Question 1 Americans in the late colonial period were used to being able to do what they wanted. When the British began to issue new taxes on the Americans without their consent, the colonists rejected the taxes out of the belief that the British were trying to take money from them rather than using tax to regulate commerce. These new taxes stimulated dissent from the Americans and led directly to the Virginia Resolves, which declared that only the Virginian legislature could tax Virginians. The colonists were used to a large amount of autonomy. After the Revolution began, Americans were still unsure about what they should be demanding from Britain. Most of the Americans simply wanted Britain to grant them more freedom and autonomy to govern themselves. At first, only a minority wanted complete independence. It was not until the book Common Sense that the Americans wanted independence. Years after the Revolutionary War, in the 1800s, Americans were starting to develop a culture that was unique to the United States. Americans had united under the idea of Manifest Destiny. It was the idea that it was the destiny of the United States to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It was a widespread belief, shared even among Presidents such as Andrew Jackson, that America had a duty to civilize the Indians In conclusion, American national identity changed overtime from simply trying to gain concessions from Britain all the way to spreading American culture to the West.
Question 2 The idea of Manifest Destiny changed America drastically. It showed off American pride and nationalism by demonstrating American’s willingness to go west and violate the borders of Mexico. American’s also had a racial justification o their westward expansion. They believed that only the American race, descended from white northern Europeans, had an obligation to rule the territories west of them. This attitude resulted in both a war with Mexico, and the simultaneous acquisition of vast new territories. The Civil War, however, shattered the United States. When the war was finally over, and reconstruction began, there were many questions left. People did not know what rights to give the newly freed slaves, if any. In the North, people wanted blacks to be citizens with full rights. In the South however, groups such as the KKK, the Knights of the White Camellia, and others, used terrorism to prevent blacks from voting or exercising their rights as citizens. Many white southerners considered these groups to actually be patriotic.
In conclusion, the United States belief in progress and national identity led to wars and the acquisition of vast new territories in the west. However, in asserting their authority to much, the North forced the South’s hand into seceding. When the North finally won this war, terrorist groups formed in the south to prevent blacks from voting.
Question 3 The Spanish-American War turned America from a regional power into a leading military force in the world. It proved that the U.S. had the capacity to defeat the forces of a European power. It also turned America into an Imperial power. This led to national debate about how to organize and rule America’s imperial lands. The First World War and its aftermath caused increased debate in the United States about America’s role in the world. The isolationists wanted no part of the League of Nations, while the interventionists wanted America to assert its role in the world as a superpower. The isolationists won out and America did not join the League of Nations. Not until the end of WWII, did America begin to assert its role as a global superpower. After the First World War and the Great Depression after it, Americans did not want a Third World War. This led to the U.S.’s policies during the Cold War such as containment and the formation of NATO.
In conclusion, multiple costly wars for the United States forced America to become a