US History: Reconstruction

Quote of TRUTHWe study history not to be clever in another time, but to be wise always” – Marcus Tullius Cicero


What was the reconstruction?: It is the rebuilding of the South after the Civil War. This time included dealing with former Confederates and newly freed slaves. 

Defiance in the South: President Lincoln wanted to forgive Southerners. However, the Confederate government officials and military officers were not pardoned. They were no longer allowed to vote in the US. There were thousands of unemployed, homeless, and hungry in the South which caused chaos and Lincoln realized this. Aside from all the ongoing chaos, there were also a lot of freedmen (definition: newly freed Africans Americans seeking food and shelter from the Union.).


Freedman’s Bureau: In March 1865, Congress established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned lands which was known as Freedmen’s Bureau. Some things this Bureau would do include: 

  • Feed and clothed war refugees in the South
  • Helped African Americans find jobs
  • Provide temporary housing 
  • Educate African Americans


The Assassination of Lincoln: President Abraham Lincoln was shot while attending a performance at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. His assassin was a Confederate sympathizer and actor known as John Wikes Booth. Booth’s motivations to assassinating President Lincoln stemmed from his belief that it would create chaos and the federal government would be overthrown.

After the death of Lincoln, Democrat Andrew Johnson becomes president. He was the 17th president of the United States from 1865 to 1869. Andrew Johnson is the first president to be impeached. 


Civil Rights Act: Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 on March 1866. This act gave citizenship to all persons born in the United States, except Native Americans. It also guaranteed the rights of African Americans to own property and be treated equally in court.


Reconstruction Amendments: 

  • 13th Amendment, 1865: ended slavery 
  • 14th Amendment, 1868: granted citizenship to former slaves
  • 15th Amendment, 1870: African Americans could not be banned from voting 



  • 1882 – 1968:
    • 4,743 persons died of lynching 
    • 3,446 of the people lynched were black men & women


Black Codes & Southern Resistance: A series of laws which was called the “Black Codes” were implemented by Southern states to reaffirm white supremacy through again, differential treatment. As a result of these racially discriminatory laws, the incarceration rate for African Americans was far higher than white Americans. 

Southerners were frustrated with Republicans running their states, so they organized secret societies to undermine their rule. The largest group was the Ku Klux Klan. This was created in 1866 by former Confederate soldiers in Tennessee. As terrible as it sounds, hooded, white-robed Klan members rode in bands in night terrorizing African-Americans, White Republicans, and teachers in African American Schools


Civil Rights Act of 1875: 

“All persons… shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accomadations… of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of publid government.”

In 1883, this act was declared unconstitutional in 1883 by an all-white Supreme Court.



Yours truly,


© Elizabeth Anne Villoria



US HISTORY: U.S. Imperialism

Quote of TRUTH“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


What is imperialism?: This is the country’s complete domination of the political, economic, and social life of another country. Basically, imperialism is this policy where a country would use diplomacy or military force to spread its influence and power.


Imperialists & anti-imperialists: The imperialists included some Americans and politicians who wanted the US to continue empire building like other European countries of the time period. They wanted to compete conquering and gaining all these new resources. Anti-imperialists, on the other hand, were against the continuation of this. It was said that imperialism was against America’s anti-colonial policy and that it was too costly.


Motivations: There were motivations for American Imperialism. These were the reasons why people were convinced that imperialism was beneficial. The three factors would be:

  • Economic Interests: This was the desire for new markets and raw materials
    • Due to the industrial revolution, American farms and factories were producing more than Americans could consume
    • With overseas territory, acquired with imperialism, the US would have access to cheap raw materials which could be used to fuel factories and restore prosperity
    • With overseas territory, there would be a new market for farmers and US businesses to sell their surplus goods which would help in boosting the American economy


  • Military Interests: This was the desire for naval bases & coaling stations
    • In order for the US to become one of the respected and influential world powers, such as Great Britain and France, it would have to establish a global military presence and acquire overseas territories
    • Government officials were being urged to build up the US Navy to compete with other powerful nations and to extend its influence globally


  • Belief in Cultural Superiority:  This was the want to spread democracy and Christianity


1867, The US acquires Alaska: Alaska is purchased from Russia for $7.2 million (aka $.02 an acre) by US Secretary of State, William Seward. At the start, many people were making fun of this purchase as they had thought there were no resources to be found in Alaska. They were nicknaming it “Seward’s Folly” or “Seward’s Teabox”. However, this stopped when gold and oil was discovered in 1968. 


1893, Annexation of Hawaii: Coaling stations and bases for ships trading between the US and Asia was ideally located at the Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It was from 1820 to 1890 that many American farmers bought land to plant sugar canes. Americans kept trying to get involved in the Hawaiian government and wanted control of their government which their queen, Liliuokalani resented very much. The farmers and US Marines, however, were strong and overthrew the Queen and America annexed Hawaii in 1898. Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959.


By the 20th century: The USA, by this time, was a world power. Because of the industrial revolution, the USA was transformed into an economic power. There was an expansion of access to foreign markets to ensure domestic growth. The USA also built the world’s third largest navy to protect the US interests abroad. America annexed important new territories in the Caribbean and Asia, asserted itself as an equal to European nations, and used its influence to build the Panama Canal, protect Latin America, and trade in Asia.


Yours truly,


© Elizabeth Anne Villoria

US HISTORY: The United States Industrializes

Quote of TRUTH“Those who do not industrialize become the hewers of wood and hawkers of water.” – Alexander Hamilton


 – Vocabulary –

INDUSTRY: an organized economic activity connected with the production, manufacture, or construction of a particular product or range of products

INDUSTRIALIZATION: to introduce industry into (an area) on a large scale

REVOLUTION: a dramatic change in ideas or practice


The Industrial Revolution: As the Civil War ended, the American industry expanded and millions of people left their farms to work in mines and factories. There was widespread adoption of industrial methods of production. The Industrial Revolution period was also known as the Gilded Age, a term coined by Mark Twain. 


Industrial Success: The growth of U.S. manufacturing during the lath 19th century led to an increased demand for new international markets to sell our goods. Industrial success was highly appreciated by the U.S. because it brought them:

  • an abundance of raw materials and natural resources,
    • Water
    • Timber
    • Coal
    • Iron
    • Coal
    • Oil
  • improved transportation (due to the railroad system),
    • all over the country railroads transported:
      • Miners
      • Settlers
      • Resources
  • and a flood of new inventions
    • increased the nations productive capacity
    • improved transportation 
    • improved communications 
    • new corporations founded & produced new jobs



  • Thomas Edison, the inventor of:
    • Phonograph
    • 1882, Light bulb
    • Kinetoscope
    • Edison electric
    • and has 1,093 patents for his inventions 
  • Alexander G. Bell, the inventor of:
    • 1876, the telephone
    • Bell Telephone Company -> AT&T


Population Growth and Large Workforce: It was between 1860 and 1920, that the population of the U.S. nearly tripled. During this time, over 20 million immigrants came from China and Southern and Eastern Europe.



Contributing Factors to the Industrial Revolution: 

  • The American system of free enterprise
  • Little to no government control of industry (Laissez-faire)
  • New inventions and improvements in technology and communications
  • Rural Americans and immigrants as a source of cheap labor


And, there you have it! 

have a great weekend!

Yours truly,


© Elizabeth Anne Villoria

US HISTORY: US Foreign Policy

Quote of TRUTH“Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.” – John F. Kennedy

What is Foreign Policy?: “Foreign policy???” you may find yourself asking. I shall soon clear up the definition for you. Foreign policy is the “goals, values, and strategies that guide how a nation acts towards other nations”. Basically, nations have neighbors (which are the other nations) and foreign policy is what they want to achieve and how they do it involving their “neighbors”.

Who creates Foreign Policy in the US?:  We have the constitution divide the power of foreign policy between the Congress (legislative branch) and the President (executive branch) so that no one branch becomes too strong. The president:

  • is the commander of the military
  • decides who should run the military
  • decides what actions to take
  • has the power to make treaties
  • meets up with leaders from others nations

While the Congress:

  • regulates trade with other nations
  • has the power to declare war
  • maintains the military
  • decides whether or not to approve treaties

Who influences Foreign Policy in the US?: 

  • Government advisors
  • Military officials
  • Businesses
  • Corporations
  • Interest groups in the US:
    • Journalists
    • Missionaries
    • Anti-war Protestors
    • Environmentalists
    • Digital Citizens
  • Other nations & their leaders

What are the goals and values of US foreign policy?:  Remember how I mentioned that foreign policy involves and is compromised of the goals our nation wants to achieve? Well, here is a list of those goals:

  • Increase wealth, land, or power of the US
  • Protect US citizens from outside threats
  • Spread democracy to people in other countries 
  • Help other nations
  • Help people who are suffering 
  • Respecting self-determination (this is the nations right to govern themselves)

What are the strategies to achieve these goals?: Since we’ve gone through some of the goals, we shall now look at the different ways and strategies taken to achieve them:

  • Diplomacy:
    • This is usually the first option when approaching a goal (and, in my opinion, should always be the first option)
    • This is used to persuade and negotiate with other nations
    • This would be a peaceful and humane way of dealing with a subject 
  • Financial:
    • This is giving or withholding financial help or trade with other nations
  • Military
    • This option is most likely used as last resort
    • This would be used to:
      • Invade
      • Defend
      • Occupy
      • Threaten other nations

Presidents & their Foreign Policy:

Theodore Roosevelt’s Foreign policy: Carry a big stick

Roosevelt would say to “speak softly and carry a big stick, [and] you will go far.”. Roosevelt Corollary was preventative intervention. The US would intervene in Latin America in order to keep European powers out of the Western Hemisphere. The result of the Corollary would be the justification of all interventions. US Marines will be sent multiple times to Latin America countries, which then Latin American countries would view this as American oppression.

Roosevelt was not afraid to show how Americans were strong. He acted as a mediator in the Russo-Japanese War. He even sent the US Navy to protect the Panamanian revolt in 1903. And, to show of American Naval power, Roosevelt ordered the Great White Fleet on a highly visible voyage around the world in 1907.

William H. Taft’s Foreign policy: Dollar Diplomacy

Wall Street bankers and other major US corporations were being encouraged by the federal government to invest in foreign countries which were a strategic concern to the US. The idea was that the dollar would replace Roosevelt’s big stick.

The Caribbean was the main area of US strategic importance. The US kept putting more and more money into this area to keep other countries out and uphold the Monroe Doctrine. However, the policy failed when civil distress broke out in Cuba, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. President Taft had to send in the Marines to protect American investments due to the situation.

Woodrow Wilsons’s Foreign policy: Moral Diplomacy

President Wilson had the belief that the US would be the world’s conscience. He strongly knew that the goal of American foreign policy would be to spread democracy and the promotion of peace. He despised Roosevelt’s big stick and Taft’s dollar diplomacy.

Wilson sent the Marines to Haiti (1914-1933) and the Dominican Republic (1916-1924). The spread of democracy sometimes required military action.


Milestones of US Foreign Policy:

  • 1796, Washington’s Farewell Address:
    • President Washington promoted neutrality
    • President Washington advises Americans to avoid entangling alliances with European nations
    • Due to this policy, US was able to keep out of the war with France and England in 1812
  • 1812, War of 1812:
    • Congress declared war against British to stop impressments of American sailors
    • a.k.a the “Second War of Independence”
    • Americans were able to preserve their freedom
    • This war ended in December 1814
  • 1823, Monroe Doctrine:
    • President Monroe announces that American would oppose attempts by European powers to re-conquer former colonies which are independent
    • European nations were warned to stay out of the Western Hemisphere
    • This doctrine was used by the US later on to justify its interference in the Caribbean
  • 1840s, Manifest Destiny:
    • President James Polk used aggressive foreign policy
    • Treaties, purchases, and the war with Mexico were included in this
    • The goal was to gain all lands to the Pacific ocean and to fulfill America’s Manifest Destiny
  • 1898, Spanish American War:
    • Americans went to war with Spain to help Cuba win its independence after the sinking of the Maine
    • The US won the war and gained the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, and others

And, that’s just the beginning! Foreign Policy is still used today. Very interesting, right? Indeed. That’s it for now 🙂

Yours truly,


© Elizabeth Anne Villoria




US HISTORY: The Creation of the Constitution

Quote of TRUTH“We are here to create history. Not repeat it.” – Chantelle Renee


Oooooh constitution creation stuff, so cool. 

Articles of Confederation: Okay, so, before the Constitution, we first had the Articles of Confederation. It was in 1777 when the Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation and then later on ratified by the states in 1781.

quick side note: When something is ratified is basically means that it was signed or given a consent by a contract or agreement of some kind to make it officially valid.

American was still fighting for its independence during this period. And in 1781, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land. Most of the power, however, went to the state governments. And, the Articles made a loose confederation of independent states while the central government was weak. The Articles of Confederation was a start but it wasn’t strong enough to be effective. And, in 1788, the Articles of Confederation was then replaced by the constitution.

Yup, it was kind of problematic.

weakness & resulting problems of the Articles of Confederation:

  • Congress had power to tax === weak currency & increased debt, inability to pay the army, and then threats of mutiny 

quick side note: mutiny is a rebellion against proper authorities, like soldiers against officers

  • Congress had no power to enforce treaties === foreign countries angry when the treaties aren’t honored
  • Congress had no power to regulate commerce === trade hindered by states, high tariffs on each other
  • Every state, no matter the size, had one vote === the populous states were not equally represented
  • Amendments required a unanimous vote of states === difficult to adapt articles to changing needs

Constitutional Convention: With all the problems that came with the Article of Confederation, 12 states send 55 delegates to meet up in Philadelphia. Congress’ mandate was saying to revise the Articles of Confederation based on state sovereignty but they disregarded this and said no. And, instead, a whole new governing document was created 4 months later (Yup, you guessed it), the Constitution.

Now, you might be asking “Um, what exactly is the Constitution?”, well, don’t worry I shall tell you.

What Exactly is the Constitution?: It is the supreme law of the United States. It’s just the foundation and source of the legal authority underlying the very existence of USA & Federal Government of the United States. In other words, yes, indeed. Very. Important. Piece. Of. Document. It also provides the framework for the organization of the US.

The main author for this was James Madison. He did pretty extensive research as he spent a year studying democratic philosophies, reading more than 200 books, and taking notes on EVERY word spoken during the 4-month convention.

The basic principles added to the Constitution included:

  • Republicanism: 
    • When American leaders created the USA, the idea and choice made were to replace royalty with a republic. A republic (aka Representative Democracy) is when power rests with the citizens who elect leaders who make government decisions on the people’s behalf. 
  • Federalism: 
    • This is the power divided between the federal (national) government and state government. This system was created to strengthen the central government but to preserve the rights of the states.
  • Power with the People:
    • Popular Sovereignty: government power resides from the consent of the people
    • Limited Government: the government is not all powerful & can only do what the people let it
  • Separation of Powers:
    • prevents one branch of government to gain too much power by Checks & Balances
    • 3 Branches:
      • Legislative – makes laws
      • Executive – enforces laws
      • Judicial – courts, interpret the laws
  • Checks & Balances:
    • each branch of govt. has some measure of influence over the other branch and may choose to block procedure of another branch
    • prevents one branch from taking too much power
    • encourages cooperation between branch along with debate on controversial policies

Outcomes: There were plenty of outcomes that followed after such as the Great Compromise, Bill of Rights, and more.

There you go! You just learned about our Constitution. How great was that! Very much, I know.

🎵 dance to the beat of your own drums 🎵

Yours truly,


© Elizabeth Anne Villoria



US History: The Enlightenment (interesting stuff for sure)

Quote of AWESOMENESS“History teaches us the mistakes we are going to make.” – Jean Bodin


So I guess we’re on a roll with these US History episodes huh.

Awesome, am I right? Heh.

Let us proceed.

Vocabulary & Terminology

Enlighten – to shed light on the truth, free from ignorance

Truth – how things are

Intellect – power of the mind to understand through the use of reason

Reason – to explore the cause & effect of things

Revolution – a dramatic change of practices or beliefs

The Enlightenment: It was from the 1700’s to the early 1800’s in Europe & America that intellectual revolution occurred which was known as the Enlightenment. It was also known to stem from the Scientific Revolution from the 16th & 17th century. 

Age of Reason: The Enlightenment was known as an intellectual movement because it challenged traditional authority, encouraged individualism & ability to think for oneself, proved man’s ability to reason & discover the truth, and they had realized that people’s liberties to be protected by law. (Yo, shout out to all the nonconformists for a good cause back then!)

Founding Fathers: The Enlightenment influences the Founding Fathers and applies ideas to both the revolution and constitution. Who are the Founding Fathers exactly? They led the American Revolution against the United Kingdom. Of all the Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin is the most known for his scientific discoveries & inventions: he proved lightning was electricity, and he was a member of the Declaration of Independence Committee. Other notable Founding Fathers:

  • John Adams, member of the DOI committee and first VP
  • Thomas Jefferson, author of DOI, 3rd President
  • George Washington, First President of the United States
  • James Madison, the main author of the Constitution and the 4th President of the United States
  • Thomas Paine, who wrote the “Common Sense”

___Important Peeps Profiles___

John Locke:

Image result for john locke

– “What worries you, masters you.”

  • English philosopher
  • Expressed the idea that people are born with “natural rights” which includes the right to life, liberty, and property
  • Lock believes that people have the right to change or overthrow a government that does not protect these natural rights

Baron de Montesquieu:

– “To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.”

  • French writer and philosopher 
  • Argued for separation of powers within the government 
  • He believed that each branch should serve as a check on the other branches power 
  • This was to ensure that one person or branch doesn’t have all the power

Jean Rousseau:

– What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?

  • French philosopher
  • Believed that people must give up some liberty in exchange for the protection of others by the government (a.k.a social contract)
  • In exchange for this, he expected the government to give something in return and must govern according to the people (consent of the governed)
  • This is a democracy btw

Cesare Beccaria:

“It is better to prevent crimes than to punish them.”

  • Italian philosopher
  • Promoted new ideas about the justice system
  • Argues that people accused of crimes had certain rights, and he advocated abolishing torture


– “I might disagree with your opinion, but I am willing to give my life for your right to express it.”

  • French philosopher
  • Published more than 70 books! (that’s a lot….. I KNOW)
  • Believed in the freedom of speech & expression

Enlightenment in the USA: The constitution is based around the idea of democracy & the idea that the power to makes laws should be in the hands of the people. The idea of separation of powers was used by the United States when drafting the new constitution (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches). It is guaranteed in the U.S. Bill of Rights 1st Amendment that people have the right to freedom of speech & press. Another thing the Bill of Rights includes is that torture was outlawed by the 8th amendment. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence drawing on the philosophy of natural rights and states that all men have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Stay awesome & positive peeps! ✌️ 

Yours truly,


 © Elizabeth Anne Villoria