History of the United States
history of the United States is the story of a great nation that was
carved out of a wilderness by a brave and freedom-loving people. The men
and women who built the United States came from almost every part of the
world. They represented many different nationalities, and
religions. Through the years, the people and their descendants learned
to live and work together, and to take pride in being Americans. This
spirit of cooperation and pride helped make the United States the huge,
powerful, and wealthy nation it is today. It also helped the country and
its people survive many challenges and hardships--including dangers in
the wilderness, wars, social turmoil, and economic depressions.
late as the 1400's, Indians and Eskimos were the only inhabitants of the
Western Hemisphere. During the next 200 years, people from several
European countries sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to North and South
America. Among them were colonists--chiefly British--who settled along
the eastern coast of North America between what are now Maine and
Georgia. These colonists built up a series of thriving settlements. They
lived under British rule for many years. But their dedication to liberty
led them to declare their independence and form the United States of
America in 1776.
Growth and expansion
American people dedicated their new nation to the principles of
democracy, freedom, equality, and opportunity for all. From the start,
the United States welcomed immigrants to its shores. Attracted by the
opportunity for freedom and a chance for a better life, new-comers from
many lands poured into the United States by the millions. Immigration
and natural growth caused the nation's population to mount
steadily--from fewer than 3 million people in 1776 to more than 250
million people today.
the population grew, the American people spread out across North
America. Wherever they went, these pioneers worked hard to turn the
wilderness into a place where they could earn a living. They formed
thriving farms in places where the soil was good. They searched for
minerals and other valuable resources, and established towns where they
found resources. Cities grew up along the main transportation routes and
business and industry prospered there. America's rapid growth made it
one of the largest nations in the world in terms of both size and
population. The country's bustling economic activity turned it into a
land of enormous wealth.
Today, the United States ranks as the world's leading producer of farm
products and manufactured goods, and its people have one of the the
highest standards of living in the world. The United States also became
a world leader in many other fields, including science, medicine,
technology, and military strength.
Challenges and hardships
United States grew and prospered in spite of many challenges and
hardships. At the start, the very survival of the new nation was in
doubt. The colonists who founded the United States had to defeat the
mighty British Empire in the American Revolution to establish their
claim to independence. They succeeded despite great odds against them.
the colonists and the pioneers who moved westward across the country
faced many dangers, including disease, starvation, and attacks by
Indians. In the 1860's--less than 100 years after the American
Revolution--the survival of the United States was threatened once
again. Eleven Southern states withdrew from the Union and tried to
establish an independent nation. The tragic, bloody American Civil War
between the North and the South followed. The North won the war and the
country remained united.
American ideals of equality and opportunity for all did much to help the
United States grow and prosper. Yet the ideals have not always been
followed in practice. From colonial times until the end of the American
Civil War, many black Americans were slaves. In addition, some Americans
have suffered from discrimination in employment and other areas because
they were immigrants, or because of their race or religion.
America's economic growth, though amazingly rapid, has not always been
smooth. Periodically, severe depressions have brought the economy to a
near standstill. At such times, large numbers of Americans lost their
jobs and lived in poverty.
During the 1900's, the United States became one of the strongest
military powers in the world. As such, it took on the role of defending
democracy throughout the world. This role led the United States into two
world wars and into other conflicts. During the mid-1900's, many
Americans began protesting against their country's military role, while
others defended it. The question of what that role should be led to
bitter disputes among the people.
Today, as always, the United States faces many problems. They include
the existence of poverty amid great wealth, recurring slumps in the
economy, disputes over foreign policy, and pollution of the
environment. But Americans retain deep pride in their country and the
belief and hope that they can overcome their difficulties as their