The American in England during the First Half Century of Independence

The American in England during the First Half Century of Independence

The American in England during the First Half Century of Independence

The American in England during the First Half Century of Independence

Excerpt

To the American of post-revolutionary days England was both a parent and an enemy nation. With almost equal force, she attracted and repelled her former subjects. A common political, cultural, and racial heredity bound together the young nation and the old more firmly than either would have wished.

The Declaration of Independence defined the theoretical basis of separation, and the Revolution gave it political reality; but it was many years before the whole story had been told and the United States had become an independent nation. The War of 1812 demonstrated the fact that England required over thirty years to appreciate and to acknowledge her former colony's sovereign rights on the sea, and, up to that time, the Americans themselves were unaware of the full meaning of their independence. An attitude of deference to the mother country was apparent in practically all phases of their thought and activity for many years.

The political, and to some extent the economic, aspects of this story of national growth are familiar enough, but no human or national development can be understood when consideration is limited to these two terms. Even the recognition of the steady growth of a national American literature fails to reveal the true relationships of the two countries in this period of probation for both.

There is one exceedingly fertile source of information for the human aspects of the story, in the form of the letters, diaries, and other travel records of those Americans who . . .

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