The high point of American as an identity was July 4, 1776. Since then it has been a downhill affair. However, the drop was gradual for a considerable period.
The big drop started in the 1960s with Civil Rights. That was a direct assault on American identity per se.
Obama as president symbolizes the official end of American identity. Killers like Major Hasan drill it home.
The Civil War obviously was a blow at American identity. The South seceded because it had an identity. The North fought the war supposedly because American was an identity, but its actual rhetoric and laws were to make anyone an American. Anyone an American means American means nothing.
The Emma Lazarus poem was only possible after the Civil War that was won by the Reconstructing North. American identity was reconstructed into the no man identity it is officially.
Despite this, an American identity lived on. Away from the ethnic areas of Chicago and New York, the American identity continued. It was certainly evident in the mythical town of Mayberry, which was real enough as far as identity was concerned.
Mark Twain was a writer about American identity. There was still an American identity after the Civil War for most, even though officially the government had turned against it.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was one official act in favor of an American identity after the Civil War. Naturally, it is attacked today by official PC.
The 1924 Immigration Act was the high point in the counter-reconstruction to maintain an American identity. The counter-reconstruction had enough strength to maintain a passable level of American identity up to the 1960s when it suffered grievous blows from the joint action of Freedom Riders, media, ACLU, DOJ and federal judges.
Now American identity as it was understood pre-Civil Rights is a hate and thought crime.
We are now seeing a new explicit reconstruction by some of American identity as White Christian and in some cases even Protestant English. The newly reactive Vanishing American blog represents that view more than most.
The Declaration of Independence set in motion an identity that had a fatal flow of universalism embedded in it. This would have been safe in a White Christian world. It could be an example to a Europe shriven by wars. However, in a multicultural multiracial world with immigration, this universalism as part of American identity was a fatal flaw. That has become more evident in recent times.
If the South secedes, it must adopt a White Christian identity as official if it is to have a chance.
This post was stimulated by reading some of the new entries at the Vanishing American blog, newly started. In particular this one.