The Colonial Origins of American Identity

Who are we Americans, and why did the American Revolution occur? Who peopled the thirteen colonies and what did they believe in, or come to believe in common, that caused so many to risk their lives, fortunes, and honor for independence? To answer these questions, I propose two analytical frameworks, which involve what I call the four spirits of English expansion and the four notions of liberty that British colonists came to express in the New World.

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