Life in the Thirteen Colonies

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Do Americans consider Britain as their mother country?

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Although the United States is a mix of many nationalities and ethnicities, most Americans consider Britain, at least symbolically, to be a mother country. Many Americans are of British descent, but, more importantly, Americans share foundational stories that frame Britain as the mother country. Whether we are British or not, we are taught that "we" are all symbolically descended from such British groups as the first pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower, and we are all invited to join in such traditions as the annual commemoration and continuation of the first Thanksgiving that the Pilgrims and the Native Americans shared.

Historically speaking, the United States did initially emerge from colonies that were British territories. Our Constitution and other foundational documents derive from British philosophical ideas, such as those of John Locke, and from British common law. Our ideas of religious freedom derive from those of British religious groups, such as the Quakers, who settled in the colonies in a quest for religious freedom. Our official language, of course, is English.

Our ties to Great Britain have evolved into what is called a "special relationship" with Britain, one Winston Churchill leaned into heavily in calling on US aid in World War II, and one that has continued—with some strains—to the present day.

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