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American HonorThe Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era$
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Craig Bruce Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469638836

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638836.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

The Old World Meets the New

The Old World Meets the New

Colonial Ethical Ideals before the Revolution

(p.22) Chapter One The Old World Meets the New
American Honor

Craig Bruce Smith

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter stretches from the early eighteenth century to the end of the French and Indian War. With a focus on how European ideals permeated early American society, Chapter 1 traces Washington and Franklin’s individual definitions of honor and virtue and how they changed over time. It discusses how their mindsets were largely the result of self-education and personal experience, allowing for a comparison between the northern and southern colonies. It also illustrates the extremely early emergence of an American concept of honor, highlighted by Franklin’s 1723 original concept of merit-based “ascending honor”. The chapter shows Americans as first moving closer to Europe ideologically, before a transformation in ethical ideals saw a greater divergence from the mother country. It also frames the Revolution as being sparked by these preexisting ethical changes.

Keywords:   George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, French and Indian War, Ascending Honor, Virginia Militia, The Spectator, “Thirteen Names of Virtue”, Fairfax family, Merit, Literature

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