Many in the US today invoke the nation’s foundations—from the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay
Colony to the Framers of the Constitution—as authorities who established a national self-image not
just for the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but for all time. One curious feature common to
many in the US is their tendency to value self-reliance, originality, and progress at the same time that
they point to models from previous centuries to justify their present beliefs about the nation’s laws,
institutions, and people. For this assignment, you are asked to experiment with this model of thinking
by looking back into the colonial period of the US (typically dated from the late-fifteenth to the late-eighteenth centuries, but we’ll stretch into the nineteenth for this assignment).
In a thesis-driven, argumentative essay, respond to the following prompt:
Prompt: Based on the following texts, what is an “American”?