Inter-Community Wars: Formation of the United States Essay
Conflicts and wars are some of the factors that lead to the formation and destruction of societies around the world. The influence of these forces on the world is a major subject in many studies. The United States of America, as it is known today, was not the same amalgamation of states a couple of centuries ago (Blanchard 367). In this paper, the author analyzes how conflicts led to the formation of the country. It is noted that the inter-wars among the American minority groups contributed to the creation of the nation. Of particular interest in this paper are the wars fought on American soil.
The narrative explores the various instances where the conflicts worked against the wellbeing of the minority groups. According to Williams, war is a major conflict stemming from minor differences among parties (21). In the American case, the main causes of this strife include disagreements over freedoms and entitlements. The dominant groups often trample on the minorities, leading to a conflict. The United States of America was formed on the basis of these fights.
Inter-Community Conflicts in the Context of the United States of America
The Number of Wars Carried out on American Soil
In the US, conflicts date back to 1675. They involved instances where the New England colonies fought against the natives. The battle was referred to as King Phillip’s First War (Williams 18). The native communities comprised of the Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Nipmuck. The French and Indian clashes, also referred to as the Seven Years War, entail other examples of conflict between minority groups (Williams 18). It took place between 1756 and 1763. The main parties were the French and British colonies. Geographically, the two were made up of Canada and America.
The Cherokee war is yet another battle that took place within the confines of the American territory. According to Vandervort, the main actors in this dispute were the Cherokee Indians and the English colonialists (233). It took place between 1759 and 1761. The famous American Revolution occurred between 1775 and 1783. It was a conflict pitting the English colonists against Great Britain. Finally, the American Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy is another battle that ultimately resulted in the formation of the United States of America. In total, there are 5 wars involving minority communities that took place in America (Vandervort 233).
The Conflicts between Native Americans and Settlers
Historically, the American territories were occupied by Indians. According to Hunter, the communities are sometimes referred to as the Native Americans (33). The conflict between the European settlers and the Native Americans was first recorded in 1622. The main cause of the dispute was competition over resources. Hunter points out that in most cases, cultural clashes emerge when one party disregards the culture of the other (71). To this end, the Native Americans resisted the encroachment of their ‘sacred lands’ by the settlers.
In this particular war, several elements of minority communities are brought to the fore. For instance, the settlers did not have a historical claim over the lands. However, they still expanded their territory. Philbrick suggests that minority groups are opposed to the oppression from dominant communities, leading to war (133). Another aspect of the marginalized communities is made apparent by the legislation passed by the settlers. Philbrick makes reference to the Manifest Destiny, which pointed out that the expansion of the territory occupied by the settlers was inevitable (91). Such a move illustrates how minority groups were disregarded in relation to the affairs of the community. Such alienation leads to conflict and, ultimately, war.
The United States’ Civil War
The ‘Union’ was formed when America attained independence. According to Holzer, different people held opposing views regarding the role of the Federal Government (47). The fighting camps were made up of the federalists and the anti-federalists. According to Holzer, the federalists were of the view that the Union would be stable if executive powers were entrusted to the federal governments (53). The anti-federalists preferred a scenario where each of the individual states retained its sovereignty.
The opposing sides began fighting over issues affecting the economy, such as taxes. According to Holzer, the conflict was between northern and southern states (71). The crux of the dispute was slavery. The northern and southern states continued fighting until the election of Abraham Lincoln as president. Just like the fight with involving the natives, this conflict introduces the notion of how the oppressed are affected by war. The civil strife involved two separate camps. In this case, the minorities were the salves, notwithstanding their non-participation in the war. In light of this, conflicts are seen as platforms through which minorities can voice their opinions.
The Effects of War
Conflicts have various impacts on the society. Harkin and Lewis cite marginalization as one of the effects of war (44). In this respect, the fight between Native Americans and the European settlers resulted in the alienation of a group from its ancestral land. The expansion of the federal government further relegated the Native Americans to the fringes of the society. The settlers emerged victorious from most of the wars. As a result, they often laid claim to all the spoils of the war, including the land previously owned by the Indians.
The second effect of war is the emergence of new territories. Holzer argues that the parties engaged in a dispute are usually expressing their disagreements over territorial claims (92). The victor can take over the regions they want in the area under conflict. An example includes the creation of Canada and America as French and British colonies respectively (Hunter 33). Before the coming of the settlers, America was mostly occupied by the Indians. However, the territory has changed in terms of boundaries. The civil war that created the United States is another example where disputes gave rise to new territories.
Finally, war is known to result in traumatic experiences. To this date, there still exists some form of animosity between the Native Americans and the federal government. According to Harkin and Lewis, the continued encroachment of ancestral land by the latter reminds the former of a painful past (73). The same is true when it comes to the issue of slaves. Slavery was the fuel supporting the civil war. However, the slaves were segregated as a minority group. Such experiences are devastating.
The Formation of the United States
The country was formed when the European settlers attained independence from the British Empire. According to Vandervort, the Declaration of Independence was a culmination of several conflicts resulting in the formation of one nation (235). To this end, a discussion on the creation of the United States of America should acknowledge the effects of the inter-communal wars. Vandervort argues that the settlers and the Native Americans can be considered as belonging to two communities (236). Consequently, their conflicts amount to inter-communal clashes. If the settles had lost to the natives, the federal government could not have been formed.
The minority group in the battle between the British and the settlers is not easily discernible. However, the feuds between the two sides resulted in the victory of the settlers (Philbrick 43). As a result, the Declaration of Independence should not be seen as an idea. Rather, the sovereignty and ultimate creation of the Union should be viewed as a culmination of a series of wars.
The American history is laced with a series of inter-communal wars. It is evident that conflict was a major factor behind the emergence of the United States of America. The main minority groups identified in the wars are the Native Americans and the slaves. Both parties influenced the direction and impacts of wars in America. However, they did not benefit from the federal governments. Conflicts that involve minority groups often result in marginalization. However, in the case of the United States, the alienation of the Native Americans and slaves gave the federal government sufficient legitimacy to rule. The American historical narrative would have been different if the settlers lost the wars. What this means is that the inter-wars among the American minority groups have played a key role towards the formation of the United States of America as presently constituted.
Blanchard, Peter. “The Wars of Independence in Spanish America.” Hispanic American Historical Review 81.2 (2001): 367-368. Print.
Harkin, Michael, and David Lewis. Native Americans and the Environment: Perspectives on the Ecological Indian, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2007. Print.
Holzer, Harold. Lincoln on War, Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011. Print.
Hunter, James. Culture Wars: The Struggle to Control the Family, Art, Education, Law, and Politics in America, New York: BasicBooks, 1992. Print.
Philbrick, Nathaniel. Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War, New York: Viking, 2007. Print.
Vandervort, Bruce. “Small Wars in North America.” The Journal of Military History 68.1 (2004): 233-238. Print.
Williams, Mary. Culture Wars: Opposing Viewpoints, San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Print.
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