The history of the USA began a little more than 500 years ago. It’s rich in great events, interesting stories and legends, adventures and mysteries, what not. So we can talk and even sometimes argue days and nights. That’s why I’d rather tell you about the foundation of the USA.
500 years ago North America was a vast wilderness inhabited by Indians who 20,000 years earlier came from Asia across the Bering Strait. Icelandic Viking Leif Ericson sailed to America in 1000 but only in 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America to the whole world. For the next 100 years English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and French explorers sailed there for gold and riches, for honour and glory. But they didn’t stay. Those who did settle the New World arrived later in search of economic opportunity and religious and political freedom. The first English colony Jamestown appeared in 1607 in Virginia. America promised, as the poet Robert Frost said, «a fresh start for the human race». And it started in 1620 when the Mayflower brought the Pilgrim Fathers. In the Mayflower Compact they agreed to form «a civil body politic for better ordering and preservation, to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws». By 1733 European settlers occupied 13 colonies along the Atlantic coast. Later the British started demanding new taxes on sugar, coffee, textiles and other imported goods. And after the «Boston Tea Party» the War of Independence began. It lasted from 1775 till 1783. In 1776 on the 4th of July the Declaration of Independence was adopted which proclaimed «Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as the human natural rights». In 1783 the Treaty of Paris recognized the independence of the USA and granted the new state all the territory north of Florida, south of Canada and east of the Mississippi River. The colonies were now free but they had not yet a united nation.
In 1787 55 of the most highly regarded American leaders (George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison among them) opened a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the meeting which lasted 4 long months and resulted in the Constitution of the USA. It established not only a league of independent states but also a strong central government for the whole nation. The Constitution established separate executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and required «a balance of power». The Constitution was accepted in 1788 but in 1791 10 amendments — the Bill of Rights — were added to guarantee the liberties of the people: freedom of religion, a free press, free speech, protection against illegal search, the right to fair trial and protection against cruel and unusual punishments. The framers of the Constitution created an enduring but by no means unchanging document. Today, 200 years after it was written, the Constitution remains vital, alive and at the centre of American political ideals and practices. Then followed other important events such as the Civil War (1861—1865) for abolition of slavery, the exploration of the West, creation of the developed industry and agriculture, outstanding inventions, the Depression, World War I and World War II, the Cold war, the struggle for human rights, aerospace research and man’s first walk on the Moon (1969), the war in Vietnam (1975), struggle for disarmament and so on and so forth. And each period in the history of the USA is interesting and important, and shows the hardships and victories of the American people on the way for the American Dream: independent, democratic, powerful state with the developed economy and equal rights for everybody.