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Judicial System and Politics in American History Essay

The phenomenon of terror and resistance

As noted by Linebaugh and Rediker (50), the system of terror from the colonial period through the civil war was methodically structured and entailed acts such as criminal sanctions, community searches, imprisonment, enforcement of military laws, child stealing, burning of women, and assault on paganism, capital sentence, forced manual labor, and colonization. The judicial system used brutal legislation to beat, hang, and burn hundreds of men and women while the court system denied common rights to villagers and propertyless commoners.

n England, the prison was the institution in which most activities of terror took place. Prisons were characterized by acts such as the locking poor and starving men as a way of inflicting pain and intimidation, while the women, as explained by Linebaugh and Rediker (45), seemed like the main targets of acts of horror such as hanging whenever they were suspected of practicing witchcraft, an act viewed by the Christian society as being evil and against Biblical teachings.

The other type of terror experienced during that period took the shape of forced labor, which also went by the name of the slave trade. This entailed prisoners being selected from prisons and shipped to America to serve as laborers in the vast American plantations. The issue of commoners disposing of their land meant the adoption of enclosure land systems instead of communal land systems, which in turn resulted in many slaves being made available for shipment.

However, the terror caused by the slave trade did not go unchallenged and experienced forms of resistance throughout the country staged by different groups of people, including some who openly opposed the dispossession of their land. An example of this resistance took place in 1919 when children destined to be shipped to Virginia organized a revolt that attracted the world’s attention towards the evil of the slave trade.

There were also other groups that resisted the white masters, including the Native Americans, who fought the ‘holy war’ to guard their land against being forcefully taken away from them. The other group of individuals is the Canaanites, who were made up of Africans, Europeans who lost their land to the Israelites. They comprised the Europeans, Africans, and Americans. Additionally, there was a group of assassins who targeted King Hercules and other leaders and were also known to execute their victims secretly (Linebaugh and Rediker 63).

In 1649, King James of England issued a decree targeted at getting rid of all those perceived as wrongdoers in the community. In this decree, women were ranked sixth in the list of enemies of Hercules. In those days, women carrying weapons were said to be the ones behind aggressive acts, and there was even a claim of the private army being under the leadership and influence of women.

The unfair treatment of women continued into the colonial Virginia, where most women were reduced to slaves to work in the plantation together with other slaves from Africa and Europe, particularly during the trans-Atlantic slave trade period. Women, in particular, were poorly treated compared to their male counterparts and were always hurt by their masters.

This unfair treatment prompted women to seek involvement in politics so they could change the unfair treatment directed towards them. In the pre-colonial period, the participation of women in active politics was shown in their persistent campaigns against the acts of exploitation against them. At the close of the revolution, it was mostly women who were involved in a collision with law, as witnessed by the various protest and convulsion of food corns, unlike their men.

Linebaugh and Rediker (65) give the example of an Irish pirate woman who went by the name of queen Grace as having played an active role in ensuring women were treated fairly. She is a key figure in women’s leadership and was believed to control a large gathering from different clans, which she used to spearhead her rebellion against authorities until her death.

The natural world’s role in shaping North America

The history of North America from Pangea to the social war can be seen as having been shaped by the natural world in more ways than one. Most historians believe that after Pangea split into two, the Atlantic Ocean expanded, prompting the separation of North America from Africa and from the south. This geological happening shaped the many events that took place in the continents. For instance, due to the Old World of Eurasia, life forms in the southern and northern continents of America developed separately and differently. This perhaps explains why the first Europeans to explore the continent were terrified by the strange flora and fauna. The continental rift also offers an explanation of why this continent, together with South America, was the last to have human settlements.

Humans have also shaped the history of this continent through activities such as agriculture and mining. By studying Geological history, one can be able to get more insight into the historical events that have taken part in this continent and, indeed, in any part of the world. The significance of this unit of history is that it chronologically captures most of the world events that have affected the way of life of humans.

How to race structured American history

The issue of race has been dominant in American history ever since the days of the slave trade. Being a multiracial society, America is among the nations where race plays a big role in its day-to-day happenings. During the colonial and pre-revolution period, the relationship between the black Americans and the white ones was more of a master-servant one, with the natives being denied basic rights and being subjected to inhumane treatment.

With the revolution came the fight by the black Americans to play a more active role in shaping the country. Race can therefore be said as being among the major issues that shaped the American Revolution, independence, and even the American constitution by uniting multiracial Americans against atrocities committed by the dominant race against the less dominant races. Race issues were also prominent in shaping the labor republicans, which is a movement that seeks to address the grievances of American workers, regardless of racial affiliation. The race issue is also responsible for the US-born and Irish immigrants referring to themselves as white workers due to the color of their skin. Generally, the issue of race still affects many aspects of American society even today.

Work Cited

Linebaugh, Peter, and Rediker, Marcus. The Many-Headed Hydra. Boston: Beacon Press, 2000.

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1. IvyPanda. "Judicial System and Politics in American History." January 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/judicial-system-and-politics-in-american-history/.


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IvyPanda. 2021. "Judicial System and Politics in American History." January 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/judicial-system-and-politics-in-american-history/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Judicial System and Politics in American History'. 1 January.

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