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Sample Essay

Words 2,320

This essay discusses The Rise of an American Identity. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the American colonists, who were mostly of Anglo-Saxon extraction, gradually abandoned their ‘English’ identity and adopted a new uniquely American identity.

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the American colonists, who were mostly of Anglo-Saxon extraction, gradually abandoned their ‘English’ identity and adopted a new uniquely American identity. This change in identity was not only the result of historical, environmental, social and geographical factors it was a self-conscious project in the minds of many of those who abandoned England to live their lives in the New World, this factor, more than any other, contributed to the general population in America, viewing themselves as a people distinct from those who inhabited England.

The Puritans were religious fanatics who considered England to be a place of depravity and vice. According to the beliefs of the Puritans, the English people were promiscuous and debauched false Christians whose beliefs and customs and bordered into paganism (Zakai 228). They felt that in order to preserve their ‘True Christian’ faith and manner of life, they had to abandon the wicked and sinful society of England (Conforti 27).

The Puritans felt that the descent of Divine wrath upon the corrupt and iniquitous land was imminent, they had the idea they could form a new spiritually elevated Christian society in what they imagined were the pristine un-peopled ‘wild lands’ of the New World (Zakai 140).

The Puritan’ view of America was cast in a religious light, they saw America as a second “promised land” and viewed their move to the New World as a religious migration, similar to the story of the exodus of the ancient Hebrews from Egypt and their settlement in the lands of Canaan as told in the Bible (Zakai 66).

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