Colonists’ Sense of Identity and Unity as Americans

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A single colony cannot depart from its mother country and lead a revolution; only a whole united nation, such as that of the American colonies, could successfully detach themselves from Mother England. One must take into consideration that up until the eve of revolution, much had happened in the time era of 1607-1776, where the British were still very involved in the American lifestyle and there was no unity within the nation, nevertheless the colonies.

However, after the numerous acts imposed by the so called mother that should’ve taken care of the colonist, more Americans saw the light and realized their place in society as Patriotic Americans rather than Britons. Thus, by the Eve of the revolution, America had built a great sense of unity within its people and a very sharp sense of identity as a community. Whether socially, politically, or any other way, the American identity and unity of the people was evident in all facets of lifestyle.

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Initially, when the first colonists had just arrived at the wild lands of America, they were already men, united by their will and courage to get up and leave their homeland in order to create a better future for their descendants. As the times went on, the colonies had to face hardships while tackling Native Americans, and to battle them successfully, they had to do so in unison.

Regarding the documents, as Document C demonstrates, by the end of most of the imposed acts in 1774, the Americans had become united as one to fight any force objecting their belief system, and the amount of those objecting the British and uniting with the rest are expanding. “…all North American is now most firmly united and as firmly resolved to defend their liberties ad infinitum against every power on earth that may attempt to take them away. The most effectual measures are everywhere taking to secure a sacred observance of the Association.

Manufactures go rapidly on and the means of repelling force by force are universally adopting. ” Although the patriots who fought for their liberties were tightly knit, a group of loyalist had laid between those patriots, circling around 15-20% of the white population, around 500,000 people. However, this figure relates to the times leading up to the eve of the revolution, not at that point exactly. By that time, many loyalists had become either indifferent or patriotic, due to the fact that some of the acts did not have direct effect on them, thus they did not care.

However, only about 19000 of those actually fought in the revolution, which is a meaningless number compared to the number of patriots against them, and 100,000 loyalists eventually fled the colonies, leaving the patriots behind as one whole single unit. Thus, since in every situation, there will always be a minority group that is the outcaste and is greatly outnumbered, and since nothing is obsolete, the loyalists don’t exactly qualify as a part of the nation that isn’t united.

The statement above does not disregard the loyalists and consider them to have not existed, but is concluded due to the fact that a great majority of them didn’t actually do anything about what they believed, leaving them as neutral. In addition, Document G gives the reader a taste of how united the community was between states, not just in random groups of patriots. It holds a chart, describing the donations made for the relief of Boston in 1774 and 1775, by the colony of Connecticut. For example, Hartford town donated 1400 bushels of grain, Wethersfield donated 248. bushels of rye and 390 bushels of Indian corn, Windham contributed a small flock of sheep, etc. Regarding the economy in the colonies, they had united through each other’s trades, by feeding off of every area’s goods. For example, tobacco, cotton, and wheat from Virginia for example would be used throughout the colonies, and the fish, fur, and artifacts from New England would also be distributed all the way to the South, ensuring everyone’s share in all goods. In addition to unity by the end of the revolution, the colonies had developed a definite sense of identity.

According to Document H, which was published two years before the end of the revolution in 1781, becoming an American was ‘by being received in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whole labours and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world. American identity meant being a mixture of European, Native American, and even African American blood and culture. Looking back at the times when the colonies were just being set up by the first arriving colonists, from that point, the spirit of the colonists had been that of fighters.

They had fought to build a community out of nothing, and although they initially failed, they tried again. They fought the Indians numerous times in order to protect what was theirs, and during the time of the acts, towards the time of the revolution, they had fought again for what was theirs; their inalienable rights. Thus, the American identity had not only been formed uniquely through a mixture of cultures, but was also shaped through their experiences away from their motherland. In addition to an overall American identity, each individual colony had formed a solid character.

For example, Rhode Island was known as a tolerant colony accepting all individuals, where Virginia was known for its strict emphasis on religion. The Northern colonies were known for their merchants, artisans, and trading skills, while the south had built amazing plantations and provided crop. In addition, the government of each colony was also a vital aspect of a colony’s individuality. For example, in Virginia, there was a ruling House of Burgesses, Massachusetts and New York were known for their Representative assemblies and Massachusetts especially for its commonwealth, etc.

Some colonies such as Pennsylvania permitted house meetings to discuss concerns of the citizens, and in the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, even the first constitution was written. Thus, each colony knew it’s identity regarding its special trade and expertise, as well as government body. And the American society as a whole, had known right from the start when they set up these autonomous governments that they would want to be ruled in a Democratic manner, as they have been ruled in each individual colony.

That is evident in the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776 by a group of wise men, where they fully declare no connection anymore to the British, denounce the attitude Britain has had towards them, and described the identity of the people by showing that they’ll fight for their rights and are a people of democracy. Consequently, the American society had developed a clear sense of identity in its earlier days due to the hardships they had to face, not to mention by the eve of the revolution.

To conclude, the colonies had started off with some uniting factors and a vague sense of identity, however, as time went by, the nation was as united a nation could possibly be, and the colonists had a clear and fixed identity. What had brought the colonists unity throughout the decade and a half were the hardships they had to face, the acts they had to fight together to protect their rights, their economic state which brought them together from all over the colonies in order to benefit from everyone’s goods, etc.

Their identity had also congealed over the years, as it was shaped through their experiences of structuring a new nation, their involvement and mixture with other cultures had created one unique race of Americans, and their environment had caused each individual colony to also form its own area of expertise. However, one must not be confused with the fact that although by the eve of revolution America was already shaped; there were still those who did not fit in with the community, such as loyalists, who some only after the revolution fled back to England.

In addition, although they had set their identity so far, it was not engraved in stone and as the times would continue to change, even during the revolution itself, the character of America would not be the same. In addition, although the Americans were united enough to create a successful revolution, apparently they did not know their identity enough and were not integrated enough to sustain a god standard of living, since as they declared independence and the revolution was over, their independent life had not been immediately successful and self-sufficient.

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Colonists’ Sense of Identity and Unity as Americans. (2017, Feb 25). Retrieved from

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