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Essay On George Washington And How He He Helped Form The Patriotic Identity

1756 words - 7 pages

A distinct patriotic American identity was formed during the American Revolution. George Washington was a significant individual that exemplified this identity. A few factors (religion, shared experiences and beliefs) were instrumental in forming this set identity as they spurred colonial unity, reaffirmed the maxims of freedom and liberty as set principals of the patriotic endeavour and fostered a deep desire to be disparate from Britain. These circumstances provided a preamble for George Washington, who, drawing on this colonial mismanagement used his leadership and courage to inspire the men he commanded. Washington effectively exemplified the patriot identities characteristics of doughty determination, overt hostility towards Britain and the much-stressed value on liberty and freedom. The actions taken by George Washington have a widespread influence on the patriot identity and are instrumental in the forging of a new nation.The unified conversion to Revivalism that occurred during the revolutionary period was a religious factor that was conducive to the formation of the colony wide patriotic identity. The first colonists were strict puritans and their beliefs affixed them to the Monarchy and inculcated obeisance to God and King. Revivalists had similar Christian beliefs to Puritans but there were a few key differences. These peripheral elements substantiated the patriotic identity and the subsequent Revolutionary war. Revivalism put emphasis on the ‘new’ man. Revivalists were encouraged to question their beliefs and disregard them if they were illogical. They were very focused on the individual, his beliefs and his personal freedoms and liberties. Formal discourse from the revolutionary time period supports this idea. Jonathan Todd (pastor) said that Revivalists “would put down all rule and all authority and power among men: pleading in defence of their licentious doctrine that Christ hath made all his people Kings”. The American colonists of the Revolution were at variance with the idiocy of a British King thousands of miles away governing them. In their eyes no government that wielded power without legitimacy could have authority. Self rule and a split from Britain supported the free and liberal ideals held so highly by the Revivalists as it allowed them to make their own choices. So, as Revivalism pervaded and more colonists espoused its doctrine the Patriotic identity strengthened, it was these revivalist-influenced free and liberal ideals that helped cause the subsequent Revolutionary War and enabled Washington to influence the direction of the Patriots.For revolution to occur, a mentality of oppression must be effectively created. The colonists were subjected, through shared experience, to certain economic restrictions that were designed to perpetuate British control. This was an important factor in fostering revolutionary beliefs. Britain had amassed overwhelming debts in the preceding French-Indian War and looked...

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