US Before 1865


October 18, 1999 Nationalism first emerged as the Colonists became more
and more Democratic. Some argue that Democracy had always existed in the
colonies, but didnít 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 state. 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 printed 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. Massa 2 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
intercolonial congress. 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 towards Nationalism. Massa 3 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 1770ís 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