Brave New World
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History 201 American History I
From Discovery To Civil War
Intro We chronicle the history of the U.S. from
colonial origins to the beginning of the 21st century. Key themes: 1) Exceptionalism; 2) socioeconomic mobility and opportunity; 3) Universal suffrage—democracy; 4) “The Melting Pot” and the American Identity. This the continuing saga of how to make a
Republic and as Franklin suggested, “Keep it if we can.”
Living Bravely and World’s Apart Christopher Columbus’s voyage from
Spain, across the Atlantic, marked the beginning of the most important encounter of places and peoples in human history. Colin Calloway described “New Worlds for
The New World was first inhabited maybe
around 40,000 to 12,000 yrs ago—we suspect, mostly populated from Eastern Asia(central Siberia)—the Archaic period
Living Bravely—New World The remains of Kennewick Man discovered
in Washington state have contributed to the controversy of just who the first immigrants truly were and where did they come?
First Americans, Paleo-Indians, around
1500, numbered around 70 million— probably spoke over 300 dialects and even completely different languages. Became settled Farmers with permanent villages.
New World Some Native cultures reached heights of
sophistication and were much developed. The Incas, The Aztecs and the Olmecs are
just a few examples. They had highly developed religious and political practices. The Mayans actually had sophisticated writing systems. Not really a new world—very much
inhabited—crossed the Siberian land bridge with 3 successive waves of Asian migrants.
New World Settlement
Regardless of who or where, settlement
took place rapidly. The Aztecs settled as a culture and developed a city called Tenochtitlan—The Pueblos or the Anasazi settled further up the Southwest from Mexico—(Hopi Indians). Throughout the Southeast the adenaHopewell developed intricate “Moundbuilding” societies—culminating at Cahokia in the Mississippi Valley. Interestingly enough, most Native Peoples practiced an unstable social relationship.
New World Tenochtitlan probably
inhabited around 200,000 people— looked very much like a European city around 1200. But as things in
Mesoamerica changed and developed so did things in Europe— creating an unknown confrontation.
Europe After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe
lapsed into an economic and cultural backwater. Continent fragmented—East controlled by
Byzantine and West remnants of Roman rule. It was politically disorganized, economy reduced to primitive levels of barter; It emphasizes the difficulty ancient empires have
in trying to resurrect themselves—importing new ideas and technology was expensive.
Europe Crusades changed
this-opened up the idea of state supported and organized exploration; Saw the cultural benefits of trading with the East and the Orient—spices, books, technology etc … Marco Polo—very famous
Marco Polo Opened up the possibilities of world
markets; but also, revealed difficulties of private financing; Europe frustrated by lack of geographic proximity, costs, Mediterranean monopolies, Europe underwrote their own expeditions and form Joint Venture companies. Prince Henry the navigator(Portuguese) avoiding the original “Robber barons” over land routes began a sea exploration along the coast of West Africa.
Christopher Columbus I say all that to get to this—This search for new
markets and trade routes led to state sponsored exploration; More and more Seafarers searched for quicker
routes to the Indies—ie Vasco da Gama succeeded in rounding the cape of Good Hope—now India was open to a European reciprocity of trade. Columbus convinced King Ferdinand and Queen
Isabella of Spain he could reach the Orient sailing west
New World The European visit to the New World was
surprisingly a great disappointment. It was seen a probable formidable obstacle to the reaching China. Magellan’s trip proved that the pacific Ocean was
bigger than first thought; Balboa tried to find a path across the Isthmus of Panama—but also failed; Many looked for the Great Northwest Passage, but
to no avail—North America was turning into a booby prize! So they looked elsewhere for awhile.
Freebooters These guys were state sponsored to some
degree-but essentially private owned expeditions (Cortes, Pizzaro etc …) Looking for Gold and Riches—not
settlement—without constraint and minimal oversight these guys implemented their own code of law and ethics; Essential a social-experiment with untold
riches to be had—this came at a tremendous cost to the native people’s.
American Nation Building So, this has what to do with American
history? It created and perpetuated a notion of what people wanted and desired out of government and society. 1) Passion for Freedom—many different forms; political, religious, and economic— but freedom in whatever form is an urge still present today; 2) Education—a classic American form of opportunity to become an educated selfmade man—individual opportunity.
American Nation Building 3) Popular Government—democracy,
republicanism, whatever—people have the inalienable right to govern themselves—we may fight amongst ourselves, but we have never fought over whether we should become a Monarchy; 4) experimentation—a forward-looking attitude, an ingenuity to make things better with what we have. WE welcome the new and untried—we have few constraints and tend to assimilate quickly.
American Nation Building 5) Exceptionalism—we really believe this;
we are a “city upon a hill” for others to emulate. We created the first truly successful Colonial war for independence and created successfully the first large scale Democratic Republic—while other nations butchered one another over whether the Psalms should be sung in Latin or French, we developed religious toleration; We opened our political and economic system to anyone—based on brains and talent and not heredity.
American Nation Building Yes, it has created a certain savoir fair a
ethnocentric smugness that creates issues form time to time; but it is a suggestion that our country above all others, with its problems, is worth saving. We are committed to a certain set of ideas, built not around race or ethnicity, but around political documents such as the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Civil Rights—a deep seated passion for freedom—we are very different from others.
Early Americans DNA fortifies the Asian
invasion; However, other native tribes do not fit the bill; Seems they came from here—
very odd indeed. Kennewick man—carbon
dating puts him 8,000yrs old, but DNA also suggests he is not related to Asian influence—a conundrum indeed. Regardless by 1492, probably
70 million people in both South and North America
European Arrival on Eastern Seaboard The Spanish had essentially plundered the
Islands, North and South American Continents—but really no other Old World peoples settled permanently with any success. There was the attempt of Roanoke and the
“Lost Colony” but even the Spanish had a hard time settling permanently in the Contiguous land east of the Mississippi.
Eastern Seaboard Though exposure to disease had wiped out
many tribes, there still remained about 125,000 Indians along the eastern seaboard. Fishing, agriculture, and hunting, hunter-
gatherers—they had all they needed to sustain life. 3 Large family groups dominated east of the
Mississippi: Algonquins, Iroquois, and Muskhogean
Eastern Woodland Indians Algonquians—included the Abnaki, the
Delaware and Powhatan confederacy; Iroquois—five nations controlled the Great
Lakes region(Mohawk,, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, and seneca, later the Tuscarora; Muskhogean—included the Creeks,
Seminoles and Cherokees.
Eastern Woodland Indians
Eastern Woodland Society Never fully reached the impressive level of
civilization attained by their southern continent cousins. Essentially still in the Stone Age upon European
arrival—one reason Europeans considered themselves far more advanced. Politically ruled over by Elders and by
persuasion—never by fiat; They remained a loosely organized—This proved detrimental, as the Europeans were a tightly organized unit.
Eastern Woodland Society Slash/Burn Agri. Corn
a staple crop, but also beans, pumpkins, and squash. Labor was communal; women performed most all agriculture tasks; Men—hunted, fished, occasional war; Game provided food and clothing and shelter.
Eastern Woodland Society Nomadic—Autumn moved to the interior for shelter from the coastal cold winters; Summer moved upstream away from the hot dismal miasmic swamps and tide water basins that carried diseases. Indians tended to follow patterns for
survival—The Europeans considered them uncivilized—a permanent settlement meant staying put not moving around—the Indians smiled and watched them die by the thousands.