Essay prompt: Discuss the extent to which there was colonial unity and identity in America by the eve of the American Revolution.

Essay by bills217High School, 11th grade March 2003

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By the eve of the Revolution, the colonists had developed a moderate sense of their identity and unity. However, they were still far from having the complete sense of identity and unity necessary for an independent country to flourish.

In the early colonial days, there was absolutely no colonial unity. The colonies actually saw themselves as rivals, competing for land and trading rights. This left them defenseless against attacks by the Indians and the French.

The first attempt at creating colonial unity was made by Benjamin Franklin in 1754, after the start of the French and Indian War. This was called the Albany Plan. The Albany Plan called for an intercolonial government with the right to tax, pass laws, and supervise military defense. Seven of thirteen colonies were represented. To further his cause, Franklin published a cartoon in the Pennsylvania Gazette. The cartoon showed eight disjointed pieces of a snake, each labeled with a colony.

The phrase "Join, or Die" was written at the bottom, illustrating the fate of the colonies if they failed to unite against the French and Indian threat. The colonies felt it did not give them enough independence, and as a result the Albany Plan was not approved by any of the colonies, demonstrating the lack of colonial unity at this time.

During the French and Indian War, British General Loudon often asked the colonies for troops and money to support the war effort. The colonial response was sporadic and uncoordinated because they were not yet unified.

The Stamp Act of 1765 sparked colonial outrage because it was the first direct tax on the colonies for the purpose of raising revenue. Patrick Henry passed a resolution protesting all taxes, and seven other colonies would pass similar resolutions.

The Stamp Act Congress was called in...