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1. Ideological beginnings
17th century: first settlers came to America from Europe
➡ To seek a new life
-
Religious freedom
Puritants (first

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1. Ideological beginnings 17th century: first settlers came to America from Europe ➡ To seek a new life - Religious freedom Puritants (first colonist) from England: way of life was guided by Biblical law + belief in hard work ➡ "work ethic" + religious faith still play an important role in American society and politics today 1760s: 13 original colonies on America's eastern coast protested against unpopular British taxes & other laws 1776: representatives of the colonies signed the Declaration of Independence: "all men are created equal" 1787: authors of this document + Constitution = known as the Founding Fathers of the US 1775-1783: Americans won the Revolutionary War against Britain 2. The 19th century expansion 19th century: Many Americans believed that the US was meant to extend across the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific Pioneer spirit: encouraged families to settle the Wild West - US government acquired the land by fighting with the Mexicans// by buying it from other countries// by stealing it from the Native Americans → The traditional way of life of the Native Americans tribes was all destroyed → They were forced to resettle on reservations (barren/ unfertile land; hundreds of miles away from their tribal homeland) 3. The civil war 1860-61: 11 southern states declared their secession from the USA REASON: They wanted to keep slavery ➡ Civil...

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war between the Confederacy (the southern states) and the Union (the northern states) 1865: the Union won, slavery was abolished -> slaves were set free ➡ Huge waves of immigration (from Ireland, Italy, Germany and Russia) To escape poverty and famine O o Fleeing from religious persecution 4. The great depression and World War 2 1930s and 1940s: numbers of immigrants dropped 1929: The USA suffered from the Great Depression following the Wall Street Crash 1941: Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor -> forced the USA into the Second World War After the war: new waves of immigrants from Asia & Latin America -> reason: AMERICAN DREAM 5. The USA as a superpower Since the 2nd WW: USA has been the world's superpower Failure of the Vietnam War + prosperity + economic system + diverse population + world leader in science, medicine, space exploration, ... + the world's most powerful military George W. Bush: Republican Party Barack Obama: Democratic Party Gun control, healthcare, same-sex marriage ?? 11. September 2001: 9/11: terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in NY → deep effect on the American psyche To prevent terrorist attacks: The US security agencies have been carrying out mass electronic surveillance 2007-2008: subprime mortgage crisis → the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression Continuing increase in Chinese economic power - may the USA lose its status as superpower?!