American Dream: the Civil War

Topics: United States, World War II, Cold War Pages: 5 (1878 words) Published: April 22, 2006
This paper will prove that the American Dream can best be explained as a city upon a hill, meaning being above and superior over those below. The Civil War, the imperialistic race of the 19th century, the Korean War, the KKK, and the Gulf War are all examples of the American Dream of superiority playing a part in American History. Americans all have a different idea of this superiority, but nonetheless strive to achieve it, where ever it may be. The Civil War, which split the United States, was a clash of two aspects of approaching the American Dream in a young America. Both sides felt their idea's and philosophies were far greater than those of the opposing side and therefore would benefit the nation more and make it superior. Both North and South wanted to better the country to have it achieve the American Dream. Unfortunately, each side had a different points of view as to how to achieve it. Slavery was a major issue, the North against, the South for it. The disagreements on slavery lead to difficulty in the issue of Westward expansion. Both agreed to it, but whether to admit them as free or slave states was where the split occurred. The compromise of 1850 stated that California enters free, and New Mexico and Utah decided on their own, which is giving them more state rights in which the South heavily supported. This compromise did not give either side complete satisfaction. The issue of State rights intensified by the issue of slavery because the Southern states felt they had the right to decide on their own about Slavery without intervention. It seems the Southern states felt that the American dream was out of their grasp because they felt weak and inferior with the Central government. When the American Revolution was fought to break from Britain, the Southern States thought they would be treated as sovereign and free. With the State's limited power, they felt as if the Federal government would become a monarchy. The Northern States wanted the American dream achieved for the whole country to be industrial, anti-slavery, and very federalist. Upon these institutions they planned to make the U.S a superior nation in the world. The South wanted to achieve the same ultimate goal for the U.S but with agricultural, pro- slavery, and states sovereignty institutions. These are the differences between both sides in achieving the American Dream. In order to resolve the conflict of interests, North and South had to go to war to prove greatness thus proving which side is the city upon the hill in which the losing side would follow. During the time of Imperialism in the 19th century, the U.S wanted to expand worldwide and strive for the lead in the imperialistic race. In 1871, the U.S and Canada signed the Washington treaty meaning that the U.S recognized Canada as an independent dominion. Any schemes to forcefully annex Canada and to unite the North American continent under the U.S flag had been rejected. The U.S could not be expanded any further in North America and had to look at other parts of the world for expansion. At the time, there were many other nations looking to expand its empire such as Britain and Germany. Some Southern expansionists saw Cuba as an interest because it could have possibly been used as a slave territory. Because Northerners were highly against slavery, the plan was quickly forgotten. After the Civil War, Secretary of State Seward had negotiated a treaty to purchase the Virgin Islands from Denmark, but the senate rejected this treaty. They were not purchased until 1917. In 1859, the U.S annexed the Midway Islands in the South Pacific, and half the Samoan Islands; the other half belonging to Germany. Hawaii, another Pacific island, had always been important to the U.S. It served as an important base for trade with Japan and China. When the U.S annexed Hawaii in 1893 after a coup, to justify it, the U.S claimed it was an important strategic military foothold. They also claimed that the inferior...
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