Four Final Questions for History 101

1)     The role of the colonies in the British Mercantilist system

In the British Mercantilist system, the colonies served as the money makers for the mother country. It was the economic philosophy that existed between 17th and 18th centuries. In essence, the system kept the economy of the British Empire healthy. The British had imposed some restrictions to the Americans on how they spend the money in order to control their economy. Most significant, the colonies were expected to produce viable goods as well as services that England could export. At the same time, America was supposed to import valuable goods manufactured from the factories in England.

The mercantilist system had introduced some restrictions to the colonies. First, colonies were not allowed to exports some of the produce directly to other countries. Instead, American was required to send the products to England in order for the mother country to benefit from the returns of the goods. Secondly, colonies were restrained from manufacturing products that compete in the market with those from England. Further, the British had imposed embargoes inform of taxes on the imported goods to discourage colonies from going to other European countries. Some of the restrictions included the Navigation Acts and the Sugar Act that were enacted through the Mercantilist system to limit colonial trade[1]. Nevertheless, the colonies’ role was to produce goods that the British could export as well buy valuable products from them. Ultimately, the colonies helped the British to export more goods than they could import.

2)   Why was the constitution a controversial document even as it was, being written?

The constitution of the Americans was adopted more than 200 years ago. Since then, the constitution has served as the pillar of the government. Although it is an inspiring document in the history of the World, it is the creation was controversial. The experts responsible for drafting the constitution were divided on several significant issues. Even today, the constitution remains controversial on issues such as Civil Rights activism, conflict about the states sovereignty and supremacy, universal healthcare as well as marriage controversy[2].

First, the compromises of some issues that affected its creation are the reason for the controversy of the document. From the beginning, the advocates had divided ideas regarding the constitution. They had formed the opinion that the constitution was the idea of the republicans agitating for a new level in the peoples’ elected government. The most significant controversy was the separation of powers between the central and state governments. Today, it is still a crucial issue. Delegates drafting the constitution faced with serious issues regarding the state representation. Those from the bigger states championed for a population-based representation. On the other hand, delegates affiliated to the smaller states advocated the fair number of representatives from each state. Secondly, slavery was highly controversial issues. The issue arose on how to count for the high number of slaves when determining the population of the state. At the same time, it was punitive to calculate the amount of property taxes that the employers of slaves would remit. Therefore, the government agreed to compromise on the slave trade at that time. Other controversies at that time included the fear of splitting from England as the new government, religious matters as well as land ownership rights.

3)   Why did protestant Christianity and protestant women emerge as forces for social change?

The republicans had forced the lawmakers to craft a different relationship between the state and churches. Most significant, the formal idea of religious taxes for the established had lost the credibility. As a result, the popularity of protestant churches was decreased because of the spread of republicanism philosophy among the Americans. In essence, the values of the church had become less conservative. At the same time, people affiliated to the Republican Party started condemning some religious restrictions. In some cases, drift was experienced in some church organizations as they responded to the philosophy that was being advocated through the republicanism.

However, the Second Great Awakening force changed the relationship between protestant Christianity and people. Consequently, several protestant churches emerged with their democratic religious emphasis hence transforming congregants into active reformers. Also, the Great awakening was appealing to women in the society to agitate strongly for political, as well as social equality. In addition, it increased the role and confidence of protestant women as agents of positive social change. Some of the women forums included churches, public conferences, homes, and educational institutions[3].

4)   How did the Union policy toward slavery and enslaved people change over the course of the war?

Slavery started as early as 17th Century in the United States. Most of them had come from Africa and worked in tobacco and cotton farms in the South. The use slaves became important as the demand for the product was in Europe. At the beginning of 18th century, the country got divide over the issue as the abolitionist movement emerged in the North. Around 1820, slavery was outlawed in the western territories through the Missouri Compromise. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln, a member of the anti-slavery Republican Party won the election. Many people got convinced that slavery will not extend newly acquired territories by the United States. Some states from the South wanted to secede from the Union what precipitated into the Civil War. During the war, Lincoln passed the famous Emancipation Proclamation that freed slaves from various parts of the country[4]. It helped prevent Europeans from further intervention towards the South. At the same time, Emancipation Proclamation allowed the Union armies to release the Americans slaves after the passage of Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Initially, the Union troops were not allowed to free slaves they came along during the Southern campaigns. In 1862, Abraham Lincoln was touched through the acts of the British and France sending some military assistance to the South. President, Abraham Lincoln responded through the most famous Emancipation proclamation. In essence, he turned the Civil War to a crusade against slavery. The policy introduced by Abraham Lincoln kept the British and French out as the Union troops relieved several troops. It made sense as some ex-slaves were put to perform some duties with the camps of the armies. Therefore, the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation was to free slaves from states that were in the rebellion. However, the move was politically risky for Lincoln as the Northern Democrats wanted to save the Union. Nonetheless, they did not support abolition that was instigated through Abraham Lincoln.



Henretta, James A., Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self. America’s History. Volume 1 to 1877. 2011.

[1] Henretta, James A., Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self. America’s History. Volume 1 to 1877. 2011.

[2] Henretta, James A., Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self. America’s History. Volume 1 to 1877. 2011.

[3] Henretta, James A., Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self. America’s History. Volume 1 to 1877. 2011.

[4] Henretta, James A., Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self. America’s History. Volume 1 to 1877. 2011.