By 1773, Britain's tax on tea had American colonists steaming. Colonists fought this latest British tax by refusing to buy tea. Some people even smashed shop windows where tea was sold. Angry mobs dragged tea sellers through the streets.
NO TAX ON TEA!
Britain was taxing the colonists to pay for wars fought in the American colonies. The British government said that the colonists should help pay for wars that defended them. The colonists objected. They had no representatives in the British Parliament where tax questions were decided.
Rosa Parks was tired. She’d had a long day at work, and all she wanted to do was sit down and rest her aching feet. But the bus driver on the way home ordered her to get up. The driver wanted to give her seat to a white man who had just gotten on the bus. Parks was black, and black people were expected to move to the back of the bus or even stand up so that white people could sit.
On that particular day, December 1, 1955, Parks decided she’d had enough. She refused to give up her seat, and the police in Montgomery, Alabama, arrested her for it! Parks did not start the civil rights movement. But her arrest played an important role in the struggle for equal black rights in the United States.
How did it feel to pack your belongings, board a ship, and sail thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean to a new land? The first English colonists who arrived in North America in the early 1600s faced a dark wilderness of forests. There were no towns, shops, churches, or farms. Survival required hard work and sacrifice. Yet each decade saw more people moving to this new land
HOW DID THE COLONIES GROW?
The population of the colonies in America boomed after 1700. By 1750, about 900,000 Europeans lived in the 13 British colonies that would one day become the United States. A large number of Africans, about 240,000, lived in the colonies by this time.
The Civil War divided the United States into two warring sides: North and South. It is sometimes called the War Between the States. The war lasted from 1861 to 1865. More than 600,000 soldiers died in the war. The war held the United States together and ended slavery in the nation.
A DIVIDED NATION
In the 1800s, the Northern states and Southern states were very different. The Northern states were industrial. Many European immigrants had settled in the North to work in factories. The Southern states focused more on farming.
Cotton and other crops were grown on large plantations in many parts of the South. Slaves from Africa tended the fields and picked the cotton.
Planters in the South owned nearly 4 million slaves. Northern states had outlawed slavery, and many Northerners believed that slavery should be outlawed in all states.
For many people, the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., is a symbol of American democracy. With its huge dome, the Capitol stands on Capitol Hill and is where the United States Congress meets. But what exactly is Congress? What does Congress do?
WHAT IS THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS?
The United States government has three branches—a legislative branch, an executive branch, and a judicial branch. Congress is the legislative branch. Its main job is to make the nation’s laws.
Voters in different states elect the members of Congress. Each of the members represents many citizens. Members of Congress try to learn the views of the citizens they represent. They try to make laws that reflect the citizens’ wishes.