Development of the American Identity Between 1750 and 1776

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Keum Yong (Andrew) Lee

DBQ – Score 8/9 (95)

In what ways and to what extent did the “American identity” develop between 1750 and 1776?

Though the American colonists had not achieved a true, uniform sense of identity or unity by 1776, on the eve of Revolution, the progress towards unity and the inchoate idea of an “American” between 1750 and 1776 is inevitable in both existence and significance. Previous to the French and Indian War, America as a whole had been, more or less, loyal mercantile-based, and subservient to the British crown as British colonists in the New World; however, the Americans' sense of unity kindled and proliferated with the increased tax burdens and coercive Parliamentary decisions, while even until 1776, Americans, in a broad scope, retained more so their “British” identity rather than a truly American one.

Throughout the time period from 1750 to 1776, Americans undoubtedly developed a stronger, not solidified, sense of unity against a common enemy, the British. Even during the 1750s, when no particular duties or grievance troubled the American colonists (from the British), Benjamin Franklin proposed the Albany Plan of Union in order to secure the Iroquois loyalty and raise inter-colonial unity/agreement. Through political cartoon such as the famous 'Join, or Die' fragmented snake, Ben Franklin hinted at the fact that, against a common enemy (in this case, the French and Huron Indian tribes), unity was of necessity in order to strengthen America as a whole (Doc. A). Furthermore, Ben Franklin expressed his opinion or unity at the Albany Congress, where a plan of, long-term unity was suggested. Though the colonies and the British crown both disapproved of the plan, the Albany Plan of Union was an important step towards unity, especially so early on in the existence of the American colonies. Although the first years of the period 1750-1776 were not as filled with ideas of unity, a chain reaction of direct taxes, strict...
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