Emerging national identity in pre-revolutionary America
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
vii, 129 pages
ProgramTowson University. Social Sciences Program
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The development of American national identity has traditionally been associated with the Revolutionary period. However, previous research fails to incorporate theories of individual identity with ideas about nationalism. This project utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to examine the impact of individual identity formation on emerging national identity. Dramatic social shifts occurred in mid-eighteenth century colonial America, including domestic population growth, immigration, and economic development. These changes forced colonists to explore new possibilities when constructing their individual identity. The shift away from autonomous communities towards interdependence and diversity in mid-eighteenth century America laid the foundation for American national identity to emerge. Pressures created from these social changes weakened association with English identity, and highlighted perceptions of otherness between the English and the colonists, priming the population for a moment of national consciousness. Primary sources are also examined to provide evidence of an emerging unique American national identity in mid-eighteenth century colonial America.