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Free «Colonial America and the American Revolution» Essay Sample

Question #1: How is it possible that "freedom" in the American Revolution developed side by side with slavery?

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This question points out at the biggest contradiction of the American Revolution:  its ideology based on understanding that “all men were born free and equal”, as posited by the natural rights philosophy, and slavery, which became the ultimate expression of inequality. This situation is often called the paradox of the American history. First of all, it was the egalitarian thinking of the Founding Fathers of the Revolution, for example, Thomas Jefferson, who himself was a large slaveholder. While the ideology of the revolution was all about men created equal, this focus on individual liberty was ambivalent, as … notes. Despite the fact that the eighteenth century thinkers realized that the African American people were homo sapiens, they could not disregard the fact that the African Americans had been their property for a century or even more. In this context, the ideology of property took the prominent position and it turned out so that “there was hardly a man in all the colonies who would not have seen a serious problem in calling for an end to property in slaves without consent or compensation.” (Levesque & Baumgarten 28) Overall, it was the lack of clear distinction between the so-called human and property rights that prevented the formation of a considerable roadblock across the way to slavery abolition.   Besides, the very thinking of the Founding Fathers, the leisured gentry who served for the good of the society, bore an imprint of civic humanism. Hence, the Federalists passionately believed in ranks hierarchy, as well as in an uneven and greatly unequal  social order (Levesque & Baumgarten 29 ).

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Question #2: How important was the process of colonization and the formation of unique cultures in America to the formation of the United States?

Colonization of America paved the way for the Revolution, which was actually America’s war for independence and the start of the United States of America. By allowing settlers to colonize the lands of the New World, the British Crown virtually set the stage forth subsequent Revolution and separation of these lands as a new formation of the United States of America. Due to the hands-off style of governing the colonies, the Crown created the favorable climate for numerous settlers who would come, use the land and bring profits. For example, the colonizers in Chesapeake made its lands tobacco plantations where they would grow tobacco of the highest quality. Other thirteen colonies (if to count West Indies, fourteen) focused on other activities. They were settled by colonizers from different countries and the population was absolutely diverse from one colony to another. Besides, the religious affiliations differed: Protestants, Catholics, and Jews were the inhabitants of the colonies. Each colony had its own way of governing. Therefore, those colonies were “separate mini-nations that the British Empire had created with different goals and purposes” (Graf, “American Colonization made way for Revolution”). Yet, it was a new kind of society which could rise against Great Britain and emerge as the United States of America after the Revolution.     

 
 
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Question #3: One prominent interpretation of the American Revolution asserts that the process of colonization created new cultures in the colonies – What information in your text supports the development of a unique identity in colonial America?

The process of colonization and formation of unique cultures was the basis for the United States formation. The overall history of the United States has been the history of immigrants or, in other words, “immigrants were American history” (Spickard 6). The United States is a nation of immigrants, so colonization by immigrants was the starting point of its formation. At the same time, it was not merely the physical movement of people from one place to another. Just as immigrants or, better, colonizers were arriving in America and setting up their towns, they integrated into a unique mix of various nationalities. The latter became a so-called American race. To illustrate, it was John Crevecoeur, a French immigrant, who back in 1782 wrote in his “Letters from an American farmer”: “here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labour and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world” (Spickard 5)  Thus, a new nationality emerged known as American. It already had its own characteristics, which later developed to a more advanced level. In the times of John Crevecoeur, the features of an American were “carrying along with them the great mass of arts, sciences, vigor, and industry” (Spickard 5).  At the same time, the emphasis on the dominant position of the Anglo-American culture and worldview became evident. While the United States accepted settlers from various parts of the world, most notably from Europe, they were all expected to alter their behavior so that they could approximate the standard of the Americans whose roots were English. Hence, the colonization by the English settlers became the dominant source of ideology and values in the culture of the United States (Spickard 6).

   

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