America is upheld by many as the greatest nation on Earth. The reason that America tends to be upheld as a great nation is the political ideologies that it was founded upon. Yet pinpointing precisely when America became a distinct nation is difficult. In addressing this point, the following illustrates that America was a distinct society as early as 1750.
There are a multiple reasons why America can be considered a distinct society in the mid-eighteen century. The basic units of culture were transparent across the colonies. Society consisted of small, close-knit communities that shared family values. More radically, however, was the idea that colonies could govern themselves rather than being dictated by a monarchy. American culture was encapsulated by the writings of John Locke, who sought to derive a set a natural laws that governed society. The claim that there exists laws which govern the king was perhaps one of the most radical ideas at the time. Although the policies of each colony varied, this was because they sought to govern themselves. In addition, the Stamp Act of 1765 united the 13 colonies in an effort to combat British Parliamentary (Stockwell, Ch. 5).
The 13 colonies were divided into three separate groups: the New England Colonies, the Middle Colonies and the Southern Colonies. The New England Colonies, such as Massachusetts, was governed by Puritans and intolerant of other religions. Massachusetts’s economy largely depended upon the ocean, such as ship building and purchasing slaves in West Africa. In contrast, no single religion reigned supreme in the middle colonies, such as Pennsylvania. The economy had great opportunities for immigrants and was mostly dependent upon agriculture. The Southern Colonies, such as South Carolina, were mostly Anglican. The economy was dependent upon farming. South Carolina’s cotton crops made it home to the American Slave Trade in the 1700’s (Stockwell, Ch. 4).
Blacks, Native Americans and Whites were not regarded as distinct nations; however, they were regarded as distinct groups of people. In the Southern Colonies, blacks were seen as a “lower class” of people. The Native Americans were not a distinct nation. Rather, they consisted of various tribes. The tribes had to choose whether they wanted to fight against or cooperate with the colonials (Stockwell, Ch. 3). Many tribes acted on a middle ground by helping the colonials attain food and shelter, so far as they did not invade too much of their land.
As has been illustrated, America was a distinct society as early as 1750. Largely inspired by the work of John Locke, these close-knit communities believed they could govern themselves. Although this idea was transparent among the colonies, the policies varied in each. Native Americans were seen as outcasts to colonial society and Africans were viewed as a separate group of people. Thus, although colonial civilization was not perfect, it was most certainly distinct.