Since the begining of the founding of the English colonies, This land we now call America has always been looked upon as the promise land and land of opportunites. having the image of exceptionalism has been a great part of U.S history. from the founding of the English Colonies, throuhgh 1877, The American Identity was the image of _______________________________________ . Although many changes in ruling, laws, and roles happened during this period, American’s were still able to reach the expectiations they had since the beginning of their time.
The United states started off as colonies in the 1600’s. When John Winthrope founded the colony of Massachusetts bay, he as a leader wanted to bring together a society of moral codes in reference to the bible.
He gave the NOTION that New England was looked upon as a “city upon a hill” which was to mean that more American’s began to see themseves as exemplary and a model to the rest of the world.
The American ideal at this period of time was to be seen as a model based on religion. “…let us choose life, that we and our seed may live by obeying His voice and cleaving to h/im, for He is out life, and our prosperity.” (Winthrope, 1630) This helps understand that American’s were living based on God and obeying “Him”. As more time passed and more settlers arrive to the new land, the first colonial constitution came to action in 1639, known as The Fundamental Orders.
This constituion paved the way for self-government and democratic freedom in the North American Colonies. If the idea of self-government never came to mind, American’s wouldn’t have been able to create laws against england and create laws and government to benefit the Americans. which soon lead to the freeing of power from BRITAIN, in having said that, would expand the ideals of the American Exceptionalism. In 1677, a charter for the separation of church and state was created, guaranteeing separation of church and state in the American colonies bringing the Americans closer to freedom.
Blacks, however, did not recieve these rights, they soon at this time began introducing slavery. Women also had been looked down on simply because they are weak. By the 1700’s The coloies had begun to shape. Charters, Acts and laws have been established, more rights were given, but of course, Slaves were excluded. In 1738, the Great Awakening had begun to take full swing reshaping religious policies, and by 1763, the road to independence from Britan had begun. The Boston Massacre and The Boston Tea Party were two great events that showed how Americans began to push their way through and to fight for their independence.
As American’s get closer to their independence, Women begin to GROW with ENTHUSIASM and curiosity about their rights. Right before the declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies, Abigail Adams had written to John Adams about the “New code of laws” and how she wished, they be more considerate to the women and their rights. Abigail also threatens that “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and willl not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” (Adams 1776) This is a bold statement proves of another identity that America has: Women had no voice, nor representation in anything. From the 1600’s to the late 1700’s, America still has not changed in accordance to who is included in having rights; women always had the image of staying home and caring for housework and children, and slaves never had rights. A little after the personal correspondence between Abigail and John, the Colonies finally gained their independence from Britain.
Although the Declaration of lndependence, which was established July 4, 1776, did declare independence from Britain, this declaration also states laws to prevent something like the ruling of Britain happen again. In the declaration of independence it is stated that “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” (Jefferson 1776) At the time, the words “All men are created equal” was not clarified unto who was created equal, did they mean all humans, or all males? The meaning behind “men” in that time period was meant for white men, or men who would vote, and had a voice and represintation. In this new ideal of America, many groups of people were excluded, such of those would again be women, and blacks. In 1783, however, Slaves do get their freedom if they served in the continental army. In 1801, when Thomas Jefferson gives out his first inaugural address In the Inaugural Address, he points to common underlying principles and a loyalty that transcends partisanship.
He praised a minimal federal government, and avowed a federalism affirming “State governments in all their rights” as a shield against “antirepublican tendencies”. (Jefferson 1801) By this time, Jefferson is attempting to better the country by speaking out about what should be done, he tries to bring back the identity of being a model to the rest of the world. Not long after, in 1839, John L. O’Sullivan also points out America and it’s destination to better deeds on Manifest Destiny. Sullivan tells about the principles as a country that we are and how we are “…the nstion of progress, of individual freedom, of universal enfranchisement.” (Sullivan 1839) When Sullivan speaks of America, he does include everyone as a whole. During this time period, this was the period of renewing, and revival in the United States. Because of this Manifest Destiny, many new opportunities were open to the people and many changes were made in the government, along with slavery. During this period of “renewing and revival” Women finally make an early move in women’s rights.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton paired up with Lucrettia Mott, and wrote the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848. Stanton models directly on the declaration of Independence; it identified male patriarchy as the source of women’s oppression and demanded the vote for women as a sacred and inalienable right of republican citizenship. In the Declaration of Sentiments Stanton rewrites the declaration of independence with one of the tweaks being “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all mem and women are created equal…”(Stanton 1848) This reminds us of how American’s have gotten carried away from including everyone, now to just certain groups. During the 1800’s not only do women start movements, but blacks also begin to get some freedom as soon states begin to illigalize slavery and prohibit it. During the civil war, Abraham Lincoln gives out his gettysburg speech adress in 1863 and brings to attention the strive and perserverance these men have given to the war.
”Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers broughtt forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” (Lincoln 1863) He highlighted the fact that liberty and equality were the core components for the emancipation of America. Lincoln urged the common man and politician to consider the lives lost in the attempt to save the nation from colonization, and pay tribute to the unsung heroes. He emphasized on the fact that the Gettysburg Address may be forgotten in time, but not the soldiers who willingly laid down their lives.
By 1877, much has changed and been accomplished. moe states abolish slavery, and blacks finally have some rights in the Constitution, and representation in congress. Women still fought to get their voice and Congress now had control of the states rather than have another country take over. looking through the history that American’s went through from founding colonies to staying united as a whole, American’s managed to live up to those standards and ideals that they set for themselves in the beginning. although there were troubles throughout the years in including and excluding certain people, American’s strived through in still becoming exceptional and trying to include everyone in the country.
Adams, Abigail and John. Personal Correspondence. March-May, 1776. Cady Stanton, Elizabeth. Declaration of Sentiments. Seneca Falls, N.Y.: July 19th and 20th, 1848. Jefferson, Thomas. The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies. 1776. Jefferson, Thomas. First Inaugural Address. Washington, D.C., 1801. Lincoln, Abraham. The Gettysburg Address. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 19 November 1863. L.O’Sullivan, John. On Manifest Destiny. 1839.
Winthrope,John. The Modell of a Christian Charity. 1630.