African History to 1875 Fall 1997

Notes on American History

Copyright 1997 by Jim Jones
All rights reserved

Source: Robert A. Divine, T. H. Breen, George M. Frederickson, & R. Hal Williams, America: Past to Present, volume 1: To 1877 (Glenview Illinois: Scott, Foresman & Company, 1984).
p18  Interracial marriage between European males and females of
     color was common in Spanish America, because of the acute
     shortage of European women.

p18  Saint Augustine, Florida, was founded in 1565.

p56  The restoration of the Stuart kings in England, following
     Cromwell's Puritan Republic of 1648-1659, resulted in a
     of land grants in the Americas to loyal Stuart supporters. 
     Sir John Colleton, a successful Barbados sugar planter, led
     coalition of proprietors who tried to make the Carolina
     into a successful colony by attracting skilled people from
     other colonies.

p57  Charles' Town was founded in the Carolina territory in
     1670/03.  It was populated mostly by English colonists and
     transfers from Barbados.  The latter brought the practice of
     slavery along with them.

pp72-73   In the early years, it was possible for people of color
          to obtain their freedom and some influence in the
          southern colonies.  In colonial Virginia, Anthony
          arrived as a slave in 1621.  He married a woman named
          Mary and they obtained their freedom in the 1630s.  In
          the 1640s, they established a plantation of 250 acres
          Virginia's Eastern Shore, and as late as 1677, his
          grandson founded an independent farm at Angola, in

p73  By the last quarter of the 17th century, the colonies
     to pass laws prohibiting property ownership by free people
     color.  By 1706, people of color could no longer own land in

p74  Unlike laws in the Spanish Empire, US race laws portrayed
     in terms of absolutes--you were either "white" or "colored."
     Mulattoes were treated the same as newly-arrived Africans. 
     Under Spanish law, mulattoes who boasted lighter skin color
     held higher prestige than "blacks."

p74  Before 1674, the supply of slaves to the Carolinas and
     Virginia was inadequate, and planters were usually forced to
     go to the main ports of the Caribbean--Havana in
     to obtain salves.  But after the founding of the Royal
     Company in 1672, the supply of slaves in the Americas
     increased, and ships began to make direct voyages from the
     West African coast to southeastern American ports like

p148 The American Revolution was led by dissident rich men,
     non-aristocrats of the upper middle class.

p155 New grounds for divorce in Massachusetts in 1784.  The wife
     John Backus, a silversmith, received a divorce because he
     her, despite his defense that he knew no other practice
     because he had seen his father beat his mother.

p156 The American Revolution did not lead to the overthrow of the
     wealthy elite.  All it did was make them independent of a
     higher level of government.

p157 After the revolution, every colony had to come up with its
     constitution  because they royal charters were no longer
     valid.  From 1783-1790, there were constitutional debates in
     every colony.  In general, they weakened the office of
     governor, and define human rights in terms of protection of
     conscience, person and property.  To protect conscience, the
     freedoms of speech, press and religion were guaranteed.

p159 The Articles of the Confederation created an extremely loose
     form of government that provided no power to tax the states. 
     It was offered for ratification in 1777/11, but the last
     state, Maryland, did not ratify it until 1781.

p159 In general, Americans were in favor of strong central
     government only when they felt threatened by invasion (from
     the British).  

p160 Another big issue was the ownership of the Northwest
     Territories, which Virginia claimed under the terms of its
     royal charter, and other states coveted.  "Land-locked"
     like Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland, argued  Private land
     speculators offered bribes to the landless states to support
     federal ownership of the territories between the Appalachian
     Mountains and the Mississippi River.  After 1781, all states
     accepted the principle of federal ownership, and ratified
     Articles of the Confederation.

p192 1793/02: France declared war against England.  The United
     States declared its neutrality.

p194 1793/06: England began to use its control of the seas to
     all French ports to all neutral shipping.

p194 1793/10: England seized hundreds of US ships in the West

p194 1794/05: John Jay negotiated a treaty in London that was so
     favorable to Britain that it provoked serious political
     opposition in the USA.  The Federalists, led by Hamilton,
     supported the treaty, while the Republicans, led by
     opposed it.

p196 The Jay Treaty of 1795/06/14 frightened the Spanish who held
     New Orleans and the lower Mississippi valley.  In 1795, they
     suddenly opened negotiations with the US and offered to
     unblock the Mississippi Valley for US commerce.  The Treaty
     San Lorenzo, also known as Pinckney's Treaty, of 1795/10/27,
     made it official.

p200 France was outraged at Jay's treaty.  They dismissed the US
     envoy in 1795 and openly tried to influence the results of
     1796 election.  That helped the pro-British Federalist party
     to elect its candidate, John Adams.

     In 1797, French privateers captured more than 300 American
     ships, and then the French humiliated negotiators sent to
     obtain competition. The details became known as the "XYZ
     Affair" and enraged American popular opinion.  Federalists
     took control off Congress in the 1798 elections and made
     to expand the American army and navy.

p200 President Adams understood the need for an enlarged navy to
     prevent the French from interfering with American commerce,
     but viewed the calls for an enlarged army as an attempt by
     extremist Federalists to create a "police state."

p202 In the summer of 1798, George Washington offered to lead an
     enlarged army if he could have Alexander Hamilton, the
     Federalist leader, as his second in command.  Adams could
     refuse, but he arranged for the Department of the Navy to
     remain separate from the army, and placed it in the hands of
     a Republican, Benjamin Stoddert, in 1798/05.

p205 France and the US reopened negotiations in 1799/11,
     the entry of `Napoleon into the French government.  This led
     to the Convention of Mortefontaine, which voided the 1788
     American-French treaty that the US feared would force them
     back France against Britain in the Napoleonic Wars.

p206 President Adams lost reelection in 1800 after the Federalist
     Party split over its position on relations with Britain.  It
     took 36 ballots of the electoral college to select Thomas
     Jefferson as president and Aaron Burr as vice president.

p207 The most remarkable thing about the Republican victory in
     election of 1800 was that power passed peacefully to the
     opposition party without riots or a military coup.

p210 The British account of a conversation in 

B: Is your master at home?
H: I have no master.
B: Don't you live here?
H: I STAY here.
B: And who are you then?
H: Why, I am Mr. ___'s help.  I'd have you know, man, that I am
sarvant (sic); none but negers (sic) are servants."

p211 The 1810 US census showed that there were 7,240,000 people
     the country, up almost two million since 1800.  20% of them
     were people of color, most of whom lived in the southern
     states.  The US had not yet had a large number of
     so most of the increase was due to childbirth.

p212 A number of new states entered the union after 1789. 
     (1792), Tennessee (1796), Indiana (1800), Ohio (1803),
     Louisiana (1805), Michigan (1805), Illinois (1809), and
     Missouri (1812).

p212 Tecumseh and his brother, Tenskwatawa (known as the Prophet)
     led the last Creek resistance in 1812-1814.

p213 The 1810 census showed that 84% of the US population was
     agricultural.  The South focused on export crops like rice,
     cotton and tobacco, while the North favored cattle and
     cereals.  There were no real innovations in agriculture
     this period except for the first agricultural fair, with
     prizes for the best examples, held in Massachusetts in 1809.

p213 The US merchant marine greatly expanded its operations in
     period 1793-1807.

p213 France and England both began to seize American ships in

     In response, the US government under Jefferson passed the
     Embargo Act of 1807, which forbade American ships from
     with either England or France.

p213 In 1810, the US population was only 7% urbanized.  The
     were mainly transshipment points for international trade,
     not manufacturing centers.

p214-215  The US fought a war with the Barbary pirates from 1801-

p216 US investors preferred to invest in commerce rather than
     industrialization, because internal transportation was poor. 
     That made it hard to sell goods manufactured to distant
     locations, and easy to earn profits by marking up the cost
     relatively expensive transportation.

p218 In 1801/05, officials in the USA learned that Spain had
     secretly transferred title over the Louisiana area to
     In the summer of 1801, France sent a fleet to restore order
     Haiti, and the USA worried that it might continue on to New
     Orleans and close the Mississippi Valley.

p218 In 1802/10, Spanish officials closed New Orleans to US

p219 By the end of 1802, the French force in Haiti had lost
     men due to disease, and Napoleon gave up his ideas of a
     empire in the Americas.  He offered to sell the Louisiana
     Purchase to the USA for $15 million in 1803/04.  During the
     negotiations, the French foreign minister Talleyrand was
     invasive when the American negotiators, Livingston and
     asked if the purchase included Florida.

p219 Lewis and Clark left St. Louis on 1804/05 to explore the
     Louisiana Purchase.  They reached the Pacific Ocean in
     and returned with reports by 1806/09.

p220 Fearing that the former Spanish and French subjects of the
     region would revolt against the USA, Jefferson asked for and
     received authorization from Congress to create a
     government appointed from Washington for the new territory.

p225 After he left office as Jefferson's vice president, Aaron
     traveled around the new territory in the summer of 1806 and
     encouraged expectations that he would form a new independent
     country.  He was captured on his way to Florida in 1807/02,
     and tried for treason but acquitted.

p226 According to the 1878 Constitution, slaves counted for 3/5
     a white person for the purposes of sending representatives
     the House and for the electoral college, even though they
     not vote.  The Northern states made this concession to the
     southern states in hopes of getting a stronger federal
     government.  But by 1806/12, Jefferson wanted to end the US
     involvement in the slave trade.

p226 On 1807/03, a law passed that ended all importation of
     beginning on 1808/01/01, but left it up to each state to
     dispose of slaves seized under the new law.  In effect, this
     left the way open for each state to do what it anted with
     respect to the slave trade.

p227 The war in Europe between France and England resumed in

p227 On 1805/10/21, the English Admiral Nelson defeated a
     Spanish and French fleet at Trafalgar, winning control of
     seas for the English.  But on 1805/12/05, Napoleon's army
     the decisive victory of Austerlitz, and control over the
     ground in Europe.

p227 The British resumed the seizure of American and other
     vessels "headed to France" in 1805/07.  In 1806, the English
     "Orders in Council" created a "paper blockade" off the
     European coast that required all neutral ships to put into
     English harbors for customs inspection before continuing on
     the continent.

p227 In 1806/11, the French retaliated with the Berlin Decree
     created the Continental System, and the Milan Decree of
     1807/12 that made all ships coming from British ports liable
     to seizure.  In other words, after the Milan Decree, all
     neutral ships were subject to British seizure if they did
     submit to a search, and to French seizure if they did.

p228 In 1807/06/21, an incident off the coast of Virginia between
     HMS Leopard, which tried to stop and search the USS
     Chesapeake, ended with the death of three US sailors and a
     public outcry against England.  Resisting calls for a
     declaration of war against England, Jefferson tried a
     response by declaring a trade embargo against both England
     France on 1807/12/22.  However, that provoked massive
     resistance from American shippers between 1808-1809, ...
p230 ... and led to the repeal of the Embargo Act on 1809/03/01.

p231 After further seizures and provocations, on 1812/06/01,
     President Madison declared war against England.

p234 After negotiations had already begun for the end of the war,
     Andrew Jackson led an army of irregulars in the defense of
     Orleans on 1815/01/08, and won a great victory over the

p241 After the end o the War of 1812, the main US goal in the
     southeast was to obtain control over Spanish Florida.  In
     1812, the US annexed western Florida between the Mississippi
     and Perdido Rivers (modern Mississippi and Alabama coast). 
     1816, Andrew Jackson pursued a Seminole war party into
     Florida, and in 1818/04-05, Jackson led an army that
     eastern Florida.  Despite condemnation from Congress, he
     received public support as the "Hero of New Orleans" and the
     occupation remained in place.

p241 In 1818/11, the US delivered an ultimatum to Spain to cede
     Florida territory to the US in order to prevent further
     violence.  Since Spain was already involved with a number of
     colonial revolutions in Latin America, it yielded.  

p241 On 1819/02/22, Spain and the USA signed the Adams-Otis
     ceding Spanish Florida to the USA.  In exchange, the US
     government agreed to pay of $5 million in claims owed by
     to US citizens.

p244 During the period from 1815s to 1830s, there were a number
     last-ditch efforts by native Americans to resist European
     occupation of the land between the Appalachian Mountains and
     the Mississippi River.

p249 In 1807, Robert Fulton successfully operated the steamship
     Clermont for 150 miles upstream along the Hudson River.

p249 In 1811-1812, the steamship New Orleans successfully
     from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, and in 1815, the steamship
     Enterprise sailed from New Orleans to Pittsburgh.  By 1820,
     there were 69 steamboats with a total displacement of 13,890
     tons (average of 201 tons per ship) operating in the
     Mississippi River valley.