The end of the French and Indian War and the attempt by colonists to make amends with King George III reinforced British identity throughout the American colonies. However, things such as the Declaration of Independence, the Boston Tea Party, the first Continental Congress, and Common Sense by Thomas Paine led to a unity and identity shift among the colonists in America. Therefore, there was more of an identity and unity change in the colonies instead of a continuity. At the end of the French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years’ War, there remained a strong loyalty to the British among the colonists.
There was also a continuity of disunity among the colonists as well. The French and Indian War ended in 1763 and occurred between Great Britain and France. The war primarily occurred because of disputes over American land. At the end of the war, there was a British victory over the French. Even though the British gained control of new land, the war still costed a lot of money because of the cost of having soldiers, supplies, and weapons. This resulted in new taxes that the colonists would have to pay. For example, the Stamp Act created a tax on items such as newspapers, licenses, and other legal documents.
This is just one example of heavy taxation and limits of self-government by the British which caused disunity among the colonists. Many colonists felt like they would never be able to break away from Britain. A strong example of how loyal colonists were to Britain would be the Olive Branch Petition. This petition was drafted in 1775 and was written to King George III by members of the Second Continental Congress. This was probably the last major attempt to stop a revolution by colonists. This petition was written to protest against Britain’s high taxes and harsh regime upon the colonists.
The document shows deep loyalty to the king and does not suggest for a end to the union between Britain and the colonies. In the document, King George III is referred to as “your Majesty” and Britain is referred to as the colonies’ “Mother Country. ” King George rejected the document leading many colonists to think they would never be independent from Britain. The Declaration of Independence is one of the strongest examples of an emerging American unique experience and unity among the colonists. It announced the separation from Britain and the birth of a new nation. It symbolizes even more for the American people, though.
It represents what Americans believe in: liberty and equality. These were things colonists did not have much of when they were controlled by Britain. The Declaration of Independence became a document that symbolized new American identity. It was created 442 days after the first shots were fired marking the beginning of the American Revolution. The declaration was formally adopted by all thirteen colonies. Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He kept it short and concise because he wanted people to be able to understand it clearly.
Even though the document was brief, he still managed to include accusations against King George III and to show how America can be united equally and have freedom and liberty. One famous line in the declaration is, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. ” This sentence shows that Americans now have rights and protections, regardless of their class, religion, beliefs, race, etc. The Boston Tea Party was an example of new American identity and American nationalism.
The Boston Tea Party was a protest by the Sons of Liberty, a group of colonists who were against British taxes and regulations, specifically the Tea Act. They destroyed a ship full of tea chests sent by the East Asia Company by throwing them into the sea. This was not an irrational event, but one that was well organized. The Boston Tea Party became an iconic event promoting the American Revolution along with the growth of unity among the colonists. Because of this event and others like it, the first Continental Congress was formed. The first Continental Congress formed in Philadelphia in 1774.
During this event, all delegates from the thirteen colonies met up in a reaction to the heavy British taxes. The first Continental Congress was important because the idea of whether the colonies should break away from Britain was introduced for the first time. The first accomplishment of the first Continental Congress was the boycotting of the imports of British goods. This stopped many British goods from entering the colonies and the delegates were successful. This represented the new unity among colonists and how they could work towards a goal and achieve it.
Probably the most important piece of literature that pushed for American independence from Britain was Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. Common Sense was written in early 1776 as a pamphlet and it showed just how urgent independence was needed. Common Sense was very successful in unifying the colonists as many people who might have been on the fence about a revolution were now for it. Someone who might be loyal to the king, but still dissatisfied with the taxes would be convinced to help create independence from Britain. Common Sense showed how the monarchy was corrupt and how the heavy taxes that burdened many colonists were unjust.
Not only did he explain these things in his pamphlets, but he did so in a simple way so that people could understand. He combined different Enlightenment philosophies such as liberty and individuality and put it into plain words. This resulted into masses of people comprehending and joining the fight for American independence. While Britain managed to dominate the colonies for a large period of time, many different events led to the gaining of independence from Britain among the colonies. With this newly gained independence, there was more American unity and identity among the colonists instead of having disunity and British loyalty.
When it became time for the colonists to break away from Britain, they did it united as one. This was because most colonists realized that they needed to break away from Britain. If they didn’t, Britain would continue to impose harsh taxes on the colonists and grant them limited freedom. Since the independence was gained, Americans have defined themselves as united through their common values and beliefs in individual freedom, not by race or ethnicity. This is what makes American identity and unity unique.