The New American Identity From England During The American Revolution And The Early Years Of The 20th Century

1184 Words Oct 26th, 2015 5 Pages
As American began to form a separate identity from England during the American Revolution and the early years of the nationhood, they began to rely on a universally appealing ideology of liberty. This unified them ideologically but also highlighted the political, social, and economic divisions of the early republic. Geography underscored those tensions by creating literal and figurative divisions among the newly formed American people. The ideology of independence and the continental geography shaped the Early American identity by paradoxically unifying and dividing the American people, creating a fluid, adaptable national identity.
Despite seeking independence from England, Americans did not find freedom from European influence in the creation of their ideology, creating a paradoxical relationship between the new American identity and the old European philosophies and ideas. Thomas Paine, the European-born, Founding Father, embodied this paradox well. Paine’s well-circulated pamphlet, Common Sense, used European philosophies of government, such as “Lockean liberalism, classical republicanism, and Leveler radicalism,” to stress the commonalities between the colonies—geography and independence. Ideologically, Paine summarized the unifying ideology: “independence is the only bond that tie and keep us together,” underscoring the new American ideologies universality and simplicity. European ideas also influenced other Founding Fathers. For example, John Adams—who helped draft…

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