Era of the American Revolution, 1760-1791, by Term Paper

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Era of the American Revolution, 1760-1791, by Richard D. Brown. Specifically it will use only pages 47-59 & 79-87 to answer the following question: Did a separate Colonial identity emerge in the decades before the American Revolution?


Ultimately, a separate Colonial identity was emerging as soon as the first settlers touched land in America in the 1600s. The colony was formed with dissidents who left England because of religious persecution, and they were far enough away from the mother country to form their own working political relationships. As essayist Greene notes, the relationship between England and America was "in many respects an uneasy connection" (Greene 48). By the 1760s, we had developed our own judicial system, our own educational system, and our own political institutions, such as the assembly, which actually worked better than their English counterparts did. The colonists were also productive and successful. Many who had moved to America became wealthy, and they did not need to depend on the mother country for financial support, they had their own wealth and used it to help build up America. The colonies were not dependent on England for much, and were ripe to break off when they did.

Society and culture were growing rapidly in America during this time. There were a variety of newspapers and journals, and books to read, there were educational institutions turning out extremely competent lawyers and financiers, and tradesmen were continually developing their businesses. In short, the communities were prosperous and well populated with a wide variety of professionals and tradesmen. We did not need to import these people from England, which cut our dependency even more. We had a thriving society in America, and indeed added to British coffers. Undeniably, they needed us much more than we needed them. The author notes, "Indeed, during the eighteenth century, the colonial trade became 'the most rapidly growing section' - and accounted for a significant proportion of the total volume - of British overseas trade" (Greene 51). However, the colonists did expect certain things from Britain in return for remaining a colony, including remaining autonomous while enjoying the reputation of Britain's excellent reputation around the world. The colonists were clearly developing their own distinct personality and governance, from their educational system to their trade systems, all were unique and viable, yet the tie to England made them feel more secure and established in the world. This was all well and good, until England began to assert her authority. As the author states, "The British emphasis implied a relationship of perpetual dependency of the colonies upon the mother country, while the colonial suggest an eventual equivalence..." (Greene 54), and this is ultimately the final difference between the two countries that created so many problems. England could not let go of her "child," and allow it to grow and prosper on its own. While the colonies had many similarities with their "mother," just as any child does, America was growing up and moving away from the ideals and beliefs of England, and setting a new course for themselves.

The Seven Years' War helped convince…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Anderson, Fred. "Friction Between Colonial Troops and British Regulars." Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, 1760-1791. Richard D. Brown, ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. pp. 79-87.

Greene, Jack P. "The Preconditions of the American Revolution." Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, 1760-1791. Richard D. Brown, ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. pp. 47-59.

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