Our Colonial Heritage Essay

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A.P. U.S. History
8-7-2012
Many things in life become easier when one is prepared.  Such preparation is required to adequately complete an essay responding to the quote “Historians sometimes view the first hundred years of the colonial experience mainly as preparation for the last fifty.” (White, p. 209).  This quote from Our Colonial Heritage by William White is more complex than meets the eye.  Key words in the sentence include “hundred”, “colonial”, “preparation”, and “fifty”.  Analyzing all four of these words is critical before jumping into a scholastic endeavor, for example developing an essay on the topic.  After doing just that, or even from just considering the context of the quote, it isn’t hard to realize that White was talking about the changing of the people who left Britain during the late 16th century and early 17th century for a new land that they would eventually name America.  Overtime, these soon-to-be-Americans would drift away from their British, or colonial heritage and begin to build the American Character.  Because of different survival, social, and religious needs, as well as needs for the general well-being of the colonies, many British traditions and attitudes would be changed to improve their standard of living in America.  In fact, Charles M. Andrews said “The half century from 1713 to 1763 is the period during which the life of the colonists attained its highest level of stability and regularity.” (p. 209).  While the colonists were just adapting their lives, and showed no major signs of intentional, deliberate changes to their culture, Vernon L. Parrington suggests that elements of our national character were quietly or even subconsciously formed, and that “The undistinguished years of the early and middle eighteenth century, rude and drab in their insularity, were the creative springtime of democratic America...” (p. 209)  With many sources agreeing, including The American Pageant and Our Colonial Heritage, the first 150 years of...
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