GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY DEPARTMENT. IES FRAY PEDRO DE URBINA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THE EMERGING POWER
United States gained independence in 1783. In 1787 it was approved the FederalConstitution. Since the beginning, the United States will present serious problems of internal cohesion, Northern will have an industrial and very innovative economy, beingpredominant in rural areas the medium property devoted to food production andindustrial raw materials; in the southern states they will dominate the large estate thatproduces tropical crops to export (coffee, cotton, sugarcane ...) with slave laborers.Northern states favoured a strong and presidential central government, while southernstates were in favour of powerful state governments.The U.S. population grew rapidly by the emigration of British, Irish, German and Balticcountries. In 1790 there were 3,900,000 inhabitants and ten years later, there were8,000,000. The first presidents (Washington, Adams and Jefferson) encouraged thecolonization of the territory between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River.The Napoleonic Wars had an impact on the United States. Given the weakness of theUnited Kingdom, Perpetual Peace was signed in Ghent, trying to solve all the problemsbetween the United States and the United Kingdom because of Canadian border andtracing finally the current northern frontier. Napoleon gave in to American pressure andsold Louisiana to the United States in 1803, Spain sold Florida in 1819.The westward expansion was unstoppable. In 1845, after the first war with Mexico,Texas became part of the United States. In 1848 after the second Mexican War andthe Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, all lands north of the Rio Grande became Americanzone (more than two million square kilometres - Spain has 500,000).In 1829 the two parties governing the country's destiny set up. The influx of immigrantsand the conquest of the west created a new society where the individualistic spirit willprevail. President Jackson imposed the democratic system of elections and thecreation of a body of officials and civil servants depending on the President and not onthe party. The grant of land in the west and the discovery of gold in California triggereda wave of immigration to the west at the expense of the Indians, who were practicallyannihilated.Tensions between pro slavery and confederate South and abolitionist and unionistNorth were broadened with the addition of new states (when a territory had more than100,000 people, it could become a state as a part of the Union). In 1861 the Civil War between North and South broke out. The civil war was won by the federal governmentled by Lincoln (1861-1865). The country was devastated and deeply divided. Politicalrights of former slaves in the southern states were officially recognized, but a practicalracial segregation continued until 1960.Since then, the country embarked on a policy of growth and exploitation of its vastresources to become the third world power by 1890. While the United States became amajor trading power, it began a policy of interference in the affairs of other Americanrepublics with frequent military interventions, coups and all sorts of corruption toimpose their hegemony.