American Revolution

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What five elements of unification helped colonists fight the American Revolution?

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Despite disparate backgrounds and socioeconomic levels, the colonists had developed a sense of unity by the time of the American Revolution. They overcame their differences to unite in the fight for independence, as they generally all felt victimized by the British. Elements that enabled them to unite included the following.

  1. Economic interest: Although the colonists came from a variety of economic sectors and strata, they were united in their view that the British were taking economic advantage of them via a series of taxes and onerous economic measures and that they had to get out from under this burden.

  2. Self-determination: Part and parcel of the interest in economic preservation was their dislike of the limited representation they enjoyed under British rule. Appropriately, they felt that the interests of the British and their own interests were extremely different, and they wanted to be autonomous in order to protect their finances and lifestyles.

  3. Political ideology: While the colonists toyed with the idea of putting a new American monarch in place, they ultimately agreed that the system that best suited their needs was to be led by an elected official.

  4. Security / Defense: The threat of war with the French and Native Americans heightened awareness among the colonists that they needed to be united in the interests of their own national security in the event of an attack. Benjamin Franklin helped galvanize this view with his proposed Albany Plan of Union in June 1754.

  5. Slavery: Although the British had been active in the slave trade, by the 1770s, there were growing protests of slavery in Britain. Southern slave owners feared that the British government would eventually force abolition. As a result, they joined the North in the fight for independence. In turn, the North supported their right to maintain slavery. In fact, at the First Continental Congress in 1774, future president John Adams pledged his support of the South’s right to maintain slavery.

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