Pocahontas was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, the chief of the Powhatan Indians. When English settlers came from the Mayflower, she contributed significantly to the early survival of Jamestown.
When Captain John Smith got captured by Powhatan’s men, Pocahontas rescued him from getting executed. Following this event, she started to frequently visit Jamestown. She became an important supplier of food for the colonists, and also she became an informer for the colony. Pocahontas warned Smith of her father’s aggressive plans. After Smith’s return to England, she married John Rolfe. Powhatan would then agree to a truce with the colony.
As a result, the Virginia Company of London recognized Pocahontas for her success of uniting the English settlers and the Powhatan Indians. Also, she was recognized for ministering the Christian faith to the Indians. Finally, with the ministering to the Indians, she was brought to England as a symbol of the New World. William Penn was a Quaker leader and an advocate for religious freedom.
When he became convinced that religious toleration couldn’t be achieved in England, he asked King Charles II for a charter to establish an American colony. The king signed the charter, and in honor of Penn’s father he named the colony “Pennsylvania”. When Penn sailed to America with some Quakers, they founded Philadelphia, which means “city of brotherly love”. He wanted to be able to develop a free society.
In the Frame of Government, Penn provided for secure private property, free enterprise, a free press, trial by jury, and religious toleration. Penn’s Frame of Government became the first constitution to provide for peaceful change through amendments. This constitution would then be amended several times before it would be the basis for Pennsylvania’s state constitution. After implementing this constitution, he was able to have peaceful relations with Indians through the use of peaceful land exchange and a “Great Treaty”.
Throughout the years, Pennsylvania would attract many European immigrants, and it would soon become one of the largest colonies.As a teenager, George Washington became a successful surveyor. After being in this profession for several years, he was made commander of the Virginia militia, even though he didn’t have any previous military experience. After fighting in the French and Indian war, he would eventually be in charge of all of Virginia’s militia forces. By 1759, he resigned his commission, and he returned to Mount Vernon where he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. By the late 1760s, Washington believed that America should declare independence from England. Eventually, he would serve as delegate to the First Continental Congress.
This would then lead to the Second Continental Congress in naming Washington as the commander in chief of the Continental Army. As a general, he was able to keep the colonial army together, even though they lacked food, ammunition, and other supplies, while also being poorly trained. In October 1781, with the help of the French, the Continental forces were able to capture British forces under General Cornwallis. This event would end the Revolutionary War, and would make Washington a national hero. After a peace treaty was signed between Great Britain and the U.S., he believed that he had done his duty. So, he returned to his home in Mount Vernon.
However, he was asked to attend the Constitutional Convention to be the head of the committee that drafted the new constitution. His leadership would lead him to become America’s first president. During his presidency, he held relations with other countries, while being neutral in foreign conflicts. He also nominated the first chief justice of the U.S.
Supreme Court, John Jay, as well as signing a bill that established the first national bank. Finally, he set up his own presidential cabinet with Thomas Jefferson as the Secretary of State and Alexander Hamilton as the Secretary of the Treasury. After two terms as president and him declining a third term, Washington retired. During his farewell address, he urged America to maintain high standards, and to keep involvement with foreign powers to a minimum. While the Revolutionary War was going on, Thomas Jefferson was selected a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. During his time in the Congress, he would draft the Declaration of Independence. After he resigned from it, he was re-elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, formally known as the House of Burgesses. In the Virginia House of Delegates, Jefferson was able to pass the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was a forerunner to the First Amendment.
After his time there, he served as governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781. Then, he went back to being in the Congress, which was officially known as the Congress of the Confederation. Following this, he would succeed Benjamin Franklin as U.S.
minister to France. This would lead Jefferson to miss the Constitutional Convention. However, he was kept informed about the draft of a new constitution, and he would later advocate for including a bill of rights and presidential term limits. When Jefferson returned to America in 1789, President George Washington appointed him as the nation’s first secretary of state. This would lead to Alexander Hamilton and him clashing over foreign policy and their different interpretations of the U.
S. Constitution. As a result, Jefferson would co-found the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose Hamilton’s Federalist Party. After seven years of being secretary of state, Jefferson would run against John Adams in the Election of 1796. However, John Adams would win the election, and Jefferson would be vice president. Although he didn’t win, Jefferson ran again for President in the Election of 1800.
This time he would defeat John Adams, but he would tie with Democratic-Republican Aaron Burr. The House of Representatives would then break the tie and vote Jefferson into office. In order for this not to happen again, the Twelfth Amendment was made, which separated voting for president and vice president. During his first presidency, Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory. This acquisition doubled the size of the United States. So, he commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore this land. The expedition, which lasted from 1804 to 1806, would provide valuable information about the geography, Indian tribes, and animal and plant life of the western part of the continent.
After his term was up, Jefferson ran for re-election, where he defeated Federalist Charles Pinckney. During his second term, he tried to keep America out of the Napoleonic Wars. However, Great Britain and France started to mess with American merchant ships. So, Jefferson would implement the Embargo Act of 1807, which closed U.S. ports to foreign trade.
As a result, it was unpopular with Americans, and it also hurt the U.S. economy. So, it was repealed in 1809.
After his second term was up, Jefferson chose not to run for a third term. Later in his life though, he helped in the founding of the University of Virginia.Sacagawea was a Shoshone woman, who got kidnapped by the Hidatsa during a buffalo hunt in 1800. In 1803, she became property of French-Canadian fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau. Meanwhile, President Thomas Jefferson had made the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803.
He asked Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to lead the exploration of the territory. After a year of traveling, they reached the Hidatsa-Mandan settlement where they met Sacagawea and Charbonneau. From the start, they knew the value of Sacagawea’s and Charbonneau’s language skills. They valued their language skills because only one of the explorers, Francois Labiche, could speak French, while Charbonneau could speak French and Hidatsa, and Sacagawea could speak Hidatsa and Shoshone. Through this translation chain, communications with the Shoshone would be possible.
This would then lead to them purchasing horses from the the Shoshone to be able to transport supplies over the Bitterroot Mountains. Within a month of them traveling with Sacagawea and Charbonneau, their boat nearly capsized, but Sacagawea was able to gather crucial papers, books, navigational instruments, and medicines. During their exploration, Sacagawea was able to identify roots, plants, and berries that were either edible or medicinal. Finally, she helped them navigate through a mountain pass to get to the Yellowstone River.After settling in the town of New Salem, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln got involved in local politics as a supporter of the Whig Party by being in the Illinois state legislature. During his legislation, he opposed the spread of slavery to the territories, and he wanted America to focus on commerce and cities rather than agriculture. Soon, Lincoln would serve in the House of Representatives.
As a Congressman, he was unpopular to Americans. So, he decided to return to Springfield in 1849. However, with Stephen Douglas being able to pass the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed each territory to decide whether or not their territory would be a slave or free state. So, Lincoln went before a huge crowd in Peoria to denounce slavery and its extension and calling the act a violation of the Declaration of Independence.
This would then lead to him joining the new Republican Party, and him running for the Senate that year. In June of 1858, Lincoln delivered his “house-divided” speech. During that speech, he said that “this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free”. He would then square off against Douglas in a series of famous debates, where his performance would make him known nationally. Following this, he would be chosen by the Republicans as their candidate for president.
Lincoln would ultimately win the Election of 1860. During his presidency, seven southern states seceded from the Union, and formed the Confederate States of America. When Confederates fired on Fort Sumner in April, it lead to the beginning of the Civil War.
Even though Lincoln had little in service, he surprised many as being a capable wartime leader, where he learned quickly about strategy and tactics, and in choosing the best commanders. During the war though, Lincoln drew criticism for suspending some civil liberties, including the right of habeas corpus, but he believed that these measures were necessary to win the war. Shortly after the Battle of Antietam, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all of the slaves in the rebellious states.
In November 163, Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, in which he expressed the war’s purpose, the Declaration of Independence, and the pursuit of human equality. In 1864, he was re-elected as President. During his second inaugural address, he addressed the need to reconstruct the South and to rebuild the Union. Finally, Lincoln would not live to help carry out his vision of Reconstruction, because he would be assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.