Dbq on American Identity

Topics: Thirteen Colonies, American Revolution, United States Pages: 3 (871 words) Published: March 31, 2006
Within the time frame from 1750 to 1781, historical evidence, as well as many documents, suggests that although the colonists at this time had developed a strong sense of unity, they had a weaker sense of identity. Leading up to the eve of revolution, the colonists had began developing bonds among them through unified acts against English taxes, the stamp act congress, and Townshend acts; also, organizations such as the sons and daughters of liberty had emerged. The colonists began to realize that if they all worked together, they could ultimately be a free nation, and they wouldn't have to be controlled by they English government in which they were not represented. Unity however, is not the same as identity. A sense of identity was harder for the colonists to achieve due to the many different cultures and a cornucopia of religions and ethnicities which caused tension.

The skeleton of American unity is a simple caricature (Document A) which was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1754. In this caricature, Benjamin Franklin simply stated the necessity for Americans to either "join, or die". America was not going to tolerate loyalists to the crown, they needed to unite in order to survive as a free nation. This document shows that at this time the colonies still were not united. Unification was slow to develop, and an example of a failed attempt for it, is the Albany congress. Small steps to unification began emerging in the French and Indian War under General Baddock. As stated by Edmund Burke (Document B) shows the British realization that the colonists were beginning to unite, and that it would be very difficult for the English to keep trying to rule the great and growing nation, "the eternal Barriers of Nature forbid…" Slowly the colonists became more and more united. Proven by Richard Henry, 1774 (document C) in which he states that American unity was too strong to be broken, and that slowly it would develop into a strong, independent nation, "America...
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