To what extent had the colonists developed a sense of their identity and unity as Americans by the eve of the Revolution?

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Most of the first settlers in America came from England and considered themselves to be Englishmen. At first they relied on their mother country for money, supplies and protection. As the colony became larger and more populous, people gradually started feeling as if they were a separate nation. By the eve of the Revolution the patriotism had built up to such an extent, that the colonists believed America was self-sufficient enough to exist as an independent unit from England.

At first, America existed just as any of the other English colonies. England provided financial and military assistance, and in turn America shipped goods that were to be sold in England. This mercantilist system worked out at first, but as soon the population increased people began to feel that many of England's trade policies and laws were unfair. They also expected to be represented in the English Parliament. Edmund Burke said, "Govern America? As you govern an English town which happens not to be represented in Parliament?" (Document B).

However, England declined the colonist's requests, and only made the situation worse by declaring harsher laws. Some laws prevented the colonists from trading with other countries, and others placed larger taxes on goods.

The English gave the colonists everything but then gave nothing. "We saw a set of men ... under the Auspices of the English Government & protected by it, for so long Series of Years... rising, by easy Gradations, to such a State of Prosperity & Happiness as was almost enviable, but we also saw them go mad with too much Happiness" (Document F). The colonists had to go into rebellion after the British refused to keep on giving them what they wanted. "We saw them also run mad with too much Happiness, & burst into an open Rebellion against...