In the mid-eighteenth century the process of growth of the colonies, which now numbered one and a half million residents, led the more enterprising spirits to go further west, beyond the Appalachian mountains; but in this shift of the “frontier” (not a fixed border, but the moving line that moves forward with the progress of colonization: the capital element of American history) not only the hostile nature and the Indians met, but also the French, I descended, as has been said, from San Lorenzo to the Gulf of Mexico. Thus began the clashes between English and French colonists and a local war was already underway two years before the Seven Years’ War broke out between France and England. (1756-63). Troops gathered among the colonists fought together with those sent from the motherland, thus contributing to the collapse of French rule in North America. With the Peace of Paris of 1763, as regards the territory that later became that of the United States, the region between the Appalachians and the Mississippi passed to England, while Spain obtained the rest of Louisiana up to the Rocky Mountains, however, giving up the Florida to England. Thus freed from French and Spanish pressure, the colonists no longer felt the need to be protected by the motherland, just as the latter accentuated its imperial policy of centralization and greater intervention in the colonies, also continuing to impose, on the economic level, the most rigorous mercantilism. Thus there was a double contrast: economic, to the detriment of the interests of the settlers, and constitutional, because the Parliament of London, in which no representatives of the settlers sat, also legislated on taxation, violating the traditional Anglo-Saxon principle “no tax without representation”.
The “stamp law” (Stamp Act), enacted in London in 1765, precipitated the situation in a revolutionary sense, provoking from a Congress that met in New York the same year the explicit claim of the aforesaid principle; no less reaction aroused the tea tax of 1767. King George III insisted and his government in their own short-sighted politics, the Americans responded by organizing themselves through intercolonial “correspondence committees”, convening “provincial congresses” which were veritable revolutionary assemblies, carrying out a whole activity, including propaganda, which strengthened and radicalized the resistance. Finally, when as a punishment for Massachusetts, in 1774, what were immediately defined as “intolerable laws” were enacted, not only did the colony refuse them, but also the others showed solidarity and Virginia in particular convened a “provincial congress” from which an invitation went out, to all the colonies, for an annual congress to discuss “the collective interests of America”. Visit healthinclude.com for colonial history of North America.
With the accession of all the colonies, except Georgia, it thus opened on September 5, 1774, in Philadelphia, the 1st Continental Congress, with the aim of deliberating “suitable and wise measures” so that the colonies could recover “their just rights and freedoms”. The British reaction to basically moderate demands exacerbated the conflict, until a Lexington, on April 19, 1775, the first armed confrontation took place. Thus began the American Revolution with the War of Independence. The II Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia on 10 May 1775, on the one hand took over the direction of operations, entrusting the command of the troops to G. Washington; on the other, on July 4, 1776, he proclaimed the independence of the colonies, with a very famous “Declaration” written by T. Jefferson. The thirteen colonies were thus transformed into the United States; but the actual independence had to be conquered on the battlefields and on the diplomatic terrain (alliance with France of 1778). After the victory, with the Peace of Paris of 3 September 1783 the United States obtained not only the recognition of independence but also a huge territorial expansion, the entire region that stretches from the Appalachians to the Mississippi.
CULTURE: ARCHITECTURE. A STRONG EUROPEAN FOOTPRINT
Early American art was essentially a provincial transplant of European traditions. However, the architecture, more linked to the environmental conditions and the practical needs of colonization, took on some characteristics of its own with respect to the motherland, adapting the European contributions to the special climatic conditions, to the different building materials, to the defensive needs, etc. The oldest urban settlement of European origin is Saint Augustine in Florida, founded by the Spaniards in 1565, with typical Spanish architecture (two-storey houses, terrace roofs, arcades, back gardens) and organized as a military garrison, commercial, agricultural center and missionary at the same time., 1610; San Antonio, 1718) led to the rise of an architectural culture mainly linked to military and religious settlements, with a regular checkerboard urban layout and a central square surrounded by arcades, in whose churches and palaces of governors the motifs of the colonial baroque are joined by others (technical and stylistic) derived from indigenous cultures. If the influences left by the Swedish, Dutch and French colonization on the American architectural culture were scarce, the imprint of the English colonization was decisive. In the sec. The seventeenth and eighteenth century a colonial style was configured which is usually divided into two periods: Early Colonial (up to about 1700) and Georgian or Late Colonial (until about 1780), whose stylistic features still reveal the cultural subordination to the motherland. Already in the first colonial period different typologies emerged due to the different economic and social organizations of the colonies; in the North, wooden peasant houses prevailed, with two floors of two rooms each with a large central fireplace, of great structural and formal simplicity, and public buildings (such as the Anglican Meeting Houses, of which the Old Ship of Hingham is a typical example, Massachusetts), mostly square in shape, with trussed roof, timber frame, high Gothic ceiling. On the other hand, there are several houses in the Southern colonies (Maryland, Virginia, Carolina, etc.), called Plantation Houses, much larger and more complex, often built in bricks, with greater claims of elegance (colonnades on the facade, loggias, balconies, etc.).