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Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Department of History
J. Christopher Arndt
P. David Dillard
Late victories in the War of 1812, like General Andrew Jackson’s triumph in the Battle of New Orleans rekindled the growing sense of nationalistic fervor that had appeared after the American Revolution. Americans saw themselves as a people with a unique destiny granted by God. Between the 1780s and the 1820s, different political party visions of American identity competed. The Jeffersonians were agrarian-focused. They envisioned a nation based on the morality of citizens. Federalists saw a more hierarchical, European-like society as the best hope for the American cause. These competing visions of identity led to continued attacks by the leading party factions against one another. After the War of 1812, Jeffersonian driven accusations of treason decimated pro-British Federalists. Jeffersonians painted Federalists as conspirators seeking to abandon the United States. Federalists lost what power they had, and all but dissolved. The Jeffersonian vision of identity proved triumphant, but it had evolved over the course of the Early Republic, no longer calling for a small agrarian Republic. The Jeffersonians, or Republicans, had created a more pronounced American identity that fused elements of the Jeffersonian and Federalist Parties. By Andrew Jackson’s Presidency in 1828, American identity continued to evolve into a populist vision, showcasing the molding of Americanism in the Early Republic.
Mills, Andrew S., "Identity To Be Determined: The Development of the American Ideal in the Early Republic" (2016). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 149.