Eve of the Revolution Dbq
DBQ 1 Question: To what extent had the colonists developed a sense of their identity and unity as Americans by the eave of the Revolution? Prior to the eve of the American Revolution, the American colonists definitely did have a sense of identity and unity. This unity and identity by no means came quickly up until the eve of the revolution. After the numerous acts imposed by Britain, more Americans saw the light and realized their place in society as patriots and as Americans.
The colonists show their identity and their unity in many ways. Most notably they had negative feelings for a common enemy in Britain, and wanted to become separate from the British. They show unity by their attempt at a government which early on was unheard of in America. Another was that together they formed plotted attacks or uprises against the British which expresses their unity. And they showed their identity in the form of a nickname: Americans. To begin, the colonists showed their unity through their hatred of Britain. The wicked violence of the Ministry is so clearly expressed, as to leave no doubt of their fatal determination to ruin both countries unless a powerful and timely check is interposed by the body of people; (Doc. C)” This quote is basically saying that Britain was misusing their power and by doing so it would put both America and England in turmoil. Britain was using their power for violence and if the colonists did not do something about this then both countries would be badly affected. Richard Henry Lee lived during the pre-revolution and witnessed this misuse of power so he is a reliable source.
Another example of the colonists hate for Britain is “ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away; (Doc. D)” This quote is comparing Britain to a tyrant and it shows how they thought they should still control America even though an ocean separated the two. In reality the Americans didn’t want to be controlled by Britain, they wanted their own government. In addition to the colonist’s hatred for Britain, they also showed unity through their attempt at a government. The colonists wanted to form a democracy where the government was essentially run by the people.
They wanted this because they didn’t like the taxes and other harsh laws that Britain was imposing on them. “A Declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North America, now met in Congress at Philadelphia; (Doc. E)” This expressed their unity through a government because people from the colonies in America came together in one location in order to discuss the growth of their government and how to achieve independence. Also, Congress refers to themselves as the “United Colonies” which shows how they thought of their unity.
Another example of their unity to government prior to the revolution is “A very small corrupted Junto in New York excepted, North America is now most firmly united and as firmly resolved to defend their liberties and infinitum against every power on Earth that may attempt to take them away; (Doc. C) This quote that in 1774 (when this was written) the colonists felt they were unified. Also in 1774 the first continental congress met in Albany, the continental congress was at the time what the colonists had for a government. The continental congress was a reaction to the laws and acts that the British placed on the colonists.
And lastly in Document A, it shows an image of a decapitated snake with a different colonies abbreviation inside a piece. This symbolizes that though the colonists were not completely unified at the time, they should become unified. This was illustrated by Ben Franklin in May of 1754 and later put in a local newspaper. And the last way that the colonists showed their unity was through their revolts against the British and their law. At first the colonists were not willing to go against what Britain said and were happy listening to them but after Britain passed the taxes and acts, the colonist’s opinion on the British changed.
At first only a few groups were willing to go against Britain through their actions. The sons of liberty, a group of revolutionaries from Boston, were willing to go against something that they thought was wrong. The sons of liberty dumped the British tea into Boston harbor in retaliation to something they thought was bad, the Tea Act. The colonists who witnessed or heard of this event now also felt that they could stand up for what they believed in. Another example of the colonists taking action against the British is when the colonists decided to help out the people in Boston despise the acts posed against Boston.
The example is, “Windham, Connecticut-a small flock of sheep, Groton, Connecticut-40 bushels of grain… ;( Doc. G)” This quote shows the unselfishness of the cities and the colonists in the city when they risked their own well-being in order to “contribute donations for the relief of Boston. ” This was a form of pre-revolution colonial unity because cities outside of Massachusetts and cities like Boston joined together as one to disobey a greater power. Prior to the American Revolution, the American people were known as the settlers who broke off from the British but were still controlled by them.
The colonists early on had no since of identity until the British imposed the harsh acts on them. These acts led to the discovering of American Identity. An example of colonial identity is “He is an American, who leaving behind him all of his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced…He becomes an American by being received in the broad lap of Alma Mater” The colonists believed that one who is mixed in blood is just as American as one who was born and raised in America.
They believe that one who is different from his originally ethnic background, and has a different life (compared to one that he might have lived if he were in Europe) is just as American as a man/woman who lived in America their whole life. Another way in which the colonists expressed their identity was “The eternal Barriers of Nature forbid that the colonies should be blended or coalesce into the Mass…; (Doc. B)” This quote shows that the colonists believed that they were too different from Great Britain that they couldn’t blend in with the mass.
The colonists knew that they were no longer British but they were Americans. Other ways that the colonists expressed their identity by the eve of the Revolutionary War were; America became the melting pot for the whole world which meant that people from many cultures lived in America and because of that they were known as Americans. Also the term “patriots” was developed as a nickname for an American person. By developing these nicknames, the revolutionary colonists could be identified as something other then just “British colonists” or “English settlers”.
As you can see, the Americans developed a great sense of unity and identity by the eve of the American Revolution. These examples include how the colonists shared a hate for Britain-which caused them to split apart and for the colonists to become unified as Americans, the formation of a government-the government would be ruled by the people with representatives from the thirteen colonies, plotted attacks and revolts-which unified the Americans through their actions, and how a nickname could change the identity for a society. BIBLIOGRAPHY: American Pageant 13th Edition