Revolution. 1776-1890 Terror During the Country’s F irst Hundred Years Morgan Rogers and Luke Pullen. The American Revolution:.
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Terror During the Country’s First Hundred Years
Morgan Rogers and Luke Pullen
Before America became an independent nation, we still experienced terror because of their king, George III of England. Although the Americans were treated poorly, they rejected independence and remained loyal to Britain. In 1776, colonist believed the loyalist were going to kidnap or assassinate General George Washington and other officers of the Continental army. In response to this, Civilian authorities rounded up about 100 loyalist including New York’s mayor. Sergeant Thomas Hickey, one of Washington’s guards, was captured and put to death for his role in the plot to capture the loyalist.
Knowing that traitors were plotting against the Revolution, General Washington developed an elaborate network of spies. The nation’s first “spymaster” even recruited British double agents.
A Plot to Kidnap Washington
The Founding fathers accused King George III of serious charges and acts of terror against the colonist.
“He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coast, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances or cruelty and perfidy of scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation."
The Nation’s Capital Ablaze
An exasperated U.S. congress finally declares war after years of being violated by Britain. This decision did not go well in the beginning as American soldiers could not stop the British from terrorizing citizens and eventually marching on Washington. While in Washington, the British burned the Capital building, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and finally the White House. The British then stayed and further damaged the city for two more days.
State Sponsored Terrorism
During the 1600s, slaver traders brought millions of Africans to the American colonies. These slaves were not given the same rights as American citizens and were treated as property. Slaves tried in many different ways to gain freedom resorting sometimes to violence. In 1822, former slaves Denmark Vesey plotted to capture Charleston, South Carolina before the plot was revealed and he was put to death. Then in 1831, slaves led by Nat Turner murdered over 50 slave owners. Federal and State forces crushed the uprising and Turner was captured and executed. Then in 1850s, pro- slavery “Border Ruffians” crossed into Kansas from Missouri and terrorized settlers. As the violence grew, the territory was nick-named “Bleeding Kansas”. In 1859, abolitionist John Brown led an attempt with slaves to capture the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia and arm slaves. The entire party was either captured or killed, and John Brown was tried and hanged. Many felt that this was a major incentive for Civil War.
During the Civil War, both sides terrorized citizens. Under General William Sherman, the Union army burned a path from Tennessee to Savanna, GA. , Destroying towns, burning crops, and killing civilians. This march has come to be known as Sherman’s march to the sea and is the first case of total war. In retaliation, confederate agents tried unsuccessfully to burn New York City. In 1865, a confederate doctor sent yellow fever infected clothing to the North in hopes of spreading an epidemic. This was an early use of bio-terror.
Many settlers were scared and nervous of the many American Indian tribes living in the Southeast . In 1830, Congress passed the Removal Act which made all Native Americans move to lands west of the Mississippi. In 1838, U.S. troops rounded up 16000 Cherokee Indians and forcefully moved them to Oklahoma. This march, which is now known as the Trail of Tears, was marked by starvation, disease, and death. Thousands of Cherokees died during the journey.
For much of the 1800s, American Settlers pushed Native Americans westward off their lands. This was met with fierce resistance from the Native Americans. In 1864, groups of Native Americans surrendered their weapons to colonel John Chivington. Thinking they had negotiated peace, the Native Americans were quickly turned on. Chivington led 700 cavalry men to Sand Creek and slaughtered 150 unarmed Native Americans, over half of whom were women and children. Wanting payback, Native Americans burned the town of Julesburg, Colorado and scalped the defenders. Then on December 29, a large group of Native Americans surrendered and Wounded Knee Creek, after a rifle was accidentally fired the American troops opened fire killing 150 Native Americans.
How did it affect America and its people then?
All these acts of terrorism had an impact on American society then. Some of these resulted in war and violence and others resulted in horrible acts by the American government. Although these acts had an impact then, it wasn’t to the extent of what it would be today.
How does it affect America now?
These acts helped shape America into what it is now. All of these have an impact on American society today in that it shows the danger of these and helps us to not repeat history. Because of these, America can now see the evils of what has happened throughout the country’s history.