What Being American Meant In 1780

In 1780, the notion of being American meant different things depending on one’s identity. To Thomas Jefferson, among the architects of the new nation, it meant deserving one’s liberty, and he believed that certain people were ill-suited for what he considered the demands of an enlightened society.
In particular, he believed blacks and whites could never coexist because of slavery’s legacy, citing: “Deep-rooted prejudices entertained by whites [and] ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained” (Binder, 1968, p. 55-56). In addition, he considered them intellectually inferior.
He considered America an improvement over other nations, and while he felt ambivalent about slavery and sympathetic toward blacks, he did not envision a multiracial America. For poet Phyllis Wheatley, an African-American who spent years in slavery and lived in poverty, being an American meant barriers and contradictions based on race. Wheatley, whose poetry Jefferson thought “below the dignity of criticism” (Robinson, 1982, pp.

42-43), was well aware of America’s racial contradictions (a nominally free nation which still embraced slavery) but nonetheless asked white America for tolerance and acceptance. In “On being Brought from Africa to America,” the narrator is optimistic about America and grateful for being part if it – “’Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land” – but also admits, “Some view our sable race with scornful eye, /’There colour is a diabolic die’” (Robinson, 1975, p. 60). However, her closing appeal is not for liberty and full equality, but simply a reminder that blacks can at least be equal as Christians, in God’s eyes.
To Jefferson, part of America’s elite, being American meant freedom for those who met his standards, while Wheatley, aware of America’s racial situation, makes an appeal for at least spiritual equality. Being American meant being free – though race was used as a means of denying freedom to all.
REFERENCES

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
What Being American Meant In 1780
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Binder, F. M. (1968). The Color Problem in Early National America. Paris: Mouton. Robinson, W. H. (1975).
Phyllis Wheatley in the Black American Beginnings. Detroit: Broadside Press. Robinson, W. H. (1982). Critical Essays of Phyllis Wheatley. Boston: G. K. Hall and Company

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
$26
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Urgency
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more

Order your essay today and save 20% with the discount code WELCOME