Excerpts from: Americanism Redux: March 28, on the journey to the American Founding, 250 years ago today, in 1774

The American spirit of voluntarism and voluntary associations was an observation made by Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1830s. His analysis picked up on a fact of life that by late March 1774 was already deeply embedded in the emerging American identity well before national independence.

We see it in today’s entry with the community organizations of colonial Philadelphia. We see it too in the support given to such organizations by people like the departing Magdalen Devine. We see it in the entrepreneurial drive of Patrick Colvin and Rernselaer William of Trenton, colony of New Jersey. We see it in unusual places as well, in the legislative halls of colonial Rhode Island and the quiet effort to build a coalition to support a legal ban on the slave trade. And we see it in the tensions that can produce violence, where a Native leader seeks to discourage conflict and groups of colonial tea-protestors seek to increase conflict.

Americanism Redux, a series by historian author, Dr. Dan Miller, explores what Americanism meant 250 years ago and its significance for America today. Visit Dr Dan Miller’s website>


Reference: The Remnant Trust Collection

All of these expressions of volunteerism and voluntary associations are set against the backdrop of the soon-to-be-enactment in the British Parliament that will shut down the port of Boston as part of the response to the Boston Tea Party. An original early edition of Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic work, “Democracy in America”, is in the archives of the Remnant Trust, Items (#0352-0353).

View The Remnant Trust “Wisdom of the Ages Athenaeum PDF for reference>