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Thread: What did the British refer to "americans" as prior to 1776????

  1. #11
    New Member Detective Mike Logan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasselas View Post
    What's the point of this thread?
    I'm just curious as to what the nationality of people in the 13 colonies was known as prior to 1776.

    surely they didn't just refer to themselves as "the colonists" or "colonials". surely the people living in those 13 states must have had a name with which they collectively referred to themselves.... OR did they just take the name of their individual state. i.e Virginians etc...

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detective Mike Logan View Post
    I'm just curious as to what the nationality of people in the 13 colonies was known as prior to 1776.

    surely they didn't just refer to themselves as "the colonists" or "colonials". surely the people living in those 13 states must have had a name with which they collectively referred to themselves....
    They were British subjects. Even those who battled for independence thought of themselves as British subjects until the mother country treated them (they believed) in ways that violated notions of British liberty.
    OR did they just take the name of their individual state. i.e Virginians etc...
    Yes. This was common until the Civil War, in fact.

  3. #13
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detective Mike Logan View Post
    I'm just curious as to what the nationality of people in the 13 colonies was known as prior to 1776.

    surely they didn't just refer to themselves as "the colonists" or "colonials". surely the people living in those 13 states must have had a name with which they collectively referred to themselves.... OR did they just take the name of their individual state. i.e Virginians etc...

    The individual states were effectively nation-states prior to their agreeing to a confederation. Virginia and Pennsylvania would have been equivalent to France and Germany. They were all Americans, just as the French and Germans were all Europeans.

  4. #14
    New Member Detective Mike Logan's Avatar
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    okay so the general vibe i'm getting is that there was no real collective sense of "being American" prior to 1776. in effect a person would have been referred to as a Virginian or a Pennsylvanian rather than as an American.
    in fact according to rasselas this was the case well into the 1800s as well????

  5. #15
    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detective Mike Logan View Post
    okay so the general vibe i'm getting is that there was no real collective sense of "being American" prior to 1776. in effect a person would have been referred to as a Virginian or a Pennsylvanian rather than as an American.
    in fact according to rasselas this was the case well into the 1800s as well????

    You don't seem to be grasping the difference between a nation and a continent. Do Germans currently consider themselves to be citizens of Germany, or of the European Union? If they consider themselves to be German, do they also consider themselves to be European, since they inhabit the continent of Europe?

    Americans did indeed cling to an allegiance to their own home states for some time after the United States became a nation. We still have dead-enders to this very day who believe that the individual states should be allowed to operate independently from the federal government. I'd be shocked to learn that you don't witness a similar situation in the UK.
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    Veteran Member DebateDrone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detective Mike Logan View Post
    I'm interested as to when referring to the nationality of an American: what year did this come into practice?? what did the British rulers refer to 'colonials' as during the pre-1776 period.

    I mean surely the title "United States of America" only came about after you won independence from the SUPERPOWER that is Britain. so in my mind the terms "Americans" of phrase like "He's American" or "Hes Canadian" could only have come about after the revolution. was it 1776 when the yanks won independence and christened their nation "the united states of America"? OR AM I MISSING SOMETHING ?

    was the term "American" established already in earlier colonial days. did the British rulers already refer to the colonials as 'Americans'? was it already a general name to describe people of that nationality long before 1776?

    FYI: to avoid confusion. I mean SPECIFICALLY in reference to the nationality (I.e. the USA). Not the AMERICAS as a whole.
    discus.....
    His Colonies in North America.

    Here is a speech to the two house of Parliment in response to the Declaration of Independence.
    King George's response to the Declaration of Independence

    His Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech to Both Houses of Parliament
    on Thursday, October 31, 1776

    My Lords, and Gentlemen,

    Nothing could have afforded Me so much Satisfaction as to have been able to inform you, at the Opening of this Session, that the Troubles, which have so long distracted My Colonies in North America, were at an End; and that My unhappy People, recovered from their Delusion, had delivered themselves from the Oppression of their Leaders, and returned to their Duty. But so daring and desperate is the Spirit of those Leaders, whose Object has always been Dominion and Power, that they have now openly renounced all Allegiance to the Crown, and all political Connection with this Country.
    Heaven and Earth: King George's Response to the Declaration of Independence
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  7. #17
    Veteran Member DebateDrone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detective Mike Logan View Post
    okay so the general vibe i'm getting is that there was no real collective sense of "being American" prior to 1776. in effect a person would have been referred to as a Virginian or a Pennsylvanian rather than as an American.
    in fact according to rasselas this was the case well into the 1800s as well????
    That is correct from my perspective. The States were considered independent sovereign states coming together to defeat the British. Theirs was a confederation of states.

  8. #18
    New Member Detective Mike Logan's Avatar
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    i'm quite sure you're grasping my point nightswimmer. in the above post debatedrone clearly is grasping my point.


    a hypothetical scenario>>

    2015: I walk past you in the street and a 3rd party asks me to describe you. they say "what nationality is the man". In this day and age... I probably say "oh this guy is American". vice versa you more than likely say "detective mike is English/british".
    1770: this same question is posed to me in 1770. what do I say??

    based on the feeling I get here in this thread: there simply is no national frame of REFERENCE to refer to you as. only answer I could fathom is to refer to you by you're state of residence.
    Last edited by Detective Mike Logan; 3rd November 2015 at 08:23 AM.

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    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detective Mike Logan View Post
    i'm quite sure you're grasping my point nightswimmer. in the above post debatedrone clearly is grasping my point.


    a hypothetical scenario>>

    2015: I walk past you in the street and a 3rd party asks me to describe you. they say "what nationality is the man". In this day and age... I probably say "oh this guy is American". vice versa you more than likely say "detective mike is English/british".
    1770: this same question is posed to me in 1770. what do I say??

    based on the feeling I get here in this thread: there simply is no national frame of REFERENCE to refer to you as. only answer I could fathom is to refer to you by you're state of residence.

    Oh, I grasp your point. It is you who is failing to grasp my points.

    How should I refer to your nationality? Are you a UKian?
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  10. #20
    Junior Member allegoricalfact's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detective Mike Logan View Post
    I'm interested as to when referring to the nationality of an American: what year did this come into practice?? what did the British rulers refer to 'colonials' as during the pre-1776 period.

    I mean surely the title "United States of America" only came about after you won independence from the SUPERPOWER that is Britain. so in my mind the terms "Americans" of phrase like "He's American" or "Hes Canadian" could only have come about after the revolution. was it 1776 when the yanks won independence and christened their nation "the united states of America"? OR AM I MISSING SOMETHING ?

    was the term "American" established already in earlier colonial days. did the British rulers already refer to the colonials as 'Americans'? was it already a general name to describe people of that nationality long before 1776?

    FYI: to avoid confusion. I mean SPECIFICALLY in reference to the nationality (I.e. the USA). Not the AMERICAS as a whole.
    discus.....
    I think Americans were by then called Americans. But --------

    I've got a little book upstairs. I'll go and find it for you in the next few days, about Major Peter Labilliere. He was an ex soldiers who spoke out against British soldiers fighting against Americans in their fight for Independence --- it was treason really but oddly nothing happened to him even though hundreds of soldiers listened to him and refuse to fight --- Germany Mercenaries had to be bought. Anyway in there it will say what Americans were called then.

    He is an eccentric character ---

    ''Labilliere's Grave[edit]

    Labilliere's tombstone
    Peter Labilliere was born in Dublin on 30 May 1725 to a family of French Huguenot descent. He joined the British Army at the age of 14, becoming a major in 1760.[35] After leaving the army he became a political agitator and was accused in 1775 of bribing British troops not to fight in the American War of Independence, although he was never tried for treason.[36] Throughout the 1770s and 80s Labiliere corresponded regularly with both Benjamin Franklin (at that time the American representative in France) and the Long Island wax sculptor Patience Wright.[37] The effect of his anti-war protests on British public sentiment is uncertain, although he appears to have attracted a following of over 700 like-minded adherents,[38] and the army was required to rely on German mercenaries, as recruitment of British troops for the war became increasingly difficult.[39]

    Labilliere moved to Dorking from London in around 1789,[36] and often visited Box Hill to meditate.[40] With old age he became increasingly eccentric and neglected his own personal hygiene to such an extent that he acquired the nickname "the walking dung-hill".[40] In accordance with his wishes he was buried head downwards in June 1800 on the western side of Box Hill above The Whites. He was buried without any religious ceremony and Labilliere is reported to have said that the world was "topsy-turvey" and that it would be righted in the end. But there was no mention of this in his "Book of Devotions": rather this states that he wished to emulate the example of St Peter, who was crucified upside-down according to tradition.[41][note 2]

    The memorial stone on Box Hill is not believed to mark the exact location of his burial (which is thought to be several metres to the west on a steep incline). There are two errors on the memorial stone itself: He was buried in June 1800 (rather than July) and all surviving manuscripts indicate that he spelt his name Labilliere (rather than Labelliere)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_Hill,_Surrey

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