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Moving In: 1585-1789
Setting Up House: 1789-1861
Cleaning the Yard: 1861-1897
Stepping Out: 1897-1941
Showdown: 1941-1989
Ruling the World: 1989-Present

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.'
- Samuel Huntington

The first settlers who arrived in North America came from Asia, although I suppose they’re not the kind of people you have in mind when you hear of the first American settlers.
They have lived on the continent for at least 12,000 years, but as they didn’t have the opportunity to write history in the past 500 years, they play - as long as they appear at all - a more passive role.
Their first contact that we know of was with inhabitants of Easter Island more than 3,500 years ago, though it is not clear whether it was the Indians or the Polynesians who travelled.
The next discoverers were Vikings who explored parts of the American mainland around 1000. However, L'Anse aux Meadows is the only known permanent settlement.
When Columbus re-discovered America in 1492 he thought he’d reached India and consequently called the residents Indians. Within a short time the Spanish, the Portuguese, the British, the French and others started exploring, exploiting and colonising the Americas.

The men and women who were shipped in from Europe since then have been romanticised and heroised as refugees who were looking for a country that offered them political, religious and economic freedom (at that time freedom of speech was not considered more important than food, and no one had to be ashamed of being an economic refugee). And while this is true about a good deal of the immigrants, the other part isn’t mentioned at all - lawless adventurers, criminals on the run, convicted felons (many murderers were given the choice between the old gallows and the New World, and not all of them picked the rope) and religious fanatics (foremost the Puritans and the Pilgrims who did happen to be persecuted, but who insisted on burning witches and finishing off all those of other beliefs and races themselves).

Until the 18th century those who couldn't afford the passage to the Promised Land could enter a contract as indentured servants; an American employer paid for their voyage, and in return they would work for several years for them for food and lodging. It is thought that before the American Revolution more than half of the population had come under indentures.

You can imagine that not a lot of the European settlers knew how to farm, and many of them didn’t survive the first winter.
Some of them were luckier, though; they were found by Indians who fed them and showed them the skills they needed. Once the settlers got the hang of it they killed the Indians and extended their farms.
Massacres of Indians were common, starting with the Napituca Massacre (committed by the Spanish in 1539 in present-day Florida) and the first known British massacre, the Paspahegh Massacre in 1610 in Virginia, to the Kelley Creek Massacre in 1911. The largest known massacre might have been the Sacramento River Massacre on April 5, 1846, in which an expedition under John C. Frémont, according to one eyewitness, killed up to 1,000 Indian children, women and men, and which was only one of a string of massacres committed by him on his way to take California for the United States in an unauthorised mission. (10 years later he would become the first presidential candidate of the Republican Party).
Of course many Indians defended their homelands against the intruders, leading to a number of American Indian Wars; Metacomet's War (1675-1678) is generally considered one of the deadliest wars in history, proportionate to the population, and after his defeat Metacomet's head was on display in Plymouth for an entire generation.

There was land for every European at the Frontier - the most western line beyond which no land had been claimed yet. All one had to do was go there, stake the claim and get rid of the Indians.
Of course, as in any other colony, the natives were also taken as slaves since Columbus' first excursion. But Indians don’t last long in captivity, so African slaves were imported and the Indians exterminated.

Christians justified the enslavement of blacks with the Curse of Ham according to which Noah cursed his grandson Canaan because Canaan's father Ham had seen Noah naked. Therefore Noah proclaimed that Canaan would be his brothers' and his uncles' slave. (Genesis 9:20-27)
You may wonder what this has to do with black people. According to Christian mythology Canaan settled in Africa, and the Africans' dark skin is the sign of Ham's Curse. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Moving In: 1585-1789

In 1584 Queen Elizabeth I granted Walter Raleigh a charter for the colonisation of North America under the condition that he establish a colony. He subsequently founded the Roanoke Colony in 1585 which unfortunately disappeared.
Following several more failed attempts Jamestown in Virginia became the first permanent colony. The first settlers arrived in April 1607 on behalf of the Virginia Company of London. Unprepared, unaccustomed to farming and arriving too late in the year to plant crops and during the worst drought in over 700 years 80% of them died within the first months, despite the assistance they got from local Indians.
But relations with the natives deteriorated soon, not only because Indians viewed land as communal property and not as something anyone could claim, but also because by 1609 Governor John Smith sent raiding parties demanding food, and dwellings of the Powhatan were burnt down and food supplies stolen. This led to the First Anglo-Powhatan War in 1609, the first of three Anglo-Powhatan Wars and countless American Indian Wars.
During the Starving Time in the winter of 1609 some settlers resorted to cannibalism.

Beginning with the Plymouth Colony which was founded by Pilgrims in 1620 more colonies were established over the coming years, many by Christian zealots (mostly Puritans).

The Puritans saw themselves as the new people of Israel conquering the new Promised Land. They applied the Mosaic Laws to their colonies and compared the natives (whom they called 'heathens', 'savages' or 'barbarians') to Amalekites or Canaanites whose genocide was ordered by God.
'They viewed their emigration from England as a virtual re-enactment of the Jewish exodus from Egypt: England was Egypt, the English king was Pharaoh, the Atlantic Ocean their Red Sea, America was the Land of Israel, and the Indians were the ancient Canaanites.' - Hugh Fogelman
During the Pequot War in Connecticut Captain John Mason with his troops and a number of allied Indians attacked a Pequot village at the Mystic River with several hundred residents on May 26, 1637. They blocked the only two exits of the palisade surrounding it, set the village on fire and killed everybody trying to escape. Nobody did.
In A Brief History of the Pequot War Mason wrote, 'But GOD was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven: Thus were the Stout Hearted spoiled, having slept their last Sleep, and none of their Men could find their Hands: Thus did the LORD judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies.'
And in his Magnalia Christi Americana clergyman Cotton Mather concluded, 'In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them. [...] Sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.'
On August 12 that year Governor John Winthrop declared a Day of Thanksgiving for 'his great m'cies in subdewing the Pecoits, bringing the soldiers in safety, the successe of the conference, & good news from Germany.'
(There is a theory circulating, based on this event, that Thanksgiving originated as the celebration of Indian massacres. Fact is that the Puritans celebrated Days of Thanksgiving in gratitude for God's display of mercy, such as victory in war, the end of a drought or a good harvest. In this context the killing of the Pequots was seen as such an act of mercy, but there are no indications that Days of Thanksgiving were exclusively declared after such massacres.)

Since 1613 Dutch immigrants had settled in the colony of New Netherland in and around the Delaware Valley. In 1655 the Dutch Republic conquered New Sweden which had been established in 1638 and incorporated it into New Netherland. New Netherland in turn was ceded to England in the Treaty of Westminster in 1674 (which ended the Third Anglo-Dutch War) and renamed New York.

In Jamestown, as in many other places, Indians were chased out of their homelands, and raids of settlers on Indian villages were often answered with Indian raids on their settlements. Many freeholders on the Virginia Frontier demanded to either drive the Indians out of their lands (which were protected by treaties) or to kill them, but Governor Berkeley refused - partly because he wanted to avoid another King Philip's War and partly because he made good money in the fur trade with the Indians.
Nathaniel Bacon, a member of the governor's council who felt left out of the governor's elitist circle, asked Berkeley for permission to attack all Indians but was turned down. He then gathered a force of 400-500 men, the majority being indentured servants and poor farmers (most of them previously indentured) who felt disadvantaged by Berkeley's policies, and attacked friendly Indian tribes to take over their lands, killing children, women and men.
Berkeley arrested Bacon and removed him from the council, but his followers soon enforced Bacon's release who was then elected to the House of Burgesses, Virginia's legislative assembly.
Although Berkeley now made some concessions the conflict wasn't settled. In July 1676 Bacon and his men issued a declaration against him as well as a manifesto calling for the extermination of all Indians. They continued raiding, killing and enslaving Indians.
After Berkeley had captured Bacon's naval allies and executed two of them Bacon and his followers burnt Jamestown to the ground on September 19. Bacon died a few weeks later.
Following Bacon's Rebellion the demand for indentured servants decreased drastically in favour of African slaves.

The extent of religious fanaticism in the theocratic colonies became obvious in 1692 in the Puritan town of Salem, Massachusetts. Three years previously Reverend Cotton Mather of Boston had published a pamphlet about witchcraft in which he detailed the persecution and execution of an alleged witch in his parish which caused a widespread hysteria. Quarrelling neighbours in Salem started accusing each other of sending their spectres to afflict and torment them; hundreds were accused, and with the advice of Rev Mather on the use of ‘spectral evidence’ around thirty persons were convicted; nineteen of them were hanged while one was crushed to death. Five more died in prison, including two infants.
(Salem was also the arena of the – so far – last court case of witchcraft in the US in 1878. The cult with the paradoxical name Christian Science had just emerged, and one follower accused another of mesmerising her. The court dismissed the case, pointing out that imprisoning him wouldn’t prevent the accused from exerting mental control over her.)

In 1711 the purpose of Wall Street was established by hosting New York's first permanent market for renting out Black and Indian slaves.

While horses were introduced to the Americas by European settlers the Indians quickly assimilated them into their culture, and by 1750 all tribes of Plains Indians owned horses.

Disputes over territories between Great Britain and France led to the French and Indian War (1754-1763, the American side of the Seven Years’ War). For their battles, both parties repeatedly allied themselves with Indian tribes whom they killed after the conflicts.
The war ended with the Treaty of Paris which gave Great Britain rights to all land east of the Mississippi.
The Royal Proclamation of 1763, also known as the Indian Magna Carta, banned all settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains in order to protect the Indians which angered many colonists and was largely ignored.
The French and Indian War was followed by Pontiac's War in which Indians tried to regain their lands.

Most history books render the impression that the random killing of unarmed civilians and the dismembering and mutilating of dead and living children, men and women was the exception. It wasn’t.
The genocide of the Indians lasted for over 300 years. Over this period, they have been pushed westwards until no West was left, into ‘reservations’ that were guaranteed to remain theirs (yep, we know what to think of American guarantees).
There are many supposedly amusing stories about Indians selling land for glass beads and the like. According to British (and later American) law these people were considered aliens (!!!) - they had no citizenship and therefore couldn’t own property in the first place. Apart from that, if someone put a gun to your head and asked you to sell your Rolex for a dime, what would you do?
Many governments paid a reward for every killed Indian (usually the reward for adult males was higher than for children and women). Of course they demanded proof, and some governors got so fed up with the Indian corpses in their offices that they declared their scalps to be sufficient proof. Scalp Acts to that effect were in place as early as 1689 during King William's War, if not earlier. (A handful of Indians copied this habit and created the myth of the savage scalp-hunting Indian.)
Mutilations were also popular, such as establishing the number of killed Indians by cutting off the tips of their noses and counting them or making bridle reins from their skin.
Apart from the old shotgun the Americans used other methods as well, such as providing them with alcohol, knowing it would destroy them. One of the most gruesome was to appear charitable and provide them with blankets that were infected with smallpox.
Some sources contend that the infections were unintentional. This is not the case. William Trent, commander of the local militia, wrote in his journal during the 1763 Siege of Fort Pitt (which was the result of the British refusing to leave after hostilities with France had ended, as agreed with the Indians) on June 24, 'We gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect.' – It did.
In the account book of Fort Pitt he entered, ‘To Sundries got to Replace in kind those which were taken from people in the Hospital to Convey the Smallpox to the Indians Viz:
2 Blankets @ 20/ £299 099 0
1 Silk Handkerchef 10/
& 1 linnen do: 3/6 099 1399 6.’

On July 8, unaware that Trent had put the same strategy into place and that the smallpox was raging amongst the Indians already, General Jeffrey Amherst wrote to Colonel Henry Bouquet who was on his way to relieve Fort Pitt, 'Could it not be contrived to Send the Small Pox among those Disaffected Tribes of Indians? We must, on this occasion, Use Every Stratagem in our power to Reduce them.'
Bouquet replied, 'I will try to inocculate the Indians by means of Blankets that may fall in their hands, taking care however not to get the disease myself. As it is pity to oppose good men against them, I wish we could make use of the Spaniard's Method, and hunt them with English Dogs. Supported by Rangers, and some Light Horse, who would I think effectively extirpate or remove that Vermine.'
Amherst was delighted: 'You will Do well to try to Innoculate the Indians by means of Blanketts, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race.'

Treaties with Indians became a common way of trying to appease them for a while, but none of them was ever worth the paper it was written on. All treaties have been violated, from the dishonest guarantee to recognise the Delawares as a sovereign nation in the Treaty of Fort Pitt in 1778 to the invasion of the Standing Rock Reservation in 2016.

In the mid 18th century (when Europeans started using the term ‘Americans’ for the white population, which before had applied - more appropriately - to the Indians) there were 13 British colonies at the East coast of America. But the presence of the British authority was hardly felt. People got on with their lives with little or no public order: arguments were settled with the gun, and the taxes due to the Crown were rarely paid.
Eventually Britain, having almost doubled its national debt with the Seven Years' War, raised the taxes and duties and made clear that these would be enforced. The Americans were raging, their most convincing point being that they wouldn’t pay for a government they couldn’t vote for. Anything British was attacked and destroyed - the American Revolution had begun.
Anyone who called for negotiations with Britain was converted the American way: by terror. Those who weren’t murdered were feathered and tarred, their houses burnt down, their families massacred and so on (basically, they were treated like Indians).
There might still have been room for a compromise; but George III insisted that ‘the colonies must either submit or triumph’, and so they did.
In 1770 British soldiers were attacked by an angry mob in Boston; they shot back, and 5 people got killed. This stirred up tensions even further, and with the right propaganda by a few demagogues, the ‘Boston Massacre’ became the talk of the colonies.
After years of civil resistance, the boycotting of their products, the burning of their warehouses etc, the British realised their weak position and withdrew all taxes except that for tea. But this peace offering came too late, and in 1773 the Americans - who were in the process of evolving into coffee drinkers at that time - dumped a shipload of tea into Boston Harbor. (They had disguised themselves as Indians, just to be on the safe side.)
Great Britain reacted with what the colonists called the Intolerable Acts which severely restricted the autonomy and rights of Massachusetts and, even worse, granted more rights to Catholics ('Papists').
The First Continental Congress, attended by delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies, met in October 1774 in Philadelphia. It was decided to boycott all British goods by December 1 and ban exports to Great Britain by September 10, 1775, if the Intolerable Acts were not repealed. The congress agreed to reconvene the following May.
On April 18, 1775, the War of Independence broke out with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
Of course not all Americans were in favour of independence, and those loyal to the King were known as Tories while the revolutionaries called themselves Patriots.
Both the British and the US Army also enlisted slaves most of whom joined up in return for the promise of freedom which was rarely kept.
On May 10 the Second Continental Congress was established which became the de facto government of the colonies. It agreed on the Articles of Confederation which only gave it limited powers. (Its weakness became clear during Shay's Rebellion in 1786 which hastened the assembly of a constitutional convention.)
On July 2, 1776, Congress unanimously passed the Lee Resolution which declared independence of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain. Two days later the Declaration of Independence with its famous claim that 'all men [i.e. male Anglo-Saxon Protestant property owners] are created equal' was approved.
The Americans were joined by the French and the Spanish (for motives more anti-British than pro-American), and Indians fought on both sides in the vain hope of improving their situation. The war ended in 1783 with the Peace of Paris in which the leading European powers, including Great Britain, recognised the independence of the United States.

From 1791 until 1959 37 more states were admitted to the Union. Some of them were created by Americans in areas that didn’t have a white population before, some were former territories, some were purchased from other nations (with or without their citizens’ consent), some applied to be annexed to the US, and some were taken by force.
On August 23, 1784, the state of Franklin seceded from North Carolina, declared its independence and, in May 1785, became the first state to apply for admission to the Union. Seven of the thirteen states voted in favour, but this was short of the required two-third majority.
Franklin remained an independent republic until it was re-taken by North Carolina in 1788.

Gaining independence was one thing, keeping the former colonies together quite another. Delegates of the thirteen states (Virginia, Maryland (the only predominantly Catholic colony), Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia were slave states and Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania were free states) met from May to September 1787 in Philadelphia to negotiate a constitution. George Washington who had been the commander-in-chief of their forces during the war was unanimously elected president of the Constitutional Convention.
The most contentious points were the powers of the president, the way the states would be represented and, of course, slavery. While many demanded to end this institution the Southern states economically depended on it; besides, around half of the delegates, including George Washington, were slave owners themselves. (Ironically some of them spoke out against slavery.) In the end it was agreed that decisions affecting slavery would be left to the individual states, but that from 1808 Congress would have the power to ban the international slave trade.

It was decided to separate the powers of the United States into three branches: the Legislative (House and Senate), the Executive (President, Vice-President and the Departments) and the Judicial (the federal courts and the Supreme Court). Well, they're not entirely separated since the president appoints the judges to the Supreme Court.

Regarding representation, the smaller states wanted an equal number of representatives for all states while the larger ones argued that representation should be based on population. A compromise was found in which representation would be proportional in the House of Representatives while the Senate would consist of two representatives from each state. It was also agreed to have senators elected by state legislatures in order to preserve the interests of the elite. ('In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure... Landholders ought to have a share in the government... They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body.' - James Madison)
Now it came to the question of who counted as a person. Slave states wanted to have slaves considered as persons for the purpose of representation, the others argued that only free persons should be counted. So how much personhood should be assigned to a slave? The convention eventually agreed on James Wilson's and Roger Sherman's Three-Fifth Compromise.
Due to the Founding Fathers' fear of mob rule (i.e. democracy) it was agreed that the president would be elected indirectly through an Electoral College. And while in most cases the results reflect the will of the majority there have been four elections in which the College went against it and one in which, after no candidate had secured the absolute majority of College votes, the House decided against the candidate who had a strong lead in both the people's vote (condescendingly called the popular vote) and the electors' vote.
It was up to the individual states to decide who was eligible to vote, and in the majority of states this privilege was only granted to Anglo-Saxon Protestant male property owners.

When finally the United States Constitution was agreed upon it was decided that it should come into force when it is ratified by nine of the thirteen states.
At the ratifying conventions in the member states, the most contested points were the centralisation of powers and the lack of civil rights. Over the next three years the constitution was ratified by all states, but many of them attached the condition of amendments, mostly relating to civil rights. This led to the first 10 amendments to the constitution, ratified in 1791 and also called the Bill of Rights.

In 1789 George Washington, the only candidate, was elected president.

While the term democracy is not mentioned in the constitution it is generally used to describe the form of government of the US and those of most other Western countries. However, 'democracy' translates as 'government of the people' which entails enabling citizens to call for referenda. Therefore I consider the term democracy a misnomer for most Western governments and the term representative democracy a contradiction in terms.
From the early 1900s democracy would became a buzzword with a very vague meaning; when used by US authorities about other countries it could be translated as 'subordination to the United States', especially since Woodrow Wilson.

Setting Up House: 1789-1861

Congress first assembled in March 1789. Initially all delegates were independent, but soon the gap between the main two factions became so obvious that they felt the need to organise themselves. This led to the formation of the first political parties in the US: the Federalist Party who wanted a strong central government, a powerful president, an influential central bank, a censored press and rule by the upper class while denouncing mob rule (i.e. democracy), led by slave owner Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury (who would die in a duel against then Vice President Burr a few years later), and the Jeffersonian Republicans who were in favour of decentralisation and the protection of minorities and promoted equal rights, liberties and opportunities for all Protestant Anglo-Saxon males, led by slave owners and future presidents Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, and James Madison.

While the majority of Congressmen (and the public) supported the extermination of American Indians, there were also some, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who promoted the voluntary or forced assimilation of natives into the Anglo-American culture as a ‘civilisation process’.

The Residence Act of 1790 created the District of Columbia for the capital which was named after President Washington and is an independent district under direct federal jurisdiction.

Because Vermont was claimed by New York the state could not be admitted without the consent of New York. Successful negotiations concluded in 1790, and Vermont was admitted to the Union as a free state in 1791. It was followed by Kentucky in 1792 and Tennessee in 1796 which were admitted as slave states.

In 1793 Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin which made cotton production far more effective and profitable. As a result the demand for slaves increased drastically.

Following Chisholm v Georgia in which the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of a supplier who had sued the state of Georgia for debts incurred during the War of Independence Congress passed the 11th Amendment which established sovereign immunity for the states in 1794.

In October 1794 Washington once more put on his uniform, leading his army in order to quell the Whiskey Rebellion, a rebellion against the taxation of - you guessed it - whiskey.

Washington decided to retire after two terms, and in 1796 Federalist John Adams was elected president. He and his son John Quincy Adams were the only presidents before 1850 not to own slaves.
Because he got the second largest number of votes his rival Thomas Jefferson was elected vice president, demonstrating a weakness in the electoral system that would be addressed eight years later.

In light of the French Revolution (which had many sympathisers amongst the Jeffersonian Republicans) and the tensions between the US and France Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, one of many acts and laws to undermine the 1st Amendment over the centuries, which criminalised criticism of the government, made naturalisation more difficult and allowed the imprisonment and deportation of non-citizens deemed dangerous.

In 1800 a slave named Gabriel planned a large scale slave revolt in Virginia but was betrayed by fellow slaves who revealed his plans. He and 25 others were hanged later that year.
Gabriel's Revolution led to stricter laws for free blacks and slave owners regarding the keeping and freeing of slaves in the slave states.

The 1800 presidential election resulted in a tie between Thomas Jefferson and his intended vice president Aaron Burr. The matter was left to the House which, on the 36th ballot, voted for Jefferson.

Jefferson was the only known non-religious (and non-Christian, for that matter) president to date. (There is, however, a dispute over Lincoln's religious views.)

In 1803 Ohio was recognised as a free state of the Union.

In Europe the French Revolution had turned the continent upside down. Napoleon Bonaparte waged war on all other countries, including Britain. Both Britain and France had territories in America - the British were still present in the Canadas, and the French had taken additional territories from Spain.
Being surrounded by the French made the Americans feel a little uneasy (and hindered their expansion plans), and in 1803 President Jefferson sent James Monroe to Paris to negotiate the purchase of some of their territories.
Bonaparte needed money for his wars, and he needed his soldiers in Europe and Africa. He couldn’t protect his American properties and was ready to give them up, but he didn’t want the British to expand. This led him to make an offer that left Monroe, who had expected tough negotiations, breathless.
For 68 million francs ($15,000,000) he could get Louisiana which covered the area from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains and from the border to Upper Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. This was as good a deal back then as it would be today, and with one signature the United States doubled their territory. (In 1818, following negotiations with Great Britain, Oregon Country, the disputed area between the United States and Upper Canada, was put under joint control for ten years with the Treaty_of_1818.)

Shortly afterwards Jefferson commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore and map the purchased area.

In 1804 the 12th Amendment was passed which rectified the shortcomings of the two past presidential elections by separating votes for president and vice president.

The first significant military engagement after the war occurred at the African coast. The Barbary States, consisting of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli (today's Libya) charged tributes from all ships crossing their waters, and as they weren’t governed by white rulers, they are generally referred to as pirates. Those who didn’t pay had their ships seized or their crew held to ransom.
As colonies America had been covered by the British payments, but not after the revolution.
We all remember how Americans feel about paying taxes and charges, and the First Barbary War ended with a US victory and the second Treaty with Tripoli in 1805.

In January 1811 a slave revolt broke out in the Territory of Orleans. After a slave owner was attacked and his son killed his slaves met with others from the neighbouring plantation, armed themselves with tools and marched downriver. They burnt plantation houses, sugarhouses and crops and soon were joined by hundreds of others.
Volunteer militia were quick to put an end to the mass escape, and almost 100 slaves were either killed in the attack or executed afterwards. Many had their heads exposed on poles as a warning to others. (' Their Heads [...] decorate our Levée, all the way up the coast.')
The supposed ringleader 'had his hands chopped off then shot in one thigh & then the other, until they were both broken – then shot in the Body and before he had expired was put into a bundle of straw and roasted!'

The United States were caught between the lines of the French-British war. Their trade routes to Europe were blocked, and British deserters were taken on American ships. The British captured those vessels and took their men back - but not all of those taken were actually British.
Yet this was not the only reason for President James Madison to declare war on Great Britain in 1812, following fruitless negotiations and an unsuccessful embargo; as the British were busy in the war against France, the Americans saw their chance to take over their territories in the Canadas.
But shortly afterwards Bonaparte was defeated in Russia, and the British could throw all their forces into the war against the United States. This could have taken a nasty turn for the Americans but, following negotiations, the Treaty of Ghent was signed on Christmas Day 1814. However, fighting in New Orleans under General Andrew Jackson continued for three more weeks (they didn’t know the war was over).

During the war many Indians fought on the British side in return for promises to see their lot improve. For a short time Great Britain even rekindled the idea of an Indian buffer state between the United States and Upper Canada. One of the leaders they supported was Shawnee chief Tecumseh who had led a coalition of tribes in a war against American invaders. However, his confederacy died with him in 1813.

After Louisiana was admitted as a slave state in 1812 new states were generally admitted to the Union in pairs (one free state and one slave state) in order to keep the balance, a practice that ended with the Compromise of 1850. Indiana was admitted as a free state in 1816 and Mississippi as a slave state in 1817, followed by Illinois as a free state in 1818 and Alabama as a slave state in 1819.

Florida, which was Spanish territory at that time, was largely uncontrolled, and many Anglo-Americans moved into the area through the backwoods to settle there, as well as Indians who often conducted attacks on Georgian settlements (their former homes). They also welcomed runaway slaves in their midst.
Many times the US Army led incursions into Florida to kill Indians or to recapture escaped slaves. One such incident (part of the First Seminole War) had occurred in March 1818 when General Andrew Jackson, ordered to pursue a group of Seminole Indians, offered President James Monroe to take Florida for the United States and, without waiting for a reply, invaded it, captured two Spanish forts and 'executed' two British subjects for selling weapons to Indians. This caused tensions with Britain and Spain who found it difficult to police Florida and finally ceded it to the Unite States in 1819. It became a state in 1845. (A number of Congressmen unsuccessfully called for Jackson to be censured for his actions.)

Missouri's request for statehood raised concerns about another slave state joining the union without a free counterpart. When Maine separated from Massachusetts and applied for admission concerns about the spread of slavery remained. Eventually the Missouri Compromise was reached according to which after Missouri no further slave states would be permitted north of the 36°30' parallel.
Maine was admitted as a free state in 1820 and Missouri as a slave state in 1821.

In his State of the Union Address in 1823 President Monroe outlined the United States' policy regarding the rest of the Americas which later became known as the Monroe Doctrine. He declared the United States' neutrality in any conflicts regarding the rest of the continent, but that it would not tolerate any further efforts of colonising American countries, nor the re-colonisation of any countries that had gained independence.

Initially relations between the United States and Indians were the responsibility of the War Department until the Bureau of Indian Affairs was created in 1824.

The pro-British Federalist Party had virtually disappeared after the War of 1812 and left Congress with one party. While there were disputes, mainly about the issue of slavery and conflicting economic interests of member states, they rarely escalated into open hostilities (the Era of Good Feelings). This changed under the presidency of John Quincy Adams who, according to the 12th Amendment, was elected by the House in 1824 after none of the five candidates received an absolute majority, even though General Andrew Jackson had a strong lead in both the popular and the electoral vote.

Adams' policy of using tariffs to protect industries in the North and invest in infrastructure, education, arts and science was highly unpopular and went, as some claimed, beyond the powers given to the government by the constitution. General Andrew Jackson, who had claimed foul play after losing his bid for the presidency, gathered a number of followers around him who called themselves Jacksonian Democrats (and, from 1828, the Democratic Party) to distinguish themselves from the Jeffersonian Republicans (also known as the Democratic-Republican Party), the remainder of whom started referring to themselves as the National Republican Party in 1830.

On July 4, 1826, while the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, one of its authors, John Adams, lay on his deathbed, lamenting that its principal author 'Thomas Jefferson still survives.'
He was wrong. Jefferson had died five hours earlier.

The next presidential election in 1828 was contested by Adams and Jackson again, this time with no significant other candidates, and Andrew Jackson won by a landslide. His supporters had hoped he'd remove the tariffs imposed by his predecessor, and when he didn't take action, opponents of the tariff claimed that because they considered it unconstitutional the individual states could 'nullify' the law. Opposition was particularly strong in South Carolina which didn't accept Jackson's compromise tariff of 1832 and passed the Ordinance of Nullification. As a response Congress passed the Force Bill which authorised the deployment of the federal army to enforce the tariff. Eventually a compromise was found with the Tariff of 1833 which provided for a gradual reduction over the years. The Nullification Convention repealed the Nullification Ordinance and nullified the Force Bill.

In 1830 President Andrew Jackson had signed the Indian Removal Act, based on a plan Thomas Jefferson had proposed decades earlier, which offered the land west of the Mississippi to the Indians in exchange for their homelands, stating that the United States would ‘forever secure and guarantee’ this land to them and their heirs and successors. Of course the only permanent aspect about the Permanent Indian Frontier was that the Frontier was permanently moved westwards until it disappeared in the Pacific in 1903 with the removal of a Cupeno tribe from their homeland in San Diego County.
The removals, known as the Trail of Tears, were meant to be voluntary ones, only they weren’t, flouting an 1832 Supreme Court ruling. They affected Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole and Cherokee, took place between 1830 and 1850 and were enforced by US troops and local militia, often along the routes of current cholera epidemics. The Seminole resisted, resulting in the Second Seminole War, but were defeated and removed. The bloodiest forced removal was that of 17,000 Cherokee in the winter of 1838, many of them barefoot, a quarter of whom died of disease, starvation and exhaustion on their journey.

Nat Turner was a black slave who was deeply religious. He had learned to read and write at a young age and immersed himself more and more in biblical mythology. He started having visions he attributed to God and soon began to see himself as a prophet ordained to deliver his people.
In February 1831 he interpreted a solar eclipse as the sign that the time of deliverance had come and began organising the slave rebellion. On August 21, after reading an atmospheric disturbance as the divine starting shot, he and others armed themselves with knives, hatchets, axes, and blunt instruments. He told his followers to kill all white people, and they went from house to house, freeing the slaves and murdering their owners along with their families. Two days later, after they had killed about 60 children, women and men, they were defeated by a militia.
In the aftermath 56 black people were executed and around 120 murdered by white mobs.
Turner himself had fled but was captured two months later. Before he was hanged (and his corpse flayed, beheaded and quartered) he was asked if he regretted his actions, replying, ' Was Christ not crucified?'

The Second Bank of the United States had been given a 20 year charter as the national bank by President Madison in 1816. It was a private corporation, 20% of which were owned by the federal government. The rest was made up of private investors, many from overseas.
When the bank's president Nicholas Biddle applied for a recharter in 1832 Congress approved, but President Jackson vetoed the bill. He argued that the bank only served private and corporate interests, worked against the common good, made 'the rich richer and the potent more powerful' and was too controlling and influential.
Biddle proved him right by contracting credit, thus causing a financial crisis that ruined many businesses and left thousands unemployed, in order to enforce the recharter while the Jackson administration distributed federal funds to private 'pet banks'. While Biddle succeeded in turning public opinion against the government his move backlashed, and the Bank War ended when recharter efforts were abandoned in 1834. After 1836 the bank continued as a private bank until its liquidation in 1841.

In 1836, shortly before the end of his second term, Jackson issued the Specie Circular which required buyers of land to pay in specie, i.e. in gold or silver rather than with paper notes. The idea behind this executive order was to counter land speculation which had become increasingly common since the Indian Removals.
This measure was the main contributing factor of the Panic of 1837 and the seven years' depression that followed.

Arkansas was admitted as a slave state in 1836 and Michigan as a free state in 1837.

From the National Republican Party emerged the Whig Party, named after the Patriots of the American Revolution, who were strongly opposed to Jackson's policies. In 1836 they had just started out and no realistic chance of winning the presidency. Instead they ran four candidates in the hope that the Democratic candidate Martin Van Buren who had been vice president under Jackson would not reach the required number of electoral votes. Their strategy failed, and Van Buren was elected.

Following the disappearance (and probably murder) of Freemason would-be whistleblower William Morgan in 1826 the single-issue Anti-Masonic Party had been founded which, after initial success, incorporated other topics and opposed the Jacksonian Democrats. In later years the party gradually merged with the Whigs.

Because both main parties were divided over the issue of slavery since they included both supporters and opponents of slavery (some of whom actually owned slaves) some abolitionists founded the Liberty Party which ran their own presidential candidates in the elections of 1840, 1844 and 1848.

One major advantage in Andrew Jackson's election had been the fact that he was a decorated war hero who had killed lots of Indians, and for the upcoming presidential elections in 1840 the Whigs decided to use the same strategy. They picked General William Harrison (nicknamed Old Tippecanoe after his destruction of an Indian village) who had no difficulty in defeating the increasingly unpopular Van Buren.
At the time of his inauguration Harrison was the oldest president sworn in, having turned 68 the previous month, a record he would hold for more than a century. And on a cold and rainy day, not wearing an overcoat or a hat in order to demonstrate how hardy he still was, he held an inauguration speech that lasted for 105 minutes. The record for the longest inauguration speech led to the record for the shortest presidency - he died of pneumonia after 31 days in office but still holds both records.

After his death Vice President John Tyler was sworn in as president. Aged 51, Tyler was the youngest president so far to assume office, a record that he would hold for his term in office.

His policies alienated the other Whigs who expelled him after 5 months in office, his excessive use of the veto angered Congress, and he came close to being impeached by his former party.
He was adamant to annex Texas as a slave state, and when it became clear that this wouldn't happen during his first term he hoped to be nominated as a candidate for the Democrats. This didn't happen, either, and so he formed a party for the sole purpose of his re-election. However, when the Democrats elected James K. Polk (who also supported the annexation of Texas) as their candidate he withdrew his candidacy, stating that Texas was what really mattered to him.

In the 1840s the term Manifest Destiny emerged, expressing the belief that God had delegated to the United States his power to take control of the entire continent. To my knowledge there are no documents supporting this claim.
(Today the term Manifest Destiny is replaced by Globalization and applies to the entire planet. Another, unintentionally ambiguous, term is New World Order, indicating a new order for the world as well as an order dictated by the New World.)

Florida was admitted as a slave state in 1845.

In 1821 Mexico had gained independence from Spain. Over the following years Americans were encouraged to settle in the less populated areas north of the Rio Grande. In 1830, when Americans by far outnumbered the Mexicans, further immigration was restricted.
In 1823 Mexico banned the sale and the purchase of slaves. Americans were allowed to keep their slaves, but not to import or obtain new ones.
In 1829 slavery was banned altogether, but Texas was given a one-year exemption.
As if this wasn’t enough, Mexico was ruled by a centralist government which suspended the constitution, limited the powers of its member states and started disarming them, including the state of Texas. Now we all know that you can’t take a weapon away from a Texan, and when in 1835 they were told to return a cannon they’d got from the previous government they refused and started a revolution. The following year the Mexicans were defeated, and Texas declared its independence and applied for annexation to the United States.
But their request was denied: in the US many people were afraid of a war with Mexico (which didn’t recognise Texas’ independence), and abolitionists feared that slavery would be spreading southwards.
Others, though, favoured the expansion of the United States, and the prospect of a war with Mexico would give them - on top of the annexation of Texas - the opportunity to seize even more territories.
Over the following nine years Texas remained an independent republic until in 1844 James Knox Polk, a supporter of its annexation, was elected president of the US. The election had certainly been influenced by the increasing power Great Britain was gaining in Texas.
On British advice the Mexican government offered to recognise Texas under the condition not to join the Union. Polk had sent Senator John Slidell to Mexico City to enter negotiations with Herrera, the President of Mexico, concerning the annexation of Texas and the purchase of other territories, but shortly afterwards Herrera’s government was overthrown, and his successor Mariano Paredes refused to compromise.
Now war was the only way to get the desired territories, and Polk's messenger Robert F. Stockton suggested to Anson Jones, the Texan president, to provoke hostilities with Mexico during the annexation negotiations, but Jones refused to go along with his plan.
Texas was admitted to the United States in 1845 as a slave state, including the strip of land between the Nueces and the Rio Grande which Tamaulipas, the adjacent Mexican state, claimed as well.
Nothing happened.
On Polk's orders General Zachary Taylor stationed troops in the disputed area in March 1846.
Nothing happened for another month. Then, on April 25, Mexican soldiers were spotted entering the disputed area as well.
Taylor sent 80 troops to investigate. The soldiers were attacked, and Polk finally had his war after declaring, 'American blood has been shed on American soil.'
The Mexican-American War lasted from 1846 until 1848 and ended with the defeat of Mexico. Texas was recognised with its claimed border, and present-day California, Nevada, Utah and parts of present-day Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming were ceded to the United States for the payment of $15,000,000 in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
For another $10,000,000 an additional area was sold to the States in the Gadsden Purchase in 1853.

Whig Congressman Abraham Lincoln kept bothering the president with a number of spot resolutions in which he demanded information about the exact location ('the spot') where American blood had been spilled on American soil, the claim that had served as the pretext for the war.

Around the same time the United States claimed the area northwest of the Louisiana purchase up to 54°40' from Great Britain who claimed it for Canada. After the war against Great Britain, the United States themselves had suggested the 49th parallel as the border, but now that was not good enough any more.
And since Polk had expanded the US territory so far into the South and West, the Northerners expected him to put the same effort into Northern expansion. Their slogan was ‘54°40 or fight!’ (short, aggressive, catchy and unimaginative - you can almost see the cheerleaders).
However, years of negotiations and joint government in Oregon Country didn’t bear any fruit, and in 1846 the Oregon Treaty was signed, setting the border at 49°, with the exception of Vancouver Island which remained British.

Following the slave states of Florida and Texas Iowa (in 1846) and Wisconsin (in 1848) were admitted as free states.

The largest known non-violent escape attempt of slaves in the US took place in Washington, DC, on April 15, 1848. The escape was planned by freedmen and abolitionists, and 77 slaves boarded the schooner Pearl and headed for New Jersey. However, they were reported by another slave, captured two days later and sold to the Deep South.

In 1848 another great wave of immigrants arrived in the United States. The discovery of gold in California had led to the Gold Rush (followed by the Colorado Gold Rush in 1858), and a lot of people escaped the various revolutions on the European continent and the Great Famine in Ireland.
Vigilante groups ensured that only white people worked the mines and killed and lynched many Mexican Californians who came to try their luck, and in 1850 a Foreign Miners' Tax of $20 was introduced which applied to non-citizens of the US (later rewritten to exempt all 'free white persons').

One problem was that Indians who lived in the area got in the way and usually were massacred. In 1850 California passed the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians which, contrary to its name, provided for the capture and enslavement of Indians, the ‘adoption’ of Indian children to have them work in the mines, and for the dismissal of any testimony of Indians against settlers. The act was repealed in 1937.

In 1850 Yuma Indians avenged their relatives by killing mass murderer and scalp hunter John Joel Glanton and his gang. In order to sanction the Indians for the 'massacre' the State of California recruited men who would be paid $6 a day to attack the Yuma. The Gila Expedition of 142 men set out on April 16 and lay under siege until September 16, nearly bankrupting California.

The territories taken from Mexico once again brought up the divisive issue of slavery. While California had already agreed on an anti-slavery constitution in 1849 an increasingly bitter dispute took place about the other areas. Some suggested the territories should decide for themselves, some proposed to extend the 36°30' parallel from the Missouri Compromise and allow slavery south of it, and some opposed the spread of slavery altogether.
Representatives of the slave states were outraged at the idea of being outnumbered by free states and their citizens being prevented from taking their slaves to the new territories. Their threat to secede, often used to put pressure on the free states, now became a serious possibility.
One compromise was suggested by Whig Senator Henry Clay, three-times presidential candidate. Besides the topic of slavery his plan also addressed a boundary dispute between Texas and New Mexico which threatened to get out of hand. The points of the final draft were:
1. California would be admitted as a free state.
2. The settlers of New Mexico and Utah would decide themselves whether to allow slavery or not.
3. The area claimed by Texas would be ceded to New Mexico, but Texas' public debt of $10,000,000 would be taken over by the federal government.
4. Slave trade, but not slavery, would be abolished in the District of Columbia.
5. A stricter Fugitive Slave Act, ensuring the return of escaped slaves from free states, would be passed.
The compromise was strongly opposed by Whig President Zachary Taylor. He died before the bill was voted on, inspiring assassination theories which are generally deemed unfounded, and he was succeeded by his Vice President Millard Fillmore.
After a heated debate that lasted for several months the Compromise of 1850 passed.

The Indian Appropriations Act of 1851 provided for the creation of Indian reservations in areas that were of no interest to whites.

In 1830 self-declared prophet Joseph Smith made up a new religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as Mormons (so called after his Book of Mormon). He soon gained a significant following as well as a lot of enemies due to some of his teachings, such as the claim that after the imminent Second Coming his followers would inherit the lands of their enemies (i.e. neighbours), as well as the community's isolationism and their dominance in local politics. Attacks on Mormons by mobs and state militia in Missouri were frequent and culminated in the Haun's Mill Massacre of 1838 after which it was decided to leave the state. Most Mormons followed their leader and build their Zion in Navoo, Illinois.
Here the Mormons once again took over the local government and organised a militia by which many locals felt intimidated. In 1844 Smith announced his candidacy for president and ordered his militia to shut down a local newspaper which had dared to criticise him. He and his brother were subsequently arrested and shot by a mob who had stormed the gaol, believing that the courts would be too lenient with the cult leaders.
In 1847 his successor Brigham Young led the Mormons to yet another Promised Land: the uninhabited Salt Lake Valley (of course the Indians who lived there and whom they displaced, deprived of resources and occasionally massacred or enslaved didn't count as inhabitants) west of the Rocky Mountains in Mexican territory where, as he and his followers believed, they would be safe from persecution and law enforcement.
Their existence as an independent theocracy came to a sudden end when with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Mexico ceded the area to the United States and their valley became American territory. For many years Young and others held on to their dream of a State of Deseret, a theocratic slave state within the US which would incorporate most of the territory gained from Mexico. However, with the Compromise of 1850 the much smaller territory of Utah was created.
Stories about the Mormons' practices of polygamy, child marriage and slavery and, most importantly, their defiance of US officials soon spread all over the country, and in 1857 Democratic President James Buchanan sent troops to Utah to quell the rebellion.
The Mormons prepared for war, and Brigham Young predicted a seven year long siege in their battle against the minions of the Devil, ordered his followers to stockpile and declared martial law but gave orders not to fire on any federal soldiers since this would have given the US government ample cause for their annihilation.
Ahead of the Utah Expedition a wagon train travelled through Utah and stopped for a few days' rest at Mountain Meadow on their way to California. Community and militia leaders in nearby Cedar Valley decided to get rid of the outsiders. On September 7, 1857, Mormon militia disguised themselves as Paiute Indians (supposedly they were accompanied by a number of actual Paiutes) and attacked the wagon train, killing seven. The train put up a successful defence but remained under siege.
After a few days concerns spread that members of the wagon train may have realised that their attackers were in fact white men. On September 11 two militiamen carrying a white flag were sent in and told the emigrants that they had negotiated a truce with the Indians according to which the militia could escort them to Cedar City in exchange for their livestock. The militia led them out of their fortification and killed them, sparing only the children too young to bear witness. It was agreed to blame the massacre on Indians.
In the cause of the Utah War the Mormons avoided combat and instead interrupted army supply lines, burnt their wagons and blocked the entrance to Salt Lake Valley. Eventually negotiations led to a pardon for the Mormon's treason, the transfer of power and the US Army's peaceful entrance into Utah in 1858.

The Mormon's encroachment upon Indian lands led to permanent conflicts in the area, known as Black Hawk War.

Utah received statehood in 1896.

For years congressmen from Missouri opposed the creation of a territory in Nebraska; being a slave state they feared another neighbouring free territory might provide shelter for escaped slaves. They insisted they'd only agree if slavery were permitted, but this was not possible under the Missouri Compromise which, in the area of the Louisiana Purchase, banned slavery north of the 36°30' parallel.
Interest in organising the territory increased drastically when the transcontinental railroad was planned to run across Nebraska.
Senator Stephen A Douglas proposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act which would split the territory into two, Nebraska in the north and Kansas (adjacent to Missouri) in the south. In both territories the issue of slavery would be decided by the settlers themselves; the Missouri Compromise which included the ban of slavery in the north, he argued, had been superseded by the Compromise of 1850.
As soon as the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed in 1854 both pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers flooded into Kansas in the hope of their camp making up the majority of voters, and Emigrant Aid Companies were organised to provide transport for abolitionists. When it came to electing a legislature armed Border Ruffians crossed from Missouri into Kansas to vote illegally and attack free-staters. In the election pro-slavery candidates prevailed.
Congress ordered a special committee to investigate. It was found that if the election had been limited to actual settlers it would have elected a free-state legislature.
The findings were rejected by the legislature who carried on and kept passing pro-slavery laws.
In response anti-slavery residents elected their own representatives and wrote a constitution outlawing both slavery and black settlers. Democratic President Franklin Pierce declared this free-state legislature insurrectional and sent troops.
After a pro-slavery settler murdered free-state settler Charles A Dow over a land claim the conflict became increasingly violent, especially when abolitionist extremist John Brown, his sons and two others committed the Pottawatomie Massacre in response to the Sacking of Lawrence in 1856. (In 1859 Brown would organise an attack on Harper's Ferry in an unsuccessful attempt to incite a slave revolt and be hanged for it.)
But violence was not restricted to the territory of Kansas. In May 1856 Congressman Preston Brooks attacked Radical Republican Senator Charles Sumner with his cane and almost killed him during a passionate speech against slavery on the Senate floor.
Bleeding Kansas claimed the lives of around 60 people and ended with the adoption of the free-state Wyandotte Constitution in 1859, followed by Kansas' admission as a free state in 1861.

In 1857 the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v Sandford that persons of African descent can not be citizens, that Congress had no authority to ban slavery outside the lands possessed at the time of ratification of the Constitution, and that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment prohibits the federal government from freeing slaves brought into federal territories.

The late forties and early fifties saw the emergence of several new parties, such as the Free Soil Party which opposed the spread of slavery into the new territories and the Know Nothing Party, a white Protestant supremacy party opposed to immigration and Catholics.
Neither lasted very long, and most of their former members joined the Republican Party which had been founded in 1854, also in opposition to the further spread of slavery. John C Frémont (the perpetrator of the possibly largest Indian massacre) became their first presidential candidate in 1856.

Minnesota was admitted in 1858 and Oregon in 1859, both as free states.

'Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over 18. Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.' - This newspaper advertisement from 1860 was intended to find couriers for the newly established Pony Express which delivered post between Missouri and California via 184 stations.
Mail from and to remote areas in the West could take several months while the Pony Express cut it down to an average of ten days.
The service operated for 19 months before it became obsolete with the first transcontinental telegraph in 1861. The first permanent transatlantic telegraph cable followed in 1866.

Cleaning the Yard: 1861-1897

Slavery had become the most contentious issue in the United states. Freed slaves started moving into the few free states that would allow them in but had no rights and couldn’t find work. The Northern Americans were annoyed that they had to put up with them and feared that over time their cities would be flooded with freedmen. The Southerners, on the other hand, were worried that some day slavery might be abolished due to these fears - after all, their wealth depended entirely on slave labour on their cotton, tobacco, rice and sugar plantations.
Most Northern states didn’t allow slavery, and the government itself put restrictions on it - since 1808 the import of new slaves from Africa was illegal, and no new state north of Arkansas (36°30', with the exception of Missouri) or in the yet unorganised territories in the West was allowed to become a slave state (with exceptions, naturally). At the same time the slave states were reassured that slavery would not be abolished in the South, and since 1850 a stricter Fugitive Slave Act forced free states to return escaped slaves to their owners.

Today the word abolitionist gives us warm fuzzies because we think of the progressive men and women who even back then knew that we all are born equal; but fact is that very few of them actually did.
While there were a handful of pro-equality abolitionists the majority was made up of white supremacists who considered all other races inferior (seriously, who the hell could be inferior to a racist?) but who opposed slavery for economic reasons; one was that cheap slave labour gave an unfair competition advantage in business and another that slaves carried out work that could have provided employment for whites.
Many if not all of the anti-equality abolitionists were colonizationists who, after freeing the slaves, intended to remove them from the United States.
For that purpose the Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America, known as the American Colonization Society (ACS), was founded in 1816. They occupied an area in Africa in 1821 and started deporting freedmen to Sierra Leone and what they called Liberia (which, of course, was populated by Africans already, creating tensions that last until the present day).
Some slave owners joined the society as well – of course they didn’t want to abolish slavery, but they wanted to make sure that no free blacks would roam the US.
The organisation became very influential, and their plan was supported by the majority of the Republican Party whose candidate Abraham Lincoln was the sixth ACS member (after Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson and Millard Fillmore) to become president of the United States. The ACS dissolved in 1964.

His opponents tried to discredit him and his party, claiming that he intended to grant blacks citizenship and equal rights, but Abraham Lincoln vehemently denied those allegations, stressing that he was ‘not in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office.’
Despite his repeated promise not to abolish slavery he had previously stated that ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently one half slave and one half free.’ He was sitting on the fence, trying to reassure both sides (and make them vote for him, of course).
Lincoln was elected in November 1860, and throughout his presidency he organised the deportation of freed slaves to Liberia and Haiti.
South Carolina declared its secession from the Union a month after his election; Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas followed, and in February 1861 they founded the Confederate States of America and elected Jefferson Davis as their president. Delaware, Maryland, Missouri and Kentucky remained in the Union despite being slave states and were known as Border States.
Many Northerners saw an upside to this as the United States would not have to deal with the freed slaves of these states any more, but Lincoln didn’t intend to become famous for the separation of the United States. He left no doubt that he wouldn’t tolerate the secession; a few years ago he had strongly defended the right of every state to decide its own form of government - but of course this right didn’t apply to a member of the US! According to the Declaration of Independence, the United States were a perpetual union, he argued, and after being admitted to it nothing could alter a state’s membership.

In his First Inaugural Address in March 1861 he repeated his guarantee of having ‘no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery’ and stressed his willingness to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.
In the same speech he also endorsed the Corwin Amendment (‘No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State’) which Congress had passed under outgoing President Buchanan as a last-ditch effort to keep the Union together, and which would have guaranteed the states’ right to remain (or become) slave states. Lincoln said, ‘Holding such a provision to now be implied Constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.’
Technically the Corwin Amendment is still awaiting ratification. So far it has been ratified by Kentucky, Ohio, Rhode Island, Maryland and Illinois between 1861 and 1862; Ohio rescinded their ratification in 1864 and Maryland in 2014. A ratification attempt in Texas failed in 1963.

All Union forces were sent away from the Confederate States, but the soldiers in Fort Sumter - who had only been brought in after South Carolina's secession - refused to leave. They were attacked by Confederate forces and surrendered after a bloodless battle which started the War of Secession.
After Lincoln, with the support of his Democratic opponent Stephen Douglas (who had lost both his girlfriend and the presidency to him), started gathering troops Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee joined the Confederation. West Virginia in turn seceded from Virginia to remain in the Union and was accepted in 1863 after passing the Willey Amendment which provided for the emancipation of certain slaves and all children born after July 4, 1863.
On the day of his state's secession Virginia's General Robert E. Lee was offered command of the US army following the resignation of Winfield Scott, but he declined and, even though he opposed secession, accepted a similar appointment for the army of Virginia.
In 1863 Lincoln introduced male slavery (‘conscription’) for the working classes in the US (the better-off could buy themselves out with $300), an institution that would last, on and off, for more than 100 years. This led to the Draft Riots in New York City in which 120 were killed.
Both sides hoped for support from Britain, but to no avail. The Americans hadn’t made many friends there (the United States, to this day, make slaves and not friends), and the idea of them tearing each other apart seemed quite appealing.
In order to have a united front against the Confederation Lincoln admitted members of all factions to his cabinet, including War Democrats (Democrats who, like Stephen Douglas, opposed secession and supported the war) and the Radical Republicans. These were the handful of pro-equality abolitionists in Congress who successfully took the opportunity to promote their cause and were determined to use the war to put an end to slavery. The most influential ones were Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens who was also the most radical of them all: not only did he demand freedom and equality for all blacks, he even went as far as including Asians, Jews, Hispanics, Irish, women, Catholics and - most extremely - Indians. And he was not only a man of words: in 2002 it was discovered that Stevens had been part of the Underground Railroad which helped escaped slaves to reach safety in the North.
In 1862 US Congress (at this stage only consisting of Northerners) rejected three constitutional amendments proposed by Lincoln (see page 530 of the source): 1. That all states that abolish slavery before 1900 be financially compensated. 2. That all slaves that have been freed by the war remain free. 3. That Congress provide money to colonise freed slaves outside the US.
A few months prior, when preparing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln wrote, ‘My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. [SPOILER: He chose the third option.] What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.’
In the Southern churches preachers kept repeating, more often than before, the story of the Curse of Ham which, according to Christian mythology, justified the enslavement of the black race. Therefore, they claimed, God was on the side of the Confederation.
Things looked bad for the Union, and Lincoln decided to stir up the South by making the slaves turn against their masters: in 1863 he proclaimed the end of slavery in the Confederation (with the exemption of Tennessee as a favour to its military governor, War Democrat Andrew Jackson) - and no, he did not free a single slave within his jurisdiction in his lifetime. Besides trying to incite a slave revolt in the Confederation (which could easily have backfired if the slaves of the Union had joined them) he also hoped to get support from Europe by giving the impression this war was about slavery. Neither happened.
But his luck changed with the appointment of General William Tecumseh(!) Sherman (who was 'constantly in court facing charges for abusing his slaves'). Lincoln gave him the order to kill and destroy, and that’s exactly what he did. He left the Confederate troops where they were and marched through the countryside with an army of plundering and marauding soldiers, burning absolutely everything and everyone in his path, leaving behind a trail of blood and complete destruction. His scorched earth policy and his deliberate targeting of civilians earned him a place in history books as the first modern general. - That’s how the South was won.

Many of the freed slaves became sharecroppers while others flooded into the North from the destroyed plantations in the South. Needless to say they weren’t welcome. (At the same time, a flood of carpetbaggers was moving in the opposite direction.)
Five months after his re-election (during which, in order to attract more voters, the Republican Party had temporarily changed its name to National Union Party) and five days after General Lee's surrender Lincoln was shot on Good Friday 1865. He died the following morning.
After Lincoln's death his vice president, War Democrat Andrew Johnson, was sworn in as president. As military governor Andrew Johnson was one of the few Southerners who had freed his own slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation, even though he had succeeded in having Tennessee excluded from it. Despite remaining a racist, he came to oppose slavery solely for economic reasons.
On August 20, 1866, President Johnson declared the war ('insurrection') over.

During the war Nevada (which had separated from the Utah Territory) had been admitted to the United States in 1864 as a free state to improve Lincoln's chances of re-election.

Union General Benjamin Butler had asked the President what was going to become of the millions of slaves that were freed in the Confederation to which Lincoln replied, ‘I think we should deport them all.’
This sounded good in theory. But in the 50 years of its existence the American Colonization Society had removed some 20,000 freed slaves from US territory - now they faced the deportation of more than four million freedmen, a task that was completely unfeasible, technically as well as financially. It was considered to give them an isolated area within the United States or in South America, but no state was willing to give up part of its territory.
The freed slaves still had no rights. By means of Black Codes Southern States tried to put blacks back in their place; restricting their liberties and movements, fining them for not finding work, imprisoning those who couldn’t pay the fine (guess how many of them could) and hiring those imprisoned out for work - which is nothing short of slavery.
A number of Northern states also passed Black Codes which denied blacks entry to their states.

On March 3, 1865, the Freedmen's Bureau was established in order to 'direct such issues of provisions, clothing, and fuel, as he may deem needful for the immediate and temporary shelter and supply of destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen and their wives and children.' Its powers were later extended to help freedmen find family members and to provide education and legal aid.

Eight months after Lincoln’s death, on December 18, 1865, the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery in the whole of the United States and which had been greatly pushed by the Radical Republicans came into force after it had been ratified by the required number of states. From that day the slaves of Kentucky and Delaware were free as well. (Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia had already abolished slavery before the end of the war.)
In 1865 the Ku Klux Klan, the largest of many Christian terror organisations, was founded in Tennessee, aiming - just like the colonizationists in the North - at a purely Anglo-Saxon Protestant American society. Freedmen and abolitionists (amongst other minorities such as Jews and Catholics) were permanently terrorised and murdered.
Riots and street battles caused by racists attacking freedmen remained a common sight for decades.
In 1868, when the Radical Republicans had a vast majority in Congress, the 14th Amendment was passed (overruling President Andrew Johnson’s veto who claimed it discriminated against whites) which granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalised in the United States, except Indians.
In order to get the necessary majority of states to ratify the amendment the former member states of the Confederation who refused to do so (which were all of them except Tennessee) remained under military rule and were only readmitted on ratification of the 13th and 14th Amendment between 1868 and 1870 (An act to provide for the more efficient government of the Rebel States, known as Reconstruction Act).
President Johnson obstructed Congress by vetoing all legislation providing rights for blacks, but Congress overruled these. He became the first president to be impeached in 1868 (albeit on other grounds), but the Senate voted 35-19 to remove him which was short of the required two-third majority.
His impeachment also inspired a group of citizens to petition for the abolition of the presidency, saying that 'only two types of governments are possible: absolute monarchy and absolute democracy', and that Johnson's abuse of power and his acquittal were the perfect example of how unduly powerful the office had become.

In 1868 Republican Ulysses S Grant became the last former slave owner to be elected president.

In 1870 the 15th Amendment was ratified which guaranteed voting rights for all citizens regardless of 'race, color, or previous condition of servitude.' (Of course this didn't include Indians because they couldn't be citizens.)
For a number of years equal rights for blacks, including their suffrage, were enforced. In 1870 and 1871, Congress passed a number of Enforcement Acts, making the use of terror, the intimidation of voters, the attempt to prevent anyone from exercising their civil rights etc a federal offence. Hundreds of KKK members and supporters were tried an convicted, and soon the others went into hiding. The Ku Klux Klan was dead - for the time being.
However, their work was carried on by Christian terror organisations like the White League who continued to kill opponents, intimidate activists and prevent blacks from voting to ensure the election of racist candidates.

The worst known incident, though by no means the only one, was the Colfax Massacre on Easter Monday 1873.
Fearing an attack on the local Republican government a number of armed blacks had dug trenches around the courthouse, ready to defend it, an action that was considered an act of rebellion by most whites and the local media. They were later joined by black families for protection.
300 paramilitaries under Sheriff Nash gathered at the courthouse and ordered the defenders to leave. After they refused they started firing on them, and the fire was returned.
When a cannon was brought in some of the defenders fled and were pursued by the militia who killed most of them.
After the courthouse was set on fire the defenders raised white flags and were told to disarm. After having done so most of them were shot. Around 50 were taken prisoner and killed during the night.
An estimated 150 black people died in Colfax that day.
Nine of the militiamen were charged and three of them convicted. However, their convictions were overturned by the Supreme Court in United States v Cruikshank.

In the presidential elections of 1876 Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, but his Republican opponent Rutherford B Hayes won the presidency by a single electoral vote in strongly disputed circumstances. It is generally believed that an informal agreement, the Compromise of 1877, had been reached in which the Democrats accepted Hayes' presidency in return for the immediate removal of remaining federal troops from South Carolina and Louisiana and a policy of non-interference with Southern politics.
With the end of the Reconstruction Period the South fell back to the racists who passed Jim Crow laws to disfranchise the freedmen and who applied a ‘separate but equal’ segregation policy, denying blacks the use of the same services and facilities as white Americans.
This policy was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 1896 (Plessy v Ferguson).
In 1883 the Supreme Court also ruled that the 14th Amendment only forbids discrimination by the state, not by individuals; official segregation went on for another century (until a Supreme Court ruling in 1957), and their voting rights were restricted until the passing of the Voting Rights Act 100 years after the war.

The decline of Radical Republicans in the 1870s and the end of Hayes' presidency led to the Lily-White Movement intending to keep blacks out of the Republican Party and brought it back into the firm grip of white supremacists.

Despite all the effort and cannon fodder going into the war the Indians still didn't get a break. After complaints of Mormon settlers US troops under General Patrick Connor attacked a Shoshone tribe in the Washington Territory on the morning of January 29, 1863. When the warriors ran out of ammunition they tried to defend themselves by means of tomahawks and arrows but to no avail. Once the warriors were killed the soldiers murdered everybody else they could find, raped the women beforehand, 'beat [the children's] brains out on any hard substance they could find' and burnt the village.
Connor estimated that his men had slaughtered 250 to 300 Indians, but Hans Jasperson, a Danish emigrant who was brought to the site shortly afterwards, counted 493 dead Shoshones.
And even at Connor's lower estimate the Bear River Massacre is the largest known Indian massacre committed by the US Army to date.

The land guaranteed to the Cheyenne by the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1851 had been encroached upon by miners and settlers since the beginning of the Colorado Gold Rush in 1858. In order to accommodate the whites six Cheyenne chiefs (including Black Kettle) and four other chiefs were pressured into signing the Treaty of Fort Wise in 1861 which took their lands off them in exchange for a new reserve less than 1/13th the size of their previous one. Many other chiefs didn't accept the treaty because it had only been signed by a minority of the Council of Forty-four.
As requested Black Kettle led his band to the Big Sandy Creek where they were guaranteed safety. The chief also flew a US and a white flag to be on the safe side.
On November 29, 1864, they were attacked by Colorado US Volunteer Cavalry under Colonel John Chivington, a former Methodist preacher. Everybody in sight was killed, children used for target practice, foeti cut from their dead mothers and male and female genitals removed to make saddle horns, hat bands and tobacco pouches.
It is not known how many were slaughtered in the Sand Creek Massacre; numbers given vary between 70 and 163 while Chivington himself claimed that his troops had killed between 500 and 600 'warriors'. What is known is that the vast majority of victims had been women, children and elderly.

Before the attack two officers had complained about betraying the army's pledge of safety, to which he replied, 'Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! [...] I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians. [...] Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.'

Black Kettle was one of the few who escaped, just to be killed with a shot in the back in another US Army massacre.

Beginning in 1862 successive US governments passed Homestead Acts which provided applicants with a piece of land at no cost.
Homesteading continued until 1976 (and in Alaska until 1986).

Western emigration mostly took place along the Oregon Trail, and after passenger railroads in the more densely populated areas had been running since the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1830 plans for a coast-to-coast railroad emerged in the late 1840s. In 1862 Lincoln signed An Act to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean, and to secure to the government the use of the same for postal, military, and other purposes to facilitate the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
Work began in January 1863 by the Central Pacific Railroad who laid the tracks from San Francisco Bay to Promontory, Utah. Since many whites were unwilling to do the hard and hazardous work the company started employing Chinese workers from California. Impressed with the quality of their work and having exhausted California's Chinese labour pool workers were recruited from Canton. (Of course they were expected to get back to where they came from after their work was finished, but many decided to stay in the US.)
The Union Pacific Railroad, delayed by the War of Secession, started work in 1865 and laid tracks from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Promontory.
The railroad was completed in 1869, and others soon followed.

The Transcontinental Railroad was also the final nail in the coffin for the surviving Indians who would soon be displaced by settlers from the remaining lands the US government had once guaranteed them.

In the 1800s industrialisation, the subsequently increasing demand for oil and other fuels and technical developments such as the railroad had given rise to robber barons who not only exploited their workers but also created monopolies, crushed competitors, rigged markets and dictated politics by their financial influence as well as by direct payments to representatives and officials. In many cases their ill-gotten wealth and power would accumulate over successive generations, creating dynasties that effectively came to rule the country if not the world. Some of these business magnates would also co-operate with others and form cartels and fix prices to squash their competitors.
A number of anti-trust laws have been passed to counter the development but had little effect, mainly due to a lack of interest in enforcing them.

In 1867 the US territory was extended once more by the purchase of Alaska (which became a state in 1959) from Russia for $7,200,200 and the occupation of the Midway Islands.

New member states were Nebraska in 1867, Colorado in 1876, North Dakota and South Dakota, Montana and Washington in 1889, Idaho and Wyoming in 1890 and Utah in 1896.

Buffaloes were the staple diet of Plains Indians, and in the mid-1800s there were an estimated 30 to 100 millions roaming the plains. In order to speed up the extermination of the natives government and army encouraged and facilitated the relentless hunting of buffalo for sport which many, such as Buffalo Bill, pursued as a full-time occupation. As Colonel Richard Dodge stated in 1867, ‘Every buffalo dead is an Indian gone.’

The railroads advertised Hunting by Rail rides in which the trains would slow down beside buffalo herds, giving their passengers ample opportunity to shoot as many animals as they liked to be left on the prairie.
General Philip Sheridan opposed a proposed ban on the shooting of buffaloes, claiming that the relentless hunting had done more to get rid of the Indians 'than the entire regular army has done in the last forty years.'

By 1893 less than 400 wild buffalo were left.

The Indian Appropriation Act of March 3, 1871 ended the recognition of any Indian sovereignty, preventing any future treaties with native tribes, and declared Indians to be 'wards' of the federal government.

Red Cloud’s War, one of the many American-Indian wars over their homelands, concluded with the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868 and saw the Great Sioux Nation reduced to a Great Sioux Reservation which included the Black Hills and was ‘set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians’. It also declared, 'no persons except those designated herein [...] shall ever be permitted to pass over, settle upon, or reside in the territory described in this article.'
This changed in 1874 when General George Custer led an expedition into the Black Hills to choose a location for a new army fort and explore their natural resources. The expedition was the idea of Columbus Delano, Secretary of the Interior, who had heard about the natural wealth of the Black Hills and concluded that 'the country is not necessary to the happiness and prosperity of the Indians'. When Custer's men discovered gold, the fate of the Sioux was sealed. Within a year, 15,000 prospectors moved to the Black Hills to try their luck.
The government's offer to buy the Black Hills and relocate the Sioux was declined.
The army moved in and, in order to get hostilities started, gave the Indians a deadline to return to their reservation.
After the deadline cavalry attacked a Northern Cheyenne village and burnt it down before retreating under heavy enemy fire on March 17, 1876. This was followed by more campaigns during the summer, and on June 25, General Custer and his troops attacked a large village, seriously underestimating the number of enemies. They were no match for the Lakota Sioux, Dakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse who quickly defeated them, killing almost half of the troops including Custer himself. The Battle of the Little Bighorn is therefore also known as Custer’s Last Stand.
After this battle US troops were increased drastically, and the Sioux were told to ‘sell [the Black Hills] or starve’. (At this stage, there were hardly any buffalo left to hunt, and they would be refused any rations unless they sell.) They chose to starve but lost the Black Hills nonetheless.

In 1980, in United States v Sioux Nation of Indians, the Supreme Court decided in favour of the Sioux and ruled that they were entitled to compensation for the Black Hills. The compensation, with interest, at present would amount to more than $1bn. However, to this day the Sioux have refused the money and insist on having their lands returned to them instead.

After the gold was found and the railroads built most Chinese in the US became low-wage labourers. This, in addition to their different culture, led to increasing resentment and culminated in the Chinese Massacre of 1871 in Los Angeles in which several random Chinese people were shot and at least 17 tortured and hanged by a mob, making it the largest known mass lynching of non-natives in US history.
In the Rock Springs Massacre in 1885 white miners slaughtered at least 28 Chinese; a number of them were burnt alive, mutilated, dismembered, decapitated or scalped. Nobody was indicted because no white witness could be found to testify against other whites.
In 1879 Congress passed a law restricting the immigration of Chinese which was vetoed by President Hayes, but in 1882 Republican President Chester Arthur (who had succeeded President James A Garfield upon his death in 1881) signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, a total ban on Chinese immigration. Intended for ten years it was renewed in 1892 and made permanent in 1902. Following China's entry in WWII on the side of the Allies it was repealed in 1943 by the Magnuson Act which also made it possible for Chinese residents to become citizens.

The Dawes Act of 1887 provided for the allotment of tribal land to individual Indians, its main objectives being the breaking up of tribes and the allotment of remaining tribal land to white settlers.

The last Indian massacre committed by the US Army so far was the Wounded Knee Massacre which took place in the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on December 29, 1890. The Ghost Dance, a spiritual movement combining native and Christian mythology, promised the Indians the return of their country if they danced until they fainted. An Indian agent wrote to Washington, 'We need protection and we need it now. Indians are dancing in the snow.'
On December 28 350 Lakota had followed the order to report to the Agency and were met by 438 US troopers and 22 artillerymen. The following morning they disarmed the Indians, and when they wrestled a rifle from a deaf Lakota a shot discharged. Moments later around 300 Indians lay dead in the snow, most of them children and women.

In 1891 Republican President Benjamin Harrison (who in 1888 had become the second president elected by the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote) awarded 20 Medals of Honor to the heroes of the massacre.

In his Atlanta Exposition Speech black educator Broker T Washington articulated the Atlanta Compromise by offering the white community complete submission and the relinquishment of all other rights in exchange for a basic education for blacks.
His servile attitude was opposed by many others, most notably by black civil rights activist W E B Du Bois who later co-founded the Niagara Movement and afterwards the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), dedicated to the achievement of racial equality.

Stepping Out: 1897-1941

Since the early 1800s Americans had moved to Hawaii, most of them missionaries or sugar planters, who became the ruling class by physically forcing King Kalakaua to sign what Hawaiians called the Bayonet Constitution in 1887. In the 1890s Queen Lili'uokalani (composer of Aloha Oe) took measures to strengthen the position of the Hawaiians.
In January 1893 white lawyers and businessmen seized power in a coup with the help of US Marines and applied to be annexed to the United States.
Democratic President Grover Cleveland (the only president to serve two inconsecutive terms) investigated the events, came to the conclusion that the provisional government was illegitimate and pointed out that 'the military demonstration upon the soil of Honolulu was of itself an act of war'. He refused the application and demanded the restoration of power to the queen (which, of course, didn’t happen).
In 1894 the businessmen proclaimed the republic and nominated Sanford B. Dole as their president.
A year later the Hawaiians started a counter-revolution to reinstate their queen. Martial law was proclaimed by the regime, and Queen Lili'uokalani and her followers were captured and tried. While others received the death sentence the queen was sentenced to five years and forced to abdicate in return for the release (and commutation of the death sentences) of her supporters. She was pardoned in 1896.
In 1896 the Republican expansionist William McKinley was elected president of the United States. He had fewer qualms about the legitimacy of the government and approved the annexation of Hawaii in 1897 in blatant disregard of the petition of 21,000 native Hawaiians (the vast majority of the adult population) and lack of Senate ratification.
However, nobody wanted Hawaii to become a state – many plantation owners and other employers were in the habit of hiring cheap foreign and native labour and providing working conditions that would have been illegal under US law. They also feared the self-government of a racial minority. Therefore Hawaii only got annexed as a colony – or, as Americans prefer to call it, a ‘territory’.
Only in 1959, more than 60 years after its annexation, Hawaii was finally admitted as the 50th state.

McKinley would be the one to expand the American empire way past the borders of the American continent at the dawn of the century. Starting with the Midway Islands in 1867 a number of Pacific islands were occupied and annexed, and in 1899 the Samoan Islands were divided amongst Germany and the United States in the Tripartite Convention.

The United States always had an eye on Cuba, and they watched with interest how it got more and more difficult for the Spanish to suppress the Cubans. Already in the 1820s President John Quincy Adams predicted Cuba would eventually fall 'like a ripening plum into the lap of the Union' (the Ripe Fruit Policy), and since then several attempts had been made to purchase Cuba from Spain and admit it as a slave state.
By 1898 the Cuban War of Independence was in full swing, and as the Spanish empire was falling apart all over the world they felt their time had come.
Another war at that time was that between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Purlitzer, the fathers of yellow journalism, over the circulations of their newspapers. With sensationalistic headlines and articles about made-up and at best exaggerated atrocities supposedly committed by the Spanish they created a heated atmosphere in which many called for a war with Spain.
As in many other cases the United States offered to negotiate, but their 'assistance' was declined.
McKinley decided to send a battleship anyway, claiming to fear for the safety of American residents, and on January 24, 1898, the USS Maine anchored in Havana.
Three weeks later, on February 15, an explosion on the Maine killed 266 soldiers; the cause has never been established.
Several theories are still being spread - the accidental explosion of the fuel tank, an attack by the Spanish, an attack by Cuban rebels trying to blame it on the Spanish in order to get the US involved, or a false flag attack by the US to justify declaring war.
An attack by the Spanish seems implausible since they had no cause to conceal their identity - after all, the Maine was an uninvited American battleship in Spanish waters.
However, the United States blamed the Spanish and declared war. In their view Spain had started the hostilities by the supposed attack; the United States have always made a big deal about the ‘first shot’, and they have worked out a lot of ways to let others fire it. In my opinion war starts either with a declaration of war or with armed forces entering foreign territory (or refusing to leave it, as was the case in Fort Sumter). This war started with a US battleship entering Cuba, regardless of the cause of the explosion.
The war against Spain spread over several colonies and ended a few months later, on August 12, with the American annexation of all of Spain's colonies outside Africa, including the Philippines (for which they paid $20,000,000 to Spain), Puerto Rico, and Guam. (Around this time Mark Twain suggested to replace the American flag with a skull-spangled banner.)
The Philippines had declared their independence on June 12, but nobody took notice. After the Spanish were gone they kept fighting the United States in the Philippine-American War which ended with their defeat in 1902. They would eventually gain independence in 1946.

Resistance of the populations against American occupation remained as fierce as it was against the Spanish, and the atrocities committed by US forces were nothing short of what their predecessors had done to them.

The Teller Amendment prevented McKinley from annexing Cuba, but while Cuba formally gained independence in 1902 the US officially retained the right to interfere in Cuban affairs, which they repeatedly did.
Additionally the Platt Amendment forced Cuba to 'sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations', and the United States have leased Guantamo Bay since 1903. The Cuban government considers the area to be occupied by the US since 1898.

With the new century approaching the US decided to become a world power rather than just meddling in the businesses of Northern and Southern American countries. The spirit of the new era was probably best described in Senator Albert J. Beveridge's maiden speech in 1900. 'Mr. President, the times call for candor. The Philippines are ours forever, "territory belonging to the United States," as the Constitution calls them. And just beyond the Philippines are China's illimitable markets. We will not retreat from either. We will not repudiate our duty in the archipelago. We will not abandon our opportunity in the Orient. We will not renounce our part in the mission of our race, trustee, under God, of the civilization of the world. And we will move forward to our work, not howling out regrets like slaves whipped to their burdens, but with gratitude for a task worthy of our strength, and thanksgiving to Almighty God that He has marked us as His chosen people, henceforth to lead in the regeneration of the world.'

Since the turn of the century two fruit companies which were mostly dealing in bananas had spread in South American countries and controlled several of their governments: the Standard Fruit Company (now Dole) and the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita). These countries, foremost Honduras and Guatemala, became known as Banana Republics, a term coined in 1901 by writer O. Henry.
Whenever the fruit companies lacked the resources to enforce their policies US troops were sent in to occupy the area or to fight the rebels and help to (re-)instate regimes that were friendly towards both the United States and the fruit companies. These interventions are today known as the Banana Wars and include other military actions in South America and the Caribbean to protect corporate and US interests, such as helping the Cuban government to suppress the Negro Rebellion in 1912.

Trade with China played an increasing role at the turn of the century. All the colonising countries had an interest in occupying parts or all of China which would have severely affected their competitors. Therefore in 1899 US Secretary of State John Hay suggested an Open Door Policy to the other imperial powers according to which China may be exploited equally by all of them and which was agreed on.

The Chinese themselves felt increasingly encroached upon by foreigners and missionaries who threatened their traditions and their way of life. This led to the Boxer movement which attacked and killed foreigners and Christians. On June 20, 1900, they reached Beijing and lay siege to the foreign legation district. The next day the Chinese empress declared war on all foreign nations present in China. The Boxer Rebellion was quelled by an alliance of forces from the United States, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Netherlands, Japan and Russia in 1901.

After McKinley’s successful assassination in 1901 his vice president Theodore Roosevelt became president. One of his first projects was the completion of the Panama Canal which would connect the Atlantic with the Pacific so no one had to sail around the tip of South America any more. It had been started by the French, but after the company went bankrupt in 1889, nobody had seriously worked on it.
In 1903 he negotiated with Colombia in whose territory the canal was planned, but while the treaty was signed by the United States, it was rejected by the Columbian Senate.
No problem for Roosevelt: he promised to support the rebels in the Colombian province of Panama where the canal was planned and sent the US Navy to assist them. Panama declared its independence on November 3, 1903, while the USS Nashville impeded Columbian forces, and shortly afterwards the works (which were completed in 1914) commenced. (Leigh Mercer summarised the story in his brilliant palindrome, A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!)

In 1904 he attached the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, stating that the United States had policing power in Latin American countries and that some of these countries may 'require intervention by some civilized nation'.

In 1906 Roosevelt occupied Cuba and was awarded the Nobel Peace Price; not for the occupation, of course, but for his negotiations in the Russo-Japanese War.

Roosevelt's diplomatic technique became known as the Big Stick Policy, named after a proverb he frequently quoted and which says, 'Speak softly and carry a big stick' (i.e. giving the weaker negotiating partner the impression they are equals while at the same time demonstrating your military superiority to ensure they do as they're told). Roosevelt claimed the phrase was of West African origin, but since no earlier sources for it exist, it is generally believed he made it up himself.
In order to demonstrate the United States' growing military power and their will to enforce their interests he sent a large US Navy battle fleet, known as the Great White Fleet, on a voyage around the world that lasted from 1907 to 1909.

And since Roosevelt presided over the Panic of 1907 every Republican presidency has brought at least one recession.

He still lives in every children’s room: the Teddy Bear was named after him, following an anecdote according to which he refused to shoot a bear that had been tied to a tree for him - in his opinion big game, other than Indians, deserved a ‘sporting chance’.

After the Indian Wars the Indians had to live in 'reservations' under appalling conditions and were forbidden to practise their customs, rituals and religions (the 1st Amendment had not been written for Indians). Many of them were coerced into 'becoming civilised' by agreeing to assimilation which gave them the right to citizenship and the purchase of land. Their children would be taken off them and forced to attend Native American boarding schools run by ruthless missionaries where they were stripped of their identities by being denied contact with their families, being given a different name, being indoctrinated into the respective Christian religions and being forbidden to speak their own language. The schools were infamous for the rampant sexual, physical and mental abuse of their students.

By the end of the 19th century the idea of eugenics had become increasingly popular later and later found prominent proponents like J H Kellogg and Margaret Sanger. From around 1890, forced sterilisations were carried out in many hospitals, asylums and prisons, mostly without the consent and often without the knowledge of the person in question. These were aimed at the mentally disabled, deformed and criminals, as well as non-white populations in general, especially American Indians and blacks.
In 1907 Indiana became the first of over 30 states to enact sterilisation legislation.
The practice of compulsory sterilisation was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1927 with Buck v Bell: ' It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.'

Euthanasia was also practiced. Although the most commonly suggested way were local gas chambers, most techniques used to kill them were subtler, such as feeding patients tuberculosis-infected milk, or simply by lethal neglect.

After the fall of Nazi Germany (whose euthanasia policies had been inspired by the example of the United States) eugenics increasingly fell out of fashion, although forced sterilisations continued until at least 2010, with a focus on black and American Indian women.

Oklahoma was admitted in 1907, followed by New Mexico and Arizona in 1912.

While the federal government was largely financed by tariffs in the past the 16th Amendment in 1913 authorised it to collect an unapportioned income tax.

Apart from being undemocratic in nature the election of senators by the state legislatures was often bought by the candidates. Amendments calling for their election by the people had been proposed since the 1820s, and in 1913 the 17th Amendment was ratified.

By the turn of the century society in the United States had changed considerably. Due to the industrialisation more people populated the cities. Production was not based on demand any more, but demand was created for the products. This applied to the arms industry as much as to any other.
A few business men were that successful that they almost had a monopoly on public opinion, and politics were made by the three major institutions: banks, newspapers and industrialists, including the military-industrial complex.
In 1912 Democrat Woodrow Wilson was elected president who re-segregated the federal government and continued the conquests for the American Empire.
All over South America people struggled for independence and decent living conditions, and Wilson expanded the Banana Wars and took advantage of the unrests and civil wars by invading and occupying their countries himself to protect the interests of US companies. He continued the occupation of Nicaragua which had commenced in 1912 under Republican President William Taft and would last until 1933 when it became too expensive. He also occupied Veracruz in 1914, Haiti in 1915, the Dominican Republic in 1916 (ended 1924), and Cuba in 1917 (the Sugar Invention, ended 1919). The occupation of Haiti would only end in 1934, and when in 1919 US forces eventually found and killed the resistance leader Charlemagne Péralte they tied his corpse to a door and took a photograph which was spread in order to discourage resistance against the US. It had the opposite effect.
Wilson also repeatedly interfered in Mexican affairs.

In Europe territorial claims, boundary disputes and fights over colonies had led to a tense atmosphere amongst the big empires that was calling for a cathartic war. Furthermore, in a world which depended more and more on oil for warfare, transport and manufacturing the construction of the Berlin-Baghdad Railway which would provide Germany with quick and easy access to the Ottoman Empire (today's Middle East) was regarded as a threat to the interests of other countries.
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife were killed by Serbian nationalists, and Austria-Hungary sent an ultimatum to Serbia, demanding to cease all anti-Austrian activities and to allow Austrian officials to participate in the investigations.
Serbia’s reaction was to mobilise, as did Russia, their ally.
The European countries now anxiously waited for the moron who would start the Great War.
The moron was forty-three years of age and as determined as he was immature: Germany. Urged by Austria-Hungary to honour their alliance, Germany issued two ultimata: one to Russia, asking them to suspend mobilisation, and one to France, ordering them to remain neutral, threatening that the non-compliance with either ultimatum would lead to war on August 1, 1914.
On August 3, 1914, the Germans marched through neutral Belgium without permission in order to attack France. The war (which everyone expected to be over after a few weeks) had started. The following day Great Britain declared war on Germany.
In the course of the war Great Britain blocked all sea routes to Germany by means of ships and submarines to starve them out.
Despite their differences with Great Britain the Americans happened to support the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France and Russia) which was later joined by others to form the Allied Forces - the British were still closer to them than the Germans.
Although Wilson declared the US to be neutral the British and French were provided with arms by US manufacturers who transported them on British passenger ships. These vessels were often - usually after sufficient warning for evacuation - attacked by German submarines. The German government also issued ads in the New York Times and other newspapers, warning passengers not to board British ships that might carry arms and head for the war zone.
The arms manufacturers’ lobby demanded that the United States enter the war on the side of the Entente and even circulated the rumour that German soldiers cut off the hands of Belgian babies (don’t forget, we’re in America), but Wilson was hesitant; fighting industrialised European countries certainly involved more risks than invading some underdeveloped South American states.
The groups supporting America’s intervention had to think of something more convincing. Apart from the interest in supplying the US Army with arms they were also concerned about the payments for the weapons they had sold to the Entente - in case of a victory of the Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) it was doubtful they would get their money.
In 1915 the RMS Lusitania, a British passenger ship, was stocked up with arms before sailing from New York to Great Britain, and someone tipped off the German authorities.
On May 7, 1915, a German submarine torpedoed the Lusitania, which usually would only have sunk the vessel, not necessarily with the loss of lives - but the ammunition aboard exploded, and about 1,200 passengers, around 130 of them American citizens, were killed.
(Winston Churchill, who had previously tried to involve the US, had written shortly before the attack that 'it is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hope especially of embroiling the US with Germany. For our part we want the traffic - the more the better, and if some of it gets into trouble, better still.')
To the disappointment of the arms industry this still wasn’t enough for Wilson to declare war on Germany; after all, the Lusitania was a British vessel sailing under British flag (though she didn’t fly any flag in the war zone). He issued, however, a firm warning against the German government.
His Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, resigned in protest, comparing the use of passenger ships for the transport of munitions to 'putting women and children in front of an army'.
Wilson was re-elected in 1916 with the slogan ‘He kept us out of the war’; but not for much longer. In January 1917 the decoding of the Zimmermann Telegram from the German Foreign Secretary to the German ambassador in Mexico turned the scales. It expressed the firm belief that the US would remain neutral; however, in case they joined the Entente, it was suggested to form an alliance with Mexico (which had frequent border skirmishes with the US), in return helping them to retrieve the territories they had lost to the United States.
In preparation for the war entry the Jones–Shafroth Act was passed which, amongst other provisions, granted US citizenship to Puerto Ricans born on or after April 25, 1898, so their young men could be drafted.
The Germans had declared unrestricted submarine warfare, and after the sinking of seven US merchant vessels Wilson was ready for a war declaration ('The world must be made safe for democracy. [...] It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war') which Congress approved on April 6, 1917. After the war Wilson would state, 'America's world role has come by no plan of our conceiving but by the hand of God.'
In June Congress passed the Espionage Act of 1917 which was used to silence critics of US policies by accusing them of aiding the enemy. The act was largely extended with the Sedition Act of 1918, and while the Sedition Act was repealed in 1920 the Espionage Act is still used to sentence whistleblowers exposing civil rights breaches and war crimes, such as Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.
1917 and 1918 brought other changes as well: the October Revolution, led by Lenin, put an end to the Tsar’s tyranny in Russia and discontinued its involvement in the war, and the November Revolution in Germany led to the fall of the government, the exiling of the Kaiser and the proclamation of a Socialist Republic two days before the armistice.
During the Russian Civil War which followed the revolution Wilson sent infantry to assist the pro-Tsarist White Guards who wanted the old tyranny back; partly because the White Guards had announced Russia would re-enter the war under their leadership, and partly because they fought communists.
One and a half years after the US had entered WWI (also called the War to End War at the time) it was over, and all parties agreed to put the entire responsibility for it on Germany. The Germans were excluded from the peace talks in Paris in 1919, forced to disarm almost completely, give up 10% of their territory as well as their colonies and pay all war damages (and more) - a sum of $60,000,000,000 (you don’t have to count the zeros, it’s billions) which would be the equivalent of $760,000,000,000 today. The last payment was made in 2010.
The rationale behind the Treaty of Versailles was that Germany should never again be able to fight a war. We know how that went.

The US Senate rejected the treaty, and US involvement in the war only ended in 1921 when Republican President Warren Harding signed the Knox-Porter Resolution.

Few had any idea of the price the world would have to pay for Versailles. One of them was Field Marshal Earl Wavell who predicted that the Treaty of Versailles had concluded the war to end war with a peace to end peace.

- Oh yes, Wilson also promoted the creation of the League of Nations which was meant to deal with international conflicts. The United States didn’t join, though; after all, such an organisation might have censured their expansion policies and their excursions into Latin American countries.

In the meantime film director D.W. Griffith had given re-birth to a monster at the home front. In 1915 his film The Birth of A Nation (initially called The Clansman) was released, a three-hour epic promoting white supremacy in what is considered the world’s first blockbuster.
The film tells the story of two families before and during the War of Secession and the Reconstruction era. Blacks are portrayed as degenerate and greedy (apart from the ‘good’ ones that remain loyal to their previous owners), and the fact that they are played by white actors in blackface gives them a bizarre appearance. In the film white people are being intimidated and terrorised by their former slaves until some of them form the Ku Klux Klan and, by means of intimidation and terror, liberate the white community and put the freedmen back in their place.
He also included some of Woodrow Wilson's racist quotes from his History of the American People in which he had glorified the Klan as ‘a veritable empire of the South to protect the Southern country’.
Shortly after the film’s release grown men dressed in white robes and hoods, crosses burnt and people died. The Ku Klux Klan was back to stay.

The Keating-Owen Act which banned the interstate sales of goods produced by child labour was passed in 1916. It was the first piece of federal legislation addressing child labour and declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Hammer v Dagenhart in 1918.
A Child Labor Amendment passed Congress in 1924 but to date has not been ratified by the required three-fourth of states.
And while the Fair Labour Standards Act of 1938 bans child labour for those under 14 in all other areas child labour in agriculture without any restrictions continues and is legal to this day.

The First Red Scare was a time of panic following the First World War which was caused by the fear of communists and communist influences as a result of the emergence of the USSR. Any action questioning the status quo was denounced as communism, be it a strike, a May Day parade or the racial struggle for equality. This fear was fuelled further by a series of anarchist bombings (even though anarchism is unrelated to communism) which culminated in the Wall Street Bombing of 1920.
The public hysteria gave authorities the opportunity for illegal searches and seizures and unwarranted arrests and detentions (the Palmer Raids), in the wake of which hundreds were deported because of their political views.

On September 30, 1919, around hundred black sharecroppers who worked on the plantations of white landowners attended a union meeting at a church three miles north of Elaine, Arkansas, where blacks outnumbered whites by around ten to one. They intended to discuss ways to get better payments for their cotton crops and stop the landowners from cheating them.
In order to prevent disruption armed guards were stationed around the church, and a number of white people in cars turned up. There are conflicting accounts about who fired the first shot, but one white man was killed.
The next day the county sheriff organised a posse of 500-1000 men to put down the 'Negro insurrection', many of whom came from surrounding counties, and blacks were shot on sight.
The riot ended when US troops arrived on October 2, though some accounts suggest that the soldiers themselves killed blacks at random.
Authorities and media portrayed the events as a communist conspiracy to kill all whites.
During the Elaine Massacre hundreds of people were killed. Five of them were white.
122 blacks were tried for their involvement and mostly convicted, and 12 of them were found guilty of murder by an all-white jury and sentenced to death (even though none of them would be executed).

The Elaine Massacre was one of a number of ethnic riots that year, called the Red Summer because the accusation of being communists, especially for those involved with labour unions, served as a justification for hunting and killing blacks.
Ethnic riots in the US continue until this day, and many of them, such as the Elaine Massacre, qualify as acts of ethnic cleansing.

In 1920 the 18th Amendment, long pushed by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and other Christian groups, banned the production, transport and sale of alcohol which led to organised crime turning from a few gangs dealing in weapons, drugs, extortion, prostitution and gambling into the power that factually came to rule the country. In 1929 they held their first summit in Atlantic City.
Prohibition lasted for 13 years and ended with the 21st Amendment in 1933.

Demands for women’s suffrage had been made since the time of Plato but usually fell on deaf ears. A movement for equal rights for women, including the right to vote, was initiated by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1848 but had no impact.
Beginning with Wyoming in 1869 a number of states already granted women the right to vote.
The feminist movement gained momentum again in the 1910s; Congress eventually passed the 19th Amendment, giving all women in the country to vote from 1920.

In the presidential election of 1920 Mose Norman, a black man in Ocoee, Florida, insisted on voting despite previous warnings of the Ku Klux Klan to the black population. His attempt led to the Ocoee Massacre in which at least 56 blacks were killed by a white mob. The survivors who didn't leave voluntarily were forced out of town, and Ocoee remained all-white until 1981.

Nobody knows what exactly happened in the lift at the Drexler Building in Tulsa on May 30, 1921. What is known is that a shop clerk claimed he saw lift operator Sarah Page, a young white woman, in a distressed state, and a black man leaving the building. He immediately called the authorities and reported an assault.
Even if no assault had occurred (and there are no records of Page herself alleging one) Dick Rowland, the black man in question, had to fear for his life and hid at his mother's home in Greenwood, a prosperous black neighbourhood known by whites as Negro Wall Street or Little Africa. He was arrested the following morning.
The headline of the afternoon edition of the Tulsa Tribune read, Nab Negro for Attacking Girl In an Elevator, and an editorial called for his lynching. (Since the events all copies of the original newspaper have been destroyed, and the relevant page was left out of the microfilm copy.)
That evening an armed lynch mob of around 2,000 gathered at the courthouse, demanding to have Rowland handed over to them. A large number of armed black people also showed up to prevent the lynching.
When a white man ordered a black veteran to hand over his gun a shot was fired; it may have been accidental or meant as a warning, but the whites immediately started shooting black men who returned fire, and within seconds around 20 people were killed.
Most of the blacks retreated towards Greenwood and were pursued by the whites, including policemen in uniform, who looted a number of shops and shot every black person on the way.
At police headquarters members of the lynch mob were sworn in as Special Deputies and told, 'Get a gun, and get a nigger.'
That night the Oklahoma National Guard moved in to protect white districts from the 'Negro uprising'.
During the night and the following days the mob kept shooting black people. They went to Greenwood to force residents out of their homes to either kill them or bring them to detention centres, afterwards looting and setting fire to their houses. They also burnt down 191 businesses, the only hospital, a junior high school, the library and a dozen churches, and firefighters were forced to return at gunpoint.
Several aeroplanes were used from which bombs were thrown and shots fired at blacks.
On June 1 state troops arrived and martial law was proclaimed. By that time thousands had fled Greenwood, and up to 6,000 had been placed in detention centres.
John A Oliphant, a white attorney, informed police that some houses had escaped destruction and suggested to send officers to protect them. Shortly afterwards police arrived and set them on fire.
When the dust settled the Tulsa Race Riot had cost the lives of at least 300 people, the vast majority being black (most of whom were disposed of in unmarked graves) and left hundreds injured and 10,000 homeless. The commercial district of Greenwood was no more.

Officially the massacre went down in the records as a 'Negro Uprising' with 36 deaths (10 white and 26 black).

1923 saw the first proposal of the Equal Rights Amendment, supposed to outlaw any discrimination based on gender. Since then it has been proposed to almost every Congress; in 1972 it eventually passed both houses but remained three states short in the ratification process by the extended deadline of June 30, 1982. (In 2017 Nevada became the first state to ratify the amendment after the deadline.)
Critics of the legislation claim they fear the loss of women’s privileges, such as gender-specific labour laws in heavy industry, the exclusion from governmental slavery (the ‘draft’) and the earlier retirement age. However, this is a very weak argument: most European countries have put equality laws into place decades ago and successfully prevented them from rendering equal obligations for females or equal rights for males.

Interlude: With the Kelley Creek Massacre in which Nevada State Police, assisted by a posse, had killed eight members of a group of Shoshone in 1911 (their leader, Shoshone Mike, was a murder suspect, but others including children and women were also shot), the ethnic cleansing of the Indians was as good as completed. From an estimated twelve millions who had lived in North America around 1500 their number had been reduced to 237,000 by 1900; over the centuries up to sixty million Indians were killed. (Genocide on this scale is unequalled in history, and only the Spanish in South America ever got close.) Those holocaust survivors were existing (‘living’ would be an exaggeration) in the few reservations that were left for them; and the only reason these were left was that most of them were barren wastelands that often didn’t even provide water.
Since the passing of the 14th Amendment Indians could become citizens of the US, but only if they agreed to assimilation (in legal documents they were referred to as Indians taxed).
In 1924, after a number of petitions (many of them pointing out the services of American Indians in the army during WWI), Congress decided it was safe to give the rest of them human status by granting them citizenship, and on June 2 Republican President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act; the civilised world would get a better impression of the States, and the handful of genocide survivors wouldn’t make a difference.
Citizenship, of course, didn’t mean equality – for example, they still weren’t permitted to trade outside their reservations, and many states refused them suffrage. (In 1957 Utah became the last state to give them the vote.)
Need I mention that for the vast majority not a lot has changed since then?

Tennessee's Butler Act from 1925 made it unlawful, like laws in many other states, 'to teach any theory that denies the Story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible.'
It was put to the test by a substitute teacher in what became known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, and in which John Thomas Scopes was found guilty of having taught evolution in a public school and fined $100.

Adding insult to injury, the Lakota's sacred Black Hills were further defiled in 1927 when construction of four presidents' monuments began on the Six Grandfathers (called Mount Rushmore by the whites).

The Great War had put the US on the map, not only as one of the leading world powers, but as the leading one: the Spanish and Portuguese empires had diminished already, Britain and France (after not being able to defeat Germany on their own) had been put in their place, and Germany (which had only had emerged recently) was eliminated - or so the others thought.
The war was followed by an economic boom, caused by the US claiming war debts from its allies and incoming orders for European reconstruction. Speculators bought stocks like there's no tomorrow, businessmen took out loans to expand their businesses, households purchased fancy goods on credit...
The bubble burst with the Stock Market Crash of October 1929 and led to the Great Depression which would last for 10 years. Businesses and factories closed, banks failed, and the media encouraged the belief in stories about speculators jumping out of windows, probably to give the impression that the upper class was suffering as well.
Unemployment, and subsequently homelessness, rose to unimagined levels.
Republican President Herbert Hoover pointed out that it was not the job of the government to help common people and that 'economic wounds must be healed by [...] the producers and consumers themselves'.
Hundreds of shanty towns emerged which were known as Hoovervilles (newspapers were called Hoover blankets).
The situation worsened in the mid 30s when the Southern Plains experienced several droughts and severe dust storms as a result of poor farming practices (the Dust Bowl).

As with any depression in any country the blame was put on minorities, mainly immigrants (especially Mexicans and Jews), and violence against them became a common feature.
But, especially with Stalin taking over the leadership of the USSR in 1924, a new enemy was found: communism. And the good thing about it was that anybody could be accused of it.
In the opinion of the United States communism had taken away the main foundations of human existence: freedom of accumulation of wealth and freedom of speech, and anyone who sympathised with them was silenced; in fact, anyone who in the slightest ventured to criticise US politics was shut up and branded a communist.

In 1933 the 20th Amendment was ratified which moved the terms of the president and vice president forward to January 20 and that of Congress to January 3.

The Nye Committee was established in 1934 which found that Woodrow Wilson had been pressured by bankers to enter the war and concluded that the United States had entered WWI to make profits for the Merchants of Death. The Senate cut off funding for the committee in 1936 after Senator Nye suggested that Wilson had withheld essential information when asking Congress for approval of his war declaration.
The findings of the committee contributed significantly to the passing of Neutrality Acts in the following years.

In 1935, after his speech on the connection between big business and the army had become very popular, retired Major General Smedley Butler, at that time the most decorated US Marine in history, published a booklet called War is a Racket in which he stated, 'I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.'

When the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party organised a peaceful march for the colony's independence on March 21, 1937, police killed 19 children, women and men (most of them with shots in the back) as well as two of their own colleagues. The Ponce Massacre was the largest Puerto Rican massacre since the beginning of the US occupation.

During his presidential campaign Democratic candidate Franklin D Roosevelt had promised a New Deal. After taking office he addressed the increasing number of bank failures (several states, in order to prevent further bank runs, had already declared bank holidays) and declared a nationwide bank holiday as he sent the Emergency Banking Act to Congress which was successful in stabilising the banking system. Other measures included the suspension of the gold standard, the passing of the Securities Act of 1933 and the repeal of Prohibition with the 21st Amendment.

In order to combat unemployment he created the Public Works Administration which provided employment for many in public areas.

In an attempt to raise the price of farm products the newly created Agricultural Adjustment Administration compensated farmers to leave parts of their lands barren, leave harvested crops to rot and slaughter and discard millions of piglets while people starved. In 1936 the Supreme Court ruled that the act was unconstitutional regarding its financing, and it was replaced by the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938.

In 1939 Roosevelt introduced the Food Stamp Plan which ran until 1943 and was reintroduced in 1961 by John F Kennedy.

The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 (NIRI) introduced collective bargaining rights, amongst other provisions. The main part of the act was declared to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1935, but important aspects of it were later included in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 which guaranteed employees the right to get organised in unions.

In 1935 the United States caught up with the rest of the industrialised world (well, kind of) when Congress passed the Social Security Act which provided for an old age pension, unemployment assistance, child welfare and support for the blind; this, together with his labour legislation, caused his opponents to denounce him as a communist. - However, the act did not apply to domestic and farm workers, ensuring that 65% of black workers were not covered.

Roosevelt also created the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which recruited millions of unemployed to carry out public works.

The Housing Act of 1937 granted subsidies for local public housing agencies to provide accommodation for the poor.

In order to prevent the Supreme Court from striking down more of his legislation Roosevelt proposed the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 which would have allowed the president to appoint an additional judge for every judge who had served on the Supreme Court for 10 years or more and refused to retire within six months of their 70th birthday. His attempt, known as the court stacking plan, failed.

In 1938 Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act which, besides restricting child labour, established a 40 hour work week (with the requirement of paying time-and-a-half for overtime) as well as a minimum wage.
This was quite different from the conditions workers had faced a few decades earlier when men, women and children had to work 10 hours a day for six days a week or even longer, due to the lack of regulations, and were paid starvation wages.
Of course the improvements were not the result of the employers' generosity or the government's concern about commoners. It was the result of a long, hard and at times bloody struggle for human dignity and rights which will continue as long as there are employers and employees. Workers had organised themselves in unions and went on strikes to better their conditions.
Employees participating in strikes or collective bargaining were prosecuted and usually convicted of criminal conspiracy until in 1842 the Supreme Court in Commonwealth v Hunt ruled that labour unions were legal.
Still strikes were usually put down violently by employers and governments, such as the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, and after a number of strikers had been killed by police in Chicago on May 3, 1886, a protest on the following day led to the Haymarket Riot in which four civilians and seven policemen were killed. Other strikes had even higher death tolls, such as the Homestead Strike in 1892, the Pullman Strike in 1894, the Ludlow Massacre in 1914, the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921 and the Hanapepe Massacre in Hawaii in 1924.
Only with the Wagner Act of 1935 were the legal rights of organised labour established.
Ironically the employers', governments' and media's efforts to demonise labour unions by claiming they are infiltrated by communists still succeeds in many workers denouncing the organisations that brought them the 40 hour week and the minimum wage.

After an initial recovery the economy began to go into the next recession in 1937, the 'depression within the depression'. But after 12 years the Great Depression would come to a sudden end when Dr Roosevelt found the cure for it: war!

Showdown: 1941-1989

Germany, in the meantime a theoretically perfect democracy, had faded from the mind of the Americans. It was nothing more than an unreliable income source for the reparations it owed (economically destroyed and with a starving population, it was hardly able to pay the interests of its debts), and no one really cared about what happened to it.
But democracy doesn’t go well with starvation: fourteen years after the Allied Forces had laid their egg in Versailles the monster hatched. Adolf Hitler, an Austrian tramp whose shrill voice and low intellect had made him the undisputed leader of the NSDAP, appeared on the scene. In 1933 his party got 43.9%, and with the votes of the conservatives (including that of the first post-WWII president Theodor Heuss) the Enabling Act was passed which gave his government unlimited powers to ‘save the country from its enemies’.
The Americans didn’t care. Okay, okay, he refused to pay the reparations, but a strong Nazi Germany would keep the Soviets out of Europe. Hitler hated communists, and he hated Jews - so what was the problem?
But there were warning voices as well, foremost that of Roosevelt who was aware that Hitler would not only reclaim the lost territories but also aim at dominating the European continent. Another power to be taken into account was the USSR. Roosevelt was disappointed that the United States who had proven to be the leading power had retired from world politics rather than looking for new conquests.
When the chance came to get involved, like in the Civil War in Spain, Congress reacted by passing Neutrality Acts that prevented the United States from even delivering weapons to belligerent countries (of course Roosevelt and the arms industry found ways around that which finally were legalised by the Lend-Lease Act in 1941).
When the Second World War broke out in 1939 the French and British had to focus their military activities in Europe which weakened their position in the Asian colonies. The Dutch were in the same position after Germany occupied Holland in 1940. Many of these colonies started to fight for independence, but two other powers saw their opportunity to take them over: Japan and the United States.
Japan reacted promptly by invading Indo-China and signing Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy requiring them to assist each other in September 1940.
Roosevelt placed an oil embargo on Japan in 1941 which heavily relied on oil.
In order to finance the war, rather than raising taxes, the Roosevelt administration decided to sell war bonds for as little as $25. That way everybody had the chance to become a shareholder in the carnage.
Roosevelt’s best bet was to get Japan to attack the United States - in that case Germany would have to get involved, and he could send American troops to both Indo-China and Europe.
The embargo had paved the way, but still Japan didn’t react the way it was supposed to. On November 26, 1941, his Secretary of State Cordell Hull set them an ultimatum to withdraw all their troops from the occupied territories.
There have been claims that US intelligence had decoded, in detail, Japan’s plans of a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and informed President Roosevelt. Warnings about the imminent attack were also issued by other secret services and agents, such as Serbian double agent Dušan Popov who informed the FBI.
On the morning of December 7 Japan’s navy attacked the completely unprepared US Naval Base in Pearl Harbor, killing an estimated 2,400 men.
Roosevelt had reached his aim: the United States were at war, and the outraged American public was calling for revenge!

In February 1942 Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which authorised the internment of persons whose ancestors hailed from the belligerent countries, and soon concentration camps were filled with 120,000 people of Japanese, 11,000 of German and 3,000 of Italian ancestry, the vast majority of them US citizens whose families had lived in the States for generations. There was no indication of their disloyalty, and nowadays it is generally accepted that the motives were entirely racist.
The executive order was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1944 in Korematsu v United States.
And it was not only US residents who were affected by it. In the name of 'hemispheric security' 6,600 individuals were deported from Latin American countries and sent to the camps.

In the meantime Hitler’s breach of the Nonaggression Pact with Stalin by invading the USSR led to its unlikely alliance with Great Britain before being joined by the United States. Now any megalomaniac in his right mind would be concerned about facing the United States on top of multiple enemies that include the USSR and Great Britain, but not Hitler. He was delighted when he got the news and declared war on the United States on December 11.

The Germans, British and Soviets had already commenced what would become the warfare of the future, and the United States were only too happy to embrace the new strategy: instead of soldiers killing soldiers, air raids were carried out on large cities, killing thousands of civilians without putting one’s own people in danger; at the same time it destroyed the enemy’s already damaged economy.

The war spread over five continents (mainly Europe, Africa and Asia, with isolated attacks in America and Australia) as well as Oceania, and left half of the world in ruins. Up to 80 million people died, the vast majority of them civilians.
Besides the war dead another 11 million were killed in Hitler's concentration camps: 6 million of them for being Jews, the others for being Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled persons or regime critics.
Roosevelt was insistent to talk to Stalin in person, and the Soviet leader finally agreed to a meeting in Tehran in November 1943 and another one in Yalta in February 1945.
Descriptions of Roosevelt’s attitude towards Stalin range from conciliatory to servile, yet before the war he had portrayed him as a dangerous dictator. Most historians put this down to senility, but I am convinced that Roosevelt had worked out a detailed post-war plan for the world already, and he pussyfooted around Stalin in an effort not to endanger it.
After the defeat of Germany and Japan (Italy had surrendered already) the United States once more would emerge as the world’s leading power, followed closely by the USSR. I am certain that at this stage Roosevelt had the vision of an American empire covering all countries between the poles; but he knew that the time wasn’t ripe.
There were two possible scenarios for the post-war world: one was that a couple of empires would continue gaining and losing territories, creating alliances and fighting wars, and this was too much of a risk for American supremacy; the second was to divide the planet amongst the two strongest powers and then work on each other’s downfall, and that’s what he aimed at. A shark has a better chance against another shark than against a shoal of piranhas.
For this purpose he intended to set up the United Nations; he was aware that they’d be as powerless as the League of Nations was because the strongest countries would have to be given a veto, but they would succeed in preventing the emergence of other superpowers beside the US and the USSR.
(Oh yes, Churchill was at these meetings as well. But his presence was merely symbolic; in both World Wars he had schemed to get the United States involved at the earliest stage, demonstrating Great Britain’s dependence on them. Apart from that, Britain was actually the big loser of the war - within a few years, they lost most of their colonies, including India. To my knowledge, Great Britain is the only former empire ever to be dominated by its former colony.)

However, Roosevelt couldn’t openly discuss his vision of American world domination, and many of his subjects who didn’t grasp his subtle master plan thought he sympathised with communism. He died of a cerebral haemorrhage on April 12, 1945, just after having been re-elected for a fourth term, and just before the defeat of Germany; maybe the excitement of finally reaching his aim was too much, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of his oblivious fellowmen had been involved, thinking he was doing damage control before the post-war conferences.
Roosevelt’s vice-president Harry Truman succeeded him and met with Stalin in Potsdam to ask for his support against Japan, discuss the world’s future and distribute the loot.

After their unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, Germany was divided into four zones (the American, British and French zones in the West and the Soviet one in the East), and so was the German capital Berlin itself which lay in the centre of the Soviet sector.
Remembering the disastrous result of the last German defeat and fearing the spread of communism the United States, speaking softly and carrying a big stick, decided to introduce a new system of domination: rather than plundering the defeated European countries and leaving them on their own they let them work for the United States while allowing them to elect governments that acted within their parameters. They also introduced a programme to assist participating countries in rebuilding their economies, the European Recovery Program, known as the Marshall Plan, which was offered to the European countries affected by the war but declined by the USSR and the states of their zone because it would have given the US too much influence.
The West Germans were leniently punished - at the Nuremberg Trials the figureheads of the Third Reich (who hadn’t committed suicide like Hitler or Goebbels) were executed, and others were sentenced to long prison terms; many of them were released after just a few years.
The others got away; the Americans, with their knowledge of the German mentality, rightly believed that they had just been carrying out Hitler’s orders, and that they would serve the US just as enthusiastically. Thus it was still possible for members of the Nazi party to become president or chancellor of West Germany.
A number of Nazi criminals were also employed by the US (such as Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, who was recruited by the CIC in 1947 at the time he was sentenced to death in France). Operation Paperclip, a US programme to recruit leading German scientists, engineers and technicians (many of whom had worked for the Nazi regime, such as Wernher von Braun), was put in place right after the war.
The Americans generously invested in the destroyed countries, set up American businesses, helped them manage their debts and taught them of the dangers of communism (and for those who wouldn’t listen they got out the big stick). The American economy (which had been booming since entering the war) kept on booming, the West Germans had their Wirtschaftswunder, the British colonies got their independence: the war had done everyone a world of good!
Well, maybe not the other countries... After 1945 no nation was able to remain entirely neutral (apart from Switzerland where communists and capitalists had their offshore bank accounts). Any country claiming independence was either sacked by one of the superpowers or accused of having been sacked by the other one - this would lead to sanctions and embargoes that automatically forced them to establish ties with the other one, making them more or less dependent on it.
Also, many satrapies declaring their independence were immediately invaded (‘liberated’ or ‘protected’) by their original owners to re-establish their rule, especially those providing crucial materials and those located on their doorstep. South American countries, for example, had been exploited by US companies and citizens for ages, and every emerging democracy was at once removed by the United States, like in Guatemala in 1954 or Chile in 1973. They also supported terrorists against democratically elected governments like in Chile and Nicaragua.

The one nation that hadn’t surrendered by May 1945 was Japan. But once the war was over in the West the US were able to focus on the Asian theatre, and after a number of victories the surrender of Japan was merely a matter of time.
This put Truman under a lot of pressure: the United States had just finished building the atomic bomb, and this could be the last opportunity in a long time to test its effects under authentic conditions.
On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb (uranium) was dropped on Hiroshima, killing an estimated quarter of a million people instantly or after days, weeks, months or years of agony and crippling, disfiguring and causing cancer to many others. On August 9 another A-bomb (plutonium) was dropped on Nagasaki which is thought to have killed 80,000 by the end of the year. The most macabre experiment in history was concluded, and on August 15 Emperor Hirohito surrendered.

What followed was called the Cold War because the US and the USSR, although hostile towards each other, didn’t attack one another in their combat for world domination; but the wars over their satrapies were pretty hot, and not many of their victims wore uniforms.
The Cold War was a wishing well for the weapons industry. The threat of the Third World War, this time between the two superpowers, was always in the air, and the propaganda machines on both sides did their best to keep public hysteria at a maximum.
Yet the heydays of the weapon industry started in 1949 when the USSR developed the A-bomb as well and the threat of a worldwide nuclear holocaust became a serious concern (keep in mind that the position of a president or general secretary, other than that of a shoe salesman, does not require any qualifications).
Also in 1949 the Americans launched the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a pact that obliged its members to react as a whole if any one of them were attacked (with or without being provoked), especially by the USSR or one of its satrapies. In 1955 the USSR founded the Warsaw Pact with similar obligations in case of NATO aggression.
And although the US and the USSR were never at war with each other, their proxy wars spread terror over the whole world for half a century.

The Cold War was also used to justify the suspension of constitutional rights, like that of free speech, in the name of 'fighting communism'.

When railroad workers planned a strike in May 1946 Truman seized control of the railroads. The strike went ahead anyway, and on May 25 he addressed Congress, asking for authorisation to draft the strikers into the army to send them back to work. During his speech he received news that the strike had ended.

In 1947 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Mendez v Westminster that California's segregation of Mexican Americans in the educational system was unconstitutional.

After WWII it was decided to coordinate the US intelligence agencies, and with the National Security Act of 1947 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was created with the purpose of international espionage and propaganda, interrogation, covert paramilitary operations, false flag attacks, assisting pro-US terrorists, assassinating foreign leaders and removing governments that inconvenience the US.

Most Christians believe that the Second Coming has to be preceded by the creation of a state of Israel. Before the First World War this seemed out of the question, but by the end of 1917 it looked like the Ottoman Empire which fought on the side of Germany could be defeated and Palestine, the region required for that state, come under the control of Great Britain as the Middle East was sliced up amongst the winners. Besides paving the way for the Second Coming a Jewish state would also present an opportunity to get rid of many Jews who'd leave voluntarily. Therefore Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour and others issued the Balfour Declaration, expressing the British government's support for a 'national home for the Jewish people' in Palestine.
The concept of Zionism, i.e. Jewish people taking over Palestine, had become popular since the late 19th century, and over the years many settlers and terrorists had moved there already. The Jewish claim to the 'Holy Land' is based more in their mythology than in history and could be compared to modern-day Romans claiming Great Britain. And even according to their holy book they had to commit genocide when they occupied it the first time (Devarim/ Deuteronomy 20:16-18).
The Talmud teaches that their god created gentiles (i.e. non-Jews) merely to serve the Jews. Gentiles don't count as humans and are disposable. Therefore the slogan A land without people for the people without a land didn't mean they weren't aware of the Palestinians, merely that they consider them vermin they have to get rid of.
Anti-Semitism is as old as the Jews are and was practised all over the world, including the United States and Great Britain. After the world had seen the horrors of what the Germans did to the Jews during the Second World War deportation was not an option, but a lot of them would be delighted at the prospect of having their own country and escape discrimination.
So in 1947, three decades after the Balfour Declaration, the UN decided to partition Palestine and assign 55% of it to a state of Israel; the Palestinians, of course, were in no way involved in this decision, and the Israelis were not satisfied with only 55% of what they considered their God-given country.
The city of Jerusalem, due to its religious importance to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, was to be placed under an international regime (Corpus separatum) without being part of either Palestine or Israel. Despite its international status Jerusalem has been claimed by Israel as its capital since 1980.
Besides knowing that Jesus was now free to come back many Americans embraced the concept of Israel for representing a miniature United States: a superior white race (not as superior as white Americans, of course), chosen by God and replacing a savage native population that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
On May 14, 1948, the day the British mandate ran out, the state of Israel was proclaimed and immediately recognised by the United States, as well as immediately attacked by their Arab neighbours whom the Palestinians had asked for assistance. The Palestine War (the sequel of the civil war) ended with a victory for Israel which seized an additional 60% of the area allocated to the state of Palestine.
Like in Liberia into which the US had forced a completely different people conflict in Palestine hasn’t ceased since and probably never will. Since the Six-Day War in 1967 Israel occupies most of what had remained of Palestine where it continues expelling the indigenous population to build illegal settlements to which Palestinians (who are generally referred to as Arabs to give the impression they are intruders rather than natives) have no access. Resistance against the occupation, such as with the intifadas, the PLO and Hamas was used to justify permanent roadblocks and checkpoints limiting their movements.
Over time Palestine disappeared from most official maps in favour of a larger Israel, encouraging the public belief that Palestine doesn't actually exist.
Israel's permanent human rights violations have led to a lot of UN resolutions against it, but the United States vetoed them so they couldn't be implemented. In retaliation Israel also started attacking UN facilities and personnel.
Human rights violations of Israel, besides the usual massacres, include (but are not limited to) unlawful killings, extrajudicial executions, torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions, excessive use of force, forced evictions and demolitions, restrictions of freedom of movement, speech and assembly, impunity, withholding fuel and energy, dehydration, denying travel permits for medical treatment, child imprisonment and collective punishment.
Israel also has a flourishing weapons industry and is able to market its products as combat-proven after having tested them on Palestinians.
In order to gain support for the genocide Israel strongly plays the anti-Semitism card and gets away with it. Anybody calling for human rights for Palestinians is branded an anti-Semite (which is quite ironic since Palestinians are Semites as well), and some countries even criminalise those who oppose Israeli racism by calling for boycotts and sanctions.
Most Arab countries had been part of the Ottoman Empire until they were occupied after the First World War, receiving more or less national independence later on. Many of these countries became increasingly rich (well, at least their elite) because of their oil production, so there was no danger of them turning towards communism. This would have made them the perfect prey for the United States; yet, as the US are crucial supporters of the elimination of Palestine (one of the Arab nations) and the genocide of Palestinians, relations between the Arab countries and the United States have always been quite tense.

In 1949 another totalitarian communist country emerged after a long civil war: the People’s Republic of China. It is the world's most populous country and soon became one of the largest economies but mostly stayed out of Western politics. And because of the size of its army China has been left alone by the Western countries since.

One of the countries that were partitioned following WWII was Korea. In 1950, when the popularity of Syngman Rhee (the US-appointed leader of the South) was at an all-time low Kim Il-Sung (the Soviet-appointed leader of the North) saw his opportunity to reunite the country - under his rule, of course - and sent troops into the South. The USSR, which reluctantly supported Il-Sung, had made the mistake of boycotting the UN meeting and thus couldn’t exercise their veto when it was decided to intervene.
When steel workers in the US decided to go on strike during the war in 1952 President Truman simply nationalised the steel industry. A few weeks later the Supreme Court decided in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer that he had no authority to do so.
The Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice re-establishing the status quo. The only difference were the dead: 180,000 military casualties on the side of South Korea and the UN, and up to 750,000 on the side of North Korea and their allies (China and the USSR). - Oh yes, a few million civilians were killed as well.
No peace treaty has been signed, however, and technically North and South Korea are still at war.

The fear of communist infiltration, spread since the emergence of the USSR and further fuelled by that of the People's Republic of China, was a welcome opportunity to curtail free speech and civil rights and to silence critics. In 1945 the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) became a standing committee trying to find evidence of communism. In March 1947 President Truman signed the Loyalty Order with the aim to remove all communist sympathisers from the federal government. The programme led to an enormous increase in FBI staff and influence of its director J Edgar Hoover, and Senate committees for finding communists were established.
The HUAC had repeatedly investigated and subpoenaed alleged communists in Hollywood for allegedly inserting communist propaganda into their films, and from 1947 a blacklist prevented accused individuals from finding work in the film industry. Some went underground, others left the country or - in case they'd been away at the time - stayed away, such as Charlie Chaplin.
In 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy gave a speech at the Republican Woman's Club in Wheeling during which he claimed he had a list of known communists who were working for the State Department. And even though this list never surfaced and the number of names it supposedly contained changed by the day his witch hunt led to another wave of hysteria, known as the Second Red Scare, that saw uncountable families ruined by hundreds being incarcerated and thousands being fired from their jobs.

And communists were not the only ones McCarthy considered a security risk, he also went after homosexuals. Since homosexuality was a criminal offence at the time he argued that they were at higher risk of being blackmailed, especially by - you guessed it - communists. The Lavender Scare resulted in Republican President Dwight D Eisenhower's Executive Order 10450 in 1953 which effectively banned homosexuals from federal employment and led to thousands losing their jobs. The ban was repealed in 1998.
Homosexuals were banned from serving in the armed forces until 1994 when the ban was replaced with a Don't ask, don't tell policy which was repealed in 2010. Sexual orientation was added to the military's equal opportunity policy in 2015.

Since George Washington had decided to retire after two terms in office the two term limit had become an unwritten law, and very few presidents ran for a third one. After Franklin D Roosevelt had been the first to get elected for a third and even a fourth term the 22nd Amendment was passed in 1947 and ratified in 1951 which limited the presidency to a maximum of two full terms.

Even though the United States considered themselves a stronghold against fascism until 2016 they had no problem supporting and trading with fascist regimes, and not only in the exploited countries ('developing countries'). In 1953 the Pact of Madrid was signed which provided economic and military aid to fascist Spain; having remained neutral during the Second World War it was the only European country in which fascism survived until dictator Franco's death in 1975.

In 1953 Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh planned to nationalise the country’s oil industry which was approved by parliament but opposed by British and American oil companies and their mate Shah Reza Pahlavi. Therefore the United Kingdom and the United States organised a coup d'état in which Mosaddegh was overthrown and left the country to the tyranny of the Shah and his buddies.

Since 1924 J Edgar Hoover had been director of the Bureau of Investigation and its successor, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which under him became the unofficial but factual fourth branch of government with accountability to no one.
Under the guise of fighting communism and enemies of the state and rarely acting within the legal framework he targeted civil rights activists, homosexuals and anybody deemed 'subversive', i.e. questioning the status quo, not only by spying on them, raiding their homes, arresting or killing them but also by slandering them (most famously Martin Luther King).
Successive presidents feared him, and there are indications that he might have blackmailed politicians.
While fighting federal crime was his bureau's responsibility, and in blatant disregard of the evidence, Hoover kept denying the existence of a nationwide network of organised crime. It is widely thought that Hoover himself was homosexual; this, in addition to his gambling addiction, would have made him vulnerable to blackmail and could explain his refusal to investigate the Mafia.
In November 1957 police raided a suspicious meeting in Apalachin, New York, and uncovered the nationwide network of organised crime. This event led to Hoover eventually including organised crime on his agenda.

In 1959 Alaska and Hawaii became the last states admitted to date.

In the 1950s Cuba’s head of state was the dictator Batista who had seized power in a coup in 1952, but the country was run (‘governed’ would be an exaggeration) by his mates from the Mafia, loosely supervised by the US administration.
There were several attempts of Cubans to regain control of their island; in 1959 a revolution led by Che Guevera and the Castro brothers succeeded, and US businesses, especially refineries, in Cuba were nationalised.
The United States ordered their satrapies to join them in embargoes and boycotts against Cuba, forcing Fidel Castro to establish closer connections with the USSR to get supplies and prevent an invasion.
After the CIA had conspired with the Cosa Nostra to assassinate Castro and frequent terror attacks on Cuba had been carried out a conspiracy of the CIA, the Chicago Outfit and Cuban exiles under President Eisenhower planned to invade the island from the Bay of Pigs and re-colonise Cuba in 1961. When Democrat John F Kennedy replaced him as president he decided to go ahead with the plan. Although the necessity of aircraft supporting the attack was pointed out to him he refused (apart from a number of bombers that, crudely painted to look like Cuban air force and flown by Cuban exiles, were to destroy the Cuban airfields in advance); he wanted the world to think it was a Cuban counter-revolution and intended on covering up any involvement of the US. Furthermore, he seriously believed that the Cuban people would join them in their fight against Castro.
The Cubans, against his expectations, did not assist them against their government, and the paramilitaries were quickly defeated.
After this fiasco sanctions against Cuba were tightened even more, and terrorist attacks on Cuba continued.
This was where the Cold War got really hot. For the Cubans another US invasion was only a matter of time, and they agreed with the USSR to position nuclear missiles in Cuba as a deterrent.
The missiles were detected by US intelligence in October 1962, followed by President Kennedy ordering a naval blockade on Cuba to prevent them from being delivered, as well as giving Cuba an ultimatum to dismantle the existing ones.
The Americans were petrified at the discovery of nuclear weapons on their doorstep; they had always believed their geographical isolation would guarantee their safety. For a few days, the world stopped its breath.
Kennedy negotiated with Soviet General Secretary Khrushchev, and the Cuban Missile Crisis ended with the removal of the missiles from Cuba and that of all US missiles from Turkey and Italy (which were just as close to the USSR as the Cubans’ to the US) and a formal declaration that the United States would not attempt to invade Cuba again. Kennedy agreed under the condition that the missile removal from Turkey and Italy be kept secret to save face.

The 23rd Amendment which granted the District of Columbia electors in the Electoral College was ratified in 1961.

Also in 1961 the East German government built the Berlin Wall across the divided city in order to stop mass emigration to the West. When Kennedy visited West Berlin in 1963 he addressed the partition of the city, the country and the world and claimed, 'Ich bin ein Berliner' which could mean either 'I am a Berliner' or 'I am a donut'.

After having been humiliated in the Bay of Pigs Kennedy had to prove himself: 'Now we have a problem in making our power credible,' he said, 'and Vietnam looks like the place.'
Vietnam, which had been part of French Indochina, was invaded by Japan after France surrendered to Germany in 1940, and the Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh, had started an independence war, supported by the USSR.
In 1945 they had finally kicked out the French and Japanese and proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Shortly afterwards the French tried to restore colonial rule which led to the First Indochina War and ended with the Geneva Conference at which Indochina was divided into the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), the State of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Laos. The North was left to Ho Chi Minh and the South to the French who put former emperor Bao Dai (who lived in Paris) in charge; Bao Dai appointed Ngo Dhin Diem (whom the French themselves described as 'not only incapable but mad') as his prime minister. It was also decided that free elections for a reunited Vietnam be held in 1956.
The Viet Minh reluctantly agreed to the proposal. But when Diem (who in the meantime had ousted Bao Dai) refused to hold elections, claiming Ho Chi Minh would cheat anyway, and the advisors of US President Eisenhower informed him that free elections would give Ho Chi Minh anything from 80% upwards the elections were cancelled.
At this point the guerrilla activities in South Vietnam recommenced, and in 1960 the National Liberation Front (NLF), also known as the Viet Cong, was established.
As the United States, just like the USSR, didn’t tolerate independence, they claimed North Vietnam was a satellite state of the USSR, and between 1961 and 1963 President Kennedy (who called the Cold War a holy war) sent, in breach of the Geneva agreement, thousands of additional military advisors (including 400 Green Berets) and 300 helicopters (complete with pilots) to South Vietnam who should help them conquer the North. He also authorised the use of Agent Orange, a defoliant which conveniently cripples people as well and approved the Strategic Hamlet Program which forcibly removed the rural population in order to 'protect' them from communist influences.
John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963. While the Warren Commission concluded in 1964 that gunman Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979 came to the conclusion that he was part of a conspiracy.
Kennedy's successor Lyndon B. Johnson ('Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?') used the fictional Gulf of Tonkin Incident to launch a full-scale war on North Vietnam, involving – besides South Vietnam - Cambodia and Laos as well. As the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and the NLF were armed and dangerous most actions were directed against civilians in form of area bombardments, using cluster bombs, napalm and Agent Orange. During the Vietnam War the United States dropped three times as many bombs as in the Second World War.
The amount of US casualties went far beyond their imagination, due to advanced guerrilla tactics and the population’s support of Ho Chi Minh and the NLF. Many of the aircraft that brought the troops in transported heroin and opium to the States on their way back (that way the war did pay off, though not for everybody).

On March 15, 1968, Captain Ernest Medina, believing that a large number of Vietcong were hiding in the village of My Lai, gave the order to destroy everything that was 'walking, crawling or growing' in it the following day. All civilians, he claimed, would have gone to market by 7am.
When the soldiers arrived the next morning they found a peaceful hamlet with no sign of enemy activity, and platoon leader William Calley gave orders to kill everybody. Only three of his men refused to do so at the risk of being court-martialled.
By the time the army broke for lunch they had slaughtered 504 civilians, mostly women and children, many of whom they had raped before they shot or bayoneted them.
Initially covered up the story of the My Lai Massacre broke 18 months later. Participants, including Calley himself, claimed they had 'only followed orders'. (Where have we heard that before?)
Calley was the only one convicted in a subsequent court martial and sentenced to life in 1971 but paroled three years later.
And while this massacre was a particularly horrendous atrocity it was far from being the only one.

The Vietnam War, besides the other Indochina Wars with US involvement, was the first war ever to be televised in the US, so Americans could order a pizza, grab a beer, sit back and watch crying children run through their destroyed villages while burning to death. But it had an unwanted effect on a lot of people: they realised that war wasn’t something abstract, and that all these atrocities happened to actual people. Opposition to the war increased rapidly, especially with almost 60,000 US soldiers having lost their lives (as opposed to three million Vietnamese, a third of whom were armed) in a war that was started merely to boost Kennedy’s damaged ego.
In 1973 the United States had lost the Vietnam War (which, in their absence, continued for another two years and led to the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam).
As a consequence, war journalism was being restricted from showing victims and, due to public pressure, male slavery (‘conscription’ or the ‘draft’) was abolished for a few years; draft registration was re-introduced by President Carter in 1980.

In 1954 the Supreme Court had unanimously ruled in Brown v Board of Education that racial segregation in education was unconstitutional (a ruling which was ignored and protested in many parts of the South). However, it did not address segregation in other areas such as transport.
In March 1955 Claudette Colvin, a feisty black teenager from Montgomery, Alabama, refused to give up her bus seat to white passengers, claiming it was her constitutional right, and was subsequently arrested. At that time the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had considered to test bus segregation in the courts, but they decided to create a precedent with a more mature person to improve their chances. Claudette later became one of five plaintiffs in Browder v Gale in which the Supreme Court affirmed that bus segregation was unconstitutional on November 13, 1956.
In December 1955 Rosa Parks, a black activist in Montgomery, refused to give up her bus seat to white passengers and was arrested. The black community successfully called for a bus boycott which was led by Martin Luther King Jr who was fined $500. King soon became the most prominent activist of the movement as well as its most popular speaker and was arrested on several accounts.

At the same time riots and murders of black people and their supporters spread over Southern states wherever black children and students enlisted in white-only schools and universities, and wherever other segregation measures were challenged.
This was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement which was largely inspired by Gandhi’s concept of civil disobedience and non-violence.

When nine black students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School, Arkansas, in 1957 several segregationist councils decided to block the students from entering the grounds, and Governor Orval Faubus sent in the Arkansas National Guard to support them (the racists, that is). Little Rock's mayor Woodrow Wilson Mann asked President Eisenhower for federal troops to enforce the Supreme Court ruling. Eisenhower reluctantly sent in the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army (without its black soldiers) who ensured the students could enter the building.

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first half-hearted attempt to address racial discrimination.

Beginning with the Dockum Drug Store sit-in a number of lunch counter and other sit-ins were organised in which black activists would sit at the counters without being served. In many cases these sit-ins proved successful.

The Civil Rights Act of 1960 established federal inspection of local voter registration polls and introduced penalties for those attempting to hinder anyone from registering to vote.
This was followed by the 24th Amendment, ratified in 1964, which banned poll taxes and any other taxes in federal elections which were common in Southern states as an instrument to keep the majority of blacks, as well as poor whites, from voting.

Segregation was still practised on interstate buses, and starting in 1961 a number of Freedom Rides took place in which activists would travel South in mixed racial groups. Many were arrested and even more attacked by mobs as police watched.

In September 1962 the registering of James Meredith, escorted by 500 US Marshals, at the University of Mississippi led to the Ole Miss Riot in which two people were killed.

After police in Birmingham, Alabama, bombed the parsonage of Martin Luther King's brother and fellow activist A D King in May 1963 the Birmingham Riot of 1963 broke out which only ended with the deployment of federal troops.

When two black students had registered with the University of Alabama in June 1963 Democratic Governor George Wallace took his Stand in the Schoolhouse Door, blocking the students' entry and repeating his inauguration chant, 'segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.'
President Kennedy responded by issuing Executive Order 11111 which federalised the Alabama National Guard whom he ordered to clear the way for the students. After a short discussion with the general Wallace eventually moved.

On August 28 the March on Washington took place at which King held his I Have a Dream speech.

In September the Ku Klux Klan bombed a Baptist church in Birmingham, killing four children. During the riots following the events two teenagers were killed.

In July 1964 the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law which outlaws discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex or national origin.

After a state trooper shot and killed a protester in Marion, Alabama, in March 1965 a march from Selma to Montgomery was organised for March 7 but not allowed by the governor. It took place anyway, and around 600 protesters were violently attacked by police and a white militia in what became known as Bloody Sunday. Two days later Martin Luther King (who had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a few months prior) led a second march which was attended by 2,500. During the march one protester was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
After a federal judge ruled in favour of the protesters 25,000 turned up for a third march on March 25. The event concluded with a Stars for Freedom concert by some of the leading musicians of the time. Later that night Klan members murdered one of the activists who was bringing marchers from Montgomery back in her car.

In August the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed which prohibits racial discrimination against voters, including obstacles such as literacy tests.
Riots and murders continued over the following years, and in 1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated (leading to the greatest civil unrest in a century) as the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was underway which provided for equal housing opportunities.

With the growing support the civil rights movement had received from Democrats elsewhere the Southern Democrats became more and more alienated from their party.
In 1963 the assassination of a president, for the second time in a century, had left the civil rights issue in the hands of a racist Southern Democrat. But other than Andrew Johnson who dedicated his presidency to reversing the process Lyndon B decided to push his predecessor's agenda despite his long record of opposing civil rights. There is some speculation about the reason, the most plausible explanation being that he realised that the legislation couldn't be stopped, anyway, and that supporting it could make him a civil rights hero.
The night after signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, according to his press aide Bill Moyers, he said, 'I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come.'
The success of the civil rights movement disillusioned many white supremacists in the South who traditionally voted for Democrats. In the 1964 presidential election Johnson stood against Republican Barry Goldwater who openly opposed racial equality and who carried six states, five of them in the South. In 1968 five Southern States voted for Alabama's former Democratic Governor George 'Stand in the Schoolhouse Door' Wallace who ran for the white supremacist American Independent Party against Democrat Hubert Humphrey and Republican Richard Nixon who won the election. In 1972 all Southern States voted for Nixon, and over the years the Southern Strategy paid off and the Republican Party became the predominant party in the South. Democratic candidates only have a chance if they are Southerners themselves, such as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton (despite the disappointment Lyndon B Johnson had caused).

Following a survey she had conducted at a class reunion Betty Friedan wrote an article called The Feminine Mystique which no magazine would publish. So she decided to write a book by that title which was published in 1963 and which sparked the Second Wave Feminist Movement. While the first movement at the beginning of the century had focussed on women's suffrage the new movement challenged traditional gender roles and demanded equal opportunities and rights for women, especially in regard to employment. Some laws to that effect already existed but were not enforced, and in 1966 Friedan co-founded the National Organization for Women (NOW) to address these issues.
And even though the movement had a number of legislative victories inequalities such as the gender gap (amongst other inequalities) still exists.

In 1965 the Supreme Court in Griswold v Connecticut deduced the right of privacy from the Bill of Rights and ruled that laws prohibiting the use of contraceptives were unconstitutional.

After a fight ensued between police and a black driver they had stopped for reckless driving the Watts Riots broke out in Los Angeles on August 11, 1965 over allegations of police brutality. National Guards were brought in two days later.
Fighting and looting continued until August 16, and 34 people were killed, 31 of them by law enforcement officials.

In 1967 the 25th Amendment was adopted which clarified the succession of the vice president to the presidency in case of the president's removal from office, death or resignation. It also established certain procedures regarding the vice presidency.

Later in 1967 the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v Virginia that state laws banning interracial marriages were unconstitutional after Mildred and Richard Loving had been sentenced to a year in prison for marrying each other.

The 1968 Democratic Convention took place in the wake of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, brother of John F Kennedy, who had decided to seek the Democratic nomination that year.
The convention was accompanied by large protests of Vietnam War opponents, and when one of them lowered the United States flag he was violently attacked by police, leading to the Chicago Police Riot.

In 1966 the Mafia had opened the Stonewall Inn in Lower Manhattan as a gay bar with the purpose of blackmailing some of their more distinguished customers. The establishment had no licence, no running water and no fire exits. Once a week a policeman would collect a payment, and management were tipped off about raids in advance.
However, it seems that police became dissatisfied with their share, and on June 28, 1969, an unannounced raid took the Stonewall Inn by surprise.
Rather than going home the ones who were released from the bar after showing their ID remained in front of the building and made fun of the policemen, attracting a large crowd from passers-by and the neighbourhood who applauded them on their effeminate performance.
Transvestites defended themselves against police with their purses, someone called for gay power and another for something to be done. Others claimed that inside the bar customers were beaten up, and the crowd started throwing coins and bottles at a police wagon which they then tried to overturn.
Police knocked a few people down and started arresting bystanders. Garbage was stuffed through the windows and then lit; police tried to disperse the crowd with a fire hose, but because it had no water pressure it only encouraged them.
Soon reinforcements arrived, freed the policemen trapped in the pub and managed to push the crowd back.
The riots recommenced the following night.
Christopher Street Liberation Day was celebrated on the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in the first Gay Pride march in the US which has become an annual event, and in 1973 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality from the DSM.

In 1971 the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years.

In June 1972 five men broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington, DC. It soon became clear, especially through the efforts of two Washington Post journalists who were anonymously assisted by the associate director of the FBI, that this break-in was part of a large operation of Republicans to secure the re-election of President Richard Nixon by spying on his Democratic opponents. The investigation, even though repeatedly obstructed, led to top officials of the Nixon administration while Nixon himself kept denying any knowledge or involvement.
When it became known that Nixon had taped all of his conversations in the White House he was urged to release the tapes but refused until in July 1974 he was ordered to do so by the Supreme Court. The tapes revealed that he was personally involved in the cover-up of the conspiracy, and in order to avoid impeachment (which was afoot already) he resigned on August 9, becoming the only president to date to do so. His successor Gerald Ford pardoned him a month later.

It may come as a surprise that the American feminist movement had been pro-life until they were approached by Dr Bernard Nathanson and Lawrence Lader who promoted abortion rights for different reasons, neither of them being related to feminism (' We're going to have to recruit the feminists; Friedan has got to put her troops into this thing'). They approached the feminists, and soon the same mindset of dehumanisation that causes white people to regard blacks as chattel and to make bridle reins out of the skin of Indians was applied to the embryo, reducing her or him to a 'tissue blob', a 'lump of cells' or, at best, a 'potential human life'.

In a perverted twist of justice the all-male United States Supreme Court in 1973 (Roe v Wade) placed the right to privacy above the right to life and ruled that abortion was a 'fundamental right' of the mother. With an estimated 60 million children aborted in the US since 1973 (that’s 60,000,000, a number equivalent to the entire populations of California and Florida put together), the Supreme Court decision has killed as many as the Second World War.
Since 1995 Congress had passed several bills to at least ban intact dilation and extraction ‘abortions’, better known as partial birth abortions, which are technically not abortions since the child is delivered first and killed afterwards, by a procedure which is particularly painful (for the child, that is). However, these bills were vetoed by President Bill Clinton, and the ban was only signed into law in 2003 by President Bush Jr.
Ironically Norma McCorvey (the plaintiff in Roe v Wade) never had an abortion and subsequently changed her views. In her book Won by Love she writes, ‘I was sitting in O.R.'s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. “Norma,” I said to myself, “They're right.” [...] It's as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth.'
She remained a pro-life activist until her death in 2017 and has unsuccessfully petitioned to have the 1973 decision overturned.

In 1973 the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) placed an oil embargo on countries supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War, leading to the 1973 oil crisis.

In 1978 the 1st Amendment was extended to American Indians with the passing of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

After a revolution in 1978 Afghanistan had become a communist, yet officially non-aligned, country under President Taraki.
In 1979 the General Secretary of the USSR, Leonid Brezhnev, advised him to dispose of his Prime Minister Hafizullah Amin because of his pro-Western attitude. Amin was lured into an ambush but managed to escape; he returned with army troops and arrested Taraki (who was murdered later).
As a consequence Afghanistan was invaded by the USSR in December 1979. Amin was killed three days later.
There was an international outcry - the US and their satrapies reacted with sanctions and embargoes, and most Western countries boycotted the Olympic Games 1980 in Moscow.
In order to support opposition to the Soviets the United States started funding the Afghan mujahideen, leading to the creation of al-Qaeda and ultimately the Islamic State.
The Soviets who expected to defeat Afghanistan within a few weeks had to face fiercer resistance than anticipated - their war lasted for over 9 years and ended with the withdrawal of their troops. It was often referred to as the USSR’s Vietnam.

In Iran which had been terrorised by its leader Shah Reza Pahlavi for almost four decades opposition to the monarchy increased rapidly, despite soldiers shooting into the crowds of protesters. He had allowed the country to be shamelessly exploited by the United States while torturing and killing all critics and opponents of his regime.
He had to flee Iran in January 1979, following the outbreak of the Iranian Revolution, and, after travelling from one country to the next, went to the United States for free medical treatment. Democratic President Jimmy Carter didn't want him to enter the country but was put under pressure by others, including Henry (Heinz Alfred) Kissinger (who, as Nixon's Secretary of State, had been responsible for most of the carnage in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). Kissinger threatened to withhold his support for SALT II, a decommissioning agreement with the USSR. Reportedly Carter hung up the phone, shouting, 'Fuck the Shah!'
There were emerging democratic voices in Iran, but the overwhelming majority hailed the return of Ayatollah Khomeini from exile, a radical fundamentalist who, following a referendum, created an isolationist Islamic state.
In the following years Khomeini had more than 20,000 opponents executed.
In November 1979 an angry mob stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took the remaining staff hostage, demanding Pahlavi’s extradition to try him for his crimes.
The negotiations led nowhere as President Carter refused the exchange; one rescue attempt failed, and after the Iranian despot died of cancer in July 1980, negotiations continued with a new set of demands. In the end an agreement was reached (the Algiers Accords), the main points being that the United States return Iranian assets that had been frozen under Carter and refrain from interfering in internal affairs.
On January 20, 1981, while Republican Ronald Reagan (who had left Hollywood to become president) was sworn into office, the remaining 52 hostages were released. According to Abolhassan Banisadr, who was president of Iran at the time, the release had been delayed until after the US presidential election at the behest of the Reagan campaign to prevent Jimmy Carter's re-election.

Also in 1979 US protégé Saddam Hussein took over the reigning Ba’ath Party in Iraq and assumed the presidency.
In 1980, taking advantage of the unstable situation in Iran, Hussein used the continuous border disputes to wage war on his neighbour, and Reagan and several Western European countries gladly supplied him with materiel and military intelligence.
In order to keep Iran safe from being sucked into the Soviet sphere, Reagan would have liked to provide them with arms, too, but an arms embargo against them prevented that. Also, he would have liked to help the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua to overthrow their democratically elected government, but the Boland Amendment stood in the way. The solution was simple: Israel supplied Iran with weapons and got resupplied from the United States. The proceeds were used to arm and train the Contras. Besides, the deal also helped to release the Hezbollah hostages in Lebanon. The Iran-Contra Affair was exposed in 1986.
Besides the United States the USSR also provided weapons to both sides of the conflict.
The war ended in 1988, with neither side having achieved anything.

Lynchings were an integral part of the white Southern culture since the existence of free blacks. In many cases pictures and souvenirs were taken and postcards depicting the lynchings sent to friends.
1981 saw the last recorded lynching in the United States. After a court trial against a black man didn't meet the expectations of Klansmen in Alabama they decided to make an example of a random black person by lynching them.
That random person was 19 year old Michael Donald.
Even though the local police chief had suspected the Klan from the start investigations focussed on a possible drug deal gone awry, and soon the case was ready to be closed.
Donald's mother contacted black rights activist Jessie James who organised a protest march. Eventually the FBI investigated the case, and first arrests were made in 1983; three Klan members were sentenced to life imprisonment and one, Henry Francis Hays, to death. He was executed in 1997, becoming the first white murderer of a black victim to receive the death penalty since 1913 and the only Ku Klux Klan member to be executed in that century.
In 1987 Donald's mother filed a civil lawsuit against the United Klans of America for his wrongful death and was awarded $7 million by an all-white jury, thus bankrupting the organisation.

In October 1983 Reagan ordered the Invasion of Grenada by US forces following internal differences of its government which had led to the murder of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. He tried to justify the invasion with concerns about the safety of 600 medical students from the United States. The invasion was condemned by the General Assembly of the UN.

After a bomb had exploded and killed three people in a discotheque in West Berlin (which was frequented by soldiers of the occupying US Army) Reagan decided that Libya was responsible and ordered the bombing of Tripoli and other Libyan targets. 40 Libyans were killed in the US bombing of Libya in 1986, the vast majority being civilians.

For decades the government of South Africa had practiced apartheid, a system of racial segregation that ensured that the white minority remained in power while blacks and others were left with almost no rights. Any organisations promoting rights for blacks were banned, such as the African National Congress (ANC), and many of its members, such as Nelson Mandela who had sabotaged government property, imprisoned. Protests against these policies were brutally suppressed and demonstrators massacred on a regular basis.
South Africa was an important trading partner of the United States and many Western European countries, and therefore sanctions against them were not an option. In defending their economic relations with the apartheid state, it was regularly argued that it was necessary to have a strong anti-communist ally on the subcontinent, regardless of their human rights violations.
But what the world’s governments refused to do was done by the people. Over the years a growing number of organisations and individuals boycotted all products from South Africa and from companies who operated in South Africa and numerous university campuses, states, cities and corporations joined the divestment campaign against South Africa and companies doing business with them. Conservative politicians in the States and Western Europe tried to stop the movement by claiming it would hurt the ones they purported to help and implying it would be better to let things sort themselves out, but to no avail.
In 1986 the movement was given a surprise boost when Congress passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act and overrode President Reagan's veto.
Economically brought to its knees South Africa had to give in. In 1990 President de Klerk removed the ban on organisations such as the ANC and freed Nelson Mandela (whom Western leaders still denounced as a communist terrorist). The process of ending apartheid culminated in the general election in 1994 in which Mandela was elected president.
Nelson Mandela remained on the United States' terrorism watch list until 2008.

Because the vast majority of Indian reservations are located in barren wastelands that were of no interest to others most of the tribes rely on government aid to survive.
The constitutional right to tribal sovereignty has been the subject of a number of Supreme Court decisions. In Worcester v Georgia in 1932 it ruled that only the federal government was authorised to deal with Indian affairs, not the individual states, and in Bryan v Itasca County in 1980 it decided that individual states had no right to tax Indian property on tribal lands.
In Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Butterworth it ruled that statutes regarding gaming in Florida could not be enforced on tribal land. A few years later two Cahuilla tribes near Palm Springs, California, started operating bingo parlours and a poker club which were open to the public. State officials attempted to shut them down in 1986 since they violated state regulations, but in California v Cabazon Band of Mission Indians in 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that because gambling was regulated but not a criminal act in California the state had no right to impose its regulations on tribal land.
The decision encouraged other tribes to open casinos, and some of them are now self-sufficient due to their profits from gaming.

In November 1986 Congress approved a Covenant to establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Union with the United States. Like Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands the Northern Mariana Islands remain an inhabited colony ('territory') of the United States.

During his presidency Reagan launched a defence programme unequalled in history, including his massive futuristic Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), known as the Star Wars Program, just in case. Of course cutting benefits for the neediest alone couldn't pay for it, and during his presidency Reagan tripled the national debt, turning the US from being the world's largest international creditor to being its largest debtor.
The logic of those days was that if the US had the capacity of destroying the planet twenty times over while the USSR could only manage to destroy it a dozen times, they had some serious catching up to do. The arms race had reached its peak.
In 1982 General Secretary Brezhnev died. Two successors followed his example within three years, and in 1985 the Politburo elected one of its few members not suffering from old age. Enter the most tragic character of the century: Mikhail Gorbachev.
The USSR, just like their satrapies, were in dire straits. Economical mismanagement had forced them to buy more and more grain from other countries, mostly the US, and the arms race as well as the strenuous war against Afghanistan had exhausted their international financial credibility. Communism was bankrupt.
On top of this the population had become restless. The communists had eliminated starvation and homelessness, but at a price not everyone was willing to pay. Personal freedom was almost non-existent; everybody’s life was organised and controlled in every detail, and since the 60s the right to travel to countries outside the states of the Warsaw Pact had been severely restricted, due to the amount of people defecting to the West. A lot of products were not available, for others there were long waiting lists, and sometimes even food was rationed. (Much of this was due to the fact that the colonies of the USSR, which covered about a third of the globe, were less resourceful than the US’ colonies.)
While trying to hold on to the achievements of communism, Gorbachev aimed at a society that provided personal freedom, democracy and transparency. But things got out of hand: the people didn’t want to wait any longer and went on the streets, strikes and demonstrations paralysed the system, and every little province declared its independence.
In East Germany the leading Stalinist party SED dissolved; the other Stalinist parties were bought over by West German parties and in 1990 voted to be annexed to West Germany. The treaty also involved the Allied Forces who agreed to end the occupation.
To interfere the old-fashioned way by sending in troops and tanks would have defeated the purpose, and therefore Gorbachev didn’t even consider it. And as there was no other way of dealing with the situation, he just had to watch as things happened.
In August 1991 a coup of communist Party hardliners attempting to re-establish the old order failed, but their defeat elevated the Russian President Boris Yeltsin to the position of a hero while further weakening Gorbachev. (And I wouldn’t be surprised if he had been behind the coup himself for exactly this purpose.)
In December 1991 the USSR formally disbanded, despite a referendum in March of that year in which 77% voted in favour of preserving the union (the only referendum ever held in the USSR), and Gorbachev delegated all his powers (including the use of nuclear weapons) to Yeltsin. I still believe that before 2017 the world was never as close to a nuclear disaster as when this megalomaniac drunkard was in control (and this takes into account the Cuban Missile Crisis).
He introduced unfettered capitalism to Russia almost overnight, causing drastic inflation, falling incomes and widespread poverty, unemployment and homelessness.
On September 21, 1993, after they repeatedly refused to vote as he had instructed and objected his strive for dictatorial powers, Yeltsin declared the Russian parliament dissolved without having the authority to do so. Following a Constitutional Court ruling that Yeltsin had violated the constitution the parliament (whose deputies had refused to leave the building) impeached him and declared Vice President Rutskoy president. Thousands of protesters gathered as the army surrounded the building, and when parliament supporters tried to take over a nearby TV station they opened fire and killed between 187 (according to police) and 2,000 (according to witnesses) of them. - But Yeltsin was not a communist, and that’s what made him a democrat in the eyes of the US.

With the dissolution of the USSR communism was largely defeated, and no longer did the government have to pretend to care about the individual in order to prevent communist sympathies. Therefore Reagan and his familiars, such as Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain and Helmut Kohl in West Germany, spread the policies of neoliberalism which has destroyed Western civilisations ever since. In the name of the 'free market' large corporations, besides their virtual tax-free status, would be showered with enormous grants and concessions while at the same time social security measures would be severely cut (with the aim of eventually being entirely abolished), public services ruined by underfunding in order to justify their privatisation and excessively increasing unemployment and homelessness used to create fierce competition over the most substandard workplaces and accommodations. Besides this regular bank failures would lead to bailouts by the working class and be used as a pretext for austerity measures against the most vulnerable.

David Attenborough, rephrasing Kenneth Boulding, once said, 'Anyone who believes in indefinite growth on a physically finite planet is either mad or an economist.'
The concept of the ever-increasing exploitation of ever-decreasing resources in the name of the economy may appear illogical; and it is, but only when we look at the bigger picture. For the individual, as far as they can judge, the resources will be available for the rest of their lifetime, and anything beyond that is of no interest to them. Furthermore, the vast majority of the proponents of capitalism are Christians, and for two millennia Christians have believed the Second Coming is just around the corner; this means that they don't have to worry about the future of the planet or of mankind because their deity will fix everything soon, anyway. So there are three possible reasons for supporting capitalism: egoism, Christian beliefs or ignorance.

Ruling the World: 1989-Present

This was the time for the Bush dynasty. Republican George Bush Sr (whose father Prescott Bush had established the family fortune from the spoils of the concentration camps by financing the Nazi government in Germany, defying the Trading With the Enemy Act of 1942) became president in 1989 and was faced with the biggest dilemma the US ever had to face: they’d run out of enemies and were in control of the world.
A world without conflict would prove disastrous, both for the United States whose economy is dependent on the manufacturing of weapons, and for George Bush himself as an investor of the Carlyle Group (also known as the Ex-Presidents' Club), an equity firm with a focus on weapons contractors, where he got his son, future president George Bush Jr, a job on the Board of Directors of Caterair, one of their companies.
Over the previous decades, the idealistic conflict with the USSR had provided the pretext to produce and hoard weapons like there was no tomorrow; now it wasn’t there any more. There was only one solution: a new archenemy!

To choose a single nation would have been silly, because after its defeat a new enemy would have to be found; this only left a race, an ideology or a religion to pick from.
As mentioned earlier, the US support of the genocide in Palestine had always put a great strain on their relations with the Arab world, so Bush chose War on Islam.
The ideal point to start with was Iraq. Hussein (the Americans, however, still call their old buddy by his first name) had fought the tiring war against Iran, he had used up the chemical and biological weapons the US had provided to get rid of the Kurds, and his country was worn out. He needed money - and his best bet was to get oil.
- Hussein wanted to expand Iraq, he needed money to pay off his debts from the war against Iran, and there had always been border disputes with Kuwait (which, as he argued, was historically a part of Iraq, anyway); what better way of starting the war than encouraging him to invade his neighbour?
In a meeting in 1990, US ambassador Glaspie assured Hussein, ‘We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary [of State] Baker has directed me to emphasize the instructions first given in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.’
The Iraqi leader took the bait and invaded and annexed Kuwait in August 1990. Bush and the world were appalled (Bush even pretended that the United States were suddenly concerned about the Kurds), the UN condemned the invasion, and the US led a coalition to liberate Kuwait in the Gulf War. (Hussein offered to withdraw from Kuwait if Israel would withdraw from the occupied areas in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, but of course this wasn’t considered.) One month later Iraq was defeated, and the Carlyle Group was saved.
Following the war Hussein remained in office, but he was not allowed to possess biological or chemical weapons any more.

After the United States' relations with their puppet leader of Panama, dictator Manuel Noriega, had deteriorated and civil unrest against his government increased significantly Bush decided to invade Panama and arrest Noriega in Operation Just Cause in 1989 which cost the lives of hundreds (according to some sources thousands) of civilians and left 20,000 homeless.
On December 29 the General Assembly of the United Nations voted to condemn the invasion as a flagrant violation of international law. A similar resolution of the Security Council was, of course, vetoed by the US as well as Great Britain and France.

According to the 2010 United State Census the US population was 308,745,538 at that time, 303,524,959 of them being immigrants or their descendents.
However, many of those whose ancestors had immigrated to North America in the past started opposing further immigration - some in general while others only wanted certain races, religions or nationalities excluded.
During the mid-1800s the Nativist movement formed which wanted to restrict citizenship to the white 'natives' originating from the Thirteen Colonies. This movement was particularly opposed to immigrants who were in any way different - be it because of their culture, their religion or the colour of their skin. Their main targets were Catholics in general and the Irish who fled the Great Famine and the Italians in particular as well as Jews, Germans and Asians.
Initially immigration was regulated by the individual states. The first federal law regarding immigration was the Page Act of 1875 which banned the immigration of Asians to 'end the danger of cheap Chinese labor and immoral Chinese women.'
In 1876 the Supreme Court ruled in Chy Lung v Freeman that immigration legislation was the responsibility of the federal government.
1882 saw the passing of the aforementioned Chinese Exclusion Act (did exactly what it said on the tin) and the first Immigration Act which imposed a tax on non-citizens entering the country and prevented certain people, i.e. criminals, the insane and those unable to support themselves, from immigrating.
The Immigration Act of 1917 extended the criteria for persons to be refused and was the first to provide for a literacy test to combat the influx of unskilled labourers (an act to that effect had already passed in 1897 but was vetoed by President Cleveland). It also created an Asiatic Barred Zone from which nobody could immigrate.
The Emergency Quota Act of 1921 was the first to set a quota for immigration from other countries.
Following WWII the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 temporarily provided for the immigration of those whom the war had left displaced.
The McCarran Act of 1950 banned communists from immigrating to the US.
In 1954 Operation Wetback targeted supposedly illegal immigrants from Mexico. During the operation hundreds of US citizens were arrested and deported without being given an opportunity to prove their citizenship.
The Hart-Celler Act of 1965 changed the quota system, gave preference to persons with relatives in the US and removed racial and national barriers but maintained the ban on 'sexual deviants'.
The Refugee Act of 1980 redefined the term 'refugee' in accordance with United Nations requirements, raised the limitation for refugees, provided emergency procedures in case the limitation was exceeded and established clear procedures in dealing with refugees.
In 1989 a lottery system for visas was introduced and incorporated into the Immigration Act of 1990 which also, amongst other provisions, increased the number of immigrants and removed the ban on homosexuals.

After a high speed chase in Los Angeles in 1991 five white police officers brutally attacked Rodney King, the black driver. The assault was videotaped by a witness and used as evidence against the policemen.
When the four officers who had been tried were acquitted on April 29, 1992, the city turned into a battlefield. Police were unable to deal with the widespread rioting and looting, and in the early hours of the following morning National Guard units arrived and a curfew was put in place. The violence continued, and over the next days federal troops were deployed to get the situation under control.
Besides the white population Koreans were also targeted by the rioters. In 1991 a Korean shop owner had killed a black school girl with a shot in the back of the head because she thought she was trying to steal an orange juice and was subsequently fined $500. Since then tensions that already existed between the black and the Korean community had worsened.
By May 3 the situation calmed down, but sporadic violence continued for several days. During the Los Angeles Riots 63 people, most of them black, were killed.

In 1789 Congress had submitted an amendment for ratification according to which any change in the salary of representatives would not come into effect until the next term of the house. Over the next three years it was ratified by only seven states and largely forgotten afterwards. Only in 1982 when a student wrote a paper on it interest resurfaced. Several more states ratified it, and in 1992, after having been ratified by the necessary number of states more than 200 years after its proposal, it became the 27th Amendment.
This leaves the Congressional Apportionment Amendment as the only of the first set of twelve amendments still awaiting ratification.

In 1992 Democrat Bill Clinton was elected president and served two terms. The end of communism had left many Eastern European countries in chaos, and bitter conflicts were the norm. The worst ones were the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War, both of which involved ethnic cleansing, and Clinton initiated NATO involvement in both.

Osama bin Laden, founder of the Muslim terror organisation al-Qaeda, declared war on the United States in 1996 because of their refusal to remove their troops from Saudi Arabia.

In 1999, when both houses had a Republican majority, Clinton became the second president to be impeached. The charges were that of perjury to a grand jury and obstruction of justice. He had lied to the jury by claiming that he didn't have a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, an unpaid intern at the White House (the White House does not pay interns). He was acquitted by the Senate with 55 against 45 and 50 against 50 votes, respectively.

Following George Bush Jr's involvement as a director of Carlyle's Caterair in 1990 the company went down and became known as Craterair. After his failure in business he decided to return to politics and became governor of Texas.
In the meantime his father had become Senior Advisor for Carlyle's Asia Advisory Board and visited potential investors such as the bin Laden family who started investing in Carlyle in 1994.
In 1999 Bush Jr decided to run for president the following year.

Al Gore became the fourth candidate to lose the presidential election despite a majority of voters. In 2000 Republican George Bush Jr, despite losing the popular vote, won one of the closest presidential races ever.
Florida turned out to be decisive in the election. Fortunately its governor Jeb Bush (George Bush's brother) was responsible for the voting system which was designed to exclude as many black and minority voters as possible. Black voters were also reportedly intimidated by police swarming around polling stations, setting up a checkpoint in a black neighbourhood and questioning them on their criminal records.
Bush supposedly won Florida by a majority of 537 out of 5,963,110 votes (= 0.009%) in an election marred by a number of irregularities.
In the end Bush won by a single vote: that of a judge of the Supreme Court which put an end to the recount of votes in Florida in Bush v Gore.

Bush appointed Colin Powell as his Secretary of State, the first black person to hold that position. Black rights activist and singer Harry Belafonte called him a house nigger and elaborated, 'In the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and [there] were those slaves that lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master ... exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him. [...] Colin Powell's committed to come into the house of the master. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture.'

It was a beautiful morning in Washington when the Carlyle Group continued their annual investor conference in the Ritz-Carlton on September 11, 2001. Attendees included high-profile figures such as Shafiq bin Laden, former British Prime Minister John Major and Jim Baker, former Secretary of State under George Bush Sr; the former president himself had already left the conference after giving a speech the previous night. They all felt that this would be a good day for business.

That morning President Bush visited an elementary school in Florida. When he arrived in the hallway he was told that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. 'That's some bad pilot,' he replied and proceeded to the classroom.
Minutes later, as he sat in the class while teacher and children read The Pet Goat to him, his chief of staff came over to tell him that a second plane had flown into the second tower and that the nation was under attack. With a blank stare Bush remained seated until The Pet Goat was finished. He didn't seem surprised; after all, only a month ago he had been briefed by the CIA on an imminent attack by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. He also appeared to be aware that he himself was not in any danger.

In the course of the 9/11 attacks two hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers (which subsequently caught fire and collapsed), one damaged the Pentagon and a fourth was brought down in a field by courageous passengers who, after learning of the previous suicide attacks, tried to overcome the hijackers. 3,000 people died, including firefighters and police.

The Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre and WTC 7 were the only steel-framed skyscrapers ever to entirely collapse supposedly due to fire. There are physicists who argue that this would not have been possible without explosives being placed in the buildings.

Nobody claimed ‘responsibility’ for the attacks.

Bush declared War on Terror, the current perpetual war which conveniently, other than declaring war against a country or organisation, can be carried on indefinitely, regardless of the results. Just like the Red Scare in the days of the USSR the War on Terror became a carte blanche for the suppression of civil rights and the invasion of sovereign nations.
Bush also designated an 'axis of evil', namely Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Saudi Arabia as an important business partner wasn't mentioned and their involvement in 9/11 kept quiet.

Bush kept implying that Saddam Hussein had masterminded the attacks to prepare the public for the planned invasion of Iraq and at the same time delivered an ultimatum to Afghanistan to hand over Osama bin Laden or face attack. The Taliban demanded proof of his guilt which the United States refused to provide. Meanwhile the government organised the safe departure of important Saudis, including members of the bin Laden family, from the States while all other aircraft were still grounded.

A delightful side effect of 9/11 was that Bush had no problem in eliminating civil rights by having the USA PATRIOT ACT (The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) passed just a month after the attacks.

US and UK troops, amongst others, invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to ‘smoke them out of their holes’ for a war that hasn't ended yet and cost the lives of tens of thousands of civilians.

Despite all the efforts the US supposedly put into the manhunt, bin Laden was not captured during George Bush’s presidency. His killing by US Navy in Pakistan was reported in 2011, but the Obama administration refused any requests to release evidence to the public.

In 2002 the Bush administration established the Guantanamo Bay detention camp on their naval base in Cuba. It serves as a military prison, mostly for those captured (or purchased from bounty hunters) during their invasions of Muslim countries. Inmates are detained indefinitely without trial and severely tortured.

Bush had already decided that Iraq would come next in his War on Terror series and launched a massive propaganda campaign claiming that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction again, including biological, chemical and ‘nucilar’ weapons (if I couldn’t pronounce the word nuclear, I’d simply say atomic). Other officials falsely claimed that Iraq harboured Osama bin Laden.
Here the United Nations butted in and got on Bush’s nerves. Created in order to prevent the emergence of other monster empires, the UN had become obsolete with the fall of the USSR, but unfortunately Bush couldn’t just dissolve them. So he offered them co-operation, provided they did as he told them.
Weapons inspectors went back into Iraq and couldn’t find anything, but before they had finished their job Bush and Tony Blair, his British Prime Minister, got impatient and decided to invade Iraq anyway. They gave Hussein and his sons a 48 hour ultimatum to leave Iraq.
On March 20, 2003, they invaded and attacked Iraq.
The invasion was completed and war declared over by Bush on May 1 (‘Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed,’ he stated in front of a Mission Accomplished banner), and Hussein was captured in December (and executed three years later), but fierce resistance against US and British occupation continued until their withdrawal in 2011 after hundreds of thousands of civilians had been killed. (In 2006 the Islamic State was founded on Iraqi territory but largely ignored by the international community.)
Rather than celebrating the US victory a lot of critics kept asking about those weapons of mass destruction which were never found, though they had served as the pretext for this war. - Didn’t these people have a job to go to?
The arrogance of the United States and its satrapies went that far that even at this point they didn’t bother planting chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, something that would have been the first thing to do in the old days.
Yet those insiders who knew that no proof had ever existed and documents had been forged were libelled and, as in the case of British weapons inspector David Kelly, conveniently ‘committed suicide’ before going into detail.

In 2003 the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v Texas that sodomy laws were unconstitutional, invalidating the laws of 14 states that still criminalised homosexual activity.

In 2000 Jean-Bertrand_Aristide won the Haitian presidential elections by a landslide after the opposition had boycotted them, disputing a legislative election earlier that year.
(Aristide had previously been the first democratically elected president in 1990 and was deposed by the Haitian army in a coup d'état the following year. After massive demonstrations of expatriates in the US urging President Bill Clinton to honour his promise to reinstate Aristide and a corresponding UN resolution he was returned to power in Operation Uphold Democracy in 1994 and completed his term.)
As a social reformer in a ravaged country where 80% of the population live in poverty, many despite being full-time employed by US companies to manufacture cheap clothes, he dared to increase the minimum wage besides investing in education, healthcare and housing.
This, of course, cost money, and after centuries of exploitation and decades of terror and corruption Haiti was deeply in debt, limiting his ability to advance the situation of his people. Following his election any assistance from the United States, European countries and the World Bank was refused. Aristide also requested reparations from France regarding an enormous payment the French had extorted from Haiti in exchange for their freedom in 1825, a claim that was generally perceived with amusement by the international community.
Rightwing paramilitaries kept attacking activists and government officials, and when a gang leader was killed in 2003 his brother blamed Aristide and swore vengeance. This was the beginning of a widespread rebellion against the Aristide administration.
On February 28, 2004, when the rebels encroached upon his residence, he required more bodyguards from his US based security firm but this request was sabotaged by the Bush administration.
The following morning a US diplomat, accompanied by several marines, forced him to sign a letter of resignation and put him on an aeroplane to South Africa without revealing its destination.

Just before the next presidential elections in 2004, taking place under similarly dubious circumstances as the previous one, Bush’s campaign was given a final boost by 58,000 absentee ballots that were ‘lost’ on their way to the post as well as by a guest appearance of bin Laden on American TV who threatened the United States and thus supported Bush’s policy of fear, ensuring his re-election.
Bush won the election which cost the lives of thousands of Muslim families. He has always stuck to the motto of his administration which he outlined when he signed the Defense Bill in August 2004, ‘Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we!’

In 2004 John Perkins published his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man in which he claims to have worked as part of a large-scale scam by talking leaders of poor countries into massive loans for construction and engineering projects under the umbrella of the National Security Agency in order to make these countries dependent on the Unites States.
He wrote, 'Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign "aid" organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet's natural resources. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.'

In 2006 the website WikiLeaks was founded by Julian Assange. Its purpose is to provide the public with information that is not generally available (i.e. classified) while protecting whistleblowers at the same time. Over the years WikiLeaks has exposed multiple cases of human rights violations, war crimes, conspiracies and corruption.
Assange is wanted by US authorities and was granted asylum by Ecuador in 2012. He has been living in their London embassy since.

For 220 years the office of the President of the United States had been the monopoly of white males, the most spectacular result having been the election of a Catholic. In 2008 the Democratic Party started to experiment; their last remaining candidates for the presidential election were a woman and a (half-)black man, Hillary Clinton (wife of former president Bill Clinton) and Barack Obama, respectively. Obama won the nomination as well as the presidency. Back in those days it wouldn’t have been possible to say, ‘I don’t want a nigger in the White House,’ so his opponents resorted to questioning his birthplace instead, claiming that he was born in Kenya and thus not qualifying for office (the US Constitution requires that the president has to be a natural born citizen of the US). And even after his birth certificate was released, proving that he was born in Hawaii after it became a state, some conspiracy theorists, such as Donald Trump, continued their campaign.

His greatest achievement was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, generally known as Obamacare, which enabled a lot more people to get health insurance cover. However, the United States remain to this day the only industrialised country without universal healthcare.

Starting in 2010 several Arab nations experienced increasing unrest in what was called the Arab Spring. Protests against their oppressive regimes, many of whom were close trading partners of the United States, swept through the Arab world and were often met with violent responses from authorities. Civil war broke out in some of these countries, and the Islamic State, denounced as a terror group by most Islamic nations, used the opportunity to move into some of their countries, trying to absorb them into their caliphate.
In Libya Colonel Gaddafi, trying to avoid a fate similar to Hussein, announced the voluntary destruction of his nuclear, chemical and biological arsenal in 2003 and invited weapons inspectors, but he was not able to save himself from the wrath of his people, and during the Libyan Civil War in 2011 he was killed by rebel forces, assisted by NATO forces (including the US).
The worst affected arena is Syria where a civil war is raging since 2011, with four different belligerents: the Syrian government and their allies (including Russia), the Free Syrian Army with their allies (including the United States), the Syrian Democratic Forces and their allies (including Russia and the United States) and the Islamic State. Estimates of civilian deaths in the conflict are close to half a million. 8 million have been displaced which led to the worst refugee crisis in decades.

Drones had already been used for surveillance purposes in the Vietnam War, and drone strikes had been organised by the Bush administration in their ‘War on Terror’ to target al-Qaeda and the Taliban, mainly in Pakistan. Obama increased these attacks substantially, even though only 10% of drones kill the intended targets while 90% kill someone else.

One of the clearest examples for the US government's priorities could be seen in California. When the state experienced the most severe drought on record, beginning in 2011, residents were ordered to cut down on water consumption and fines introduced for water waste. At the same time the US Forest Service allowed Nestlé to continue using over 700,000,000 gallons of water annually to produce bottled water on an expired permit.

While the civilised countries have abolished capital punishment long ago 31 of the United States and the federal government are still practicing it. Murder suspects are more likely to receive the death penalty if they belong to a racial minority or the lower classes, especially when their victims were white.
Apart from that, when prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to present to the jury, they often offer the accused a plea bargain; if they plead guilty, they'll be spared the lethal injection. Many have availed of that offer, partly because they preferred to stay alive, partly in the vain hope to get released once they could prove their innocence.
In 2012 William Heirens died after having served a record 65 years in prison. He had been convicted of being the Lipstick Killer who had murdered three women in 1945 and 1946. He was 16 and 17 at the time of the crimes, and his conviction was based on shaky evidence and, eventually, a confession which he later recanted.
Not only have many people like Heirens been executed whose guilt was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but also those whose innocence has been proven (such as Carlos De Luna and Johnny Garrett, a mentally handicapped minor whose conviction was based on the dream of a clairvoyant).
It is thought that at least 4.1% of all death sentences are wrongful.

While legally having equal rights racial minorities in the US are still subjected to discrimination. Police (and white individuals') shootings of black individuals go largely unpunished, racial profiling is still the norm, and the justice system treats blacks and other minorities with different standards than whites.
Following the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and his murderer's acquittal the following year the Black Lives Matter movement began which addresses these issues and tries to raise public awareness.

Global surveillance has always been ridiculed as a conspiracy theory of paranoid nutcases. In 2013 former CIA employee Edward Snowden disclosed material that not only proves the US’ global surveillance programme but also revealed that its extent exceeds the wildest imagination of the theorists. Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia and currently lives in Moscow.

Since the Civil Rights Movement same-sex marriage gradually gained popular support and was legal in most states. In 2015 the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v Hodges in favour of marriage equality and held that the prohibition of same-sex marriages was unconstitutional.

In the Democratic primary for the next presidential election the people’s candidate Bernie Sanders with his liberal agenda did surprisingly well against corporate candidate Hillary Clinton, wife of former president Bill Clinton. Even though mainstream media tended to ignore (and later smear) him, and though his campaign was not financed by any corporations, he found a massive platform on social media and inspired a lot of hopeful citizens to register to vote. However, the Democratic National Committee, supposed to be neutral, strongly campaigned for Clinton who eventually secured the nomination.
She was, however, not very popular with the electorate. WikiLeaks had just revealed that the former secretary of state had used her private email account for state business, as a young Republican in 1964 she supported presidential candidate Barry Goldwater (who had voted against the Civil Rights Act that July) as a Goldwater Girl, a video clip surfaced in which she jokingly boasted about the time when she, as a lawyer, got a child rapist off the hook of whose guilt she was convinced, she stated that the US shouldn’t have allowed, or at least rigged, the 2006 election in Palestine, she kept changing her mind on several issues and was generally perceived as untrustworthy. The only aspect in her favour was that she faced an unelectable Republican candidate.
While for decades US voters had been given the choice between a moderate corporate warmonger and an extreme corporate warmonger the Republican party this time went a step further and presented a fascist megalomaniac psychopath. Donald Trump, the Charles Manson of the business world who has repeatedly been linked to the Mafia, a billionaire and game show host who went bankrupt six times and let the taxpayer foot the bill and who hadn't paid a cent in taxes in 18 years, ran on an openly racist platform. He was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan as well as by the newly formed alt-right (‘Alternative Right’), a movement of fascist individuals and organisations. During his aggressive and largely incoherent campaign he degraded women, insulted black people, mocked the disabled, opposed LGBT rights, vowed to have Obergefell v Hodges overturned, promised to end Obamacare, endorsed torture and referred to Paris as a German city. He also promised to ban all Muslims from entering the country and to build a wall between the US and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants (keep in mind that his own empire was built by illegal immigrants) for which he would make Mexico pay, planned to introduce a registry for all Muslims in the United States (in comparison, Hitler didn’t require Jews to register until his 6th year in power) and voiced his strong support of Russian President Putin's authoritarian leadership who in turn interfered in the presidential elections on his behalf.
I have lived through the election campaigns of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Jr, thinking, ‘nobody in their right mind could possibly elect someone that ignorant’ and was proved wrong. But while neither of them was blessed with a three digit IQ they look like Oxford professors compared to Trump.
In a clip from 1992 he is seen talking to a little girl, remarking, ‘I’m going to be dating her in ten years.’ He also faced a lawsuit in which he had been accused of violently raping a 13 year old girl in front of witnesses at one of his convicted paedophile friend’s parties and threatening to kill her family if she told on him, insinuating that this wouldn't be the first time. She dropped the charges in November, claiming that she had been threatened, but a federal judge ordered a status conference nonetheless. And this is only one of at least 15 cases in which he has been accused of sexual assault and harassment.
In October, a month before the elections, it finally looked like curtains for Trump when another clip surfaced in which he gives Billy Bush advice on how to rape a friend’s wife: ‘Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. Whatever you want. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.’
But this endeared the twice-divorced science denier and self-confessed rapist even more to fundamental Christians. While Hillary Clinton stood for the status quo many people were desperate for change, and Donald Trump stood for change; not for the better, but change nonetheless. And even though Clinton received the majority of votes (25.6% of eligible voters against Trump's 25.5%; the rest didn't bother voting at all, and who could blame them?) The Electoral College were the world's last chance to prevent a mentally unfit president from running the country; they refused to do so and voted for the draft dodger to become commander-in-chief. And while it was a narrow win for Trump, it was a major victory for post-truth politics.

The Trump presidency had been predicted in the Simpsons episode Bart to the Future in 2000. Writer Dan Greaney explained, ‘It was a warning to America. That just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was consistent with the vision of America going insane.’
Since the creation of Israel the UN has been powerless regarding the country’s human rights violations because the United States used to veto every important resolution passed in this matter. After all, Israel is like a miniature United States, especially in view of their military obsession and the treatment of their natives.
One more of these resolutions, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to end its illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories, passed on Dec 23, 2016, with 14 votes against none, and one abstention (the US).
Here the outgoing Obama administration dropped a bombshell by discontinuing their support of the Palestinian genocide and refraining from exercising their veto. Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu threw a tantrum, recalled ambassadors from involved countries and expressed optimism regarding Obama’s successor. (Even though Trump is a racist he hates Arabs more than Jews and has repeatedly voiced his support for Israel’s human rights violations.)
Another surprise was President Obama‘s commutation of the 35 year sentence of Chelsea Manning (born Bradley Manning, having undergone a gender change in prison) to 7 years, a US soldier who had provided WikiLeaks with evidence of war crimes committed by the US Army.

In the spring of 2016 the US government had once again violated the Treaty of Fort Laramie, amongst others, by allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline, an underground oil pipeline, to be built near the Sioux’ sacred ground on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and beneath the Missouri which provides their water supply; therefore the smallest oil spill would be disastrous for the tribes. (A federal judge even ruled that the public had no right to be informed about the risks, and the feared leak occurred in December and most likely won't remain the only one.) Initially the route had been planned to cross the Missouri north of Bismarck, but this was rejected because it would have endangered the water supply of white people.
As a protest LaDonna Brave Bull Allard set up Sacred Stone Camp which was soon joined by natives from tribes nationwide, making it the largest tribal gathering in more than a century, as well as non-native supporters of their cause.
Largely ignored by the media in the beginning the protest gained support on social media, and when unarmed protesters attempted to stop bulldozers that dug through the ancestral burial ground in September, they were attacked by guards with pepper spray and dogs as police watched. In November police moved in and frequently assaulted peaceful protesters with rubber bullets, sponge grenades, bean bag and stinger rounds, teargas grenades, pepper spray, mace, tasers, a sound weapon and water hoses in freezing temperatures (-2°C/28°F), arresting 141 and injuring hundreds of them.
On December 4 the Army Corps of Engineers halted the project and announced the preparation of an environmental impact statement before coming to a decision.
As a stakeholder in the pipeline one of Donald Trump's first acts in office was the issuing of an executive memorandum ordering to advance the approval of the project. The Army Corps of Engineers subsequently terminated the environmental impact study, and the pipeline was completed in April 2017.

After taking office Trump surrounded himself with a cabinet of fascist billionaires and appointed his bimbo daughter as an advisor. The ruling class had finally cut out the middle man and taken over the government.
The naïve voices of those who claimed that Donald Trump’s turd wouldn’t be as bad as his bark soon fell silent. While being a pathologic liar regarding small (and obvious) matters he stuck to his big election promises.

While he presented his blatant lies as 'alternative facts' he called critical media 'fake news' (Lügenpresse) and excluded them from briefings. Since taking office he ruled by issuing a number of executive orders, putting severe restrictions on public health care, civil rights and environment protection.

On January 25 he ordered the construction of a wall between the US and Mexico but couldn't convince Mexico to pay for it nor get Congress to appropriate funds, and on January 27 he issued the first Muslim ban which denied entry to the United States by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen (countries from which no citizen ever launched a deadly terrorist attack on American soil), claiming that these pose a terrorist threat. Between 9/11 and Trump’s inauguration 94 people had been killed in the United States by Islamic extremists, most of whom were legal residents of the country, and none of them coming from any of the affected countries. Not included in the ban were Islamic-majority countries in which Trump is doing business, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Egypt (the countries the 9/11 hijackers originated from), Indonesia and Turkey.
Families were torn apart, children handcuffed and mobile phones checked for social media posts.
Shortly afterwards his travel ban was blocked by District Court Judge James Robart. Trump tweeted, 'if something happens blame him and court system'. And, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Robart's decision the president, calling him a 'so-called judge', tweeted at him, 'See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake!' to which a parody Robart account replied, 'You are already in court, you friggin genius!'
A few days later his senior advisor informed the press that the constitutionally mandated separation of powers would not be tolerated by the Trump administration.
Trump continued his efforts with different versions of the ban, and in December 2017 the Supreme Court allowed his latest one to be enforced while a number of legal challenges proceeded.

Trump kept insisting on an imminent threat of an attack from Muslim immigrants, and his administration - lacking real life events - kept making up terror attacks that never happened. His attempts at creating an anti-Muslim hysteria could indicate a plan to create or provoke an event similar to 9/11 to consolidate his power, curtail the rule of the courts and govern by executive orders alone, effectively ending the separation of powers in the US.

Trump also used his presidency to promote not only his own business but those of his daughter and current wife, discussed matters of national security in public, managed to become the first president to deliver a Holocaust Remembrance Day message without mentioning the Jews, fired FBI director James Comey amidst the bureau's investigation into Russia's tampering in the election, threatened to totally destroy North Korea, broke Obama's record of killing civilians with drones within a few months of his administration and classified nations without white majorities as ‘shithole countries’.

While the legal minimum age for marriage is 18 across the United States (except Nebraska and Mississippi who require a higher age) all states provide exceptions, and children as young as 10 (mostly girls who are forced to take an old man for a husband) are being married off by their families. Calls to ban child marriage in the US prove to be unsuccessful because, as Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey (who vetoed such a bill in 2017) explained, they do 'not comport with the sensibilities and, in some cases, the religious customs, of the people in this state.'
According to activist Fraidy Reiss the legal situation regarding child marriage in the US is comparable to that of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

In August 2017 violent white supremacists protested the removal of a Robert E Lee statue in Charlottesville and faced a number of counter-protesters. In a terror attack one of the racists drove his car into the counter-protest, killing a woman and injuring 19 other persons. According to Trump both sides were equally responsible.

After Hurricane Maria had wreaked havoc and caused extensive flooding in Puerto Rico in September 2017 President Trump visited the area to hand out paper towels.

While the 1st Amendment has been largely ignored by many US governments, be it with the censorship of the press or the ban on Indian religions (until 1978), the 2nd Amendment, providing the right to keep and bear arms, is vigorously defended by the gun lobby and the Republican Party who even disregard calls for stricter gun control legislation.
On October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on concert visitors in Las Vegas, killing 58 of them. It was the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in US history but far from an isolated incident since these occur on an almost daily basis.
The 2nd Amendment costs the lives of tens of thousands every single year, and US residents are 25 times more likely to be murdered by being shot than in other Western countries.

Transgender persons were banned from serving in the military until June 2016 when that ban was lifted. Trump's repeated efforts to renew the ban have so far been unsuccessful, with a federal judge in October 2017 having decided to pause the ban pending further legal review.

In December 2017 Trump, ignoring its international status, recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move enthusiastically celebrated not only by Israelis but also by evangelical Christians because they believe it paves the way for the building of the Third Temple which is a requisite for the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming.
The UN Security Council voted 14-1 to condemn his decision, but naturally the resolution was vetoed by the US.

Food wasted in the United States alone would be sufficient to end hunger worldwide.

Today the United States (where real wages haven't gone up in half a century) spend more than half of their budget on bombing and invading other countries while 15% of their population live in poverty, many of them despite full-time employment.

Every religion promises a paradise and peace on earth in the (until the late 1980s hypothetical) case of all people and nations submitting to it; Americanism did the same, but even though almost all countries of the world, with few exceptions such as China, Russia, Cuba and Vietnam, have been Americanized by now peace and paradise couldn’t be any further from us. This proves that no religion launched with a cannon glides softly when coming down to earth.

We have to deal with the fact that the United States have eliminated all competitors for world domination. But the civilised countries should not allow them to lecture us about freedom, morals or human rights; we should measure our cultural standards against a more challenging benchmark.

© 6258 RT (2017 CE) by Frank L. Ludwig