Question 1

Was the reconciliation between the American colonies and Great Britain possible in 1774? Why or why not?

The American colonies and the Great Britain cooperated well when they fought against France between 1754 and 1763, and the American colonies were happy being subjects of the British Empire. However, the cooperation did not last past another decade, and their reconciliation became impossible in 1774 (Dickinson, 2010). 13 colonies in North America resisted Britain and participated in a serious war to separate from British Empire, and become independent. The colonies felt that Great Britain was ungrateful to for imposing taxes on them as they had actively battled against France and won on behalf of Britain. The colonists, thus, did not agree to pay taxes so the British could get revenue for covering military and administrative expenses of the colonies.

The American colonies also did not allow Brain to impose policies on them, and wanted the taxes and legislation to be imposed by their colonial assemblies rather than the British Parliament (Dickinson, 2010). Moreover, the colonies were annoyed by the fact that the Great Britain did not seek their consent before subjecting them to such taxes. The tension between the 13 colonies and Britain continued to rise over time through Boston Massacre to the Boston Tea Party in 1773. These led to destruction of British ships and tea (worth millions of dollars).  In response, British government introduced the Coercive (Intolerable) Act in 1774 that placed colonists under severe punishment (Dickinson, 2010). Reconciliation was, thus, impossible after these events.

Question 2

How did the colonists manage to triumph in their battle for independence despite Great Britain’s military might?

The colonists knew that the Great Britain had mightier military strength and, thus, resorted to smart strategies to overpower British soldiers. One of the weaknesses the colonists exploited is the geographic isolation of the British soldiers (Frazer, 2015). General Washington would locate his troops on higher ground during the times when British troops moved to Boston. The colonists also employed spy network in British dominated places such as the New York. The undercover spies in such region often acted as British army officials and at times they would play the role of rebels who could not leave the city. All the spies closely observed the activities of the British officers (Frazer, 2015). The spies would then use invisible ink to pass information among themselves until it reached George Washington. The tactic informed the colonists’ troops about attacks that were meant to be surprises.  

In addition, the American colonies relied on strong alliance, and excellent leadership. The colonists became French allies. France, therefore, sent generals (Marquis de Lafayette) to offer appropriate training to colonist’s forces, and teach them military discipline. The colonists also got advanced weapons and disciplined war attitude. Another strategy that enabled colonists to win was the use of snipers. Led by Daniel Morgan, snipers hid in the forest (behind trees) and used Pennsylvania Riffles to take out British soldiers. The approach enabled them to assassinate all the British generals that they saw. Americans’ military strength was also encouraged by the discovery of small pox vaccines.

The colonists boosted their immunity to the disease by introducing the illness to bodies of healthy soldiers to enable them fight it later on, a tactic that was unknown to the British. Consequently, the British lost many soldiers to small pox. On to leadership, George Washington kept inspiring the colonists to fight. He understood the importance of remaining determined in winning the war. This was particularly vital after the Boston Massacre that left many colonies angry. Washington cleverly manipulated the soldiers’ fury to achieve massacre of British soldiers and generals.

If any of these factors had been different, how might it have affected the outcome of their war?

The strategies were so good that colonists could not be threatened by larger forces or more powerful weapons, and well-trained British armies. If any of these factors was not incorporated, the colonists would not have emerged victorious. Many of them would have been killed or injured in the war.

Question 3

Describe the ideology of Republicanism

Republicanism is the doctrine which states that the main reason why states exist is to serve the common welfare of citizens. The republican philosophical orientation began during the time of Aristotle and Plato then continued through the works of Marcus Tullius Cicero, John Adams, Immanuel Kant, and recently by Philip Pettit, among others (Sellers, 2015). The philosophical stance was borrowed from Rome. It tasks the government with the duty of promoting shared good using checks and balances within a mixed constitution, including sovereign persons, ensuring the senate is deliberative, and a popular assembly which is regulated. To attain republican liberty, there has to be subjection to magistrates and the law, and the actions must show interest in common good. No private will is expected from any public power.

What did Smith-and-Hamilton mean by “pure democracy”?

Pure or direct democracy, referred to by Smith-and-Hamilton, is the democracy form that allows people to directly make decisions regarding policy initiatives (Natelson, 2002). In other words, the power is directly exerted by the individuals and not their representatives. According to Natelson (2002), “Pure democracy” was separated from republicanism as it did not adhere to required rules.

How does this compare to the Type of democracy in Modern United States?

In the modern United States, people consider “democracy” to be a government type that supports civil liberties and wealth redistribution as a way of protecting the vulnerable (Dunn, 2018). The perspectives relate to Republicanism and are, thus, opposed to the ideologies of pure democracy. The modern United States citizens are willing to be represented by government officials that demonstrate stronger association with their understanding of democracy.

Question 4

What were the circumstances that led to Shay’s Rebellion?

Shay’s Rebellion was a set of violent offensives against government properties such as courthouses. It happened in Massachusetts from 1786 and resulted in a full-blown war in 1787 (Corbett et al., 2014). A major factor that necessitated the rebellion was the little compensation given to farmers that participated in Revolutionary War. This caused severe struggle among the farmers by 1780s. Moreover, the barter trade of goods previously bought on credit minimized circulation of paper money and there were no gold/silver to help farmers in repaying their debts. Even worse, residents of Massachusetts were required to pay higher taxes than what they previously gave the British.

All the tax revenue would be channelled to the business of Governor Bowdoin to assure his associates of great returns on investments. The Boston authorities, thus, began arresting farmers that lacked the money to transport their crops, generate money, and pay their debts as well as taxes. As a result, farmers began initiating peaceful means for resolving the issues. In 1786, leaders of town committee drafted farmers’ grievances and suggested reforms. This was followed by blocking of judges from going into courthouses in Northampton and Worcester. In1787, the Shay rebels went to federal Springfield Armoury in a failed attempt to overthrow the government after seizing its weapons.

What was the government’s response?

The federal government lacked adequate funds to support its troops’ fight against the Shay rebels hence the Massachusetts and a local militia group took action against the rebels. When the rebellion escalated, the Massachusetts legislature became more lenient and flexible in handling the cases of farmers with tax burdens, and the rebels were offered amnesty if they stopped blocking court entrance (Corbett et al., 2014). Additionally, the state government instructed the farmers to pledge their allegiance to its rule. There was also a bill that prevented killing of insurgents and another one that supported death penalty for militiamen that participated in protests.

Would this response have confirmed or negated the grievances of the participants in the uprising? Why?

The response above could not address the farmers’ grievances because militia continued to assault farmers (Corbett et al., 2014). In Groton, for instance, a militia arrested and crippled a farmer in1786. This made the Shay rebels very angry. Again, Boston businessmen privately financed an army that Governor Bowdoin hired in 1787 and General Benjamin Lincoln later instructed about 4,400 men to stop the insurgency.  

Question 5

Explain Alexander Hamilton’s plans to address the nation’s financial woes

Following Alexander Hamilton’s appointment as the secretary of treasury by President Washingtion (in 1789), the Congress tasked him with establishing a plan for offering substantial backing for public credit (DeConde, n.d.). Hamilton came up with a program intended to foster domestic and foreign credit and to empower national government by taking advantage of the states. The plan was communicated in four reports from Hamilton to the Congress.

The first two reports by Hamilton pushed for complete funding of national debt (that states incurred during Revolution), and he established a taxation system for payment of the same. In his third report, Hamilton proposed for development of the Bank of the United States that would take a form similar to that of the Bank of England. The fourth report addressed Manufactures. This 1791 report facilitated the promotion of infant industries through the use of a series of protective laws. Hamilton explained that the overall welfare necessitated support for manufacturers and that in was the responsibility of the federal government to achieve this goal.

Which aspects proved most controversial and why?

Alexander Hamilton promoted self-interest viewing it as the strongest incentive to human actions. Self-interest is the force that steers humans towards property accumulation and the long-term outcome is establishment of ecommerce and industrialization (DeConde, n.d.). Hamilton explained that the government had to boost the process by protecting private property and turning human passions into public goods. Hamilton stated that a government’s wisdom rested in its ability to utilize the citizens property desires to produce something that will benefit both individuals and the state. He opposed the idea of equal distribution of wealth. He viewed inequality as a huge and crucial societal distinction that should be left alone. Hamilton’s financial programme was, therefore, an ambitious plan for ensuring that the government promoted the rights of the wealthy.  

What elements of the foundation Hamilton can still be found in the system today?

Hamilton’s financial innovation were very effective and quite advanced. The success of the United States politically and economically is owed to his ideas in the Public Debt report. Hamilton’s plan came at a time when money was scarce and revealed that government bonds can act as money, and enable handling of liquid capital scarcity. Even today, governments across the globe utilize bonds to settle debts, and increase tariffs to protect domestic manufacturers. Again, governments continue to borrow so long as the creditors trust their abilities to repay the debts.  

Question 6

Describe the growth of the 1st Party System in the United States

The First Party System is the term used to define the United States political party system that existed from 1792-1824. It comprised of two political parties that competed to achieve control over the states, presidency, and Congress. The main parties of the time were Federalist and Democratic-Republican (Republican) parties by Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, respectively (Corbett et al., 2014). Federalists dominated the government until 1800 from when the Republicans took over. Although the two parties were established from national politics, they later penetrated the various states to find supporters and voters. As they spread throughout the society, the business groups liked Federalists while farmers and planters found Republican more appealing.

In 1796, the two parties monopolised politics and newspapers (alongside caucuses) were among effective instruments for mobilising voters (Fortier, 2015). Federalist Party sided with the financial strategies of Hamilton, who was then the Treasury Secretary. The financial system encouraged federal government to assume state debt, use tariffs to settle the debts, utilise National Bank for financing, and support manufacturing and banking industries. On the other hand, the Republicans called for the strict adherence to Constitutional authorities of federal government, and showed strong opposition towards the Hamilton financial plan. The other point of disagreement was Federalists preference for Britain due to their political strength and connections to American trade, as Republicans had interest in French and their Revolution.