The American Nation
The American nation was born in the eighteenth century as a result of political, economic and cultural oppressions of colonists in the New World by the British government, considered them as inferior and superfluous people to live in Europe. Therefore, the British authority should never have thought that colonists from the whole Europe could be united by a new modern philosophy based on liberty, private property, and individualism and that they could create a new state formation, namely a republic. It was the first independent country in the Western Hemisphere, which was also the first successful republic with the new political nation named the Americans. As a matter of fact, it was also the first successful project of globalization, when representatives of different European nations had to immigrate to the New World in search of a better life, escaping from famine, poverty, political and religious repressions. Thus, they were successfully united by the modern English philosophical study of John Locke caused the adaption of the Bill of Rights, common Christian virtues, and a new lifestyle in the New World. A political phenomenon of the division of any nation into parts under ethnic origin or religious and cultural traditions can occur when a government will violate rights and liberties of the citizens in some regions of the country. It took place in the former British colonies when as a result of economic, political, and social oppressions, part of the subjects of the English Crown gained independence of their land and formed a new nation, namely the American, which created one of the most powerful countries in the world.
The British Empire started to settle North America in the end of the sixteenth century, and Virginia was its first colony in the world. Jamestown was the first English town in America, which emerged in the seventeenth century. The British Empire stimulated its citizens to sail in the New World. Apparently, such historical personalities as John Smith and William Penn created a new ideology for English colonists, which became known as the American Dream. In fact, it based on the statement that there was a land where all individuals had equal opportunities to become successful and rich persons by means of their labor. At the same time, the English Crown strove to get rid of criminals and other antisocial individuals and sent them to America as well. Thus, they had to work there as slaves in the fields and on plantations of the South. However, because of various dangerous diseases, the first white slaves could not live long. They did not have immunity, and doctors could not cure such diseases as yellow fever, dengue, break bone fever, and other tropical illnesses. The Native Americans were not accustomed to cultivating the land. Therefore, the first settlers had to use Africans as slaves on their plots of land. According to Foner, Africans constituted about twenty percent of the whole population of the South states on the eve of the Revolution (156). Therefore, representatives of the Native Americans, Africans, and Europeans were the inhabitants of the British colonies in North America. Although they all had their own languages, religions, traditions, and customs, Christianity and English language became dominant because these colonies belonged to the English Crown. Therefore, the British government ruled there, uniting representatives from the whole Europe, African slaves, and the Native Americans by language, Christian religion, and the classical British philosophy of John Locke’s study.
Each nation is a community of people united by common language, religion, culture, living on a certain territory, having their own currency, armed forces, and national traditions. Before the Declaration of Independence, all settlers of North America who lived in the British colonies were subjects of King of England. As Fischer states, both the British in Great Britain and colonists learned English in schools, and this language was considered as their native one; however, American settlers spoke English in a specific way, and their language differed from the British one so that one could easily distinguish Americans from Englishmen by their spoken language (33). As a matter of fact, colonists from Europe had different languages, and it influenced greatly their spoken English language. Undoubtedly, it was one of the dialects of literary English language, which allowed them to understand each other then and nowadays. At the same time, language as a means of communication is one of the major conditions for the emergence of the national culture, folklore, and philosophy.
The next factor is the Christian religion. The British government sent Catholics from Scotland and Ireland to America. At the same time, the Christian Protestant Church was privileged in the British colonies. Many Protestants and Catholics arrived there as well. As Foner states, they settled separately there, attending a common church and keeping religious traditions (126). Thus, they formed various communities with common religious, social, and cultural interests. Moreover, they had chairmen of their communities, elected by settlers to solve their problems via the British colonial authorities. Apparently, it was a right on meetings and local self-governance for white American settlers. However, not all white settlers enjoyed this right. As Foner states, British peasants were very poor to pay for their ticket to America and had to become indentured servants for seven years to defray the costs of their tickets (130). As a matter of fact, they worked as enslaved people. Only two percent from the whole number of indentured servants could gain any success to become rich people. Therefore, the British colonial authorities considered colonists as inferior persons who were superfluous people to live in Europe. In fact, there was a certain hierarchy in the British community. Thus, clergymen, judges, lords, military officers, and doctors were considered as gentlemen there. Nevertheless, there was a quite different situation in America. As Fischer states, “The status of a gentleman … was a social rank and a moral condition that could be attained by self-respecting men in any occupation” (19). Therefore, any former indentured servant could become a gentleman in America, as it happened with Paul Revere.
The next reason for the emergence of the American nation was a national American ideology based on the American Exceptionalism. As Deborah Madsen states, American Exceptionalism is “the single most powerful agent in a series of arguments that have been fought down the centuries concerning the identity of America and Americans” (1). It emerged in the New World among Puritan communities of the first English colonies in Massachusetts Bay as an integral part of their religious beliefs. Hereby, they had faith in the idea that God gave them a miraculous opportunity to save the fallen humanity by establishing their Christian communities there according to the strict observation of all Christian dispensations because the New World was the last chance to save the human civilization. Thus, America and Americans are “special, exceptional, because they are charged with saving the world from itself… America must be as ‘a city upon a hill’ exposed to the eyes of the world” (Madsen 2). As they believed, Americans had a special destiny expressed in the exceptional mission to live according to spiritual and moral virtues of the Christian Church.
The major reasons for the American Revolution were the British Acts and restricted social, economic, and political liberties of colonists. The British government considered American colonists to have defrayed a part of the state’s expenses on the Seven Years’ War. Moreover, the British Crown considered its American colonies should be depended economically and politically on the mother country. Therefore, the British government issued the Stamp Act in 1765, the Wool Act in 1699, the Hat Act in 1732, and the Iron Act in 1750 to forbid people from producing the certain goods in America and to increase the tax burden for colonists. Moreover, the Molasses Act and the Sugar Act were very serious obstacles for the further development of the American industry, forbidding free trade with France and their colonies. Therefore, Great Britain transformed colonists into political and economic enemies for Spain and France by forbidding them free trade with these countries. At the same time, taxes were increased, but nobody was interested in improving social and economic conditions in the British colonies. Moreover, these colonies did not have any representatives in the British Parliament, and it irritated the local American elite. In addition, the English Crown forbade meetings of colonists, which became a tradition for discussing local problems in order to solve them. Undoubtedly, nobody wanted their social and economic rights and freedoms to be violated in such an outrageous way. Therefore, American settlers organized riots in their towns to make the British government cancel their discriminative acts. However, colonists did not want to abrogate political ties with the United Kingdom, but the further murderous events in Boston did not remain them any other decision than to struggle for independence. Therefore, economic problems and the violation of rights and freedoms of citizens caused the American Revolution, and as a result, a new nation emerged in the first independent republic in the Western Hemisphere.
Any new nation can emerge in any Unitarian country when its government violates rights and freedoms of a part of its citizens, living in the certain regions. Unsolved economic and social problems will easily transform into political demands to get independence of these particular regions. It happened with the British colonies in North America, but the United States was not a melting pot of all nations and races. The reason was that only white males enjoyed all rights and liberties, and the Anglo-Saxon race was dominating over African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Catholics until the 1950s, when the Human Rights Movement eliminated racial, ethnic, religious, and gender segregations. Ruling American political parties could not violate the Constitution by eliminating the Human Rights Movement because it would lead to the split of the American nation and the emergence of independent countries. As a result, the United States became one of the most powerful democratic countries in the world.