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The Evolution of the United States

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    Early on in the creation of the United States, many harsh, but necessary lessons were learned which helped shape and mold the country that we know today. There were constant disagreements about how much power the government had and how the people affected the government. Although it may seem like a rough start, there were many beneficial things that would provide a foundation for generations to come. The transition from newly founded to eventually transcontinental affected the United States economically, financially, and over time became more respectable and powerful against other countries.

    The financial status of the United States was a bit bipolar at first, there were times where everything was fine, and at another moment, people would lose money and banks would be forced to be closed. To put it in perspective, there was no standard currency during this time and payment for things varied from silvers and golds, which would later prove to a big problem. A popular debate over this topic was between the impact of having or not having a national bank in the United States. It would be an almost even battle between Jefferson and Hamilton, with each side presenting the pros and cons of the National Bank. In 1791, Hamilton proposed that the United States included a National Bank to help pay the Revolutionary War debt, having a standard currency, and finding a way to have a balance in the economy. Jefferson was against this because he thought that it was not one of the original powers granted under the enumerated powers. Although Jefferson had a fairly good argument, Washington leaned more towards Hamilton and his proposition because he said that it would help with major problems during the time. The biggest downside to this decision was that it was mostly beneficial to the North and almost useless in the South, hence why so many Southerners were against the proposition.

    The impact of the decision was great, it was necessary in helping with the debt from the Revolutionary War and now each state had a different form of currency to use. It was the United States’s first attempt at a form of central banking. The National Bank was inevitably closed in 1811 because Congress could not renew its charter due to difficulties with payments. The National Bank was seen as a success in many people’s eyes and would later transition to the Second National Bank and eventually to what you see today. (history.hanover.edu)  A major change that happened in the United States was the Louisiana Purchase. This transaction was made between France and the United States, the result of this would be doubling the size of America meaning that it opened up more opportunities for Americans. It was the first big step in westward expansion. The origins behind this purchase began when Napoleon wanted to revive the French empire in the New World. His goal for using Louisiana was for it to be a granary for his empire.

    This worried the French so they acquired Louisiana from Spain in 1800 and had full control over it by 1802. The United States first attempt to purchase New Orleans and West Florida for $10 million was a major failure. It ended up creating a military alliance with England. Over time, Napoleon gave up on his plans on trying to acquire Louisiana, and offered to give Monroe and Jefferson the entire territory of Louisiana for $15 million. They agreed to this deal, even though they were not expecting it. In the end they had gained a total of 530,000,000 acres of land for only $15 million. When the news of this transaction reached the entirety of the United States, everyone was excited and very hopeful for the future and curious about what they could do with all this new territory. Everyone saw this as a moment of celebration except Jefferson, who believed it was not constitutional to purchase the land but later realized the impact that could happen if he did purchase it. Not only was this an economical contribution, it showed the usage of the principles of implied powers in the federal government. (history.state.gov)

    Everything on was on track and peaceful during this time, then 1812 came along and now there was a huge tension between the French, British, and the United States. All of this happened after the French Revolution and during the Napoleonic Wars, the main cause of the tension was because both France and Britain agreed to block the United States with trading with them. We would see later on in this war that the Native Americans would also be involved as well and mostly supported the British and had a grudge against the United States. In fact, they played a pivotal role in helping defending Canada, who would later be the real “winner”of this war. The first confrontation in this war would be the battle of Queenston Heights. This battle was significant because it showed the lack of experience on both the sides fighting, which were the British and the United States. As the war moved on, the British saw the American troops as a nuisance and wanted to win this war as fast as possible before suffering a great deal of damage financially and physically.

    The next few battles of the war would soon prove that the United States would not go down without a fight. While the British had the upper hand in skill, experience, and ammunition, this did not scare the Americans one bit. The next battle would be the Battle of Lake Erie. The U.S. naval army overtook and destroyed the British ships forcing them to abandon Detroit. The last battle of this war would be the Battle of New Orleans, which was again another U.S. victory. General Andrew Jackson led his troops in defending the city of New Orleans against the British troops. They did not know this at the time but weeks before this battle a peace agreement was signed in Ghent, known as The Treaty of Ghent, this was known as the main reason the war ended. Although the US, started this war as untrained and outmatched, they managed to “defeat” the British and slowly becoming a stronger army as a result of this war. (Britannica)  Conflict was something that was not uncommon during this era of new beginnings, as seen decades earlier in the War of 1812. In 1836, Texas had won its independence from Mexico, which made things tense between Mexico and Texas. Mexico refused to recognize the new Republic of Texas. The United States was spectating on the sidelines because did not want to make the Mexicans angrier by joining and helping out Texas. In the election of 1845, James K. Polk was elected into office, which resulted in Texas joining the Union.

    The impact of this decision would be conflicts between the United States and Mexico arguing over the land in Texas and who would control it. The Mexican-American War had officially broke out in May of 1846, the United States Army had about 8,000 soldiers at first and would later on have over 60,000 volunteers to help join the cause. America had the greater advantage over Mexico when it came to the sea, the morale was strong on the American side. From this point, it seemed like it would be a one sided war. Polk sent his army to attack into the heartland of Mexico to acquire New Mexico and California. It was a success and by 1847 California was fully secure and safe. Meanwhile, Commander Stephen Kearney lead his troops into Sante Fe in August of 1846 which made the governor of New Mexico to flee to safety. The entire city was captured with no casualties. After this, his army marched westward to join John Fremont in California. The big attack on Mexico was in control of two other commanders. Zachary Taylor had just crossed the Rio Grande with his troops following Polk’s order. They fought Santa Anna’s troops and were successful in making it to the heart of Mexico. The person to deliver the final knockout punch was Winfield Scott when he marched to Mexico City in a peaceful manner.

    The end of this war was because of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The United States had gained the territory of Texas as well as New Mexico and California for $15 million, the same price of the Louisiana Purchase. In the end, although losing 13,000 soldiers, the United States Army had easily won this war. The impact of this war was important because they gained more land for the United States which meant that more people would continue to move westward and even more economic opportunities had arrived. This war also proved that the United States Army had grown a lot stronger both on the ground and in the sea since the War of 1812 and would continue to get stronger as time moved forward. (ushistory.org) In closing, the early era of the United States was not an easy time and was a period of prosperity with moments of hardship. Their struggles would be used as lessons to help improve themselves so that they can become better than before. In that short period of time, the United States had improved itself financially with the National Bank, economically with the Louisiana Purchase, and got stronger military wise with the victory during the The Mexican-American War and gaining fighting experience in The War of 1812. The United States would continue to grow after all this but would have to face more tougher obstacles than before, with using the knowledge that they have now.

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