Custom «Establishment of the United States» Essay Paper
The establishment of the United States nation was a multifaceted phenomenon. Many factors including political, social and economic came into play to create the nation and refined it to the great superpower it is at the moment. This paper seeks to interrogate how the different integral factors influenced the establishment of the United States. The essay will attempt to describe how the struggle for social and political equality concurrently shaped and destroyed the fabric of the US establishment. Analysis indicates that the political, social and economic inequalities led to the marginalization of some sections of the members of the society; this lack of unity lengthened and impeded the formation and evolution of the United States of America.
Settler Colonialism, Race, Class, and Gender
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Settler colonialism played a vital role in the establishment and evolution of the United States. Over the course of three centuries, the European settlers colonized the indigenous American ethnic groups and shaped them into manageable territories (Jones, Wood, Borstelmann, May, & Ruiz, 2013). The effect was that the settler colonialists introduced the indigenous groups into a system of the rule of law. Settler colonialism provided an important framework that later would prove an invaluable grounding for the establishment of the United States nation. Not only did the settlers introduce the ideals of nationalism in North America but also established practices such as voting as well as democratic and federalist political systems, which to date are the foundation of the United States of America (Norton, Sheriff, Blight, & Chudacoff, 2011).
The social categories of race, class and gender also were integral in the establishment of the United States. Race, initially divisive, would provide the common platform through which the Patriots would unite to fight the British forces during the Revolutionary War (Greenberg & Page, 2014). For instance, the Proclamation by Lord Dunmore that all the slaves of African Americans and of other minorities who would participate in the war in favor of th Britons would earn the freedom led to the influx of the African Americans in the war (Pitkin, 2009). While some of the African Americans would support the Loyalists and Britons, the majority were aligned with the Patriots (Jones et al., 2013).Furthermore, in January 1776, due to the shortage of fighters, George Washington lifted the racial ban on the enlistment of African Americans into the Continental Army (Norton et al., 2011). Race, therefore, provided one of the grounds that united the people of the United States in the common interest of forming their own, independent nation.
Gender also played a crucial role in the establishment of the state. While the men were expected to actively fight the Britons, the women were the ones left at home to do the farming and provide social support for the upwards of eight years that the Revolutionary war raged on from around 1776 to 1883 (Greenberg & Page, 2014). However, class proved to be the major divisive factor. The differences in social classes adversely impacted the troop mobilization efforts (Pitkin, 2009). Some classes violently protested against conscription; some evaded it while others overtly deserted their forces in the battlefield. The elite, slave-owning planters were unwilling to leave their properties to fight (Jones et al., 2013). The middle yeomen and the landless, on the other hand, were willing, to a greater extent, to fight for their sovereignty. As such, the assembly drafted policies that balanced the interests of these groups to ensure that there was sufficient conscription. The major policy enacted was to allow for deferments (Jones et al., 2013). Later on, the imposition of taxes for those not participating in the war and military service substitute were also enforced (Pitkin, 2009). These policies enhanced the unification of the Patriots, led to the defeat of the British forces and thus, the attainment of independence.
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The Political, Social and Economic Forces
The political, social and economic differences that manifested during the struggle for independence would later influence the political participation of different sections of the society. At the formation of the American Republic, most of the people were Republicans (Norton et al., 2011). This political orientation had flowed from the Settler colonialists’ representative assembly in English America. Consequently, the Whites majority were the ones who had the powers to participate in elections through voting or contesting (Greenberg& Page, 2014). The minority groups, just like during the settlers’ domination, had no political voice. The social forces, however, offered greater impediments. There was gaping gender inequality in exercising voting rights. The women did not have voting rights while their male counterparts generally enjoyed possibility to choose the authorities (Greenberg & Page, 2014). Women were presumed too weak to handle the rigors and unfairness of politics. There was also immense racial discrimination as the African Americans and other ethnic minorities were not allowed to vote (Jones et al., 2013). The discrimination greatly limited their political participation space. However, the Whites political space remained unlimited. The economic forces also influenced the voting rights. Only the propertied members of the society were allowed to vote (Norton et al., 2011). The policies reduced the political participation of the landless people or those without properties of substantial values.
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Different groups appropriated various forums and mechanisms to correct the inequalities in democratic participation. It started with the removal of the economic barriers to voting rights in the early 1800s. The male attained suffrage in the 1820s after significant protests (Norton et al., 2011). The Congress amended the law so that all the males were now eligible to vote upon the attainment of 21 years old. Women suffrage would then follow in 1920. The clamor for women’s rights during the convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 gave birth to the struggle equal voting rights between men and women (Jones et al., 2013). The women continued to fight for their right to expanded political space for decades through national conventions and lawsuits when they were barred from voting.
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