American Revolution Essay Sample
Before the American Revolution, a sense of unity was evident among the colonies. The colonists began to realize that they are not separate colonies with separate goals, but that they needed to become a single and unified nation in order to survive. The colonists also began to realize that they were not “British,” but that they were their own people. “He is either an European, or the descendant of an European, hence that strange mixture of blood which you will find in no other country.” (Document H). This mixed person created a new man, an American colonist. From the period 1750 to 1776, the colonists began to develop a sense of their identity and unity through propaganda, the relationship between the colonies and Britain, and the French and Indian War.
Benjamin Franklin’s quote and cartoon, “Join, or Die”, may seem threatening at first. However, this quote was not a threat, but a foreshadowing of what was to come if there was no unity among the colonies. Accompanying the quote was a cartoon of a serpent cut into many pieces. The serpent is a representative of America, and the pieces are the individual colonies, on their own. This cartoon shows that without the help and existence of the parts of the body, America, the colonies would not survive. (Document A) In 1767, John Dickinson says, “We cannot be happy without being free; we cannot be free without being secure in our property; we cannot be secure in our property if, without our consent, others may, as by right, take it away; taxes imposed on us by Parliament do thus take it away.” These quotes show how propaganda influenced the colonists to have a sense of unity and independence.
Because the distance between the colonies and Britain was distant, and the relationship was unstable, the colonies were able to have a sense of unity among themselves. Distance weakens authority; great distance weakens authority greatly. “Is there a single Trait of Resemblance between those few Towns, and a great and growing people spread over a vast quarter of the globe, separated from us by a mighty Ocean?” (Document B) The British began to realize that they were losing control of the colonies between of the distance. The Americas had grown accustomed to running their own affairs, without the influence of British officials. After 1763, Britain tried to control the American colonies more closely. The mother country, Britain, embraced a theory called mercantilism. Britain looked at the American colonies as tenants; expected to supply the mother country with products needed.
Therefore, the relationship between the two sides became very unstable. Mather Byles wrote, “Which is better, to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away, or by three thousand tyrants not a mile away.” (Document D) On the other hand, colonists in the Continental Congress wrote, “We will…for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen, rather than live [like] slaves.” (Document E)The defeat of the French by the British/Americans in the French and Indian War also increased the colonists’ sense of unity. The war bolstered colonial self-esteem. However, the end of the war also meant the end of Britain’s salutary neglect toward the colonies, and the beginning of British oppression.
When the Tea Act was installed, the colonies united to respond to what they saw as the first move in Britain’s plan to make the colonies accept Parliaments’ right to tax them. The justification of the Boston Tea Party is explained in Richard Henry Lee’s letter. (Document C) He states, “The wicked violence of [the] ministry is so clearly expressed…unless a powerful and timely check is interposed by the Body of the People.” After the passing of the Coercive Acts, the colonies once again showed their unity as Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina donated materials to aid Boston after the closing of its port (Document G). With the passing of these various taxes, the colonies had been tested, and have shown that they have put aside their individual issues to emerge as a united whole.
In conclusion, the sense of unity and identity among the colonists from 1750 to 1776, eventually led to the Revolution. The colonists realized that even with separate goals, joining was essential for their survival. Through propaganda, the relationship between the colonies and Britain, and the French and Indian War, the colonists were able to realize the need for unity and identity.