The Formation of American Identity Morgan Hersha IAH 201 Professor Emily Conroy-Krutz February 21, 2013 Americans pride themselves on their nation and its achievements, but most of all, their freedom. “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom. ” It is a blessing to live under such a great constitution and we as citizens should be knowledgeable about where, when, and how it all it began. People are who they are because of the experiences that they have been through throughout their life.
This is the same case for America. The United States has formed its identity through experiences, both good and bad. After a long history of both conflict and peace, the United States formed as a union influenced both by European cultures and Native American culture. It all started when Christopher Columbus set sail and him along with the Europeans colonized to America. The Europeans brought their culture and ideas with them. We Americans just like any culture like to pass on our traditions to the generations to come.
The things that I have learned in this class have tied into things today, or at least their origin. The shared history and culture that was developed is still evolving today. During the colonial and revolutionary periods of American history, Native Americans, wars, and European culture all impacted what it meant to be American, and its identity. Native Americans contributed to American identity tremendously. Early American settlers developed many skills that they learned from the Native Americans such as agriculture, language, and even governmental structure.
Without the Native Americans it would have been difficult for colonists to be successful and survive. The colonists played a role like a tourist, and the Native Americans acted as guides. Native Americans depended on trade, and they shared this strategy with the colonists. Europeans would send things such as fur in return for things such as guns and salt. The French trading company was set up. It was thought the Native Americans receive civilization and Christianity, while the Europeans receive labor and land.
This was obviously extremely unfair and the colonists were highly upset over this. The colonists were practically raised by the Native Americans, but once they were able to stand on their own two feet, they took a stand to the Native Americans due to their frustration. During the colonial times of America, multiple wars took place in order to get rid, or displace the Native Americans. During this time the Native Americans were treated horribly. It was their homeland and it was being taken from them, and some were even taken in as slaves.
The colonists started to build on the Connecticut River Valley, but the only thing stopping them was the Pequots. At this time is when the colonists and Native Americans decide to unite against the Pequots, starting the Pequot War in 1637. The English set fire to a fort, which burned down the whole thing leaving about 5 survivors. The English believe that their easy victory meant that God was on their side. The English wanted to adopt the women and children and bring them into their own tribes and convert them into Christianity. The Wampanoag Indians did not want to live by the moral code of the Puritans.
Massasoit was chief of the Wampanoag, he then died and Wamsuette took over which is when things began to fall apart. The sudden death of Wamsuetta was believed to be the cause the King Phillips war in 1975-1976, said to be the bloodiest war in history. During this war 5,000 Native people did, and Phillip retreated home. Many people argue over the justification of taking the land of the Native America. “It was a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here and some there, like a company of sheep torn by wolves. Some say that the colonists came there to express their religion and gain wealth, while others see the colonists as cruel and unfair people. Today Native Americans, or Indians, have been given reservations, or land in order to repay them for what had been taken from them. There is much controversy on what else the Indians receive, but the United States is putting in some effort to justify what they had done. What is warfare? According to Webster’s Dictionary, warfare is the process of military struggle between two nations or groups of nations. Warfare is a part of just about every nation’s history.
What influenced the American Revolution? There were a series of events that impacted the way Americans thought and gave them courage to rebel. The Haitian Revolution put thoughts in the Americans head to become free when the slaves rebelled and took Haiti from the French. By 1770’s about 1/5 of the British Empire was made up of Americans. The Sugar Act and Stamp Act were both two occurrences that made the colonists extremely angry, and after mass rioting the act was repealed. Britain came up with the Townshend Act, which placed import on glass, paint, paper, lead and tea.
To enforce the act the British would use blank search warrants and search any building for any reason. The colonists became very upset and scared. As a result of this there were many outbreaks, which led up to the Boston Massacre. With many civilians being killed during the Boston Massacre, this is when the people start to realize that Americans need to be independent. The Americans start to make homespun clothes and homemade food and tea, which starts to bring patriotism, which makes it easy to put together a military.
The French come to aid of the Americans by providing cash to help defeat the British. The American Revolution had major impacts. Examples of these impacts include things such as independent states with a centralized government, decentralized colonies to independent states with a central government, formation of a constitution, and separation of church and state, and the restriction of slavery. This American Revolution plays a very crucial role in who we are as Americans today. The last major impact on American identity is the influence that the British had on the Americans.
The United States continues to be dependent on the British for culture and other things showing that America as a nation still followed Britain. Manufacturing has not yet been developed so the Americans are still depending on England to get their goods. America starts to take off when Jedidah Mose, a minister from Connecticut, creates an American geography for classroom use. The Europeans eventually do not have local knowledge about America and start asking for information. Goods start being carried on American ships, which is a symbolic change as a new point in history of the US. America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement. ” The point when Americans are seen as free and equal is when the Empress of China, the first US ship to go to China, sets sail. On that same day a ship leaves from New York to go to London, to pronounce peace terms. These actions are not being done by the government, but by merchants, although the people see it as a national action. Americans can now enjoy buying things on their own terms. Americans continue to judge themselves as British, and the English do not respect them.
Americans are very eager to always read British reports that are talking about America, and they are very sensitive to this. Americans need to cut ties with British if they want to have their own identity. Between the dates 1810-1830 America shifts between being dependent on the British, and being independent. Native Americans, warfare, and European culture have all been major factors that formed the American identity, and who we are today. Some of our values and trends may have changed throughout the years, but we still hold onto the roots of our culture.
It is a blessing to live with freedom, and sometimes people take that for granted. Today, we are just born into the US and we are granted these freedoms, but in the colonial times, they had to fight for it. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Tocqueville, Alexis D. Democracy in America. N. p. : Penguin Group, 2003. Print. [ 2 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “American Empires, Colonies. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 10, 2013. [ 3 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “American Empires, Colonies. ” Lecture. Michigan State University.
January 10, 2013. [ 4 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Indian Wars and Captivity. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 5 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Indian Wars and Captivity. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 6 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Indian Wars and Captivity. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 7 ]. Rowlandson, Mary. The Sovereignty and Goodness of God. N. p. : n. p. , 1682. Print. [ 8 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “French Revolution. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 9 ]. Krutz, E.
Conroy. “French Revolution. ” Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 10 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Tourism, Commerce, and American Identity. ”Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 11 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Tourism, Commerce, and American Identity. ”Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013. [ 12 ]. Tocqueville, Alexis D. Democracy in America. N. p. : Penguin Group, 2003. Print. [ 13 ]. Krutz, E. Conroy. “Tourism, Commerce, and American Identity. ”Lecture. Michigan State University. January 15, 2013.
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