Nationalism first emerged as the Colonists became more and more Democratic. Some argue that Democracy had always existed in the colonies, but didnt begin to emerge until around the beginning of The Enlightenment. I believe that Nationalism was present during the Revolutionary Era, but then faded again, adding fuel to the fire during the Civil War. Colonists exhibited all the aspects of Nationalism. They had a shared sense of cultural identity, a goal of political self determination, and the overwhelming majority shared a loyalty to a single national
Colonists were thousands of miles from the king, the parliament, and Great Britain, this led to a new way of life. While many aspects of colonial society were taken directly from that of England society, they also formed new beliefs and customs as they saw fit. The Enlightenment Helped produce a growing interest in education and a heightened concern with politics and government. (Brinkley pg. 85) With this rise of intellectual curiosity also came the rise of literacy and technology within the colonies. The literacy rates rose and more and more people had readily avaliable texts.
The invention of the printing press led to an influx of rinted material, much of which delt with politics. Books, pamphlets, and almanacs all were used in expressing the political ideas of many of our great early politicians. One reason the Stamp Act created such a furor in the colonies was because printing technology-and thus print itself-had by then become central to colonial life. The colonies, like any nation, wanted to be self-sufficient, but due to the fixed amount of wealth, this was impossible unless they obtained an outside source of income.
Mercantilism was a essential part of colonial society, the demand for imported goods was great. England passed the Navigation Acts to limit the Colonies trade with outside sources. The Sugar Act, which again prohibited trade, especially that of sugar, between the colonies, and the French and Spanish Claims in the West Indies. With all the restrictions placed upon them, it was only natural that the colonists would break these restrictions. Britain passed a series of Acts which included: the Hat Act, the Currency Act, the Iron Act, and the Stamp Acts.
When colonists heard of these acts, they began to stir. At first the colonies thought that there was little or nothing to be done. Then in 1765, the Virginia House of Burgesses added fuel to the fire. Patrick Henry stated that it was ridiculous for the colonists to pay taxed to a government that they had no representation in. This and other resoulutions were printed and deemed the Virginia Resolves. At the same time in Massachusetts, James Otis was calling for an After the end of the French and Indian War, there were 4 problems which in turn directly led to the rise of Nationalism and the Revolution:
1. In 1765 the British acquire a great deal of land in the U. S. through the Treaty of Paris. 2. The end of the war led Great Britain to reinforce the Navigation Acts. 3. The war removed the 1 basic bond that was still remaining between the U. K. and the U. S. , that which was defending the colonies agains the French. 4. The French and Indian War led to a 130 million pound British Debt. This staggering war debt was another reason that England passed the Stamp Acts.
These events helped to strengthen the colonists sense of cultural identity and help the rise With all the restrictions placed upon them, it was only natural that the concept of political self-determination arose. Colonists felt that they must ban together to rise against the British. The trade situation was a determing factor in the rise of colonial political systems. Britian realized that the colonies were beginning to think on their own and a series of British government institutions began in the U. S. There were Vice Admiralty Courts, the Board of Trade and Plantations, and many economic and trade regulations.
All colonies had Royal Governors and colonial officials. In October of 1765, the Stamp Act Congress met and drafted a petition to England stating that colonists could only be taxed from their own provincial governments, and not from Britian. The protests worked, because Britain soon overturned the Stamp Act. The colonies were apparently calm until the 1770s when England again passed restrictive acts, this time the Intolerable Acts.
It was the Intolerable Acts that led to the start of colonial boycotts against the British. Following the dissolvation of the intercolonial congress, there was a national belief that the Intolerable Acts menaced the liberties of every colony. This belief led to the creation of the Continental Congress. This convention made 5 important decisions, one of the most influential being the plan to boycott Great Britian in an attempt to sever trade with them. One night in the winter of 1773, colonists stormed Boston Harbor, and threw tea from 3 ships into the waters.
News of the Boston Tea Party spread and other colonies held comparable acts of opposition. Britain was directly responsible for the colonists rise to political self determination. With so many restrictions and taxes placed upon the colonies, they felt the need to create a political system to remedy these problems, while at the same time setting up a type of government that was better suited to their needs. An important aspect of nationalism that the colonies exhibited was the loyalty of the overwhelming majority of the people to a single nation state.