By: Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Fort Lauderdale Attorney
The United States as a country is noteworthy for its quick climb to leader of the free world. The American continent, though, was occupied for thousands of years prior to the formation of the United States of America. The North American continent was first inhabited 12,000-15,000 years ago. The native tribes spanned from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts.
As the tale goes, in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He was searching for an alternate passage route to India. He never found the Northwest Passage route but he did create interest in further exploration of the American continents.
In 1607, the English set up its first lasting colony named Jamestown (located in present–day Virginia). The first actual colony in Roanke mysteriously disappeared. Their settlement was empty when the Jamestown settlers arrived. The only potential clue was a carving that said “CROATOAN.” Thus, the two prominent theories are that they either merged with the local Indian tribe or they were completely killed by the local Indian tribe.
The British eventually established 13 colonies along the North American east coast. The colonists then rebelled when the British imposed a stamp tax. The colonists did not agree with the cost and lack of representation in the legislature. “No taxation without representation.” The colonists issued the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Revolutionary War ensued. The British army’s bright red coats made it easy for the colonial guerrilla armies to shoot their targets. The colonists won the war and named themselves the United States of America.
About 100 years later, the country faced another war. This time it was at war with itself. The Civil War lasted from about 1861-1864. In a nutshell, the northern states sought to abolish slavery. Their move was based on part altruistic and part economic motives. The southern states insisted on preserving slavery. General Robert E. Lee led the Confederate Army against President Lincoln’s northern Union army led by General Ulysses S. Grant. The Civil War was the largest loss of American lives with 600,000 soldiers killed. The war ended in 1864 when Lee surrendered and President Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation.
After this, enslaved Africans were “free” per the 14th Amendment to the Constitution but the former enslaved and descendants experienced continued discrimination and injustice. The southerners during the Reconstruction Era banned African Americans from their establishments, lynched African Americans, and denied African Americans access to voting and the courts.
About 100 years after the Civil War, a social reform gained momentum with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was against federal law to discriminate against a person on the basis of their race. The “separate but equal” segregation mentality was no longer sanctioned by the government.
In 2020, the continued racial inequality received increased attention after mass protests. The new government is therefore encouraged to address the racial inequality to maintain its place as leader of the free world.
Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. is a foreclosure, civil litigation, and bankruptcy attorney. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, a minor degree in History that focused on the slavery and indentured servitude eras, a minor degree in Criminology, and a Juris Doctor degree.
MDGR Law, P.A.
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