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United States of America Essay


The History of America

The story of the United States is based on either the Native people’s prehistory or the 1492 voyages of Christopher Columbus to the land. USA or the United States, as it is sometimes called, is a federal republic made up of a federal district and fifty states. Native people, whose first appearance in the region was at North America, were the indigenous people in the country.

This group of people would compose of a number of distinct American ethnic communities and was called by controversial titles that were based on European language terminologies. The Voyages of Christopher Columbus, on the other hand, refers to the speculative journey of an Italian navigator and explorer by the name Christopher Columbus, across the Atlantic Ocean.

Columbus’s boat voyages were a successful exploration story, since they would lead to significant discoveries of the land. The discoveries of Columbus explorations contributed to general European awareness of the continent of America, thus necessitating its colonization by the Great Britain. This colonization begun at around 1600, and would go on for about 15 decades before the onset of the revolution war in 1775.

The first batch of Europeans to arrive in the region would languish alone for many years before a new stronger group of British settlers finally made their way into the region towards the end of the 17th century. These new settlers were indeed the first category of immigrants to bring the idea of commercial agriculture in the region, with tobacco and rice being the first agricultural products to be introduced.

The 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries would see a great number of immigrants flow into the region, with the intention of making good use of the abundant opportunities and resources that were available. Apart from the impact of these varied opportunities, many significant aspects in the American history such as industrialization and formation of the initial states would also take place in the course of this period, making America one of the most developed continents in the world those times(Wendell,2005).

However, the differences in cultural aspects arising from the diverse communities in the region would often lead to serious ethnic violence, social disruptions, and political tensions among the communities over the centuries. In fact, these pressures played a significant role in the facilitation of the American war of independence or simply the revolution war in 1775.

The American Revolution was an open confrontation that involved the Great Britain on one side, and the united colonies together with other European immigrants on the other side. The revolution would come as a result of heightening restrictions which had been placed upon the colonies by the Great Britain.

The confrontation is also said to have started as a result of disagreements over the manner in which the Natives were treated by their British colonizers, and the way they thought it was better for them to be treated. Some of these disagreements came by as a result of matters regarding taxations which the colonies believed were conducted unfairly.

While the Americans thought that their rights as the owners of the land were being trodden upon by the Europeans, particularly the British, the Great Britain would claim that it was their right to treat the colonies in every manner that suited the crown. These events would later lead to the British defeat by the Americans. This would come following the support of the latter by the French and other immigrants who had settled in the region.

The outcomes of this historic war eventually granted Americans their freedom from the colonizers. This historic achievement was realized on July 4, 1776, and the declaration of Independence would be signed officially two days later. This marked a new beginning for the Americans, since the thirteen states which had previously being under the harsh rule and domination of Great Britain for many centuries were now free to come together to establish an autonomous government.

The states could now form their own way of leadership, and be able to come up with own laws that would be suitable for them in all aspects. 37 more states were formed in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries increasing the number of states to 50 from the previous 13, thus giving rise to modern America.

1780s would see key nationalists from the 13 states come together to form a new constitution to serve as a foundation for this new nation that was too fragile to withstand any form of pressure that was likely to arise. The new constitution paved way for a stronger government with a powerful president and new laws.

George Washington, a renowned political figure who had played an active role in the revolutionary war was elected the first president of the country, under the new constitution in 1789. Ever since then, America has gone through smooth and tough, wars and treaties, and good and bad times, to emerge not only as one of the most developed countries in the world, but also as a global superpower. The United States has had 44 presidents so far, with Barack Obama being the current occupant of the Whitehouse.

Significant Events in the Country’s Life

The American life is marked by many significant events which include wars and diseases. Concerning wars, there have been all sorts of warring events in the country’s history. This would range from domestic conflicts to international conflicts where the Americans have been involved in conflicts with combatants from other countries.

Some of the well-known conflicts involving the Americans had taken place in the colonial times, while others would occur just after the independence and the years to follow. The King Philip’s War, which took place between July 1675 and August 1676, was among the first wars involving the Americans. This was followed by a conflict involving France and the English colonies, a confrontation that was known as King William’s War between 1689 and 1697.

There was also the King George’s war which took place between 1744 and 1748. This was followed closely by the French and Indian War involving the Great Britain and French colonies from 1756 to 1763. The Cherokee War between 1759 and 1761 would pave way for the Revolution War that was fought for eight consecutive years starting from the year 1775.

The Post-independence wars involving the US included Franco-American Naval War of 1798, Barbary Wars, War of 1812, Creek War, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, and the U.S. Civil War. Some of the major wars in the American history would include the Great War, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam War, Invasion of Panama by the US, Persian Gulf War, the Invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and the US disarmament war on Iraq.

The Iraq war which begun in 2003 and took not less than five years to end, is arguably one of the worst wars that have involved the Americans recently.

Apart from these notable wars and conflicts, America has also experienced a number of diseases. As it would be observed, Native Americans have been victims to various health concerns and diseases throughout history.

Most of these diseases, however, are said to have resulted from the interactions of the Europeans when they first invaded the American territories way back in 1600 and the years to follow. The most notable diseases and health concerns arising from these foreign invasions would include, but were not limited to, smallpox, measles, cholera, typhoid, tuberculosis, chicken pox, scarlet fever, influenza, whooping cough, yellow fever, bilious disorder, and sexually transmitted diseases (Matthew & Cliff, 2004).

Most of these diseases, however, occurred as sweeping epidemics which resulted to massive deaths, thus causing serious destruction to the affected communities. Some of these epidemics are seen as significant events in the country’s life, owing to their serious implications on people’s lives.

Even though the effects of these early diseases have declined tremendously over the past several decades, probably due to the current advancements in matters of health, a new batch of more serious ailments has sprouted in the contemporary world. These contemporary diseases, which have continued to place a heavy burden on the American economy, would include HIV/AIDS, malaria, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and liver cirrhosis, among others.

Recent Worth Noting Events

Apart from the wars and diseases that have affected the American since prehistoric times, there are also other worth noting events that have rocked the country. These include devastating events such as acts of terror, natural calamities or disasters, and incidents of mass shooting that have occurred in the country‘s history. As it would be observed, America has been a common target for many Islamic terror attacks.

Some of these attacks would result to loss of many innocent lives across the country whenever they did occur. Among these attacks, the events of September 11 are said to be the most devastating acts of terrorism to have ever happened in the country’s history. This was an act of terror involving Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacking four passenger flights in the U.S. and steering them into strategic points in Washington DC, leading to the deaths of nearly 3000 Americans and injuries of more than 1000.

Apart from terrorism events, mass shooting incidents have also become a norm in the United States recently. Most of these incidents are said to have occurred in entertainment zones, restaurants, and learning institutions, among other places. According to police sources in the U.S., more than 30 mass shooting incidents have occurred in the country in the last three decades alone.

The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University incident, where an undergraduate student by the name of Cho shot and killed 32 fellow students is a worth noting event here. The April 2007 shooting, which is said to be the worst incident of mass shooting ever in the country’s history, has raised a lot of concern on the controversial issue of gun control in the country.

The McDonald’s massacre of July, 1984 is also another significant event. In this particular incident, James Huberty had invaded the Californian restaurant and opened fire on everybody who was inside. Only 19 out of the forty people who were said to have been shot in this incident had survived the ordeal, but with serious injuries.

US Government Structure

The current American government structure is divided into three major branches which include the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary. Normally, the government is headed by the US president, who shares his authority and powers with the judiciary system and the Congress. Theirs being a Federal Republic, Americans do recognize the Constitution as the Supreme law which governs them.

Following is a simple diagram showing the current government structure of USA.

United States Government current structure.

The Democratic Party and the Republican Party are the two major political parties in the states. Each of these parties has tried to exercise outstanding credibility and performance in governance affairs. Democratic is currently the ruling party, with president Obama being the 15th Democrat to occupy the Whitehouse as the 44th president of the United States. With a population of over 300 million people, the U.S. is arguably among the high-ranking countries in the world in terms of voter turnout every time there is an election.

However, the voter turn out in the country has never been constant, but it keeps on rising and dropping every now and then. According to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, the recent voter turnout in the country stood at 57.5 percent of the total number of people who were eligible to vote. This rate, however, was a bit lower compared to the 2008 and 2004 general elections where percentages of 62.3 and 60.4, respectively, were observed.

Cases of Corruption in the US

The U.S., just like any other country in the world, has witnessed many cases of public corruption in its history. There has been a case of corruption in almost every administration that has governed the Federal Republic of the United States.

Some of the past administrations that have been associated with major corruption scandals in the country’s history would include the governments of Reagan, Clinton, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, George W. Bush, Kennedy, Carter, and George H.W. Bush. Of all the vast corruption scandals witnessed under the above administrations, the corruption case of William Jefferson is a worth noting scandal. This incident had taken place in the era of President George W.

Bush, and is one of the most recent corruption cases to have rocked the U.S. The fact that the case involved a Congressman was not the only reason that would make it one of the most significant corruption scandals in the country’s history, but also the fact that the 5-year investigation on the case, which had started on mid 2005 would reveal more than enough evidence to convict Jefferson (Nicholls et al., 2011).

This would see Jefferson being convicted of 11 accounts of corruption in August 2009, and getting a 13-year sentence. In this regard, Jefferson went into history as the first congressman to get the longest jail sentence on accounts of corruption and bribery.

Country Indicators and Statistics

As it would be observed, the major indicators of the United States are based on aspects of human development, climate and environmental matters, socioeconomic aspects, and information and communication technology matters, among other aspects.

The levels of Human Development in the US are assessed by bringing together the indicators of income, life expectancy and attainment of education. However, the levels of income would vary from state to state. The current Median Income of the households is said to be $45,019 per annum.

The life expectancy at birth in the US currently ranges between 77 years and 80 years for both male and women. Educational attainment for all ages, sex, race, and gender has increased significantly in the last several years. Based on the above indicators, it is patently clear that all avenues of human development in the country have improved greatly over the years, thus paving way for even better achievements as far as the country’s future economy is concerned.

Climatic indicators are also widely used in the U.S. to determine expected weather patterns. Most of these climatic indicators are aimed at assessing the key elements of weather that are likely to be observed in the country, such as weather patterns, greenhouse gases, and ecosystems.

Current economic indicators have shown USA as one of the most powerful economies globally. This great achievement, however, can be based on the behavior of the financial market as it is gauged using various economic indicators. Some of the common economic indicators that have continued to play a significant role in the United States include, but are not limited to, Gross Domestic Product, Inflation, and unemployment.

These indicators have proved to be effective in helping the Federal Reserve make the necessary decisions and plans in regard with the country’s economy. The current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the country is estimated to be $15.7 trillion. This actually stands as the largest national economy globally.

This is slightly higher compared with previous rankings, thus indicating a significant advancement in the job and business sectors. Currently, the U.S. inflation rate is recorded at 1.1 percent, and this is a significant drop compared to previous records which had stood at a higher mark. The unemployment rate in the US has also dropped to 7.5 percent this year from last year’s rate which stood at 7.6 percent.

Population Statistics

Currently, United States stands as the third most populous country in the world, with an approximate of about 315 million people. According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the country’s population has been growing steadily since prehistoric times, and it was in the year 2006 when the mark of 300 million was eventually reached.

This is a massive growth, considering the fact that the country had a population of only 350 people way back in 1610, when the first census was conducted on Native Americans. United States has a total area of 3.79 sq miles, and in that case, its population density stands at around 33.9 people per sq.km. Having a growth rate of nearly 1 percent, which is considered to be higher than that of any other developed nation in the world, the country’s population is projected to increase abundantly in the near future.

The total fertility rate in the United States stands slightly below the replacement value at 2.09. This, however, is a bit more higher compared to that of other developed countries in the world. The death rate in the country is observed to have dropped significantly in the past few years. In fact, this is one of the key factors which have contributed to the high growth rate witnessed in the country today.

Based on the current demographical data, the death rate stands at 8.4 deaths per every 1,000 population. The infant mortality rate normally constitutes the largest percentage of the overall number of deaths occurring in the country. Currently, the infant mortality rate in the U.S. stands at around 6.04 deaths per 1000 live births.

Most of these infant deaths are said to occur as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and serious birth defects, among other causes. Even though the infant mortality rate is observed to have started declining in recent years after leveling off for quite sometime, it still remains a bit higher than that of many other countries in the world.

Armed forces, Conventional Weapon Holdings and Military Activities

Generally, the U.S. armed forces are comprised of five key branches which include the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the US Air force. The president, who is also the Commander-in-Chief, is the military’s overall head assisted by a federal executive department and the Defense Secretary, among other key units in the government.

All these units are entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the complex operations of the armed forces in the whole country. Members of the U.S. armed forces are entitled to a variety of duties and assignments, as stated in the Constitution. Even though personnel from different units of the U.S. armed forces can perform similar tasks in most cases, their duties would tend to vary greatly sometimes, depending on their departments or units.

The typical duties of military personnel in the U.S. armed forces would include safeguarding the country from both domestic and external attacks, responding to matters of emergency in the country, helping in undertaking development projects, and assisting in carrying out the outstanding mission of the government in other countries through the U.S. foreign policy.

The U.S. armed forces are ranked among the best trained fighting forces globally. Moreover, they have also gained outstanding reputation and recognition from allover the world, for being in possession of the most sophisticated war weapons that have ever been introduced into the world.

These achievements have brought much glory and honor to the American fighting forces. Ever since their establishment way back in 1775, the U.S. forces have taken part in many military activities inside and outside the country (Ploch, 2010). Most of these involvements have been in the many warring events involving the Americans that would take place after the declaration of independence in 1774. The prevailing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are good examples here.

Apart from the wars, the U.S. armed forces have also taken part in other special missions outside the country, some of which are noteworthy events in the country’s history. A good example of the special activities in which the U.S. military forces have continued to take part is the UN peacekeeping mission of enforcing peace in war-stricken regions in the world. The American military forces have also played a crucial role in responding to natural disasters and events of terrorism in the world.

One important aspect which the U.S. enjoys out of their economic power and stability is their status as the strongest military power in the world. This outstanding status has been confirmed by previous war events which had involved the Americans, such as the Great War and the Spanish-American War, among others.

America’s status as a strong military and economic power would come after the Second World War, when it eventually became a global superpower. Today, the U.S. stands as the country with the highest number of military personnel in the world, constituting of volunteers and conscripted service men, both of whom are entitled to salaries and allowances.

When it comes to holding of conventional weapons, the U.S. military forces would come second to none in the whole world. As a matter of fact, the deadliest conventional war machines and equipment used in the world can be found in the U.S. armed forces arsenal. These deadly weapons include laser-guided bombs, the bunker booster bomb, anti-personnel mines, the AC-130 aerial gunship, and the .50-caliber sniper rifle, among others.

Education Structure

Education is compulsory for every child in the United States, just like in any other nation that values the future of its coming generations. The system of education in the U.S. is almost similar to that of any other country in the world. Basically, the system is divided into three major levels which include elementary school, middle school, and secondary school.

The educational system constitutes of twelve study grades which are achievable over twelve full years of primary and post-primary education in high school, before one becomes eligible for admission in college or university for further studies.

Early childhood is the first level of the education system in the United States. This normally comprises of toddler, preschool, and pre-kindergarten. The elementary school, which constitutes of kindergarten as the lowest level and five years of study in the primary school, comes next.

Learners are then taken through the middle school level where they undertake grades 6, 7, and 8, before proceeding to high school. After graduating with high school diplomas, they can then enroll for post-secondary education which comprises of tertiary education, vocational education, and graduate education. Adult education, which is not very common in the country, also falls under this category.

The following figure illustrates the education structure in the U.S.

The education structure in the U.S.

Economic and Trade Activity

Apart from being the biggest economy in the world, America is ranked among the wealthiest nations in the world today. Moreover, the country enjoys abundant natural resources, integrated communication facilities, and well-developed infrastructure, among other modern aspects that are critical in boosting a country’s productivity and economy.

All these opportunities have continued to play a crucial role in promoting the country’s development and prosperity in terms of trade and economic affairs. Over the years, America has established strong trade ties with other countries in the world, thus playing a key role in shaping the global economy. According to Hanson (1996), the U.S. has proved to be less vulnerable to anything which threatens to interfere with its incredible advancement in various sectors of the economy.

America has been a major trade partner in the world for many years now and this progress in trade affairs has made the nation a global leader in matters of trade. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have become the most convenient way of opening up the country’s abundant exports to foreign markets.

More importantly, these agreements have also proved to be more important in giving the country an opportunity to import equipment and resources freely from their many trade partners around the world. Currently, the country has engaged in numerous trade agreements with other countries in the world. Some of the major free trade agreements involving the U.S. include North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Australia-U.S.

Trade Agreement of 2004, Singapore-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, Chile-United States Free Trade Agreement, Morocco-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, Peru-United States Free Trade Agreement, and Oman-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, among others. Currently, the country has engaged in negotiations with other nations in a bid to open more multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements across the world.

Despite the current economic nightmares arising from the most recent economic crisis, America has maintained a stronger economic health. If anything, the country’s outstanding strength in business has played a crucial role in enabling it to survive these economic setbacks. This achievement, however, has also been enhanced by the efforts of the U.S. government and other important sectors of the economy.

For instance, both public and private sectors in the country have constantly come together to exert considerable efforts that would be necessary in key areas of the economy. The government is the engine of the country’s economic growth, and for that reason, America’s potential economic benefits out of trade affairs are likely to remain inexhaustible for long.

Some of the ways by which the government influences economic activities in the country is through exertion of leverages on some key sectors of the economy and through implementation of antitrust laws aimed at preventing firms from engaging in unethical business practices.

Membership of international organizations

Apart from the Free Trade Agreements, the United States also takes part in numerous international organizations in the world. Some of the major international organizations in which the country participates include the World Trade Organization (WTO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations (UN), International Trade Union Confederation, International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Criminal Court (ICC), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Group of Seven (G7), International Olympic Committee (IOC), and African Development Bank Group, just to mention but a few.

Human Rights

Human rights in the U.S. are just as important as they are in any other nation in the world, and for that reason, they are legally protected by the law (Stephens, 2008). The organization of the human rights in the country dates back more than two centuries ago, when Anthony Benezet introduced the first human right standards in regard with the abolishment of slavery.

This makes America a leader in the creation of an international system which recognizes, promotes, and protects the rights of people in various sectors of life. Ever since after the independence, when the first human right requirements were introduced in the country, America has shown great consistence in recognizing and protecting the rights of all its citizens and other people in the world, regardless of their race, color, gender, and national identity, among other aspects.

To prove that they are the premier promoter of these standards in the contemporary world, Americans have expressed support to some standard international human rights through ratification of treaties. Some of the key areas of concern upon which the U.S. human rights are based would include, but are not limited to, legal aspects, equality issues, labor rights, freedoms, justice system, and health care.

Major Societal Trends

As it would be observed, modern societies in the U.S are characterized by a number of societal trends. One of the most common trends here, which has affected nearly all groups in the country, is the obsession with modern technology. For instance, Americans, just like people from other developed nations, have become big fans of the social media through interactive sites such as Facebook, you tube and twitter.

Waking up to conservative life is another significant trend which defines the current American society. It is only at this age when you will find more grown-ups in America living with their guardians, compared with the past. As a matter of fact, the percentage of parents living with their adult children has increased tremendous in the past few years.

On the same note, current generations are even more family-centric compared with their predecessors. This, however, explains the reason as to why current generations are bearing more children, compared with their predecessors.

America is also experiencing a big demographic shift presently than before, probably as a result of the rapid wave of globalization which is taking place in every part of the country, among other significant factors in the society. Efficient access to goods and services has also become a norm in the U.S. as a result of current advances in technology. Anxiety has also emerged as another common trend among the American societies nowadays.

Previous acts of terrorism, particularly the events of September 11, have left many citizens in the country slightly rattled. This has triggered feelings of fear and anxiety among some American citizens who have felt that the country’s security against terrorism is not fully guaranteed. Other major societal trends in the U.S. would include bulging business opportunities, innovations, and invention of sophisticated aspects of technology in all sectors.

State of Technology

Being a country associated with abundant opportunities and resources, America has over the time emerged as the most advanced nation in the world in matters of technology. These aspects have played a critical role in helping to facilitate the early industrial and technological development in the country.

For the past one century or so, America as a country has been integral in the development of many award-winning technology products in the world. The country has been associated with a series of inventions and innovations, especially in the ICT sector which has continued to serve as a platform for other major developments in the world. Based on these observations, there is no doubt that America has excelled in matters of technology.

Environmental record

The management of environmental matters has never been easy for any country in the world. However, the United States has made progressive efforts in ensuring that current and future generations are spared the implications of a wasted environment which could result from environmental pollution and air pollution.

As it would be observed, the U.S. has maintained a good environmental record, possibly through their strong environmental policy which is enforced by the federal government. 1960s and 1970s are significant years in America’s history, since they mark a time when important laws on the environment were passed by the Congress. It is worth noting here that it was also in the course of this time when the Environmental Protection Policy was first introduced in the country to help address environmental matters more efficiently.

On this note, the United States is said to be at the fore-front in the fight against pollution of air and the environment. More importantly, the country has also adopted the idea of going green in various sectors of its vast economy, thus becoming the first country in the world to show serious concerns in the fight against the devastating issue of global warming, among other serious climatic conditions affecting the global populations today.

References

Hanson, G. (1996). Economic integration, intra-industry trade, and frontier regions. European Economic Review, 40(3), 941-949.

Matthew, R., & Cliff, D. (2004). Impact of infectious diseases on war. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America, 18(2), 341-345.

Nicholls, C., Daniel, T., Bacarese, A., & Hatchard, J. (2011). Corruption and misuse of public office. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Ploch, L. (2010). Africa Command: US strategic interests and the role of the US military in Africa. Berby, PA: Diane Publishing.

Stephens, B. (2008). International human rights litigation in US courts. Leiden: Brill Publishers.

Wendell, B. (2005). A literary history of America. Whitefish MT: Kessinger Publishing Company.

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