Did American ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence, or actual historical events influence the "American identity" more?my essay is about the development of the American Identity from...

Did American ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence, or actual historical events influence the "American identity" more?

my essay is about the development of the American Identity from 1650-1776, and im stuck on finding examples of why the reality had more of an influence than the ideals, if i get some suggestions, i can give support on them myself. i have the intro, a basic thesis, and a little bit of support, but im stuck on persuasive suggestions, so basically im asking for 2, maybe 3, historical events that had to do with the original colinies up to 1776 that helped "develop" the american identity

Asked on by blakehill

2 Answers | Add Yours

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that the ideals had the greatest effect on the American identity. Events followed them. Americans tried to live up to those ideals, and still do. They did and continue to effect American choices. Now, the historical events are also part of our mythology.
pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is not really an event, but I would say that the general availability of "free" land helped to shape the American identity as much as anything.  I think that it helped to make the words of the Declaration into more of a reality.

In colonial times, the majority of white colonists were really pretty independent -- much more so than they would have been in England.  This was because of the availability of land.  If they did not like the circumstances in which they were living, they could really just pack up and move somewhere else.  If they moved out towards the frontier, they could get land of their own.

The existence of the frontier as an outlet made it so that Americans (white men) really were free and equal and that became a huge part of the American identity.

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question