Textbook: Mba Mbulu's Introduction to White History: The History of White America. Click here for purchase information.
Click Here and read the extract from Mba Mbulu's Introduction to White History: The History of White America for this class. Also read 135 through 141 of the textbook, Mba Mbulu's An Introduction to White History. Think about what you read and be able to respond to the following questions.
(1) What differences could have kept the colonies from uniting
had it not been for British rule?
(2) Going into the Revolutionary War, were the colonies satisfied with their relationship to each other?
(3) What is the disagreement that would have done more than anything else to keep the colonies from uniting?
(4) Once freedom from England had been achieved, did the sections plan to united under one country or did each section plan to be its own master?
(5) What is the importance of labor to the sectional incompatibilities that existed?
If what has been reported is true, many settlers felt that if it were not for British authority, which imposed union within the colonies, the colonies would have constantly been in conflict with each other. That is because the colonists, north, south and west, did not like each other, did not trust each other. Long before there was any rippling of revolutionary sentiment, different sectional insecurities and preferences had led to mutual distastes and mutual abhorrence. For example, southerners were turned off by the self-righteous and holier than thou demeanor of New England Puritans. New Englanders, on the other hand, were critical of the hypocritical posture of "southern gentlemen." New Yorkers were opposed to anything that interfered with the free flow of business, and they saw a lot to upset them in the religious hypocrisy of New Englanders and the aristocratic posture of southerners. There were also arguments over ownership and disposition of unsettled territories, currencies, local practices and regulations and external political allegiances. These are the type of differences that intelligent people are able to limit and keep within perspective. But without the imposition of British authority, these differences would have kept the colonies from uniting into what was to become the United States of America.
Even on the eve of the Revolutionary War, the colonists had doubts about independence, and many of these doubts hinged on their distaste for each other. People throughout the colonies looked at Boston, which was the center of anti-British activities, and concluded that economic considerations were at the root of Boston's dissatisfaction with British authority. They felt that slogans like "taxation without representation" and complaints about a standing army were too weak to bear their own weight and were meant to bring the other colonies into a disagreement that they had little or nothing to gain from. Furthermore, many colonists felt that, once Great Britain had been removed, New Englanders would try to run the colonies and mold all of the colonies in New England's image. That, in their opinion, would be worse than British tyranny.
But the disagreement that would have done more than anything else to keep the colonies from uniting revolved around the issue of labor. Southern businessmen would never have willingly formed a union with northern businessmen because they could not trust northerners to respect their system of labor, and the same can be said of northern businessmen in regard to southerners. The fact that northern businessmen were right is a worthless point; southern businessman were either unable to see the advantages of underpaid labor or unable to separate a good idea from a bad source because they abhorred and distrusted that source so completely. After all was said and done, the businessmen knew that, economically speaking, what was good for one section was bad for the other. Labor highlighted the differences, but did not exhaust them. Trade bills that would be good for one section would be terrible for the other, westward expansion on terms that would benefit one section would hamper another, and property rights that were deemed appropriate in one section would be offensive to another. There were too many unpaved roads between northerners, westerners and southerners, and practically all of them led to sectional distrust and incompatibility.
But there was one road all businessmen were familiar with--- maximizing profits. In each section, businessmen recognized that the less money they had to pay the British in taxes, tariffs and duties, etc., the more they could keep for their own pleasure and investments. They also recognized that they could legislate to their advantage if they were not hampered by political forces that were making laws based on other considerations. To them, a revolutionary war could prove to be advantageous, but if one should come about, it would be a consequence of an alliance of convenience between the sections. Once freedom from England had been achieved, each section would be its own master, and neither section would be hampered by another one. It is with this thought in mind that the unity of the colonies rested on the eve of the American Revolutionary War. It would prove to be a capable foundation.