The history of the American government is pretty complex but it really begins with the American Revolution and the breaking away of the colonies from British rule. The Revolution began in 1775 and lasted until 1783. There were different periods through American History that have greatly influenced the structure and scope of the government. Let’s have a look at American Government throughout out its history and the changes that have taken place.
Forming a Government
America declared its independence on July 4, 1776 with Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence. Over the next two decades the founding fathers would lay out the basis for modern government with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that laid out the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens of government alike. Initially there were 10 Amendments that guaranteed freedoms and limited the power of government. There would be 17 more Amendments added over the years with the last, the 27th being ratified in 1992. Here is a more indepth look at the writing of the Constitution.
The 19th Century
During the 19th century the country was expanding with the Thomas Jefferson agreeing to the Louisiana Purchase from France adding huge tracts of land to the United States. There were pioneers and explorers heading west and expanding the country. In the latter half of the century America was deeply divided and The American Civil War had the northern states going to war against the Southern states over slavery and states’ rights. The war was won by the north, the nation stayed together and slavery was abolished.
The Modern Era
The modern era saw almost as many changes in government as there was during the birth of the country. After almost a century of protesting and demonstrating women were finally give the right to vote with the 19th Amendment that was ratified in 1920. The country also had to endure several wars along with the worst economic crisis in history. Change in government didn’t really happen again until the 50’s and 60’s with the birth of the Civil Rights Movement. The movement began in the southern states to end racial discrimination and segregation. The movement brought about the The Civil Rights Act, The Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act.
On September 11, 2001 the worst terrorist attack to ever happen on American soil took place and this changed the country again. Homeland Security was created to deal with potential terrorist attacks and laws were passed that impacted the freedom of the American people such as the Patriot Act. At the same time in 2008 the country elected the first African American President with Barack Obama.