History Course Reflection Essay

Words: 1121
Pages: 5

Please reflect on what you learned this semester.

This course began with a very interesting revelation for me. I was not aware that humans had inhabited the western hemisphere for over 10,000 years. Most of the history lessons I was taught as a child growing up in Southern California were centered on the arrival of Spanish conquistadors along the California coast. My interest was immediately sparked with Lesson 1 and I was very excited to see how the course would proceed. I learned that the early North and Central American cultures of Paleo-Indians were big game hunters. Following the extinction of mammoths and other big game prey, the native people were able to adapt to environmental and social fluctuations and developed a
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The native lands that were confiscated by the federal government were quickly auctioned or sold to white settlers. The northern border areas of Mexico were in constant dispute. At the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave America enough territory to extend the coastal boundaries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The Gold Rush of 1849 sent would-be miners from around the globe on a treasure hunt into the northern California hills of the Sierra Nevada. Technological advancements in transportation and communication soon led to the first transcontinental railroad and telegraph. Meanwhile, heated disagreements continued regarding the slavery issue. As western territories were annexed the political equilibrium in Congress was at risk of becoming unbalanced. Several earlier compromises had dealt with the slavery issue but each one came unraveled as new states were carved out from territories.

As American system of government evolved, nuances in the Constitution would be subjected to various interpretations. Southern slaveholding states believed that the Constitution did not have the authority to prevent slavery in any state. Northern free-labor supporters believed the opposite. Within the abolitionist movement there were various positions on the issue of slavery, ranging from moderate to radical. Moderate abolitionist opposed slavery primarily because it would compete with free white men seeking