American Presidents

Abraham Lincoln story
President Abraham Lincoln
In 1861 hostilities between north and south began; During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Lincoln enacted the Homestead Act of 1862, which allowed the free occupation of parcels on state lands of the West and the abolition of slavery (1863).

The victory of the North in 1865, which brought with it the abolition of the slavery of the totality of the American territory, supposed a partial liberation of the black population; excluded from the Homestead Act and thus unable to own their own lands, they continued to depend economically on their former owners, whose lands were forced to work as laborers or sharecroppers.

After the so-called “period of reconstruction” (1865-1874), the reorganization of former slavers and the emergence of secret societies (Ku-Klux-Klan, 1866) succeeded in reinstating “white supremacy” through terror and depriving the population of civil rights through segregationist laws.

History of the economic development of the United States
During the last third of the 19th century, the USA he experienced an accelerated development of his industry; in 1890 the industrial production surpassed the agricultural one and surpassed that of the European capitalist countries.

United States economy history

This development contributed to the abundance of indispensable raw materials (iron, coal, oil, copper), immigration, high investment of foreign capital, agricultural and livestock exploitation, the rapid settlement of the West, facilitated by the penetration of the railroad (see history of the train ), that in 1869 the Atlantic-Pacific communication was achieved), and the free distribution of homesteads (State plots).

Wages, relatively higher than in other industrialized countries, forced entrepreneurs to perfect production techniques and worry about rationalizing work; It is the time of the great inventions (electric light, the telephone, etc.).

Capitalist concentration intensified; the USA it became the country of big trusts and monopolistic financial groups (Morgan and Carnegie in steel, Rockefeller in oil, Vanderbilt in railroads, etc.).

In the presidency, the Republican party (spokesman of the big industrial and financial protectionists) and the democrat (large agricultural owners and free-trading financiers) took turns; the interdependence of the governmental apparatus and the economic pressure groups was accentuated, without cases of administrative corruption.

The labor movement began to organize around basic demands on working conditions and duration of the working day. The struggle for the eight-hour day was particularly hard, and the violent interventions of the police produced a very high number of victims-

In this context of conflict, the general strike of May 1, 1886 , which was to remain as a mythical date in the calendar of the international workers movement, represented in the immediate American practice a partial advance of the workers, although their organization at the time ( Gentlemen of the Work) will pay with a repression.

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history worker struggle united states

This struggle continued with the American Federation of Labor (AFL), founded in 1886, which became the only US trade union center. In the second half of the nineteenth century USA it extended its influence in the Pacific area: it secured advantageous economic conditions in China (1844), consolidated its initial penetration in Japan (1854), bought the territory of Alaska (1867) from Russia and annexed the Hawaii (1898), to impose its authority, directly or indirectly, in Central America, by supporting governments and parties addicted to the United States.

Already in the twentieth century, after the victories in the war with Spain, USA. he was able to occupy Puerto Rico, the Philippines and the island of Guam and to secure real control of Cuba (see Cuban history ), through the Platt amendment of 1901 and Santo Domingo (1905).

Colombia’s refusal to sell to the US a part of the isthmus of Panama for the construction of a canal was solved with the shipment of a fleet that proclaimed the independence of Panama in 1903 (see the history of Panama ).

The new country immediately entered the US orbit, and the canal was inaugurated in 1914. The occupation of Haiti (1915) and that of the Virgin Islands (1916) soon followed. the control of the Far East route was assured.

During the years of the so-called “progressive era” (1901-17), the American middle class, which had the support of farmers and part of the labor world, organized a movement to oppose the economic and political control of the country. the trusts and monopolies, but only reached minor reforms (spectacular processes against some leaders of the trusts, greater democratization of the electoral system and local administration).

United States in World War I

The neutrality of the US, during the first years of the First World War, gave the American monopolies not only a fabulous business (1914-17) but the reaffirmation of their influence.

The period of 1919-29 saw the apogee of US capitalism, withdrawn into itself (limitation of immigration in 1921, protectionist laws of 1922) and. for the first time, with a favorable trade balance with respect to European countries.

The great crisis of 1929 of the USA
The crisis of 1929 and the decade of depression (1929-41) that followed made it necessary for the state intervention to soften the most serious contradictions of the system and achieve some economic stability. Learn more about the scenario from to get the knowledge about the issue.

This was the meaning of Roosevelt’s New Deal; the most conservative sectors managed to get the Supreme Court to declare some of its measures unconstitutional (1935-36), but the most serious effects of the crisis were overcome.

The policy of the big stick with respect to the American countries was replaced by the alliance with its ruling classes (suppression of the Platt amendment in 1934, evacuation of the US troops from Haiti and Nicaragua in 1933, and the Philippines in 1935). But the depression was overcome only with the abandonment of the isolationist policy and the entry (1941) in World War II.

Postwar period

On the death of Roosevelt (April 1945), Vice President Harry S. Truman rose to the presidency, for which he was re-elected in 1948. Truman ordered the launching of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6 and 9, 1945), which they provoked the immediate capitulation of Japan and with it the end of World War II.

Atomic bomb launched in Hiroshima

The United States began the reconversion of the war economy into a peace economy, 9 million men were demobilized, which caused an increase in unemployment (4.6 million unemployed in 1946).

The weakness of domestic demand, typical of the post-war years, and European markets caused a beginning of the economic recession. The Taft-Hartley Act was passed, which provided for the intervention of the federal government in labor disputes that affected basic sectors of the country’s economy.

In order to reactivate the economy and cope with the spread of communism in Europe, the Marshall Plan (June 1947) was prepared to help the countries of Western Europe.

Cold war and block politics

The spread of communism in Asia and Europe led to a rapid worsening of relations between the former US allies, and the USSR, beginning the ” cold war .” The USA he lent military aid to the Chinese nationalist forces and the Greek government in order to suppress the communist guerrillas that operated in both countries.

Cold war history

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created (April 1949) and began the installation of military bases and the parking of US troops in numerous neighboring States of the socialist countries.

The VI and VII fleets were permanently installed in the Mediterranean and the coasts of China, respectively. The isolationist policy implemented in the interwar period ceased definitively after World War II.

The US contribution was important to the formation of the United Nations (UN), which became a reality with the Charter of San Francisco (June 26, 1945). In the following years, he reinforced his influence in the conflictive world that emerged from the Second World War, which made him present in the serious conflicts that arose (crisis of Korea, of the Congo).

On the other hand, since the first years of the postwar period, the investments of American capital in the rest of the world intensified, and particularly in Canada, Ibero-America and Western Europe, with which a vast process of expansion of economic interests began. Americans worldwide and, at the same time, increased the responsibility of the US Administration in foreign policy, and these trends have continued uninterrupted to this day.

In domestic politics, it should be noted, in close connection with the increase in the so-called “cold war” carried out by the United States. and the USSR, the stage of strong tensions (1948-51) in which the Commission of Anti-American Activities, chaired by Senator McCarthy, carried out a repressive campaign of research on people, works and institutions of a progressive nature.

In the elections of 1952 and 1956 General Eisenhower, the Republican candidate triumphed against the Democrat Adlai Stevenson and endeavored to achieve the integration of the black school population and put an end to McCarthyism

In the field of foreign policy Eisenhower expanded Western military alliances against the Soviet bloc (creation of SEATO in 1954 and CENTO in 1955) and signed military treaties with various countries addicted to US theses.

In Korea, an agreement was reached in 1953 that put an end to hostilities and perpetuated the partition of the country into two states. Finally, under the command of Eisenhower USA. He signed the Geneva Accords (1954) on ending the war in Indochina. In the 1960 elections, the Democrats triumphed and John F. Kennedy was elected as the new president.

Kennedy family history
President John F. Kennedy

Durante su mandato se suavizó el clima de tensión internacional. En 1963 fueron firmados con la URSS los acuerdos de Moscú sobre prohibición de pruebas nucleares en la atmósfera. Sin embargo, Kennedy patrocinó el fracasado desembarco de comandos anticastristas en la bahía de Cochinos en Cuba (1961), la intervención directa de las fuerzas estadounidenses en Vietnam del Sur, violando los acuerdos de Ginebra suscritos por EE.UU. en 1954, y la continuación del cerco de la China Popular.

In 1962, the presence of Soviet rockets in Cuba provoked a serious international crisis that was resolved positively for the United States. On November 22, 1963, during a political trip to Dallas (Texas), President Kennedy was assassinated. He was replaced by the vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson, who during the first years of his term followed the political line of the late president. The Civil Rights Act was approved on June 19, 1964.

On November 3, Johnson, with an electoral program whose essential points were peace in Vietnam and the construction of the “Great Society”, triumphed in the presidential elections against the Republican candidate Goldwater.

However, under his rule, US military intervention in Vietnam increased dramatically, with the consequent increase in military spending and the amplification of the protest movement, which was linked to the struggle for the civil rights of blacks. At the same time the USA it intervened militarily in the conflict of the Dominican Republic (April 1966).

The situation was complicated in Southeast Asia, when a vigorous Vietcong offensive (March 1968) was about to cause the first military defeat in US history.

Johnson proposed the opening of four-party peace talks (North Vietnam, South Vietnam, the US and the Provisional Revolutionary Government, the political arm of the Viet Cong), initiated in Paris in May 1968.

Republican Richard Nixon triumphed in the November elections. Soon the Vietnam conflict spread: invasion of Cambodia by US and South Vietnamese troops in 1970. South Vietnamese invasion of Laos, with US air support, in 1971.

The end of the cold war

After being re-elected in 1972. Nixon ended the intervention in Vietnam, liquidated the “cold war” after the agreements signed with Brezhnev and mediated the Middle East crisis. These successes, due in large part to H. Kissinger, Secretary of State since 1973, did not prevail over the scandal generated by the ” Watergate affair ” (espionage carried out at the headquarters of the Democratic Party by people linked to high positions of the Republican Party. ), which led to the resignation of Vice President S. Agnew and finally to that of Nixon himself (August 8, 1974).

contemporary history united states

He was replaced by Vice President Gerald Ford, who appointed Nelson Rockefeller as vice president and faced severe economic difficulties. Ford signed a strategic arms limitation agreement with Brezhnev in Moscow while increasing republican discredit with the definitive defeat of his forces. Allies in Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos).

In 1976 the Democrat Jimmy Cárter prevailed to G. Ford; During his tenure, he tried to relax his domestic and foreign policy by signing a treaty with Panama (1977) to restore the canal’s sovereignty in 2000, supporting human rights throughout the world, especially in the countries of the Soviet area and the dictatorships of the American continent. , mediating in the Middle East (signing of the Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1979 ) and restoring diplomatic relations with China.

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But Carter’s inability to cope with the economic recession and his weakness in the face of international problems (hostages at the embassy in Tehran, 1979, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, 1979), culminated in a crushing defeat in the 1980 election before Republican Ronald Reagan , accompanied by the loss of the Democratic majority in the Senate and a significant decrease in the weight of Democrats in the House of Representatives.

The new president undertook a policy of rearmament to overcome the Soviet military power, and at the same time negotiation with the USSR from positions of firmness. In domestic policy, he tried to reduce public spending and taxes.

In the 1982 elections to renew the House of Representatives, the Republicans suffered a setback, and in the Senate, they increased their advantage. In April 1986 the US They carried out a military attack against Libya in response to the support given by this country to international terrorist activities.

Internally, the scandal caused by the secret sale of arms to Iran (Irangate) and the parallel financing of the Nicaraguan “contras” diminished Reagan’s popularity in his second term.

George Bush, vice president since 1980 with Reagan, succeeded him after defeating the Democratic candidate in 1988. But the Democratic Party won a majority in both houses of Congress.

End of the Cold War story

The signing of the end of the cold war treaty

After sealing the end of the Cold War with M. Gorbachev at the Maltese summit (December 1989), Bush initiated an international interventionist policy that confirmed the US leadership (invasion of Panama, December 1989), leadership of the Allied troops in the Persian Gulf war against Iraq, January-February 1991); However, the internal problems and the deterioration of the economic situation led to the defeat in the 1992 presidential elections before the Democrat Bill Clinton.

The recent history of the United States

The Clinton ‘s first term was marked by strong opposition to initiatives by Congress, controlled by Republicans; It also ratified the free trade agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico (November 18, 1993), but foreign policy was hampered by the impossibility of recognizing the limits of hegemony, the fear of external failures (Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti ) and isolationist tensions.

History twentieth-century states
President Bill Clinton

Clinton achieved some success in mediating external conflicts (peace agreements for Palestine, Washington 1993, and for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dayton 1995). In November 1996, Clinton obtained a comfortable re-election in front of the Republican candidate, but the Congress continued dominated by the Republicans.

Clinton’s scandalous relations with a White House scholar conditioned her second term starting in 1998 and prompted the House of Representatives to open an investigation for a process of impeachment (impeachment). After the trial, the president was acquitted of the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Harassed in the interior, Clinton multiplied its diplomatic and military initiatives: it achieved a new agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, it intensified the bombings against Iraq and it supported the intervention of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) against Yugoslavia (March 1999), while the good health of the economy protected him from the attacks of his adversaries.

In the November 2000 elections, the Republican George W. Bush won, who faced the most serious crisis in the country’s recent history: the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York and a part of the Pentagon in Washington (September 11). 2001), carried out by suicide commandos that crashed three commercial aircraft against the buildings.

History attacks the United States

Attack Twin Towers September 1, 2001

The terrorist attack caused more than 3,000 deaths and caused a great political and economic global commotion. The commandos belonged to the terrorist network al-Qaeda, led by the Saudi-born fundamentalist leader Osama bin Laden, a refugee in Afghanistan.

After the attacks in the United States, Bush restricted civil liberties in his country and led a multinational coalition to fight terrorist groups. Given the refusal of Afghanistan to deliver Bin Laden, Bush authorized military intervention.

With the support of Great Britain, USA He began the bombings on October 7 of that same year. The operation, called ” Enduring Freedom “, aimed to displace the Taliban from power, destroy the bases of al-Qaeda and capture Bin Laden.

In parallel, the resistance grouped in the Northern Alliance advanced positions and seized the capital, Kabul (November 13). The bulk of operations ended in mid-December, although bombings continued to dislodge al-Qaeda’s guerrillas from their strongholds.

War history USA Iraq

The UN approved (November 15) the sending of a multinational force to guarantee humanitarian aid and the establishment of a multi-ethnic government to manage the political transition. In January 2002, the US base at Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) welcomed the prisoners of war.

In December 2002, North Korea announced its withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the resumption of its nuclear program, which triggered a diplomatic crisis with the United States.

The USA it allied militarily with Great Britain and declared war on Iraq (March 2003) with the intention of evicting Saddam Husayn from power. On April 10, US troops entered Baghdad and the Husayn regime disintegrated.

The US established a military regime of occupation backed by a civil administration and was commissioned by the UN to lead the process towards the constitution of a representative government, but after the official end of hostilities (May 1), the attacks multiplied of resistance against allied forces.

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