The Story Of American History – Albert F. Blaisdell.
Some sort of a first book on American history is now quite generally used in schools as a preparation for the more intelligent study of a larger and more formal text-book in the higher grammar grades. For beginners, a mere compilation of facts is dry and unsatisfactory. Such books have now given place, for the most part, to those prepared on a more attractive and judicious plan. The real aim in a first book should be to interest boys and girls in the history of their country, and to encourage them to cultivate a taste for further study and reading. This book is intended for use in the earlier grammar grades and to be preliminary to the study of a more advanced work in the higher grades. The author has also kept in mind the fact that the school life of many children is brief, and that all their instruction in American history must come from a text-book of this kind.
The Story Of American History.
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History of the United States (from Wikipedia):
The history of the United States began with the settlement of Indigenous people before 10,000 BC. Numerous cultures formed. The arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 started the European colonization of the Americas. Most colonies formed after 1600. The Spanish built small settlements in Florida and the Southwest, and the French along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. By the 1770s, thirteen British colonies contained 2.5 million people along the Atlantic coast east of the Appalachian Mountains. After the end of the French and Indian Wars in the 1760s, the British government imposed a series of new taxes, rejecting the colonists‘ argument that new taxes needed their approval (see Stamp Act 1765). Tax resistance, especially the Boston Tea Party (1773), led to punitive laws by Parliament designed to end self-government in Massachusetts.
Armed conflict began in 1775. In 1776, the Second Continental Congress declared a new, independent nation: the United States of America. Lead by General George Washington, it won the Revolutionary War with large support from France. The peace treaty of 1783 gave the new nation the land east of the Mississippi River (except Florida and Canada). The Articles of Confederation established a central government, but it was ineffectual at providing stability, as it could not collect taxes and had no executive officer. A convention in 1787 wrote a new Constitution that was adopted in 1789. In 1791, a Bill of Rights was added to guarantee inalienable rights. With Washington as the first president and Alexander Hamilton his chief adviser, a strong central government was created. Purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 doubled the size of the United States. A second and final war with Britain was fought in 1812.
Encouraged by the notion of manifest destiny, U.S. territory expanded all the way to the Pacific coast. While the U.S. was large in terms of area, its population in 1790 was only 4 million; but this grew rapidly, reaching 7.2 million in 1810, 32 million in 1860, 76 million in 1900, 132 million in 1940, and 321 million in 2015. Economic growth in terms of overall GDP was even greater. However, compared to European powers, the nation’s military strength was relatively limited in peacetime before 1940. The expansion was driven by a quest for inexpensive land for yeoman farmers and slave owners. The expansion of slavery was increasingly controversial and fueled political and constitutional battles, which were resolved by compromises. Slavery was abolished in all states north of the Mason–Dixon line by 1804, but the South continued to profit off the institution, mostly from production of cotton. Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860 on a platform of halting the expansion of slavery.
Seven Southern slave states rebelled and created the foundation of the Confederacy. Its attack of Fort Sumter against the North started the Civil War (1861–1865). Confederate defeat led to the impoverishment of the South and the abolition of slavery. In the Reconstruction Era (1863–1877), legal and voting rights were extended to freed slaves. The national government emerged much stronger, and because of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, it gained the explicit duty to protect individual rights. However, when white Democrats regained their power in the South during the 1870s, often by paramilitary suppression of voting, they passed Jim Crow laws to maintain white supremacy, and new disfranchising constitutions that prevented most African Americans and many poor whites from voting. This would continued until gains of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and passage of federal legislation to enforce constitutional rights.
The United States became the world’s leading industrial power at the turn of the 20th century due to an outburst of entrepreneurship in the Northeast and Midwest and the arrival of millions of immigrant workers and farmers from Europe. The national railroad network was completed and large-scale mining and factories industrialized the Northeast and Midwest. Mass dissatisfaction with corruption, inefficiency and traditional politics stimulated the Progressive movement, from the 1890s to 1920s, which led to many reforms, including the 16th to 19th constitutional amendments, which brought the federal income tax, direct election of Senators, prohibition, and women’s suffrage. Initially neutral during World War I, the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917 and funded the Allied victory the following year.
After a prosperous decade in the 1920s, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 marked the onset of the decade-long worldwide Great Depression. Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt ended the Republican dominance of the White House and implemented his New Deal programs, which included relief for the unemployed, support for farmers, Social Security and a minimum wage. The New Deal defined modern American liberalism. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the U.S. entered World War II. It financed the Allied war effort and helped defeat Nazi Germany in the European theater. Its involvement culminated in using the newly invented nuclear weapons on Japanese cities that helped defeat Imperial Japan in the Pacific theater.
The U.S. and the Soviet Union emerged as rival superpowers after World War II. During the Cold War, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. confronted each other indirectly in the arms race, the Space Race, proxy wars, and propaganda campaigns. The purpose of this was to stop the spread of communism. In the 1960s, in large part due to the strength of the Civil Rights Movement, another wave of social reforms were enacted by enforcing the constitutional rights of voting and freedom of movement to African-Americans and other racial minorities. The Cold War ended when the Soviet Union officially dissolved in 1991, leaving the U.S. as the world’s only superpower.
After the Cold War, the U.S. focused on international conflicts around the Middle East in response to the Gulf War in the early 1990s. The beginning of the 21st century saw the September 11 attacks by Al-Qaeda in 2001, which would be followed by U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2008, the United States had its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, which was followed by slower-than-usual rates of economic growth during the 2010s.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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