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A Hald Century Of Progress, Based On The Book The Nation Takes Shape By Marcus Cunliffe

1048 words - 4 pages

The period of time from 1789-1837 marked a new beginning in the history of America. After a daunting war for independence, the United States emerged as a new power in the world, rapidly growing and gaining strength. The task for the Americans now was to successfully create and enforce a democratic government, which had never before existed on such a large scale. In order to reach this goal, America had to "take shape" and grow diplomatically, sectionally, nationally, and geographically. America's diplomatic advancements during the beginning of the union were, unlike the former American Revolution, acquired by remaining impartial in European affairs and by creating alliances with their surrounding countries. During the French Revolution Americans had divided opinions regarding weather or not to make an alliance with France, which would throw America into yet another war with the British. Yet many people felt that they owed France their allegiance because of the Franco-American alliance created in 1778. Washington, knowing the vulnerability of the new country, proclaimed neutrality in the conflict. America's neutrality in the war was significant in the sense that "It was America's first formal declaration of aloofness from Old World quarrels and as such proved to be a major prop in the spreading isolationist tradition (The American Pageant 174)." Further events like Jay's Treaty and the Convention of 1800 helped promote peace with both Britain and France, without entangling alliances with either one. Spain even got in on America's peace efforts. In 1795, Spain signed Pinckney's treaty, which stated that the Spanish would recognize America's southern and western borders, and gave American's free navigation of the Mississippi and New Orleans. Perhaps the only external crisis during 1789-1837 was the war or 1812. America had declared war on Britain because of the countries impressment practices. In the end, there was no literal winner, but the way the Americans handled the British gained the respect of the rest of the world. This was exemplified in the Monroe Doctrine, which stated that "The American Hemisphere would not henceforth be considered open to colonization by European powers, though the United States would not interfere with existing European possessions in the New World or concern herself with the internal affairs of European Nations (Cunliffe 64)." The Doctrine was in essence a restatement of America's principles to not get involved with foreign nations. By 1837 America "had no external enemy to fear-nothing but oceans and mountains to the east and west, nothing but peaceable Canada to the north and the rearranges fragments of the Spanish Empire to the southwest and south (Cunliffe 69)." The Expansion of the frontier greatly shaped the nation geographically. Because of the Louisiana Purchase, the United States doubled in size. In addition, Britain signed the treaty in 1818, which permitted Americans to share...

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