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White Over BlackAmerican Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812$
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Winthrop D. Jordan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834022

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838686_jordan

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Self-Scrutiny in the Revolutionary Era

Self-Scrutiny in the Revolutionary Era

(p.269) VII Self-Scrutiny in the Revolutionary Era
White Over Black

Winthrop D. Jordan

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter suggests that colonists during the mid-eighteenth century experienced an awakening to changes which had hitherto passed without conscious assessment. It was almost as if American colonials had drifted for years down a river without noticing that they were being carried into a new country. After the Great Awakening of the early 1740s they began to evince manifestations of growing awareness that the American continent was not merely a corner of the world. When Thomas Paine inquired in 1775 whether an island should rule a continent, he played upon a sense of special destiny which had first been formulated twenty-five years earlier by the most self-conscious of Americans, Benjamin Franklin. With “One Million English Souls in North-America,” Franklin predicted, the population would double every twenty-five years, and “in another Century . . . the greatest Number of Englishmen will be on this Side the Water.”

Keywords:   colonists, American colonials, Great Awakening, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin

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