DBQ-American identity and unity

Topics: United States, United States Declaration of Independence, Thirteen Colonies Pages: 3 (903 words) Published: October 15, 2013
Over the course of the seventeenth- and mid-eighteenth-century a wide variety of groups and individuals have sailed across the Atlantic and settled in America. Settling in this new environment was most certainly hard, but as time passed America transformed into a more complex civilization and so too did its identity and unity. Still ruled under Great Britain the colonists were able to create a unique identity and partial sense of unity as time progressed. The colonists had a full sense of their identity being the egalitarian, self-reliant people that they were, but lacked complete unity, still indecisive about breaking away from their mother country by the eve of the Revolution.

A great deal of the colonists’ identity is ascribed to the environmental factors which shaped their attitudes and beliefs. The egalitarian and self-reliant characteristics of the colonists were long instilled into American culture. Egalitarianism was due to the abundance of land that provided anybody with a chance of land ownership. Ordinary people could now vote in the colonies, a privilege most didn’t bear in England, and because of the large amount of people with land ownership, the colonists formed less distinctive social classes among themselves. Also, not being given many supplies to start off with the colonists had to create their communities mostly from scratch, which in return created very self-reliant and self-sufficient communities that played a key role in their freedom from Great Britain. Moreover, the expansive environment inspired many people to start fresh in their lives. The opportunity that America possessed led not only Englishmen to settle but varying cultures from all around. St. John Crevecoeur Hector says in Letter from an American Farmer, “What then is the American, this new man? He is either an European, or the descendant of an European, hence that strange mixture of blood which you will find in no other country…He is an American, who leaving behind him all...
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