Essay on The American Republic And Europe

Essay on The American Republic And Europe

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The American republic and Europe have been inextricably connected from America’s earliest days. Indeed, there would be no United States of America were it not for the British, Dutch, and French colonists who first landed along the eastern seaboard over four centuries ago. For a “New World” to exist, there first had be an “Old” one. But Europe did more than just send the requisite physical requirements necessary for starting a successful colony. European colonists brought with them their ideals; first of the Reformation, then of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. Despite their lofty ideals, their inherent racial prejudice also allowed the largest slave labor operation in history to flourish alongside their utopian visions of egalitarian, free, and tolerant societies. Just as a jazz musician is able to create new variations on a theme, the American colonists were master improvisers. They took European collective thought, distilled it, and spun it to suit their needs, expanding on some concepts and diminishing others. This embrace of modernity, along with Enlightenment ideals and capitalistic fervor, acted as the catalyst for the America we know today. The American republic was not inevitable. However, the past two centuries of European history and thought created the conditions and molded the personages that not only made American independence possible, but allowed the idea to be formulated in the first place.
The concept of modernity contributed immensely to the success of America. Modernity, the age and mindset in which frequent changes to social, economic, and political structures are expected, accepted, and sought, began with the Protestant Reformation in 1517. With the European colonization of the ...

... middle of paper ... their own capital; a contradiction in terms to say the least. Though deprived of their most basic freedoms, slaves in the early 17th century possessed some legal rights, including the right to marry and the right to negotiate. The shift in dynamics; the instant when slavery in America became racialized and enslaved Africans started to be treated as property can be traced to the mid-17th century, when tobacco production exploded in Virginia, and workers came to be valued solely for their labor, rather than any other aspect. Unfortunately, this shameful aspect of our collective history also shaped America’s culture and sense of identity. The idea of keeping America being exclusively for white people has persisted, from Thomas Jefferson’s plan to send free blacks back to Africa , to the Jim Crow system that existed in the United States until the 1960’s.

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