Jan 25, 2018 in Research

How Colonists Become a Nation

People always draw together and become united while facing a disaster or enemy, and American nation is not an exclusion. Colonists were too various to become a single nation in normal circumstances. Common historical memory makes human to be a person as well as it makes a group of people to be the nation. One cannot deny the fundamental role of the Founding Fathers in forming American nation, but also it is impossible to neglect the role of the British government. Actually, without discriminative laws of the metropolitan country, the American Revolution would has hardly occurred.

Common enemy united the first American colonists since their arrival, although their encounters with Native Americans were not inevitably hostile. Nevertheless, the need for the further expansion and clash with Indians for the territories led to the establishment of the common enemy for all settlers who considered them savages and inferior people. Actually, both Europeans and Indians treated each other such as savages (Brinkley, 2014). Facing a disaster people reacted more fiercely, and were more enthusiastic to fight for new lands. However, there still was no national consciousness. Most settlers considered themselves British or French, etc., but not Americans.

The serious tensions in the colonist society started after the French and Indian War. Brinkley (2014) suggests that the French and Indian War not only strengthened the common dissatisfaction about British government among American colonists, but also it was the first experience for them when they had fight against the common enemy.  Participation in a war was a vital experience for people who were going to became the one nation. Moreover, after annihilating one common foe, Americans became able to notice another enemy that is the British Empire. Finally, after French defeat in the war, there was no need in British soldiers who were located in America, as colonists were able to defend themselves from Indians . It explains the reason why colonists did not oppose English forces during the war.

Thirteen colonies, which became the United States, had similar government that was appointed from London, and thus, the people had similar problems. Undoubtedly, these problems united them, making to think about sovereignty. The Stamp Act 1765 and other taxes provoked a great resentment among Americans. The idea of independence was more and more popular and monarchy was represented as underdeveloped and oppressive regime. Desire to build a state without king and tyranny occupied more Americans. Taking into account that British colonies in America were in the same boat with each other, the solution of this problem united them considerably. The example of the Civil War in England that resulted in the execution of king was still fresh for Americans who wanted to overthrow the governance of British crown in the colonies. It meant that it is possible to struggle for independence and win. Brinkley (2014) states that “the Glorious Revolution in England touched off revolutions, mostly bloodless ones, in several regions.” Nevertheless, being angry at the government is not enough to become a nation. Living far from the motherland and exploring new lands, made colonists to be convinced that they are not British anymore. The absence of representation in the English parliament only fueled these thoughts (Brinkley, 2014). It made colonists to think that they are not first-class citizens that means that they do not have to obey the King. Mostly, it was caused by the extreme sensitivity of colonists to the violation of their rights. Finally, equality and justice would become the fundamental ideas that allowed the Founding Fathers to build American nation.

The spirit of American nation of that time was reflected in John O’Sullivan’s article Manifest of Destiny that became a fundamental doctrine of Americans and the US government. However, this concept had existed long before the article was published, and Americans cultivated it in their heads for many years. Manifest of Destiny was of paramount importance for Americans before and after the independence. It motivated them to work for the common welfare and make them to believe that Americans is a nation, but not a group of colonists from Europe. The feeling of the personal and national destiny and purpose moved Americans to improve their own country, in order to improve the whole world.

The American Revolution that finally united Americans against their main foe became the landmark in forming the American nation. It was a relevant moment, not only it allowed colonists to acquire the independence, but it was the first war where Americans fought not for the king, but for themselves. The US Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights are one of the most connecting things in the American society. The Constitution is a guiding star for Americans that shows them the right way in disputable situations. Nevertheless, one cannot be completely sure that Americans as a nation finished their forming after the American Revolution and Constitution adoption. Obviously, several important issues were neglected that resulted in the Civil War, but even in this fratricidal war, Americans showed that nobody can deprive them from their human and citizen rights. This is the nature of American patriotism that united colonists hundreds years ago, and unites US citizens now.


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