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Life in the Antebellum U.S - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Life in Antebellum The word antebellum refers to pre-war. It refers to the period before the famed Civil War 1865 of America. The displacement of Native Americans marked the beginning of this period. This allowed for expansionist policies that allowed America to soar high in their development plans…
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Life in the Antebellum U.S
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Download file to see previous pages The Native Americans were the initial occupants of land in America. They hunted and gathered to sustain their nutritional requirements. President Thomas Jefferson saw the institution of a policy which allowed Native Americans to retain their ancestral lands east of the Mississippi. The only condition attached to this was that the native population was to assimilate themselves with the rest of the population. They were to supplement their hunting and gathering practices with agriculture. As time elapsed, it became impossible for the government retain their policy. The rapid population increase among the immigrants and Whites in America made it improbable for the government to retain this policy. They, therefore, resorted in the displacement of Native Americans from their ancestral land. The president Andrew Jackson signed 'the Indian Removal Act’ on May 26, 1830 (Keegan 72). The acquired land was to be used to set up plantations. These would ensure large-scale production of crops that would be used for food and other industries. It would also provide the immigrants with a place to settle in; where they could begin building their lives. Time ensued, and the Whites encroached on Native American’s land outnumbering the native population. They assumed total ownership of the land and established their own institutions and systems. The Natives signed treaties that guaranteed them equal land West of Mississippi in exchange for their original parcels of land. Tribes that did not co-operate faced forceful eviction from their lands by government officials who abused their power. For example, the Cherokee people experienced forceful eviction from their land. This was after signing the ‘Treaty of New Echota’ by a small part of the entire tribe. The tribal leaders missed out of the entire treaty signing process. This led to the death of estimated 4,000 tribe members in 1835. The march came to be known as the ‘Trail of Tears’ (Keegan 27). The government justified their actions by claiming that the natives’ presence disrupts the harmony in the region. They also claimed that the land would benefit the American population. However, this was not entirely true. Many of the government officials were greedy and simply desired sole ownership of the land. This led them to act in inhumane ways that led to the death of many Natives. These officials also did not honor the terms of the treaties in which they coerced the natives to sign. The Antebellum period saw increased manufacturing of products in America. Most manufacturers were, therefore, in need of cheap labor to meet their manufacturing demands. This could only be provided by immigrant workers. There were two categories of immigrant workers in the antebellum period. The first lot is the workers who migrated to America left their homes to search for a means to sustain their livelihood without coercion. The others underwent forceful eviction from their countries without their approval. The zeitgeist of that time supported the expansive use of slave labor. The thriving slave market profited from the sale of slaves acquired from conquered states in the African continent (Keegan 33). A variety of factors worked together to contribute to widespread colonialism; and in turn to slavery all around the world. The superior states were always in constant disagreement as they all rushed to acquire colonial territories overseas. The Berlin conference 1885-1886 came up with guidelines of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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