The history of the United States is today defined by the hardships and efforts of many heroes who stood against the wave of terror perpetrated by different colonial powers throughout the colonial period. Before different Europeans arrived in North America, the society was characterized by native people coexisted harmoniously (Gross 208). The subsequent events following the arrival of these powers transformed America’s social and cultural aspects forever. This discussion examines the major developments and issues that have defined the history of the US for the last four decades. The targeted books include Robert Gross’The Minutemen and Their World and America: The Essential Learning by David Shi and George Tindall. Robert Gross is a renowned professor of Early American History. Gross has authored many books focusing on America’s history. The main theme of the book is that many Native Americans encountered numerous challenges that paved the way for the American Revolution. Such challenges emerged because the colonial powers wanted to transform their lives, enslave them, and steal their lands. Such issues precipitated the infamous American Revolution. The other theme discussed in this essay is how the social-political aspects of the US have been reshaped by many historical events.
Book Report: The Minutemen and Their World
The book The Minutemen and Their World by Robert Gross reexamines the unique aspects of the American Revolution. From the very beginning, the author indicates that colonial Americans believed strongly that they belonged to the nation. They worked hard to ensure their relationships with the locals helped them mediate their social positions. According to the book, Concord became “the first frontier and settlement beyond the sight and smell of the sea” (Gross 3). However, numerous problems emerged thus forcing many Concordians to fight for freedom. The heroic achievements of “the Puritan founders inspired townsmen to fight the British people” (Gross 3).
The book goes further to explore how new divisions in the country forced more people to question traditional authority (Gross 17). Britain wanted to control a wide range of colonial affairs. This malpractice forced more Concordians to revolt. Despite some of the positive social values existing in the town, the Concordians became opposed to the abuses of the elites. During the period, the colonial powers chose to negotiate divisions away instead of addressing them.
The developments experienced in Concord forced many native citizens to unite. The majority of the whites believed that “Union was the source of public happiness” (Gross 14). At the same time, the book indicates “the pre-revolutionary Concord traced much of its political conflict to the growth of its population” (Gross 15). Issues of land scarcity emerged thereby forcing more people to think of better solutions.
Because of its convenience, Concord became the best place for stockpiling arms (Gross 24). More people came together in an attempt to defend the town. The absence of land, according to the book, forced more youths to resist any form of authority from their parents. The insecurity affected more young people encouraged them to join the revolution agenda. They were ready to resist the figurative structure and authority of the crown (Gross 28). The portrayal of Concord can be used to symbolize the issues and developments experienced in North America from the 16th to 19th centuries.
The ingenuity of the American people saved their common interests and goods (Gross 37). After the American Revolution, new changes emerged thereby redefining the position of many Concordians. More people left their jobs and focused on the war effort. They were ready to focus on new practices that could redefine the future of the American nation.
Similar historical events are echoed in the book America: The Essential Learning. The authors of the book begin by describing the life embraced by many Native Americans. Before the emergence of the Europeans, many natives “occupied the vastness of North America undisturbed by outside invaders” (Shi and Tindall 9). New civilizations such as the Cahokia and Mayas emerged but collapsed a few centuries ago. The European exploration of the 15th century resulted in “new changes that transformed Europe by 1492” (Shi and Tindall 17). The rebirth of human education led to “practical applications of various ideas that enabled the Age of Exploration” (Shi and Tindall 17).
By the 16th century, various events such as the Protestant Reformation and the Black Death in Europe had redefined the future of the continent. Catholic Spain managed “to create the most powerful empire” (Shi and Tindall 22). These developments forced different European powers to look for new settlements in the West. The Britons implemented “new strategies to colonize America after the battle with the Spanish Armada” (Shi and Tindall 33).
One of the outstanding facts is that “the colonists brought to America their political institutions and social folkways” (Shi and Tindall 41). The enticed more natives in order to acquire land. In return, the individuals promised a better of living, something that would eventually be named “the American dream” (Shi and Tindall 41).
The author goes further to indicate that the European settlers in different parts of American led to population decline among the natives. The Native Americans “were also reduced to poverty” (Shi and Tindall 65). New tensions had emerged between the English settlers and the Indians by the year 1675. Some regions such as New York were characterized by peaceful agreements between the settlers and the Native Americans. For example, the Great Law of Peace between English traders and the Iroquois Nations focused on three major principles. The principles included “peace, equity, and justice” (Shi and Tindall 67). The agreement made it easier for wealth to be distributed equally in the nation.
Similar developments are notable in the work The Devastation of the Indies. According to the source, the 16th century was characterized by “massacres and outrages committed by the bloody hands and swords of the Spaniards against the Indians living on the four hundred and fifty leagues of land surrounding the City of Mexico” (Casas 10).
The colonial powers committed numerous atrocities in America before the emergence of the revolution. For instance, the actions of the Spaniards led to broken marriages. They separated “husbands and wives, robbed couples of their children, took for themselves the wives and daughters of the people” (Casas 15). The Indians suffered numerous calamities because of the actions of the Spaniards (Casas 16). Such powers “committed many sins and detestable abominations” (Casas 16).
After the end of the revolution, the cohesion experienced in the town changed significantly. The new wave of economic growth forced many youths to abandon older ways of life. While the revolution was aimed at protecting the status quo that existed in the nation, the author goes further to describe how the people engaged in new efforts in an attempt to do away with ineffective authority (Gross 178). By so doing, these youths altered the manner in which more people saw the world. Consequently, they engaged in various activities in an attempt to remake the world. The book, therefore, offers “a new view of the American Revolution as a social movement” (Gross 199).
This history book has redefined my knowledge and understanding of the major issues that affected many Native Americans. For instance, Robert Gross shows clearly that the arrival of the Europeans created new problems that never existed in the country before. The economic attributes and efforts of these newcomers transformed the manner in which various resources were utilized in the country. At the same, the author shows how the developments eventually led to a new war. After the end of the war, many youths engaged in new agendas aimed at transforming their societies. Despite such efforts, the pains experienced by many people would have far-reaching consequences. In conclusion, history is not “simply an argument” (Gross 204). This is the case because it “encompasses a host of stories, involving many individuals of diverse backgrounds and subjectivity” (Gross 204). The achievements of the Concordians are worth mentioning because “they responded to British incursions with a militant reassertion of local tradition” (Gross 203). This kind of notion is what has delineated the spirit of many Americans for very many years. People can read this history from a critical perspective in order to identify new ideas that can transform their lives. These events have therefore altered the manner in which modern-day American generations see the world.
Casas, Bartolome. The Devastation of the Indies (1565), Spring Valley: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1974. Print.
Gross, Robert. Minutemen and Their World, New York: Hill and Wang, 2001. Print.
Shi, David, and George Tindall. America: The Essential Learning Edition, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2015. Print.