American History

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1.Why was the knowledge of the Classical era lost in Western Europewhile it was retained in the Eastern Empire?

Theknowledge of classical era was retained in Eastern Empire as it waslargely spared of some of the difficulties that took place in thewest during the third and fourth centuries. The East also had awell-developed urban culture and previous invasions were linked tothe wealth of Rome. Due to the vast nature and long endurance of theEastern Empire, Roman institutions and culture had deep influence onphilosophy, language, architecture, religion, law and governmentalforms.

2.Why was the re-introduction of Classical knowledge into WesternEurope so influential?

Thediscovery of the works of Ancient Greeks and Romans facilitated thespread of classical knowledge throughout Western Europe. Mostmanuscripts were translated from Greek into Latin, a languagefamiliar to most people in Western Europe, hence this facilitated thespread of classical knowledge.

3.How does the Reformation lead to a rise in literacy? How does a risein literacy lead to the loss of authority of the Catholic Church? Therise of the nation state?Reformationcontributed to literacy and emergence of the printing press. Thespread of literacy was mostly facilitated by the spread of the Biblein addition to the printing and distribution of religious books andpamphlets. The rise in literacy led to the growing concerns ofcorruption and influence of the Catholic Church eventuallycontributing to the protestant Reformation. Such split inChristianity led to far reaching socio-political impacts on thenation states.

4.Contrast Subsistence and Surplus economies and describe how Spanishencounters with each led to different approaches to colonialism.

Subsistenceeconomy depends on natural resources to cater for the basic needs ofthe population, money is not used. In surplus economies, there is anexcess in terms of production. Spanish colonial regime implementedvarious features of surplus withdrawal based on annexation of surplusproducts. The regime also implemented the colonial land tenure whichrevolved around small communities based on subsistence production.

5.Describe the Encomienda system. Why did the King decide to end thesystem of forced Indian labor? How did Europeans in America acquirelabor after the abolition of the Encomienda system?Encomiendasystem was formulated by the Spanish during the colonization of theAmericas targeting the American Indian population in a bid toregulate and control their labor and behavior. This system came to ahalt due to the drastic decline in the Indian population and thecollapse of mining activities due to the introduction of agriculture.The encomienda system was replaced by the repartimiento system in abid to abolish forced labor. This was later replaced by the haciendasystem through which the hacienda owners employed laborers directly.

6.How justified was the indictment of Spanish colonialism known as “TheBlack Legend?” What was Bartolomé de las Casas right and wrongabout?Theindictment of Spanish colonialism as “The Black Legend” was notjustified due to the fact that Spain was the only colonial power toadopt laws aimed at protecting Native Americans. Bartolomé de lasCasas was right to complain about the atrocities committed by theSpanish colonial regimes including forced labor. However, he waswrong about the suggestion of using African slave labor in replacingthe Indian laborers.

7.How would you classify the major controversies (what were the mainissues) affecting England between the reigns of Henry VIII andWilliam and Mary? How do these controversies affect the AmericanColonies?Themain issues that were affecting England between the reigns of HenryVIII, William and Mary revolved around issues relating to the monarchand the Pope with reference to taxes, authority over clerics, andselection of bishops and the wealth of the church. Thesecontroversies resulted into the glorious revolution in the Americancolonies.

8.List some of the major differences in the ways societies andeconomies developed in the Chesapeake and New England colonies. Howdo economic and ideological factors figure into the differences?Someof the major differences in the ways societies and economiesdeveloped in the Chesapeake and New England colonies include in NewEngland, families consisted of both males and females and they werelarge in size while in Chesapeake, families were composed ofprimarily men. New England inhabitants were healthier as compared toChesapeake inhabitants. Majority of the population in New Englandwere skilled merchants while in Chesapeake was mainly an agriculturaleconomy. The economic and ideological factors figure into thedifference in various ways. There existed different ideologies withregard to religion. New England was mainly Congregationalistsor Puritan separatists. The Chesapeake were mainly Catholic andProtestant. Their economic ideologies also differed in thatinhabitants of New England were mainly commercial merchants whilethose from Chesapeake were agriculturalists.

9.What is the “one drop rule”? How does the one drop ruledifferentiate the institution of slavery in different parts of theAmericas? What effect does this have on perceptions of race?Theone drop rule was to classify individuals with even a single ancestorof African origin as being black. This rule was critical as NativeAmerican slavery had ended. The perception is that race is notdefined through biological distinctions but through sociallyconstructed concepts.

10.Why was it not possible for the British colonies in America to jointogether to defeat the French in the Great War for Empire?Itwas not possible for the British colonies in America to join togetherto defeat the French due to the existing rivalries within theAmerican colonies and also the fact that France had already won thesupport of the Indians.

11.What is “Creole Patriotism?” How did the British Victory in theGreat War for Empire lead to the phenomenon of “Creole Patriotism?”What is significant about the rise of this phenomenon?

“CreolePatriotism” is a term referring to the social identity of AmericanSpaniards. After the British Victory, there was a rise in revolutionfrom the colonies against the British, the colonies were against theintolerable acts by the British regime. This phenomenon contributedsignificantly towards the end of oppression in different coloniesleading to the ultimate price of independence.

12.How did the British victory in the Great War for Empire plant theseeds for the American Revolution (four points)?

TheBritish accumulated massive debts fighting the war and in addition,they had a huge empire to protect hence stretching their resources.There was imposition of taxes on the colonists due to the requirementthat the colonists should share the economic burdens of war. Theintroduction of the Stamp Act which was highly objected by thecolonists. This victory also resulted in the boycott of British goodsas a result of opposing the British interference in American affairs(Gehrke,2006).

13.What was the legal justification American colonists used to protesttaxation by the British? What was the British response (i.e., how didthey justify direct taxation)? Were the American colonists treatedunfairly by the British?

Thecolonists had no vote in parliament hence they considered taxation asan act without representation. The British justified direct taxationas a means of sharing the economic burdens of war and the empire. TheAmerican colonists were treated unfairly especially their lack ofpolitical representation and also the Boston massacre which became asymbol of British tyranny.

14.What were non-importation movements and why were they sosuccessful?Thesewere movements that were adopted by the colonists in a bid to bringeconomic pressure to parliament and strengthen the moral resolve ofthe colonists. Some of the issues of concern were the Stamp Act andTownshend Acts. The movements were successful as they helped forgecolonial unity among the colonies (Cogliano,2009).

15.What were the Committees of Correspondence? How did they reflect thephenomenon of “Creole Patriotism”?

TheCommittees of Correspondence were used by the American colonies so asto maintain communication lines in the periods prior to theRevolutionary War. They expressed the phenomenon of “CreolePatriotism” through their unification and determination during thewar hence the American nationalism can be compared to the creoleideology.

16.What motivated the Suffolk Resolves? What was significant about theSuffolk Resolves? Why did the First Continental Congress adoptthem?TheSuffolk resolves were motivated by the intolerable acts that wereenacted by the British parliament in response to acts of colonialdefiance by the colonists. The Resolves contributed significantly tocolonial animosity that led to theUnitedStates Declaration of Independencefrom the GreatBritain Kingdomin 1776. The Suffolk Resolves were adopted in response to the passageof intolerable acts by the British Parliament.

17.Compare and contrast the positions of the radicals vs. theconservatives at the Second Continental Congress. Why did theCongress pass both the Declaration of Independence and the OliveBranch Petition?Boththe radicals and conservatives were of the view to maintain peacefulrelations between the colonies and Britain. During the secondContinental Congress, most conservatives were not seekingindependence from Britain as opposed to radicals who wantedindependence. The Olive Branch Petition appealed directly to KingGeorge the third and expressed hope for reconciliation between GreatBritain and the colonies. Congress drafted the Olive Branch Petition,which suggest means of resolving disputes. July 4, 1776 saw Congresstake the important stride of officiallyannouncing the colonies’ liberation from Great Britain.

18.Aside from Washington’s previous military experience, whatmotivated John Adams to nominate Washington as Commander of theContinental Army?Apartfrom his previous military experience, John Adams had hope that aleader from Virginia could help unite the colonies.

19.What weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation led American leadersto call for a Convention of States in Philadelphia in 1789? How didthe delegates address these?

Someof the weaknesses included each state was only allowed to vote onceregardless of its size no one had control over trade within thestates the revenue of the National Government would come from statesas it had no mandate to tax, no law from National Government would beforced on states, they lacked a national army or navy, no nationalcourts, there was no single currency, they lacked a single unifyingleader and lack of funds which made it difficult for Congress toguard against border encroachment. These issues were addressedthrough the formulation of the United States Constitution which sawthe election of George Washington as the first elected president ofthe United States. 20.Describe the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate over the ratificationof the Constitution. What were the positions of each, and how did oneside finally prevail?

Afterthe failed Articles of Confederation, the Federalists stronglybelieved that the passage of the Constitution was the only way inunifying the nation hence the need for a strong government. On theother hand, Anti-Federalists were concerned about the immense powergiven to the federal government as compared to the state and localgovernments. The Federalists addressed issues raised by theAnti-Federalist through explaining the safeguards of the Constitutionwith reference to the powers given to the national government. Thesesafeguards included separation of powers, limited government andchecks and balances all targeting the national government.


Cogliano,F. D. (2009). RevolutionaryAmerica, 1763-1815: A Political History.Routledge.

Gehrke,M. (2006). TheRevolution of the People: Thoughts and Documents on the RevolutionaryProcess in North America 1774-1776.Universitätsverlag Göttingen.