Why do governments exist? One major reason is that they create rules. But what rules are necessary or desirable? That is open to question, and different types of governments have certainly created a wide variety of rules.
The evolving power and enlarging scope of responsibilities have made the modern presidency a very big job. Some even say that it is impossible for one person to handle it all.
Harry S Truman man of the people. John F. Kennedy bold, articulate leader with a great deal of charisma. Richard Nixon introspective President with a deep knowledge of and interest in foreign policy. Each person who has held the office of President has brought to it a unique style. Each style reflects a President's character.
Japan's location just off the fringe of continental Asia made it an ideal place for its unique culture to develop. The islands are situated close enough to China and Korea to benefit from the cultural and technological innovations of those great civilizations, but far enough removed across perilous seas to resist significant political and military domination from the two powers.
Since ancient times, Japanese philosophers have pondered basic, unanswerable questions about their natural environment. The early Japanese believed that the world around them was inhabited by gods and spirits, from streaks of mist obscuring jagged mountain peaks to water cascading over secluded waterfalls. Almost every aspect of Japan's stunning natural beauty evoked a sense of awe and wonder among its people.
With all the technological innovations coming from modern Japan, it's easy to forget that even they had a Stone Age.
They were the ones who were not afraid. They knew instinctively that talk and politics alone would not bring an end to British tyranny. They were willing to resort to extralegal means if necessary to end this series of injustices. They were American patriots northern and southern, young and old, male and female. They were the Sons and Daughters of Liberty.
For the first time in centuries, Japan was relatively peaceful. The strict political and social policies of Ieyasu and subsequent shoguns ushered in a golden age of economic and cultural prosperity.
The moment had finally come. Far too much bad blood existed between the colonial leaders and the crown to consider a return to the past. More and more colonists felt deprived by the British not only of their money and their civil liberties, but their lives as well. Bloodshed had begun over a year ago and there seemed little chance of a ceasefire. The radical wing of the Continental Congress was gaining strength with each passing day. It was time for a formal break with mother England. It was time to declare independence.
In the 1500s, when Spanish conquistadors appeared, two vast empires, those of the Aztecs and the Incas, dominated Central and South America. Both possessed divine kings, both were fractured by internal dissent, and both quickly succumbed to the Spanish onslaught. The physical remains of all these cultures lay dormant for centuries, until science and curiosity demanded their exploration.
Liberty, republicanism, and independence are powerful causes. The patriots tenaciously asserted American rights and brought the Revolution. The Revolution brought myriad consequences to the American social fabric. There was no Reign of Terror as in the French Revolution. There was no replacement of the ruling class by workers' groups as in revolutionary Russia. How then could the American Revolution be described as radical? Nearly every aspect of American life was somehow touched by the revolutionary spirit. From slavery to women's rights, from religious life to voting, American attitudes would be forever changed.
The states now faced serious and complicated questions about how to make their rules. What did it mean to replace royal authority with institutions based on popular rule? How was "popular sovereignty" (the idea that the people were the highest authority) to be institutionalized in the new state governments? For that matter, who were "the people"?
The economic problems faced by the Congress deeply touched the lives of most Americans in the 1780s. The war had disrupted much of the American economy. On the high seas the British navy had great superiority and destroyed most American ships, crippling the flow of trade. On land, where both armies regularly stole from local farms in order to find food, farmers suffered tremendously.
The 1780s has often been termed the "critical period" for the new nation. The dangers posed by economic crisis and the disillusionment that came with the collapse of Revolutionary expectations for dramatically improved conditions combined to make the decade a period of discontent, reconsideration, and, in the end, a dramatic new proposal for redirecting the nation. Just as the Revolution had been born of diverse and sometimes conflicting perspectives, even among the Patriots, so too, ideas about the future of the United States in the 1780s were often cast in dramatic opposition to one another.
At the same time that Shays' Rebellion attempted to force the government to take a new course of action in response to hard times, another group of Americans gathered to consider a very different vision for the future of the republic. The group was especially concerned about economic policy and the way that competing state policies often worked at cross-purposes. Responding to such concerns, the Virginia legislature called for a convention to meet in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1786 to discuss commercial matters. Only twelve delegates came from five states, but they agreed to meet again the next year in Philadelphia.
With the narrow approval of the Constitution in Virginia and New York, in June and July 1788, respectively, the Federalists seemed to have won an all-out victory. The relatively small states of North Carolina and Rhode Island would hold out longer, but with 11 states ratifying and all the populous ones among them, the Federalists had successfully waged a remarkable political campaign of enormous significance and sweeping change.
In the centuries that led to the year 1000, Europe was emerging from chaos. Tribes roamed the countryside evoking fear from luckless peasants. The grandeur that was Rome had long passed. Across the Atlantic, the North American continent was also inhabited by tribes. The Anasazi managed to build glorious cities in the cliffs of the modern Southwest. Their rise and fall mark one of the greatest stories of pre-Columbian American history.
Jefferson's plans for the nation depended upon western expansion and access to international markets for American farm products. This vision was threatened, however, when France regained control of Louisiana. Napoleon, who had now risen to power in the French Revolution, threatened to block American access to the important port of New Orleans on the Mississippi River. New American settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains depended upon river transport to get their goods to market since overland trade to the east was expensive and impractical.
In the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the first white settlers in America inhabited the eastern seaboard. There the whites either made treaties with the Native American groups to buy land or they forcibly took Indian land. By the Revolution's end and on into the early 19th century, Native Americans were being displaced across the Appalachians and toward what is today the Midwest. For these exiled groups, there were few places left to go.
The social forces transforming the new nation had an especially strong impact on white women who, of course, could be found in families of all classes throughout the nation. As we have seen, the early Industrial Revolution began in the United States by taking advantage of young farm girls' labor. Meanwhile, the Second Great Awakening was largely driven forward by middle-class women who were its earliest converts and who filled evangelical churches in numbers far beyond their proportion in the general population. Furthermore, the Benevolent Empire included an institutional place for respectable women who formed important women's auxiliaries to almost all of the new Christian reform organizations.