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American identity at the Founding

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Presentation on theme: "American identity at the Founding"— Presentation transcript:

1 American identity at the Founding
E pluribus unum American identity at the Founding

2 IDENTITY Distinct, persisting entity
Set of characteristics belonging uniquely to oneself Personal Collective

3 Activity I Reflection. . . What is my identity and how was it formed?
When/how/why did my family come to America? (See WTP high school text, p. 279)

4 Colonial Context Each colony had separate charter Population variety
Geographic diversity Northern (Ct., Ma., NH, RI, Plymouth): small farms; fishing; shipping Middle (NY, NJ, Pa., Del.): farming; manufacturing; fur trading Southern (Md., Va., NC, SC, Ga.): large plantations; yeoman farmers; attempted replication of English aristocracy

5 Population English (dominant until 1680)
Native (at least 160 tribes along east coast) Dutch African German Swiss Walloon Portuguese Spanish Scots Scots-Irish French

6 Religion Puritan Calvinist Catholic Episcopalian Anglican Separatist
Presbyterian Baptist Methodist Congregational Huguenot (French Protestant) Scotch Presbyterian Jew (Sephardic, Ashkenazi) Quaker Mennonite Deist Dutch Reform Lutheran

7 Politics Northern: Heavily influenced by religion
Middle: Cultural localism; clannish communities Southern: Plantation owners = political, economic and cultural leaders

8 Colonial life before 1764 Governors mostly appointed by Crown
One legislative branch locally elected Largely self-governing except for trade Little controversy with Great Britain before 1764 (first revenue-raising acts for debts from French-Indian War)

9 RESEARCH ASSIGNMENT Separate the class into thirteen groups. Assign each group one of the thirteen original colonies. Have each group make a brief research report about its colony after 1760: population, economy, religion, politics, culture, etc.

1774: First Continental Congress Secret One colony/one vote Unanimity required Delegates instructed by colony 1775: Second Continental Congress Created Continental Army Established national currency Created Post Office

11 State constitution-writing begins May 1776
“Foundational” documents Explain why government needed Create people as state Identify rights government to protect Create government

12 E.g., Virginia Constitution
Preamble: Declares Independence Sec. 1: . . .“[All] men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights. . . namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” 

13 E.g., Preamble “We. . the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with
grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

14 Declaration of Independence
Colonies become independent States States have power to levy war conclude peace contract alliances establish commerce

15 How do many become one? 1776 image Eye of divine providence
Countries from which came: England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Germany Shields of 13 states Liberty and Justice

16 James Madison Americans must identify with country first, states second Accomplish national identity through representation People elect House House elects Senate Legislature elects President

17 William Patterson National government should remain
compact among independent, sovereign states

18 Oliver Ellsworth (Connecticut Compromise)
“We are partly national and partly federal” Statement of American “identity”

19 Convention Compromises
Slavery continues Citizenship not defined Congress given explicit powers States retain “police powers” Representation compound House: Represents people proportionately Senate: Represents states

20 Activity II In what ways are we still “partly national, partly federal?” Examples. . .



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