History of north america

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Amérique Septentrionale: Northern America and its inhabitants on a French map of the 19th century

The history of North America deals with the history of the people on this continent, beginning with the first immigration over the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, which was dry during the last ice age, to the present. The first colonization of America is the subject of scientific discussion. The immigration theory has been confirmed several times by genetic research.

The first human societies to settle in North America shaped different levels of culture, from the hunter-gatherer culture on the west coast to the cultivation of crops north of the Gulf of Mexico to the threshold of advanced civilizations .

At the beginning of the last millennium, people first crossed the Atlantic from east to west. Visits by Chinese seafarers (such as Zheng He in the 15th century or Buddhist missionaries even earlier) to the North American west coast before 1500 are in principle conceivable, but highly speculative because there has been no scientific evidence to date.

The history of North America has been in close contact with the history of Europe , Africa and East Asia since the 16th century . Plants, people, animals, raw materials, goods and ideas crossed the surrounding oceans in both directions. In the 18th and 19th centuries, independent states based on European models were founded in North America for the first time. In the 20th century, the USA rose to become a superpower .

Pre-Columbian period

According to the current state of scientific debate, America was settled at the end of the last Ice Age (referred to as Wisconsin glaciation in North America ) via the Beringia land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, which still existed at that time. More recent finds, particularly at the Buttermilk Creek Complex in Texas and in the Paisley Caves in Oregon, show that the first humans moved south along the Pacific coast and from there settled the interior of the continent.

The oldest nationwide culture in North America was the Clovis culture from approx. 11,600 to approx. 10,700 BC. It was named after the first place it was found in Clovis , New Mexico . The carefully machined, mostly fluted , projectile tips were typical .

The Folsom culture , approx. 10,500–9,000 BC, is considered the successor to the Clovis culture . BC, or the Folsom complex , to which several traditions are assigned ( Hells Gap , Midland , Agate Basin ).

As the last Paleo-Indian culture, the plano culture (or plano complex ) succeeded the Folsom culture. With its various forms ( Alberte , Cody , Frederick , Eden , Scottsbluff ) it lasted from 9200 to 8500 BC. Chr.

The largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico is Cahokia-Mounds . Mainly settled in the period from 700 to 1400 AD, it covered almost 1,600 hectares. At its peak, rural society had a population of 10,000 to 20,000 in the years 1050 to 1200.

"Discovery" of North America

The trip of Christopher Columbus to America in 1492 is officially considered the discovery of ( Central ) America, even if this fact has since proven to be wrong. Viking sailors traveled to the American continent a few hundred years earlier and it is likely that other sailors also made the journey across the Atlantic Ocean before Columbus set sail.

European expansion and colonial times

John Cabot on postage stamp issued in 1947

Before the arrival of Columbus in 1492, North America had possibly more inhabitants than Europe at the time. The population is estimated by anthropologists and archaeologists at up to 112 million people. One also suspects a similarly old and rich culture as in Europe. The Spanish conqueror Hernando de Soto reported on his search for gold (through what is now the southern US states ) from 1539 onwards from a country densely populated with Indians, who paddled along the rivers in thousands of canoes and tilled the fields with corn. The whole country was criss-crossed with cities the size of the cities of the time such as Madrid or London. Most of the population lived on farms, they had animal enclosures, orchards and ponds.

As the first European since the Vikings, the Genoese John Cabot (actually: Giovanni Caboto), who was in English service, set foot on North American soil in 1497 . It is possible that seafarers and fishermen from the British Isles reached Newfoundland via the shorter stretch of the North Atlantic as early as the 1480s (i.e. before Columbus). After the Cabot voyage, the rich fishing grounds off the North American coast were regularly used by European fishermen. For the time being, however, there was no establishment of permanent branches. The first city on the North American mainland is St. Augustine in Florida, which was founded by the Spanish in 1565 and is now the oldest city in the USA.

Foundation of European colonies

During the European conquest of North America, four states stood out, each of which had a particular advantage that made it easier for them to take possession:

  • England had a religious pressure to emigrate and so was numerically the largest group. See: British Colonization of America
  • France had a special skill in dealing with the native Indian population, which later led to the only mixed ethnicity, the Métis .
  • The Netherlands had the financial means to found colonies in North America.
  • Due to the Reconquista, Spain had enormous military potential and combat experience.
British colonial possession in North America

In 1604 the King of England James I divided his North American colonies as follows: The Virginia Company of London is to settle the area from the 1st to the 41st parallel north , the area from the 41st to the 45th degree the Plymouth Company .

1607 is considered to be the year the first permanent colony of English settlers was founded on the east coast of America. There was a clash of three cultures: Native Americans, white settlers and slaves from Africa. In that year the first settlers from England landed in Jamestown , in 1620 the (now better known) Pilgrim Fathers followed with the Mayflower in what is now Massachusetts. These could find shelter directly in the abandoned Indian settlements. The coastal Indians were also now ready to cooperate and let them establish the British gateway to North America with Plymouth.

In 1616, pathogens such as smallpox, hepatitis, and measles viruses were brought in by shipwrecked people when the natives ingested them. Around 90 percent of the indigenous population succumbed to the disease over the next three years. Millions of Indians died from deadly germs from Europe. This resulted in the depopulation of large parts of North and South America before the first white settlers arrived.

The well-known verdict of the US historian George Bancroft that North America was “an unproductive wasteland” and that the Indians were nothing more than “a few scattered tribes of weak barbarians” is considered out of date. One judged first on the picture that showed the first settlers after the waves of illness. Only a few natives survived, but the early Americans viewed them as dumb hunters and gatherers. However, the first European travelers (the British William Wood, 1634) also described the natives as pretty and amiable people, who also lived much more hygienically than the Europeans of his time.

Boston in the 18th century

With the decimation of the Indians by 90% in the first 100 years after the settlement and abandonment of moral and Christian values, European culture was "victorious" and 13 British colonies were founded on the American east coast (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia). These colonies were independent from one another, but subordinate to the mother country, England. They received their constitutional status through a so-called charter. This she awarded either a settlement company ( corporate charter ), a private owner ( proprietary charter ) or the crown itself ( crown colony ). This status changed in many cases during the colonial period.

North America in the 18th century from a European perspective on the occasion of the Peace of
Paris in 1763 with regulations on the treaty. The map highlights the Spanish and Russian discoveries, although large parts of the Pacific Northwest are still unknown

In the course of the 18th century, important urban centers developed on the Atlantic coast such as Philadelphia (founded in 1661 by the Quaker William Penn ), Boston (1630), New York (founded in 1621 by Peter Minuit as New Amsterdam), Montreal (founded around 1640). In 1636, Harvard - initially strictly denominational - was founded, the first university in North America, followed by the College of William & Mary in 1693 and Yale in New Haven (Connecticut) in 1701 .

One of the few urban centers south of Virginia, along with the French founding of New Orleans on the Gulf of Mexico, was Charleston (founded in 1670, named after Charles II of England). Charleston was one of the few larger cities in the south and until the beginning of the 19th century the largest hub for the Atlantic slave trade in North America. New Orleans remained the largest and most important city in North America until the rise of New York in the first third of the 19th century.

Establishment of independent states

Continental Army soldiers at the time of the American Revolutionary War
New Orleans Harbor circa 1840
Franciscan Missionaries in California

Between the Peace of Paris in 1783, with the ratification of which the Kingdom of Great Britain recognized the independence of its former Thirteen Colonies in North America, the establishment of the first Mexican Empire in 1821 and the adoption of the British North America Act in 1867, the continent's three largest and most important states emerged. With the purchase of Alaska by the USA, the Russian Empire ceased to be a colonial power in North America. Great Britain and Spain remained. Another revolutionary founding of the state was the Haiti Empire , which emerged from a slave revolt in 1804 . Other states remained in colonial or semi-colonial status until well into the 20th century or until today. Such was Cuba Spanish colony until the Spanish-American War in 1898, it again by up to Cuban Revolution came in 1959 in strong political and economic dependence on the United States.

An important closing date for the first wave of statehoods in North America was the year 1823, when the 5th President of the USA, James Monroe, in his annual address to Congress , proclaimed the well-known Monroe Doctrine , the most formative and most important guiding principle of US foreign policy to this day . After the Spanish-Portuguese partition treaties of the 15th and 16th centuries, a non-European state claimed for the first time that it was the power of order in the western hemisphere .

The area of ​​the later US state of Texas, which belonged to the Spanish colonial empire and then to Mexico, was first colonized by US settlers. In the Texan War of Independence in 1835/36, the country split from Mexico. The policy of the Mexican de facto dictator Santa Anna , but also the dispute over the status of slavery , which the US settlers imported into Mexican territory, triggered the war.

When Mexico was founded in 1821, the territory to which Mexico claimed stretched from the borders of Panama (then part of Greater Colombia ) to what is now the US state of Oregon . In the south, however, the Central American Confederation split off in 1826 , consisting of Guatemala , Honduras , El Salvador , Nicaragua and Costa Rica . The state of Yucátan split off from Mexico for some time in 1841, but was reintegrated. The US first enlarged its territory in 1803 by purchasing the French colony of Louisiana. So they came into the possession of New Orleans (founded in 1718), at that time one of the most important ports on the Atlantic. The city remained one of the largest in the United States until the 1860s. In 1819 Spain finally renounced its rights to (east) Florida , whereupon this area was annexed to the United States as the Organized Territory . The war of 1812 against Great Britain, which was ultimately lost for the USA, did not result in any loss of territory, but promoted Canada's national consciousness.

The expansion of the states resulted in frontier societies developing in all three North American countries . In the USA that was the “ Wild West ”, which was already mystified by the time , while in Mexico the thinly populated border region was known as “El Norte” (the north). Jesuit missions were founded in southern California and in parts of what is now the southwestern United States from the end of the 17th century . After the Jesuit order was abolished in 1773, these were mostly taken over by the Franciscans . The founding of Los Angeles in 1781 goes back to this .

The implementation of the principle of the land-based state in the USA and Canada led to the gradual ( Trail of Tears ) in the first half and, above all, in the second half of the 19th century through several Indian wars up to the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, to the complete displacement of the First Nations . In Mexico, on the other hand, uniform, nationwide state power was less pronounced until the last third of the 19th century, which means that the country not only had to struggle with the plague of marauding bands of robbers, parts of northern Mexico were affected by regular attacks by Comanche tribes. In Canada in 1869 and 1870, the Hudson's Bay Company , which had existed since 1670 (and still exists today), gave up much of its traditional rights. The HBC, a holdover from the European colonial history of the early modern period, dominated the fur trade north of the later United States for over two centuries in a monopoly position and appeared as a quasi-state actor in large areas of Canada.

The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 was important for the development of the New England area . The soils of New England and large parts of the state of New York are unsuitable for agriculture, it was only thanks to the canal that the route into the Ohio River valley was open and agriculture in the Midwest was able to sell its products on the coast. Trade, financial services and industry developed there.

North America in the 19th century

In the second half of the 19th century, colonization of the prairie zone of North America west of the Mississippi Valley and the eastern ranges of the Rocky Mountains began in the USA and Canada . These areas were hardly explored by Europeans and Euro-Americans around 1800 and were considered uninhabitable due to their spatial expanse and the harsh weather. The first large state-organized expedition was carried out by Lewis and Clark 1804-1806. The Scot Alexander MacKenzie explored large parts of northern and western Canada in the late 18th century. Both were looking for a navigable route to the Pacific coast. George Vancouver and James Cook mapped the Pacific coast of North America on behalf of the Royal Navy . Despite this expansion of geographical knowledge, large parts of the continent were difficult to access until the second half of the 19th century.

That changed with the expansion of the railway. In 1867, the first transcontinental railroad, the Central Pacific, opened between Omaha and San Francisco . Journeys between New York and the North American Pacific coast could be completed in less than a week. The establishment of new state units was connected with the construction of railways . California was constituted in 1848 and only two years later, in 1850, it was incorporated into the USA as a fully fledged state. Only a little later, Oregon was accepted as another state in the USA. In Canada, British Columbia was constituted as a new, initially self-governing province.

Similar to the case of California, a gold rush, the Fraser Canyon gold rush, acted as a catalyst for further development. In 1871 British Columbia became the fifth province to join the Canadian Federation. Part of the accession treaty was the assumption of the debt by the Canadian government and the construction of a railroad from Montreal in the east to Vancouver and Victoria on the Pacific coast within ten years. The railway connection with the "far west" on the Pacific, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), could not be completed until 1885. The construction of the CPR was connected with the first tourist development of the landscape of the Canadian Rockies , little touched by civilization . In 1888, for example, the Banff Springs Hotel was opened near the warm sulfur springs of Banff . At the same time, Banff National Park , the first in Canada , was opened in 1885 . More than a decade earlier, in 1872, the first national park in the United States and the first national park in the world was opened with Yellowstone National Park .

Gallery Personalities: North America in the 19th Century

One consequence of the settlement of the prairie zone and the Middle and Far West was the final destruction of the last original settlement areas of the North American Indians. In the 1880s, the enthusiastic ghost dance movement spread among many Indian peoples, but especially among the Lakota . At the same time, the late 19th century produced charismatic personalities such as Crazy Horse , Sitting Bull and Wovoka among the Indians . After the crushing defeat of the Battle of Little Bighorn River in Montana in 1876 , in which a technically and numerically superior Indian force had wiped out a smaller unit of the US Army under the command of George Custer , the US federal government feared a large one because of the rise of the ghost dance movement Indian rebellion. The following (militarily superfluous) massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 is generally regarded in historiography as the end of the Indian Wars.

While migration to North America between approx. 1500 and approx. 1850 took place mainly across the Atlantic, there was a significant transpacific for the first time in the history of North America with the gold rush in California and West Canada (Fraser River) in the middle of the 19th century Migration of Chinese and Japanese workers. The Chinese first came to the west coast of North America with the gold rush; they were later actively recruited as cheap labor to build the railways. Japanese and Chinese workers were also used in agriculture.

Gallery Events in North America in the 19th Century

Politically and militarily, the second half of the 19th century in North America was unsettled despite the unprecedented economic progress. In Canada there were uprisings against the newly installed central government in Ottawa in 1869 ( Red River Rebellion ) and 1885 ( Northwest Rebellion ) ; the population of Cuba had led three bloody and protracted uprisings against the colonial power of Spain since 1868. The civil wars in Mexico between liberals and conservatives did not calm down. A moratorium on Mexican foreign debt in the 1860s was a welcome pretext for the French Empire to intervene militarily across the ocean and proclaim the Second Mexican Empire .

The war with the highest blood toll took place at the same time north of Mexico. Since the 1850s, the United States had been heading for a civil war that arose out of the slavery debate in the southern states. First there was a local civil war ( bleeding Kansas ) before a number of constituent states split out of the United States in the course of the first half of 1861 in response to the election of the Republican Abraham Lincoln , who was considered a moderate opponent of slavery and formed a special union, the CSA ( Confederate States of America ). To end the rebellion, the northern states waged a war against Sonderbund states, in the course of which the end of slavery was proclaimed and its prohibition was finally written into the constitution ( 13th Amendment ).

Proclamation of the Federation of Canada 1867

The course of the American Civil War had shown what enormous resources the USA was able to unleash in a very short time. In addition to the numerical and ultimately, despite capable military leaders ( Robert E. Lee ), enormous material inferiority of the CSA, it was the lack of success in foreign policy that ultimately led to total defeat. Great Britain, which mostly obtained the raw cotton for its textile factories from the American southern states, neither wanted to recognize the CSA, nor did France dare to do so under Emperor Napoleon III. to meddle in US internal affairs. The clear outcome of the Civil War finally secured the supremacy of the USA on the North American continent and contributed indirectly to the formation of the Canadian Federation in 1867 and directly to the withdrawal of the French from Mexico.

Economic development in North America after 1867

With the census of 1890 , the official authorities of the USA made the determination that “the settlement boundary” could no longer be determined. The long Depression , which dragged on in spurts from the 1870s to the 1890s, and was characterized by deflation , slowed economic growth in the USA, but it was during this period that the greatest wealth accumulated by individuals up to that point in history emerged were. For example the banker JP Morgan , the founder of the Standard Oil Company , John D. Rockefeller or the steel tycoon and later philanthropist Andrew Carnegie . In the USA these decades are called the " Gilded Age ". These are characterized by an administrative system prone to corruption and a weak executive branch, headed by a president who, at the height of this development (presidency of Benjamin Harrison , 1889–1893) , saw himself as little more than a “top official”. The weak federal government , which responded to labor disputes and strikes (such as the Pullman strike ) with the deployment of the army, faced so-called “party machines” such as the Tammany Hall Society in many large cities . At the same time, the gap between rich and poor was assuming previously unknown proportions. While there were only about 100 millionaire households in the US around 1870 , their number rose to 16,000 by 1915.

Hudson's Bay Company river steamer on the Mackenzie River

According to the British North America Act, Canada was just as affected by the long depression as its southern neighbor. Its economy remained agricultural. Coastal fishing and inland forestry dominated. The Canadian lumber industry benefited from the many courses of rivers and bodies of water on which the felled logs could be rafted with ease . Vancouver at the mouth of the Fraser River initially developed as the center of the timber industry. In view of the harsher climate and the comparatively much more attractive opportunities offered by agriculture and developed industries in the United States, Canada was not very attractive to immigrants until the turn of the century.

Mexico, which at the end of the 19th century had fallen far behind the USA and Canada after long decades of political instability, opened up to foreign capital in 1877 under Porfirio Díaz . In his political decisions, Díaz was supported by a staff of advisors (called Científicos ), the majority of whom had studied in Europe and who brought the ideas of positivism to Mexico. First and foremost, US, British and, increasingly, German capital flowed into the country. This was invested in the mining industry of the northern states. With the economic opening up, the previously only marginal Mexican railway network was expanded. Due to its special topography without distinctive rivers, without large plains and the mountains running in north-south direction, the construction of railway lines was technically and therefore also financially far more difficult than in the USA. The economic boom only benefited a thin layer of landowners, mestizos and foreign companies.

The mass immigration from Europe continuously took place until the third decade of the 20th century, when the United States first introduced quotas. Inside, the First Great Migration of Afro-Americans from the southern states led to a change in the appearance of the cities of the north, where black quarters were created alongside the white ethnic quarters. Cities around the Great Lakes such as Detroit , Chicago and Cleveland were particularly affected. The wave of migration peaked between 1910 and 1930.

North America in the 20th century

Towards the end of the 19th century a renewed economic upswing took hold in North America, which ended the long depression and lasted for about ten years until the panic of 1907 . In addition to the USA, late pirate Mexico also benefited from this , where a lot of foreign, primarily US, but also British and German capital flowed into the construction of the railway network and the mining industry. The economic upswing also brought record growth rates to the Canadian economy up to the outbreak of World War I. The gold discoveries on the Klondike River on the border between Canada and Alaska facilitated the transition of the US currency to the gold standard after the way in which the US dollar was backed up was a hotly debated domestic dispute in the decades after the Civil War.

President Theodore Roosevelt

At the turn of the century, the USA began to enforce the dominant economic role that it had achieved in the western hemisphere, also politically and militarily. They intervened in the (second) Cuban War of Independence under President William McKinley in 1898 , which led to Cuba becoming dependent on the USA for more than half a century. In order to protect economic and strategic ( Panama Canal ) interests, the USA intervened in a series of " interventions " in the politics of smaller Caribbean and Central American states by means of marine infantry until 1933 .

Domestically, the USA experienced the turn to progressivism around 1900 , which meant a departure from the previous laisser-faire policy of the Gilded Age. As early as 1889, the billionaire Andrew Carnegie had called for the social responsibility of the upper class in his book The Gospel of Wealth . Writers like Upton Sinclair ( The Jungle , 1906) or Jack London drew attention to the living conditions of the American social underclass in a mixture of investigative reports and literature.

Strong initiatives for the beginning nature and environmental protection , however, came from California, where John Muir founded the Sierra Club . Muir played a significant role in establishing Yosemite National Park , but failed to preserve the Hetch Hetchy Valley . All US presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Woodrow Wilson saw themselves as sociopolitical reformers. Associated with this was the strengthening of the federal government vis-à-vis the states, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation , in short: FBI was the first to set up a state police agency and, based on the experience of the panic of 1907 (the last massive price fall on the New York Stock Exchange before 1929) with the Federal Reserve for short: FED founded a modern central bank .

Still, the US remained a racist society . The half-hearted and unfinished reconstruction of the South was reinforced from the 1890s by an institutionalized racism (so-called Jim Crow Laws ). The 1916 film The Birth of a Nation by DW Griffith premiered. The openly racist strip (and until then the most commercially successful film in film history) had a major impact on large parts of the US population, so that as a result, the Ku Klux Klan was revived in the same year .

North America in the age of world wars

French-Canadian war propaganda with the ruined Reims Cathedral

Canada, at that time not yet a sovereign state with an independent foreign policy, entered the First World War as part of the British Empire in the summer of 1914. The country was just hit by a recession, so that at the first appeals, a large number of unemployed and unemployed people stood up to the flags. The prairie provinces were hit by the second year of drought in the summer of 1914 . French Canadians enlisted in fewer numbers for various reasons. A dedicated Canadian Expeditionary Force was established for combat operations in August 1914 and arrived at the theater of war in 1915.

The USA waited and officially acted “neutral”, even if large parts of the US population sympathized with the Entente . The majority of the Irish Catholic population and the population of German and Scandinavian descent were in favor of maintaining neutrality. The US Irish , who voted democratically in the majority and enjoyed strong influence in this party, strengthened their position even further after the suppression of the Irish Easter Uprising in 1916. Nevertheless, there was no lack of sympathy for France and Great Britain, especially after the German invasion of Belgium and the destruction of the university city of Leuven . The outbreak of war in Europe raised questions about the American nation on the other side of the Atlantic. Some authors questioned the metaphor of the USA as a melting pot, popular at the end of the 19th century . Some politicians, such as the former President Theodore Roosevelt, called for harsher action against Germany and saw the USA as endangered by German submarines and as a potential target for Germany.

President Wilson did not consider the sinking of the British liner Lusitania , which was hit by a German torpedo off the Irish coast in May 1915, as a reason for war, even though 128 Americans were killed in the disaster.

Enrollment of young Americans in the armed forces
Red Scare 1919: devastated IWW headquarters in New York City

Maintaining neutrality or a possible entry into the war was the main theme of the 1916 election , alongside domestic political reforms , which the Democrats with Woodrow Wilson were able to win again. Wilson, who was strictly against participating in the war, declared war on the German Reich just a few months after his election victory. The decisive factor was an intercepted telegram from the German embassy in Washington to the Mexican government that had been deciphered by the British secret service . In it, State Secretary Arthur Zimmermann offered Mexico an alliance against the United States and, in the event of a victory, the prospect of territory lost in 1848. The publication of the telegram and the fierce debate it triggered in the USA was a deliberate calculation by the British in order to put the American government under pressure.

The new situation that had arisen in 1917 forced both the USA and Canada to take an unusual step for these countries: the introduction of compulsory military service at the national level. After three years of war, Canada was no longer able to compensate for the high losses on the northern French battlefields by volunteering. This situation led to the 1917 conscription crisis in Canada . The war effort led to an expansion of state activity in both countries: in the USA the railways came under state control. In Canada, the Canadian National Railways were founded as a state company to ensure transport connections.

North America (apart from naval operations off its coasts), like South America, was spared the acts of war, but the outbreak of the World War nonetheless had a variety of societal and social repercussions. In North America as well as in Europe, the First World War revolutionized and accelerated the implementation of women's rights , such as the right to vote, which was guaranteed to American women by the amendment in 1920. The transatlantic migration came in 1914 to an abrupt stop, which led to the onset of the 1880s that internal migration of the descendants of former slaves from the rural South to the industrial centers of the North once again increased. The existence of compact Afro-American urban areas in the major cities of the north, such as in the New York borough of Harlem, was just as polarizing for whites as it was for Afro-Americans themselves. For example, Marcus Garvey , who originally came from Jamaica and temporarily lived in the USA, propagated “reverse segregation”. He did not shy away from working with the Ku Klux Klan himself.

The Republicans' re- entry into the White House in 1920 was due to the immediate situation after the First World War. The President was absent for months because he took part in the peace conference in Europe, at which he was only partially able to assert himself with his " 14 Points ", his formulation of a just world order that should no longer know war. In particular, it failed not only because of the adamant attitude of the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau , but also because of the veto of the Congress, which never ratified the Treaty of Versailles. In the meantime, fear of a communist overthrow broke out in panic in the USA itself, triggered by a wave of strikes and work stoppages (among others at the police in Boston). The hysteria that was directed against immigrants, foreigners and left-wing politicians has gone down in history under the name " Red Scare ".

As a result of the war, Canada's position within the British Empire slowly began to change. On maps from the turn of the century, Canada was still referred to as " British North America ". The country, which had not only sent large numbers of troops to the European fronts, became a net exporter for the first time in its history. This helped Canada become a sovereign state in the Westminster Statute (1931) .

Los Angeles: Freeway with integrated tram lane, postcard, ca.1940

From the point of view of a large part of the population, the election of Warren G. Harding to the presidency ended the exceptional situation that had arisen through the election of a Democrat and participation in the war. Since the end of the Civil War, the Republicans had always appointed the president. Harding and his cabinet were quickly hit by political scandals , and he died before the end of his first term on a trip from Alaska in San Francisco.

The use of electricity , petroleum and chemicals changed the consumption habits of the population. The cities expanded first through interurban trams and then through the automobile, which had been mass- produced since 1908 . The first mass consumer society in history began to establish itself in the USA and partly also in Canada .

See also


  • Nicholas Canny, Philip Morgan (Eds): The Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World, 1450-1850 , Oxford University Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0-19-967242-4 .
  • Volker Depkat: History of North America: An Introduction . (= History of the Continents, Volume 2). Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-412-07404-3 .
  • DW Meinig: The Shaping of America. A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History , 4 Vols, New Haven, CT: 1986-2006.
  • Wellenreuther, Finzsch, Lehmkuhl (Hg): History of North America in an Atlantic perspective from the beginnings to the present. Project estimated for a total of 9 volumes, the following volumes have been published by 2006:
  • Hermann Wellenreuther : decline and rise. The history of North America in an Atlantic perspective from the beginning of settlement to the end of the 17th century . (= History of North America from the beginning to the present, Volume 1). Lit-Verlag, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-8258-4447-1 .
  • Hermann Wellenreuther: Training and new education. The history of North America in an Atlantic perspective from the end of the 17th century to the outbreak of the American Revolution . (= History of North America from the beginning to the present, Volume 2). Lit-Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-8258-4446-3 .
  • Hermann Wellenreuther: From chaos and war to order and peace. The American Revolution first part . (= History of North America in an Atlantic perspective from the beginning to the present, Volume 3). Lit-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-8258-4443-9 .
  • Norbert Finzsch: Consolidation and Dissent. North America from 1800 to 1865 . (= History of North America in an Atlantic perspective from the beginning to the present, Volume 3). Lit-Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-8258-4441-2 .
  • Udo Sautter : History of Canada. The becoming of a nation (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 432). Kröner, Stuttgart 1972, ISBN 3-520-43201-3 (first: 1971).
  • Udo Sautter: History of Canada . Munich (CH Beck Wissen) 2. actual. Edition, 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-44737-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. http://cahokiamounds.org/learn/ Official website of the Cahokia World Heritage Site (English)
  2. Dirk Hoerder, Migration and Affiliations . In: Osterhammel / Iriye (Hg) history of the world . Volume 5: World Markets and World Wars . Munich 2012.

Web links

Commons : History of North America  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files