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Culture of the United States

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The '''culture of the United States''' is a distinct culture that has gone through significant changes over its 200+ year lifespan.
The concept of [[Liberty]], even to this day, is an intricate part of the unique culture of America, and forms the bulk of what became known as [[American Exceptionalism]]. In 1854, in response to a petition to abolish the position of chaplain in the Army and in Congress, a committee report of [[Congress]] noted the distinct [[Christian]] character of the country: "Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the Amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, not any one sect."<ref>[ Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives Made during the first session of the thirty-third congress]</ref><ref>[ Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States: Developed in the Official and Historical Annals of the Republic]</ref><ref>[ Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, and Religion]</ref>
===Rejection of Monarchism===
Going back as far as the 1680s, evidence of America's belief in liberty and rejection of tyranny can be seen. [[John Wise (clergyman)|John Wise]], a preacher in Ipswich, Massachusetts, was a leader in the fight against Governor [[Edmund Andros]].<ref>[ Magazine of Western History, Volume 8]</ref><ref>[ Historical Dictionary of Colonial America]</ref><ref>[ God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution]</ref><ref>[ Calvin Coolidge Challenges Progress in the Name of the Declaration of Independence], [[Heritage Foundation]]</ref>
The process of the American Revolution, as noted by Adams, involved changing the people's views about the role of government in their lives. Coming from an [[English]] background, many of the colonists already held skeptical views of the crown as seen in the [[1100 Charter of Liberties]], the [[Magna Carta]], and other important documents of the 600 years prior to the colonies declaring independence. Critical in the shaping of the colonist's views was the church and the role it played in the process. Unlike today, where churches have pretty much removed themselves completely from the political process, churches were central to the lives of every day citizens and had a whole lot to say about the tyranny of the King. More importantly, the churches taught their members the importance of God's gift of Liberty. An abundance of sermons from the era demonstrate these concepts:
* ''A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers'', by [[Jonathan Mayhew]]<ref>[ A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers]</ref> (1750)
* ''Religion and Patriotism the Constituents of a Good Soldier''<ref>[ Religion and Patriotism the Constituents of a Good Soldier]</ref> (1755)
* ''An Election Sermon'', by Daniel Shute<ref>[ American Political Writing During the Founding Era: 1760-1805]</ref> (1768)
* ''An Oration, Upon the Beauties of Liberty, Or the Essential Rights of the Americans''<ref>[ An Oration, Upon the Beauties of Liberty; Or the Essential Rights of the Americans]</ref> (1772)
* '' An Election Sermon'', by Simeon Howard<ref>[ An Election Sermon]</ref> (1773)
* ''A Plea Before the Massachusetts Legislature'', by Isaac Backus<ref>[ A Plea Before the Massachusetts Legislature]</ref> (1774)
* ''First Prayer Given in the Continental Congress'', by Jacob Duche<ref>[ First Prayer Given in the Continental Congress]</ref> (1774)
* ''Sermon on Civil Liberty'', by Nathaniel Niles<ref>[ Sermon on Civil Liberty]</ref> (1774)
* ''Defensive War in a Just Cause Sinless'', by David Jones<ref>[ Defensive War in a Just Cause Sinless]</ref> (1775)
* ''Government Corrupted by Vice, and Recovered by Righteousness'', by Samuel Langdon<ref>[ Government Corrupted by Vice, and Recovered by Righteousness]</ref> (1775)
* ''On Civil Liberty, Passive Obedience, and Nonresistance'', by Jonathan Boucher<ref>[ On Civil Liberty, Passive Obedience, and Nonresistance]</ref> (1775)
* ''The American Vine'', by Jacob Duche<ref>[ The American Vine]</ref> (1775)
* ''The Church's Flight into the Wilderness'', by Samuel Sherwood<ref>[ The Church's Flight into the Wilderness]</ref> (1776)
* ''The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men'', by John Witherspoon<ref>[ The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men]</ref> (1776)
* ''On the Right to Rebel against Governors'', by Samuel West<ref>[ On the Right to Rebel against Governors]</ref> (1776)
* ''Divine Judgements upon Tyrants: And Compassion to the Oppressed'', by Jacob Cushing<ref>[ Divine Judgements Upon Tyrants]</ref> (1778)
* ''Election Sermon'', by Phillips Payson<ref>[ Election Sermon]</ref> (1778)
* ''A Sermon on the Day of the Commencement of the Constitution'', Samuel Cooper<ref>[ A Sermon on the Day of the Commencement of the Constitution]</ref> (1780)
By the time the actual battles of the American Revolution were taking place, pastors and preachers again stood and claimed their rightful place on the front lines in the [[Black Robed Regiment]].
Early in America's history, the people of America did not identify with the nation itself as they did with their states, which are themselves sovereign political entities. Today Americans respond as Americans, but at the time of the Founding, citizens regarded themselves as "Virginians", "Pennsylvanians" and "Marylanders".<ref>[ The Holmes Lectures: The Living Constitution], p. 1743, "We understand ourselves today as Americans first and Californians second. But the amendment system was written for a people who thought of themselves primarily as New Yorkers or Georgians."</ref>
==See also==
* [[American Enlightenment]]
* [[Federalist No. 2]]
* [[Limited government]]
* [[Self-governance]]
* Lutz, Donald S. ''The Origins of American Constitutionalism'' (1988), Chronicles the influences that led to early American cultural beliefs
{{reflist|12}} ==External links==* [ Primary Sources],
[[Category:United States of America]]
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