North And South Influence On American Identity

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As American began to form a separate identity from England during the American Revolution and the early years of the nationhood, they began to rely on a universally appealing ideology of liberty. This unified them ideologically but also highlighted the political, social, and economic divisions of the early republic. Geography underscored those tensions by creating literal and figurative divisions among the newly formed American people. The ideology of independence and the continental geography shaped the Early American identity by paradoxically unifying and dividing the American people, creating a fluid, adaptable national identity.
Despite seeking independence from England, Americans did not find freedom from European influence in the creation of their ideology, creating a paradoxical relationship between
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The North developed a more capitalistic, trade economy while the South maintained a feudalistic, agrarian economy. Slavery and Western expansion created tensions between the smaller, abolitionist Northern states and the expanding, economically slave-driven Southern states. The “Anti-Federalist 1” document complained about the South’s continued growth as it expanded with Western frontier and continued to gain population through their use of slaves. Many Northern states feared the South would eventually gain political control, leading to intense debates on how to suppress the South’s perceived future political dominance and deal with the issue of slavery during the ratification of the Constitution. Yet this division helped refine the South’s American identity. For example, Thomas Jefferson defended the institution of slavery in “Notes on the States of Virginia.” This created clarifying their ideology of liberty—explaining the limited protections of the government. Thus geographical divisions of the country tested the adaptability of the American ideology, adapting it to the regional

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