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American History

Introduction

The role of slavery in the development of the United States is an important topic in American history. Similarly, the constitution and Articles of Confederation have played an integral role in regulating the American government. The current paper will give a comprehensive answer on the role of slavery in the development of the United States. It will also provide answers regarding the major differences between Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.

Question 1

Slavery is an indispensable feature of the American development. In the United States, it was a legal institution of human chattel slavery and was recognized in all the thirteen colonies. The legacy of slavery has played a key role in the development of the United States because during the colonial period, slaves grew various crops that made it to the world markets. These include cotton, tobacco, rice and sugar. Virginia’s economy was greatly dependent on tobacco, while Rice was a cash crop in Carolina. This increased the Nation’s total exports, thus regulating the balance of payments (Baptist 123).

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In fact, cotton became the world’s largest commodity in the middle of 1800s and the Nation became a dominant force in the global cotton market. This developed various states and industries, particularly those needed to extract natural resources or process local crops. As a result, a sense of economic strength was instilled in the states. Moreover, the economic strength had brought forth the major developments, one of which is infrastructure. Slavery was also a precursor to industrial distribution, which has been effective in enhancing the development of the United States. In this respect, the South was mainly agrarian and had high numbers of slaves work on the farms (Baptist 213). However, the North was not suited for large firms, which explains why slavery did not take root in this region. As a result, the North had resorted to manufacturing and was heavily industrialized. This led to the industrial distribution.

Moreover, slavery had ensured economic stability in the U.S. by ensuring a constant supply of productive workforce. Many slaves came to America due to the increasing demand for cotton because producers had to use cheap labor to keep up with the demand. This increased the productive workforce, thus guaranteeing economic stability (Baptist 183). Moreover, it enhanced cultural diversity, which greatly benefited the nation through the development of various competencies. In fact, the cultural diversity explains the origin of red beans, okra and gumbo, which are now foods that have been incorporated in the American culture. The cultural diversity had also paved the way for the exchange of different skills. For instance, slaves had all the necessary skills to cultivate rice and they taught these skills to their masters (Campbell and Campbell 57).

Slavery also had a role in th American civil war, which stemmed from tensions between the North and the South. This is because the North was gradually abolishing slavery, whereas there was an increasing demand for slaves in the South. This led to a conflict that was a precursor to American Civil War. The war had a major impact in the development of the United States because it set the stage for modern medicine. As a result, poorly trained physicians were educated to cater for the wellbeing of citizens. The civil war had also brought changes, such as the abolishment of slave trade, reconstruction laws, technological advances and military advances (Campbell and Campbell 67). The changes have a significant role in the development of the United States up to this point.

Slavery also gave the Native Americans an opportunity to invest their capital in a form of labor that brought riches. In addition, Americans took advantage of cheap labor in the quest of maximizing their profits. The labor force gave the United States an upper hand because they could compete in the global market at lesser costs than their competitors. In fact, today, American businesses still use this method, as they have relocated the major factories in third world countries to utilize cheap labor. However, it is vital to acknowledge that slavery does not explain all forms of currently existing racism. Slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment which was adopted in the late 1865.

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Question 2

Articles of Confederation was the first constitution in the United States and was an agreement among the thirteen states. Its drafting commenced on July 12, 1776 and established the functions of national government after it declared independence from Great Britain. The Constitution is a supreme law of the United States and came into force in 1789. The major difference between the two is that in the Constitution, the legislature constitutes two houses (bicameral) and is divided into the Senate and House of Representatives. In the articles of confederation, the legislature constitutes one house (unicameral) (Belton 27).

The disparity is attributable to the fact that different states wanted the number of representatives to be selected in certain ways. Even though all states were to be represented in the same manner, bigger states felt they should play a key role in making the country’s decisions. However, smaller states did not agree with such a statement. As a result, the disagreement was solved, forming the two houses in the Constitution. The Constitution allows people to vote for the house representatives (Kozak 103). In the Articles of Confederation, the state legislatures appoints members of the congress (Belton 13). The change gives people the freedom and autonomy to select who should represent their grievances.

Moreover, the term of legislative office in the Constitution is two years for representatives and six for senators (Kozak 111). In the Articles of Confederation, the term of legislative offfice is one year. However, in the Constitution, the senators and representatives can be reelected by people indefinitely. The longer legislative office for senators allows them to get acquainted with the dynamics of governmental operations and what they ought to do. The other major difference is that in the Constitution, the congress and, more precisely, the House of Representatives is given the mandate to collect the taxes and raise revenues. This was necessary because it enabled the government to easily fund the Army and other national services.

In the Articles of Confederation, the congress was deprived of taxing powers, as the right was only reserved for the states (Belton 28). The fact that the government had to request funds from every state made the process unreliable. The Constitution accords the congress, as well as the prerogative of regulating commerce among the states. However, the Articles of Confederation curtails the congress the power over foreign commerce or interstate. Additionally, Articles of Confederation lacks independent executives, while the Constitution has independent executives, chosen by Electoral College (Belton 22). In the articles of confederation, the state government would not act directly on the people, while the constitution allows central governments and state governments to act directly with the people.

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The Articles of Confederation approved at the time it was written due to the political rush to increase cooperation among the colonies and to solve mutual local problems. This was happening during the Revolutionary War. The Americans also wanted a central institution that would govern the orchestration of major domestic and foreign affairs. Such a desire occurred because the thirteen colonies became thirteen states and started acting independently to fulfill their best interests. The Articles of Confederation outlined the powers of the government and the thirteen states, so as to aid in governing the newly formed states. It guaranteed the supremacy of the state and the legislature and had limited judicial functions. The article was in effect from 1781 to 1789. The Constitution approved at that time was written because of the inherent weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. The congress wanted powers to be able to negotiate treaties with international treaties. The government also had difficulties in covering national expenses because the congress lacked the authority to collect taxes and raise revenues.

Conclusion

Slavery is the engine that propelled the United States’ rise to global economic dominance, which enhanced development. This is because slavery brought about industrial distribution. Slavery was also the driving force behind the American cultural diversity and economic stability. It also propelled the American Civil War. The American Constitution and the Articles of Confederation have some glaring disparities. These include the difference in terms of legislative office and the powers conferred to the congress.

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