A Difficult Past - How the Americas Change<br />By Terrance Finley-Moore<br />
The Americas in the 19th Century<br /><ul><li>As the colonies in the Western Hemisphere gained their independence and began to rapidly expand, they had to bring order and unity to their politically fragmented societies. Inspired by the Enlightenment, Latin America, Canada, and the United States had to build political systems which allowed for individual freedoms but also created cohesion between provinces and states.
The United States rapidly expanded after it had won its independence. American regions became culturally and politically diverse. There was a disunity between states. The main theme of these conflicts was balancing the power of individual rights and freedoms with federal authority. The Civil War was largely a war about slavery, but overall it was a struggle for the central government to bring order and cooperation to the expanding U.S.</li></li></ul><li>The Americas in the 19th Century<br /><ul><li>Canada was a politically fragmented area built by the cooperation of the French and the British. The War of 1812 helped this politically and culturally diverse group find cohesion by guarding itself against America. Canada then expanded rapidly, and it was divided into a system of independently controlled provinces called the Dominion of Canada. Canada gradually achieved its independence. The railroad networks further expanded Canadian territories.
Latin America was characteristically unstable and fragmented. To resist foreign powers, creole elites of independent states wrote constitutions and built governments. These systems only allowed a small percent of the population to govern, and rebellions happened. This led to bloody wars for independence in which caudillos rose to power to restore order. The Mexican Constitution brought order to Mexico after long and bloody civil wars.</li></li></ul><li>The Little Ice Age<br /><ul><li>There was a period of global cooling that occurred for about four centuries until the 19th century. It affected civilizations all over the planet at different times.
The climate shift drastically decreased agricultural production, caused storms and prolonged winters, and increased diseases which affected humans.
This period had a tremendous influence on human life . Famine and starvation led to migration, political conflict, fluctuating economics, social unrest, and poor health.
This event shows how deeply an environmental variable can affect human history.</li></li></ul><li>Frontiers of the Americas<br />The Louisiana Purchase:<br /><ul><li>It was claimed by Spain and later acquired by Napoleon of France, then sold to the United States. Before the Purchase it was considered to be an asset of little value, but President Jefferson bought it to avoid political competition with France and Spain. The Purchase was largely an accident.
The Federalists were the main group who opposed the Purchase because they argued that it was unconstitutional, and they did not want to build political ties to Napoleonic France. The territory was purchased with the Louisiana Purchase Treaty.
After Haiti won its independence from France, Napoleon lost interest in the American colonies and sold his North American territories including Louisiana. If not for this event, the U.S. would probably not have eventually expanded to the western coast. France might have become a powerful colonial presence west of the Mississippi.</li></li></ul><li>Frontiers of the Americas<br />The North American Frontier:<br /><ul><li>Traders, missionaries, opportunity-seekers, and adventurers traveled west to live out their ambitions. Areas such as Oregon, Utah, California, and Tejas (Texas) were settled by large numbers of United States citizens.
After a long bloody civil war, the inhabitants of Texas seceded from Mexico and became an independent republic, and eventually part of the United States. Under President Polk's direction the U.S. also acquired large amounts of western territory from negotiations with the British, and after the Mexican-American war the U.S gained California and New Mexico. Polk had extended the United States territory from the east coast to the west coast.</li></ul>The South American Frontier:<br /><ul><li>The South American colonies profited on cattle raising. Men commonly made their living as gauchos. Life in these colonies was often violent and lawless, and especially in the borderlands the governments were centrally weak and unstable.</li></li></ul><li>Crossroads of Freedom<br />The War of the Triple Alliance<br /><ul><li>It was a war against Paraguay by Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina that lasted from 1864-1870. It was caused by a variety of reasons including boundary conflicts, tariff disputes, political regimes, and Paraguay's sense of nationalism.
Paraguay suffered massive losses and continued to resist their allied opponents through guerrilla warfare.
The death toll was higher than that of any other modern war in South America, and Paraguay was utterly defeated. Estimates of Paraguay's population loss range from over 60% to about 90%. Brazil and Argentina fell into massive debt to British loans.</li></li></ul><li>Crossroads of Freedom<br />The Napoleonic Wars:<br /><ul><li>They were a series of campaigns made various countries against Napoleon's Empire after the events of the French Revolution.
Napoleon had successfully brought most of Europe under his singular rule.
The wars were ended when Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and the Second Treaty of Paris was signed.
These wars marked important changes towards modern warfare and newer military technology. Among the many influences these wars had, they promoted democratic ideals of France, and started a long political pattern of nationalism.</li></li></ul><li>Crossroads of Freedom<br />The Haitian Revolution:<br /><ul><li>It was a series of slave revolts in Haiti against the French government in the late eighteenth century.
The Revolt at Saint-Domingue successfully ended slavery in Haiti and led to the establishment of Haiti as an independent republic. The incident made Napoleon lose his faith in the New World colonies.
A key figure in the revolution was François Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture, an intelligent and charismatic general who built up Haiti's military strength and served as leader of the republic. He defended it from France, England, and Spain, who wanted to gain control of the colony.</li></li></ul><li>Crossroads of Freedom<br />The Crimean War:<br /><ul><li>It was a series of mid-nineteenth century conflicts between the Russian Empire and an alliance of other European powers.
Russia wanted to gain control of two important waterways controlled by the Ottoman Empire. After Russia occupied Ottoman territory, Great Britain and France declared war on Russia to prevent it from gaining too much continental power.
Russia eventually surrendered and in the Peace of Paris territorial disputes were resolved.
This war had the highest death toll of any other European war of the century. It was also the last victory of the Ottoman Empire.</li>