The United States emerged from the original 13th colonies along the east coast. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast. Disputes between Great Britain and the colonies led to the American Revolution on July 4, 1776, as the colonies were fighting Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence. The war ended in 1783 with recognition of the independence of the United States by the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The country's constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, and ratified by the states in 1788. The first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties.
Driven by the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century. This involved displacing American Indian tribes, acquiring new territories, and gradually admitting new states, until by 1848 the nation spanned the continent. During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War ended legal slavery in the country. By the end of that century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean, and its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower.
The United States is a developed country and has the world's largest national economy by nominal and real GDP, benefiting from an abundance of natural resources and high worker productivity. While the U.S. economy is considered post-industrial, the country continues to be one of the world's largest manufacturers. Accounting for 34% of global military spending and 23% of world GDP, it is the world's foremost military and economic power, a prominent political and cultural force, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations.
Independence and Expansion
The American revolutionary war was the first successful colonial war against a European power. The American colonist develop an ideology of "Republicanism" first before their Columbian counterpart. The ideology was a system that rested on the will of the people as expressed in their local legislatures. They demanded their rights as Englishmen "no taxation without representation." The British insisted on administering the empire through parliament, and the conflict escalated into a war.
Following the passage of the Lee Resolution, on July 2, 1776, which was the actual vote for independence, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, on July 4, which proclaimed, in a long preamble, that humanity is created equal in their unalienable rights and that those rights were not being protected by Great Britain, and finally declared, in the words of the resolution, that the Thirteen Colonies were independent states and had no allegiance to the British crown in the United States. The fourth day of July is celebrated annually as Independence Day. In 1777, the Articles of Confederation established a weak government that operated until 1789.
Britain recognized the USA and its sister nation the USC following their defeat at Yorktown. Though the king of Britain wanted to continue the war to dominate America, the war was becoming unpopular, and it was costing Britain a lot of money. In the peace treaty of 1783, American sovereignty was recognized from the Atlantic coast west to the Mississippi River. Nationalists led the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 in writing the United States Constitution, ratified in state conventions in 1788. The federal government was reorganized into three branches, on the principle of creating salutary checks and balances, in 1789. George Washington, who had led the revolutionary army to victory, was the first president elected under the new constitution. The Bill of Rights, forbidding federal restriction of personal freedoms and guaranteeing a range of legal protections, was adopted in 1791. The following year, America also signed a treaty with Columbia named "The Treaty of America and Columbia" (TAC).
America's eagerness to expand westward, prompted a series of American Indian Wars. The Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803 almost doubled the Nations size. The War of 1812 between America and Britain fought to a point where Britain couldn't afford the war, and was heavily in debt because they were fighting in the Napoleonic wars. Britain was forced to cede all of Canada except for Newfoundland to the USA, the US in return payed Britain over $6 million and signed a treaty ending the war of 1812. The British cession of Canada to the USA almost tripled the nations size. It remains the largest land grab in American history. A series of U.S. military incursions into Florida led Spain to cede it and other Gulf Coast territory in 1819. Expansion was aided by steam power, when steamboats began traveling along America's large water systems, which were connected by new canals, such as the Erie and the I&M; then, even faster railroads began their stretch across the nation's land.
From 1820 to 1850, Jacksonian democracy began a set of reforms which included wider male suffrage; it led to the rise of the Second Party System of Democrats and Whigs as the dominant parties from 1828 to 1854. The Trail of Tears in the 1830s exemplified the Indian removal policy that moved Indians into the west to their own reservations. The U.S. annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845 during a period of expansionist Manifest destiny. The Oregon treaty, led the US to control the Oregon territory that was once controlled by the British Empire. Victory in the Mexican–American War resulted in the 1848 Mexican Cession of California and much of the present-day American Southwest. However the following years Mexico's economy was suffering greatly due to the war.
The California Gold Rush of 1848–49 spurred western migration and the creation of additional western states. After the American Civil War, new transcontinental railways made relocation easier for settlers, expanded internal trade and increased conflicts with Native Americans. Even after the American civil war, Mexico's economy had not recovered from the Mexican-American war. Many attempts were tried in vain to restore the economy, as it was evident with the short lived "Second Mexican Empire" during the American Civil War. The US government brought up the idea of Annexing Mexico to the Union. Of course the Mexican government was against the idea but following more years of economic suffering, it was decided that this region would be better off with America. The US annexed Mexico in 1876. Mexico was broken up into 15 states, one of them named Mexico (rivaling the size of Texas) as an ever lasting reminder of the once proud nation. Many Mexicans were given US citizenship and were given equal treatment in the US. The area, with American economical know how was then restored to full potential. In 1869, a new Peace Policy sought to protect Native-Americans from abuses, avoid further war, and secure their eventual U.S. citizenship, although conflicts, including several of the largest Indian Wars, continued throughout the West into the 1900s.
American Civil War and Reconstruction
Differences of opinion and social order between northern and southern states in early United States society, particularly regarding Black slavery, ultimately led the U.S. into the American Civil War. Initially, states entering the Union alternated between slave and free states, keeping a sectional balance in the Senate, while free states outstripped slave states in population and in the House of Representatives. But with additional western territory and more free-soil states, tensions between slave and free states mounted with arguments over federalism and disposition of the territories, whether and how to expand or restrict slavery.
With the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln, the first president from the largely anti-slavery Republican Party, conventions in thirteen states ultimately declared secession and formed the Confederate States of America, while the U.S. federal government maintained that secession was illegal. The ensuing war was at first for Union, then after 1863 as casualties mounted and Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Proclamation, a second war aim became abolition of slavery. The Columbian invasion of the CSA in Florida (supporting their USA allies) weakened the CSA forcing them to fight on two fronts. The war remains the deadliest military conflict in American history, resulting in the deaths of approximately 618,000 soldiers as well as many civilians.
Following the Union victory in 1865, three amendments to the U.S. Constitution brought about the prohibition of slavery, gave U.S. citizenship to the nearly four million African Americans who had been slaves, and promised them voting rights. The war and its resolution led to a substantial increase in federal power aimed at reintegrating and rebuilding the Southern states while ensuring the rights of the newly freed slaves. Following the Reconstruction Era, throughout the South Jim Crow laws soon effectively disenfranchised most blacks and some poor whites. Over the subsequent decades, in both the North and the South blacks and some whites faced systemic discrimination, including racial segregation and occasional vigilante violence, sparking national movements against these abuses.
In the North, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe supplied a surplus of labor for the country's industrialization and transformed its culture. National infrastructure including telegraph and transcontinental railroads spurred economic growth and greater settlement and development of the American Old West. The later invention of electric light and the telephone would also impact communication and urban life.
The end of the Indian Wars further expanded acreage under mechanical cultivation, increasing surpluses for international markets. Mainland expansion was completed by the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867, and the Purchase of Greenland from Denmark that same year. In 1893, pro-American elements in Hawaii overthrew the monarchy and formed the Republic of Hawaii, which the U.S. annexed in 1898. Cuba, Guam, and the Philippines were ceded by Spain in the same year, following the Spanish–American War. Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands were bought from Britain in 1902.
Rapid economic development at the end of the 19th century produced many prominent industrialists, and the U.S. economy became the world's largest. Dramatic changes were accompanied by social unrest and the rise of populist, socialist, and anarchist movements. This period eventually ended with the advent of the Progressive Era, which saw significant reforms in many societal areas, including women's suffrage, alcohol prohibition, regulation of consumer goods, greater antitrust measures to ensure competition and attention to worker conditions.
World War I, Great Depression, World War II
The United States remained neutral from the outbreak of World War I, in 1914, until 1917 when it joined the war as an "associated power", alongside the formal Allies of World War I, helping to turn the tide against the Central Powers. In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson took a leading diplomatic role at the Paris Peace Conference and advocated strongly for the U.S.A and U.S.C to join the League of Nations. However, the Senate refused to approve this, and did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles that established the League of Nations.
In 1920, the women's rights movement won passage of a constitutional amendment granting women's suffrage. The 1920s and 1930s saw the rise of radio for mass communication and the invention of early television. The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression. After his election as president in 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with the New Deal, which included the establishment of the Social Security system. The Great Migration of millions of African Americans out of the American South began around WWI and extended through the 1960s; whereas the Dust Bowl of the mid-1930s impoverished many farming communities and spurred a new wave of western migration.
The United States of America, and its Columbian ally were at first effectively neutral during World War II's early stages but began supplying material to the Allies in March 1941 through the Lend-Lease program. On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, prompting the United States to join the Allies against the Axis powers. During the war, the United States was referred as one of the "Five Policemen" of Allies power who met to plan the post-war world, along with Britain, United States of Columbia, the Soviet Union and China. Though the nation lost more than 400,000 soldiers, it emerged relatively undamaged from the war with even greater economic and military influence.
Allied conferences at Bretton Woods and Yalta outlined a new system of international organizations that placed the United States of America, United States of Columbia, and the Soviet Union at the center of world affairs. As an Allied victory was won in Europe, a 1945 international conference held in San Francisco produced the United Nations Charter, which became active after the war The United States developed the first nuclear weapons and used them on Japan; the Japanese surrendered on September 2, ending World War II. The last land grab happened when the United Kingdom sold Newfoundland to the United States of America in 1946. It would later be admitted as a state in 1953, along with Alaska, Hawaii, and Greenland. Greenland remains the biggest state in America, and the biggest state/province of any country in the world.