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The history of the US - The beginning of a nation


Before the first Europeans came to North America, Native Americans sometimes called Indians, were living there. Modern America was created by the early European settlers and by many immigrants who followed them.

The first colony in North America was founded in 1607 at Jamestown, Virginia, by the British. In 1620 the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, on the ship Mayflower. By the late 18th century there were 13 colonies. Over time the colonists were unhappy about having laws and taxes imposed by Britain and began to want more control over their affairs. The War of Revolution broke out in 1775, and the following year the colonists wrote the Declaration of Independence, which explained their reasons for waiting to be separated from Britain. At times it seemed likely that the colonies would lose the war, but in late 1871 the British surrendered.

Creating a single government for the 13 colonies was not easy, as each was afraid of giving the others too much power. A Constitutional Convention was held, and in 1787 the Founding Fathers, among them Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, wrote the Constitution, which set out how the United States would be governed.

In the early days of the US many people believed in manifest destiny, the ideal that the US was meant to extend its influence over the whole continent. Sometimes the US bought land, as with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, when France sold its territory in North America. But the US fought a war against Mexico to win land in the South-west, and took land by force from Native Americans.

Pioneers moved west to find new land to farm and lived a hard life on the frontier. Away from centers of government, there was little law enforcement. This led to the famous image of the Wild West and stories of sheriffs involved in gun battles with violent criminals.

During the gold rush, many people moved to California and later to the Klondike in Canada. Some went as prospectors, but many others found that they could make smaller but safer profits selling supplies.

As new lands were settled and became states, the issue of slavery became important. In the southern states slaves worked on the cotton plantations. In the North slavery was illegal. Feelings about slavery grew stronger on both sides until, in 1861, the southern states withdrew from the US and formed the Confederated States of America. The South fought a long Civil War against North, but in 1865 the North won. The South again became part of the US and slavery was made illegal everywhere. The bitter feelings that the war caused, especially in the South , were not easily overcome and may sometimes still be felt today.



  1. How were the first Europeans called when came to North America?
  2. When was the first colony founded?
  3. Who were the Pilgrims?
  4. When did the War of Revolution break out?
  5. What did the Declaration of Independence explain?
  6. What formed the Confederated States of America?
  7. When did the North win the war?
  8. What happened to slavery?






Date: 2015-12-18; view: 1133

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