William Bradford, By Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, And Frederick Douglass

1002 Words Dec 16th, 2016 5 Pages
The question on the table: what is the American? To answer such a question, one need look no further than the works of William Bradford, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass. While each author has a vastly different take on the American, the differences are what make the archetype of the America so unique. After examining the varying viewpoints, some of the characteristics which seem to make up the American are: rebellious, patriotic, religious, hypocritical, and—chiefly—perseverant.
When searching for examples of the American’s rebellious nature, the works of William Bradford and Thomas Paine are great places to start. In Bradford’s writing, he essentially gives the origin story of the American. As the story goes, there was a group of people in England who wanted to worship freely, but England would grant no such freedom. So, when push came to shove, that community of people decided that they were through with their “hidden life,” and they set out to find a place where they could worship unrestricted; these people became the first Americans (Baym and Levine 73).
Once the Americans got settled in their new land, not too much time passed before their former nation came knocking. In Paine’s writing, he depicts the tensions that arose between America and England; he himself shows great disdain for England—referring to the nation as “an open enemy” (327). It is very clear in Paine’s writing that he wants America to cut ties with England, that…

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