Why did America never suffer any uprisings after independence?

Sep 2018
21
Sri Lanka
#1
Or rather serious uprisings, not including the civil war...

Why is it when South American countries or African countries gain independence, their countries go through a vicious cycle of coups, civil wars, dictatorships, corrupt governments etc. but America has somehow been able to avoid these, again excluding the civil war?
 
Jan 2009
1,164
#2
I think it has very much to do with the fact that the Colonies were almost de facto independent prior to the War of Independence. Each state had their own local government, legislature, etc., and it was these local elites who formed the leadership of the nascent United States, too. Also, the social gap was much smaller than in South America, and the society more homogeneous and equal (if you ignore the slaves, of course). So you already had a government, accepted as legitimate by the citizens, practiced at governing, and the big change was that rather than being a subject of the British Crown, you are now a citizen of the United States. Other than that, it was pretty much status quo.

Now in South America, you had huge income gaps between the landowning local elite and the poor. There was also a racial aspect between the higher status Spanish descent elites and the more mixed lower orders, including slaves. The rule had been in the hands of governors appointed by the Spanish (or Portuguese) Crown, usually outsiders from the homeland. So you had an autocratic system in place, without much local participation. Also, rather than a unified front led by the local elites, there was also slave uprisings, widespread banditry, etc. With such fractures and no legitimacy other than that given by the guns of the army, this might explain in part why it didn't go that well in the 19th century (ignoring CIA's and KGB's antics during the Cold War). There is also the size issue: the whole of South America was much bigger and less unified than the 13 Colonies, who didn't really face any serious opponents for their expansion, apart from War of 1812 and Mexican-American War.

In Africa, you have, in addition to the above, the post-colonial borders throwing different peoples together, and proxy wars between USSR and USA. No wonder it is a mess.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
2,548
Sydney
#3
the fact that the united States was a confederation certainly helped resolve some issue , everybody agreed to keep the confederal government down
on the national level there has always been a tendency to elect popular generals , starting with Washington Himself
happily he was a well bred Gentleman
 
Jul 2017
102
USA
#4
Because the last time any one subgroup had a crazy terrorist idea to have a military with guns pointed at their neighbors was the civil war. People in the US do not support terrorism. Whereas in some other countries they are born terrorist, and educated to be terrorists. Freedom, right to choose, democracy to them means the right to acquire guns, kill, terrorize neighbors, and carve out their own little piece of terrorist heaven. That's why people in the US generally consider the rest of the world garbage.
 
Sep 2018
40
transitory
#5
I've heard there were some slave rebellions in the US in the early 19th century, but I doubt that's what you're asking about...
 

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,141
Albuquerque, NM
#8
Check out "Shay's Rebellion". Transporting corn (maize) from up-country to the more settled coastline was difficult and expensive in the wake of the Revolution. Farmers found turning their corn into whiskey solved a lot of problems and generated hard currency that was much in demand. A Whisky Tax was imposed, causing Shay and the farmers of the area not only refused to pay the tax, they armed themselves and marched. George Washington led a military contingent to put down the rebellion, one of the first Federal interventions in the newly formed Constitutional system. The farmers disbanded. Later when faced with the "Nullification" crisis, no one had any doubt that the President had the authority and would hang anyone who resisted paying the nationally authorized import duties. During the first years of the Republic, many Americans believed that any restriction on their personal liberty, or local communities was a betrayal of the ideals they fought and died for. Adoption of the Constitution was a last ditch effort to save the experiment into self-government, and a considerable portion of the public were in diagreement what that government should be, and how to balance individual liberties with the Common Good. The two general approaches were the centralized government of the Constitution, and the Jeffersonian ideal of a Nation made up of small farmers who would control their own affairs with very little centralized control. That approach, however, didn't work at all under the Articles of Confederation and precipitated the need to change course ... ala the Constitution.
 
Jul 2009
9,331
#9
Check out "Shay's Rebellion". Transporting corn (maize) from up-country to the more settled coastline was difficult and expensive in the wake of the Revolution. Farmers found turning their corn into whiskey solved a lot of problems and generated hard currency that was much in demand. A Whisky Tax was imposed, causing Shay and the farmers of the area not only refused to pay the tax, they armed themselves and marched. George Washington led a military contingent to put down the rebellion, one of the first Federal interventions in the newly formed Constitutional system. The farmers disbanded. Later when faced with the "Nullification" crisis, no one had any doubt that the President had the authority and would hang anyone who resisted paying the nationally authorized import duties. During the first years of the Republic, many Americans believed that any restriction on their personal liberty, or local communities was a betrayal of the ideals they fought and died for. Adoption of the Constitution was a last ditch effort to save the experiment into self-government, and a considerable portion of the public were in diagreement what that government should be, and how to balance individual liberties with the Common Good. The two general approaches were the centralized government of the Constitution, and the Jeffersonian ideal of a Nation made up of small farmers who would control their own affairs with very little centralized control. That approach, however, didn't work at all under the Articles of Confederation and precipitated the need to change course ... ala the Constitution.
The details above are what I recall of the Whiskey (Whisky) Rebellion. Shays involved all Massachusetts militia IIRC, and it was some years before Washington became POTUS. I don't think the government of the United States (Articles of Confederation) was involved in that situation, at least very much at all. It was a state issue, handled by Mass authorities, as the US had no money for troops anyway.

The Shays situation had tax aspects, but it was more due to debts and the lack of specie to pay them. Farmers were losing their property and the state was seen as an oppressor. Others resented being left behind after the war, having frequently been promised things the US could not provide for them.

Shays rebellion being pre-Constitution, and Whisky after its ratification, were both important to the development of public policy in the Republic, and one of the most important aspects was that very few "rebels" were dealt with by such usual widespread means as wholesale hangings and shootings. A few of the Shays men were hanged, by Mass law, but AFAIK no one from the Whisky. Washington, after the Whisky, pardoned those who were sentenced to death, and it was only a couple I think.

As you are aware, this sort of distress was important in the development of a right of citizens 'to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.' I think Jefferson was sympathetic to the Shays participants as he saw such actions as necessary for a free citizenry.
 
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Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
2,875
Dispargum
#10
The unsettled frontier offered an outlet (or escape valve) for anyone who disliked living under US laws or authority. Technically, US laws still applied on the frontier, but there was often no one to enforce them.