The United States is a federal constitutional republic, in which the President of the United States (the head of state and head of government), Congress, and judiciary share powers reserved to the national government, and the federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.
This article presents the historical development and role of political parties in United States politics, and outlines more extensively the significant modern political parties. Throughout most of its history, American politics have been dominated by a two-party system. However, the United States Constitution has always been silent on the issue of political parties; at the time it was signed in 1787, there were no parties in the nation. Indeed, no nation in the world had voter-based political parties. The need to win popular support in a republic led to the American invention of political parties in the 1790s. Americans were especially innovative in devising new campaign techniques that linked public opinion with public policy through the party.
The history of the United States as covered in American schools and universities typically begins with either Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage to the Americas or with the prehistory of the Native peoples, with the latter approach having become increasingly common in recent decades.
Indigenous peoples lived in what is now the United States for thousands of years and developed complex cultures before European colonists began to arrive, mostly from England, after 1600. The Spanish had early settlements in Florida and the Southwest, and the French along the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast. By the 1770s, thirteen British colonies contained two and a half million people along the Atlantic coast, east of the Appalachian Mountains. The colonies were prosperous and growing rapidly, and had developed their own autonomous political and legal systems. After driving the French out of North America in 1763, the British imposed a series of new taxes while rejecting the American argument that taxes required representation in Parliament. "No taxation without representation" became the American catch phrase. Tax resistance, especially the Boston Tea Party of 1774, led to punishment by Parliament designed to end self-government in Massachusetts. All 13 colonies united in a Congress that led to armed conflict in April 1775. On July 4, 1776, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed that all men are created equal, and founded a new nation, the United States of America.
Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) was the 17th President of the United States, serving from 1865 to 1869. Johnson became president as Abraham Lincoln's vice president at the time of Lincoln's assassination. A Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, Johnson came to office as the Civil War concluded. The new president favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union. His plans did not give protection to the former slaves, and he came into conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives. The first American president to be impeached, he was acquitted in the Senate by one vote.
Johnson was born in poverty in Raleigh, North Carolina. Apprenticed as a tailor, he worked in several frontier towns before settling in Greeneville, Tennessee. He served as alderman and mayor there before being elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835. After brief service in the Tennessee Senate, Johnson was elected to the federal House of Representatives in 1843, where he served five two-year terms. He became Governor of Tennessee for four years, and was elected by the legislature to the Senate in 1857. In his congressional service, he sought passage of the Homestead Bill, which was enacted soon after he left his Senate seat in 1862.
The Radical Republicans were a faction of American politicians within the Republican Party from about 1854 (before the American Civil War) until the end of Reconstruction in 1877. They called themselves "radicals" and were opposed during the war by moderates and conservative factions led by Abraham Lincoln and after the war by "conservatives" (in the South) and "liberals" (in the North). Radicals strongly opposed slavery during the war and after the war distrusted ex-Confederates, demanding harsh policies for the former rebels, and emphasizing civil rights and voting rights for freedmen (recently freed slaves).
During the war, Radical Republicans often opposed Lincoln in terms of selection of generals (especially his choice of Democrat George B. McClellan for top command) and his efforts to bring states back into the Union. The Radicals passed their own reconstruction plan through Congress in 1864, but Lincoln vetoed it and was putting his own policies in effect when he was assassinated in 1865. Radicals pushed for the uncompensated abolition of slavery, while Lincoln wanted to pay slave owners who were loyal to the union. After the war, the Radicals demanded civil rights for freedmen, such as measures ensuring suffrage. They initiated the Reconstruction Acts, and limited political and voting rights for ex-Confederates. They bitterly fought President Andrew Johnson; they weakened his powers and attempted to remove him from office through impeachment, however they were one vote short. The Radicals were vigorously opposed by the Democratic Party and often by moderate and Liberal Republicans as well.
In the history of the United States, the term Reconstruction Era has two senses: the first covers the complete history of the entire country from 1865 to 1877 following the Civil War; the second sense focuses on the transformation of the Southern United States from 1863 to 1877, as directed by Washington, with the reconstruction of state and society.
Between 1863 and 1869, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson took a moderate position designed to bring the South back to normal as soon as possible, while the Radical Republicans (as they called themselves) used Congress to block the moderate approach, impose harsh terms, and upgrade the rights of the freedmen (former slaves). The views of Lincoln and Johnson prevailed until the election of 1866, which enabled the Radicals to take control of policy, remove former Confederates from power, and enfranchise the freedmen. A Republican coalition came to power in nearly all the southern states and set out to transform the society by setting up a free labor economy, with support from the Army and the Freedmen's Bureau. The Radicals, upset at President Johnson's opposition to Congressional Reconstruction, filed impeachment charges but the action failed by one vote in the Senate. President Ulysses S. Grant supported Radical Reconstruction and enforced the protection of African Americans in the South through the use of the Force Acts passed by Congress. Grant used both the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. military to suppress white insurgency and support the Republican reconstructed states. Southern Democrats, who strongly opposed African-American equality to whites, alleged widespread corruption, counterattacked and regained power in each state by 1877. President Rutherford B. Hayes blocked efforts to overturn Reconstruction legislation.
Discharged from his command and re-enlisted as a Private.
Abraham Lincoln i/ / (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crisis—the American Civil War—preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, strengthening the national government and modernizing the economy. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, Lincoln was self-educated, and became a country lawyer, a Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator during the 1830s, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives during the 1840s. He promoted rapid modernization of the economy through banks, canals, railroads and tariffs to encourage the building of factories; he opposed the war with Mexico in 1846.
The Wade–Davis Bill of 1864 was a bill proposed for the Reconstruction of the South written by two Radical Republicans, Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Winter Davis of Maryland. In contrast to President Abraham Lincoln's more lenient Ten Percent Plan, the bill made re-admittance to the Union for former Confederate states contingent on a majority in each Southern state to take the Ironclad oath to the effect they had never in the past supported the Confederacy. The bill passed both houses of Congress on July 2, 1864, but was pocket vetoed by Lincoln and never took effect. The Radical Republicans were outraged that Lincoln did not sign the bill. Lincoln wanted to mend the Union by carrying out the Ten percent plan. He believed it would be too difficult to repair all of the ties within the Union if the Wade–Davis bill passed.
The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, (became president after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated) was one of the most dramatic events in the political life of the United States during Reconstruction and the first impeachment in history of a sitting United States president. The impeachment was the consummation of a lengthy political battle between the moderate Johnson and the "Radical Republican" movement that dominated Congress and sought control of Reconstruction policies.
Johnson was impeached on February 24, 1868, in the U.S. House of Representatives on eleven articles of impeachment detailing his "high crimes and misdemeanors", in accordance with Article Two of the United States Constitution. The House's primary charge against Johnson was with violation of the Tenure of Office Act, passed by Congress the previous year. Specifically, he had removed Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War (whom the Tenure of Office Act was largely designed to protect), from office and replaced him with Major General Lorenzo Thomas. The House agreed to the articles of impeachment on March 2, 1868. The trial began three days later in the Senate, with Supreme Court Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding. The trial concluded on May 16 with Johnson's acquittal, with the votes for conviction being one less than the required two-thirds tally.
Note: Varies by jurisdiction
Note: Varies by jurisdiction
A social issue (also called a social problem or a social situation) is an issue that relates to society's perception of a person's personal lives. Different cultures have different perceptions and what may be "normal" behavior in one society may be a significant social issue in another society. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues. Some issues have both social and economic aspects, such as immigration. There are also issues that don't fall into either category, such as wars.
Thomas Paine, in Rights of Man and Common Sense, addresses man's duty to "allow the same rights to others as we allow ourselves". The failure to do so causes the birth of a social issue.