What Is An American?         During The Pre Revolutionary War Era, The

1009 words - 4 pages

What is an American? During the pre-revolutionary war era, the American colonists began to view themselves increasingly as Americans, breaking away from the English Culture and establishing themselves to form their own identity as American colonists. This was spawned by many decades of salutary neglect, during which the colonists developed their own identity, while still recognizing themselves as part of the British Empire but beginning to view themselves as different. The colonies slowly began to unify, putting aside their petty differences, and oppose British rule in many ways. The change from years which flourished on account of salutary neglect to years of strict ruling by King George III caused the colonists to unite completely and forced them to realize the new identity while still desiring to remain part of the British Empire.The American colonies flourished under Sir Robert Walpole?s ideas of salutary neglect. This time period is best characterized by little to no British regulation over the colonies(Bailey, The American Pageant, 124). However, when this English policy ended in 1762, marked by the end of the French and Indian war, Britain began to impose taxes on the colonists to pay for war debts and British troops in America and strictly reinforce the already existing, yet ignored, Navigation Acts. Frustrated by the new British rule, the colonies united to ?defend their liberties against every nation on earth that tries to take them away,? including Britain, and protest their unfair treatment as Englishmen (Document C). They united opposing such items as The Proclamation of 1763, The Currency Act, The Sugar Act, The Quartering Act, The Stamp Act, The Tea Act, and The Intolerable Acts (Bailey, The American Pageant, 125-134). The opposition of these acts showed the colonies ability to unite and put and end to taxation without representation. The colonists realized that in order to have their grievances addressed by King George III and Parliament they needed to join together as one or their cause would die out and be crushed by the mighty British army (Document A). With colonial unity in mind the colonies began to unify as observed in the response to the Coercive Acts when Boston?s Port was closed. Many colonies helped to assist the Bostonians by sending much needed supplies such as sheep, grain, corn, sheep, rice, etc. (Document G). This marked the beginning of colonial unity and the American identity separate from that of Britain?s.The First Continental Congress in 1775 resulted in a rejection of the Intolerable Acts, the formation of colonial militias, suspended trade with the British Empire, refusal to pay taxes, and a petition for the redressing of grievances. The colonists insisted they had been forced by Britain to fight for the preservation of their liberties (Document E). The colonies were no longer willing to undergo such unfair treatment from British rule. They were Englishmen, yet they didn?t receive the rights of them. Thus,...

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