexico), Tucson (in Arizona), Los Angeles (in California), and San Francisco (in California). During the year of 1565, Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founds St. Augustine, Florida the first Spanish settlement in the New World, and is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. The Iroquois Confederacy was created during the 1570’s. Sir Walter Raleigh founds Roanoke Colony or the first English settlement in the United States. It was deserted by 1590 under mysterious circumstances.

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The 17th century Dutch colony called New Netherlands was created around New York City and the Hudson River Valley. The Dutch traded furs with the Native Americans to the north. The colony was used as a barrier to expansion from New England. The Dutch Calvinists and built the Reformed Church in America, and they were tolerant of other religions and cultures. In 1664, the British took over the Dutch colony in New York state. The Dutch Colony influenced American history. Many people back then were religious and secular. Some embraced mercantilism and rural life. Many Americans of Dutch descent are Martin Van Buren, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Frelinghuysens. New France was the area colonized by France in America from 1534 to 1763. It has been found in Quebec, Acadia, and in other places of the Great Lakes plus the Midwest. The French traded with Native Americans in the Great Lakes and the Midwest. French villages grew along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. In those places, there were farming and a granary for Gulf Coast settlements. The French created plantations in Louisiana and they settled in New Orleans, Mobile, and Biloxi. The Wabanaki Confederacy was the military Native American allies of New France. This was done during the four French and Indian Wars while the British colonies were allied with the Iroquois Confederacy.

The French and Indian War was about Britain and France fighting for the control of resources in North America. It was also part of the overall Seven years’ War among European countries. During the war, New England fought successfully against French Acadia. The British removed Acadians from Acadia (Nova Scotia) and replaced them with New England Planters. Eventually, some Acadians resettled in Louisiana, where they developed a distinctive rural Cajun culture that still exists to this very day. They became American citizens in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. Other French villages along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers were absorbed when the Americans started arriving after 1770, or settlers moved west to escape them. French influence and language in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast was more enduring. Additionally, New Orleans was notable for its large population of free people of color before the Civil War.

British Colonization grew by the late 1500’s and early 1600’s. The East Coast of America was heavily settled by English colonists during the 17th century along with smaller number of the Dutch and Swedes (plus the Scots-Irish). Colonial America had a large labor shortage, slavery, and indentured servitude. British elites used the policy of benign neglect. Over half of all European immigrants into colonial America arrived as indentured servants. The Roanoke Colony failed during the 1500’s via mysterious circumstances. The first successful English colony was Jamestown (or the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Jamestown was found in the Colony of Virginia). It was established in 1607. I visited Jamestown in 2017, which was 410 years after 1607. While I was there, I saw reconstructions of houses, churches (with religious documents), ships, and one fort. Jamestown is found on the James River in Virginia. Jamestown suffered hardships for decades until new settlers arrived in the late 17th century. They formed commercial agriculture, which was based in tobacco. The British shipped between 50,000 to 120,000 convicts to the Americans colonies between the late 1610’s and the Revolution. The Native Americans were increasingly stripped of their lands, raped, murdered, and forcibly converted to Christianity (when a person has the right to be Christian or non-Christian voluntarily without forced conversion). The Dutch claimed New Netherland in 1614. Slavery was introduced into the Colony of Virginia in 1619 as this was the time when black Africans were forcibly sent into Virginia. The 1622 Powhatan uprising in Virginia resulted in hundreds of English settlers to die. Likewise, millions of Native Americans would die of disease and genocide by evil European imperialists in the Americas. The largest conflicts between Native Americans and English settlers in the 17th century were King Philip's War in New England and the Yamasee War in South Carolina.

New England was settled by the Puritans by the 1600’s. The Pilgrims formed a settlement in 1620 at Plymouth Colony (after the Mayflower Compact was signed). New Amsterdam was founded by 1625 and it would be New York City during the future. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was created in 1630 by the Puritans. The Pilgrims (who were mostly working class people. William Bradford and William Brewster were famous Pilgrims) were Separatists. They want to break from the Church of England to form their own church. The Puritans (who were mostly middle to upper class people. They wanted to form a strict theocracy) wanted to purify the Church of England from within (in eliminating Roman Catholic influences in the Anglican Church. John Winthrop, John Endicott, and Miles Standish were famous Puritans). By 1640, John Punch, a black indentured servant, ran away with two white indentured servants, James, Gregory, and Victor. After the three were captured, Punch was sentenced to serve Virginia planter Hugh Gwyn for life. This made John Punch the first legally documented slave in Virginia (and the U.S.). In 1654, John Casor, a black man who claimed to have completed his term of indenture, became the first legally recognized slave-for-life in a civil case in the Virginia colony. The court ruled with the lave owner who said he had an indefinite servitude for life. In 1672, the Royal African Company is founded in England, allowing slaves to be shipped from Africa to the colonies in North America and the Caribbean. England entered the slave trade in a higher level.

Bacon's Rebellion took place in 1676. It was one of the most important events of American history. It was about white settlers and black indentured servants uniting to fight to expand into western frontiers (against the wishes of the rule of Colonial Governor William Berkeley who refused to retaliate against Native American attacks against colonists). The Bacon's Rebellion was complex in many people in it did the wrong thing in attacking Native Americans, but it represented one major fight against the English imperial power structure. Nathaniel Bacon led the Bacon's Rebellion too. Bacon's forces (in about 300-500 people) burnt down Jamestown to the ground. Later, Berkeley took over and defeated the rebellious forces. He allowed the hanging of 24 men. The alliance between indentured servants and Africans (most enslaved until death or freed), united by their bond-servitude, disturbed the ruling class, who responded by hardening the racial caste of slavery in an attempt to divide the two races from subsequent united uprisings with the passage of the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705. After the Bacon's Rebellion, slavery was further expanded viciously in the American colonies.

By 1702, East Jersey and West Jersey became crown colonies. Blackbeard (or a famous pirate) was killed by Lieutenant Robert Maynard in the waters off the Province of North Carolina. Pirates were rogue people who sailed the seas in search of money, power, and wealth in general. They can be compared to criminal gangs in our time. The Middle Colonies had religious, political, and ethnic diversity. They were found in the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The first attempted English settlement south of Virginia was the Province of Carolina, with Georgia Colony – the last of the Thirteen Colonies – established in 1733. The Southern Colonies (as found in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia) were heavily influenced by the Church of England except Maryland with a strong Catholic presence. The colonies were mostly people of Christianity and Judaism among the settlers. Many Jewish people came into America to escape religious persecution. Native Americans had their own religions. Africans back then were non-Christians heavily. Some were Muslims or followers of African religions. Later, most Africans in America would be Christians. Congregationalists were in New England, German and Dutch Reformed were in the Middle Colonies, and Catholics were found in Maryland. Scots-Irish Presbyterians were found on the frontier. Sephardic Jewish people were early settlers in the cities of New England and the South. Many immigrants like the French Huguenots were religious refugees. They were found in New York, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Huguenots are French Calvinists. Royal officials and merchants were heavily Anglicans. By September 9, 1739, in the Stono Rebellion, South Carolina slaves gathered at the Stono River to plan an armed march for freedom.

Around the 1740’s, the First Great Awakening took place. It was about a religious revival led by preachers like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield. It was about American Evangelicals back then saying that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit caused lives to be changed.  This was one major event that caused many people to convert to Christianity, both white people and black people. These revivals were commonplace in America as we have to understand religion in order to understand American history and culture. In 1753, Benjamin Banneker designed and built the first clock in the British American colonies. He also created a series of almanacs. He corresponded with Thomas Jefferson and wrote that "blacks were intellectually equal to whites." Banneker worked with Pierre L'Enfant to survey and design a street and urban plan for Washington, D.C. The Second Great Awakening happened by the late 1790’s. Evangelicals in the South like Methodists and Baptists preached. Many slaves were converted. Some preachers preached for religious freedom and the abolition of slavery because back then many Baptists and other religious minorities were persecuted in America.

The 13 colonies in America were ruled by a governor in each colony. The governor was appointed from London. That governor ruled the legislature on voting and making laws. Many Americans in colonies grew rapidly with large supplies of land and food. The colonies were richer than most parts of Britain back then. More immigrants and indentured servants traveled into America. Slavery grew and tobacco and rice plantations used African slaves in America and the West Indies. By the 1770's, African slaves comprised a fifth of the American population. The question of independence from Britain did not arise as long as the colonies needed British military support against the French and Spanish powers. Those threats were gone by 1765. London regarded the American colonies as existing for the benefit of the mother country. This policy is known as mercantilism. America was built heavily by slave labor. The wealthy class owned the plantations and ruled the political systems of the 13 colonies. Some even ruled many of the churches from South Carolina to Virginia. Wealthy Dutch proprietors were getting money from Dutch tenant farmers in upstate New York. Pennsylvania had another system.

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The French and Indian War (1754-1763) changed colonial America forever. It was a big moment in world history. It was also part of the overall Seven Years’ War. Britain battled France over territories (found in the Midwest and Canada) and Britain won. The French were allies of many the Native Americans, because it is no secret that the British Empire cruelly murdered many Native Americans peoples. Afterwards, New France declined in their land. The Thirteen Colonies grew in size. The American Colonies supported the British during the French and Indian War with the Albany Congress. Benjamin Franklin wanted the colonies to Join or Die in that war. Franklin promoted the concept of the United States of America before 1776. King George III of England issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763. That means that the colonial settlers couldn’t travel west of the Appalachian Mountains. Some settlers violated this proclamation. The lands of the Native Americans were increasingly being stripped. The war caused huge debt in Britain. So, the British wanted the American colonies to pay money to them to end the debt from the French and Indian War. This was one reason why the American Revolutionary War existed in the first place. The colonists refused to do this because they wanted representation in the British legislature. The British Parliament passed the Stamp Act of 1765, imposing a tax on the colonies without going through the colonial legislatures. The issue was drawn: did Parliament have this right to tax Americans who were not represented in it? Crying "No taxation without representation", the colonists refused to pay the taxes as tensions escalated in the late 1760's and early 1770's. Some colonists wanted total independence. Boston was one place where pro-independence sentiment was very large.

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The Boston Tea Party in 1773 was about activists in Boston protesting a new tax on tea. White men dressed up (as Native Americans) and thrown tea into the Boston Harbor. The Parliament of England retaliated by passing the 1774 Coercive Acts. This stripped Massachusetts of its historic right of self-government and putting it under army rule, which sparked outrage and resistance in all thirteen colonies. Also, in 1774, The first black Baptist congregations are organized in the South: Silver Bluff Baptist Church in South Carolina, and First African Baptist Church near Petersburg, Virginia. There were the Intolerable Acts too which was executed by the British. Patriot leaders from all 13 colonies convened the First Continental Congress to coordinate their resistance to the Coercive Acts. The Congress called for a boycott of British trade, published a list of rights and grievances, and petitioned the king for redress of those grievances. The appeal to the Crown had no effect, and so the Second Continental Congress was convened in 1775 to organize the defense of the colonies against the British Army. Many early Americans fought against the British even though they didn’t know about the ideologies rationales for this resistance. Many wanted their rights to have local autonomy, fair dealing, and government by consent. They didn’t want tyranny, but slavery is the height of tyranny. The British Army came into Boston and many colonists viewed them as colonizers. Many Patriots viewed God as being on their side and some wanted revenge.

The American Revolution War started at Concord and Lexington in April 19, 1775. It was when the British wanted to get ammunition supplies and arrest the Patriot leaders. The Patriots resisted (with shorts broke out in Lexington, Massachusetts. 8 colonists died) and sent the British out of the area. The Americans promoted Republicanism.  The British failed to find their targets in Concord, and as they retreated back to Boston, the British came under continuous assault by upwards of 3,800 militia who had prepared an ambush. The Battle of Lexington and Concord ignited the American Revolutionary War. As news spread, local shadow governments (called "committees of correspondence") in each of the 13 colonies drove out royal officials and sent militiamen to Boston to besiege the British there. They or the early colonists opposed aristocracy and wanted to use civic duty. Many early Founders believed in this view of Republicanism, but contradicted themselves since many of them owned slaves.  The May 10th, 1775 Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The thirteen colonies had representatives there. They started to organize themselves as one central government with control over the army and diplomacy. The 2nd Continental Congress instructed the colonies to write constitutions for themselves as states.

On June 1775, George Washington, who was a Virginia political leader with combat experience From the French and Indian War was unanimously appointed commander of the newly organized Continental Army. He took command in Boston. He also sent for artillery to barrage the British. In every state, there was a minority of people who professed loyalty to the King, but they didn’t have massive power. The Loyalists were watched by the standing Committees of Safety, which was created by the Provincial Congresses. Loyalists are people who believed in following the British Empire along with the King of England. The unwritten rule was such people could remain silent, but vocal or financial or military support for the King would not be tolerated. The estates of outspoken Loyalists were seized; they fled to British-controlled territory, especially New York City. During the winter of 1775-1776, there was an attempt by the Patriots to capture Quebec. It failed and there was a buildup of British forces at Halifax, Nova Scotia. This precluded the colony of Quebec from joining the 13 colonies. The Americans captured a British fort at Ticonderoga, New York. It dragged its cannon over the snow to the outskirts of Boston. The appearance of troops and cannon on Dorchester Heights outside of Boston led the British Army to evacuate Boston on March 17, 1776. By January 10, 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense. It was an intellectual guide to support of the American independence movement. Common Sense, in essence, was a pamphlet that advocated total independence of the thirteen colonies from the British Empire. He written eloquently in favor of the forming of an egalitarian form of government. It sold greatly and was very popular in colonial America and today in our time in 2018. Taverns, churches, meeting places, and homes all had in their possession pamphlets of Common Sense. He proposed his own style of a constitutional framework and he was influenced by Enlightenment thinking which was prevalent during that time. Thomas Paine wrote in favor of Deism, supported the French Revolution, and advanced the American Revolution enthusiastically. Henry Knox reached Boston on January 24, 1776. Henry Knox was the a commander of the Continental Army (and later leader of the U.S. Army).  The Raid of Nassau (March 3–4, 1776) was a naval operation and amphibious assault by Colonial forces against the British port of Nassau, Bahamas, during the American Revolutionary War (also known as the American War of Independence). The battle is considered one of the first engagements of the newly established Continental Navy and the Continental Marines, the respective progenitors of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The action was also the Marines' first amphibious landing. It is sometimes known as the "Battle of Nassau." The Patriots won the battle and occupied Nassau for 2 weeks.

By Timothy

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