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Defining America by DaFreak47 Defining America by DaFreak47
Lately I have been having to defend my right to call myself an "American" to people who believe that citizens of the USA should be called "United Statsiens" in respect to the fact that technically, every inhabitant of North and South America are also "Americans". My conclusion, people are idiots.

Western Hemisphere (Black circle): Includes all of North and South America, parts of western Europe and Africa, and eastern Oceania. Is not synonymous with "America".

The Americas (Green): A geographic term that includes all of North and South America.

America (Red): Officially the United States of America, a conglomeration of states located in North America.

"American": The official term applied to citizens of the United States of America. Is a political nationality equated with citizenship, not with ethnicity or race.


I made this a while back to copy and paste to any person who thinks that I am a "United Statsien". It has some flaws, but the basics are there.

#1 First come first serve:
The United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, making the 13 Colonies the first European colonies to become independent in the New World. It wasn’t until January 1, 1804 that the 2nd European colony, Haiti, declared its independence. That’s a 28 year gap when the USA was the only independent nation of North and South America. The Latin American Wars of Independence occurred between 1806 and 1822, and Confederation of Canada didn’t occur until July 1, 1867. So you see, no other nations were complaining about the United States’ choice of name, because for some time, there were no other nations around to complain. Now I know what you’re thinking. “That’s a pretty week argument. Any other nation could just as easily be called America by that logic”, and you would be right. Any other nation, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, or Argentina could have declared their independence first and be called “America” today, but the thing is, they didn’t declare independence first, the 13 Colonies did, so suck it up.

#2 No strongest province:
When the United States of America declared its independence, it consisted of 13 independently governed colonies: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Each colony had its own history, culture, people, and name. Other nations, such as Mexico and Canada, also consisted of multiple colonies. The difference was that Mexico and Canada were named after a single colony/province/state within their borders. Originally, Quebec and Ontario were called Upper and Lower Canada, and because they had the largest populations of British North America, the Dominion adopted their name. The state of Mexico contained Mexico City, the largest city in New Spain, and when New Spain declared its independence, it adopted the name of its most powerful and populated state, Mexico. Of the 13 Colonies, on the other hand, there was no single colony that was more powerful or drastically more populated than all of the others. This became a major dilemma when a new name was to be chosen for the new nation. In the end, the only word that truly described and contained all 13 Colonies was “America”, the continent on which all the colonies were located. If you could think of any name that could replace “America”, then I would be glad to hear it, and then tell you why it wouldn’t work.

#3 No previous name:
Before 1776, the 13 Colonies were part of the larger “British North America”, which also contained East Florida, West Florida, Nova Scotia, Upper Canada (Quebec), Lower Canada (Ontario), Newfoundland, and Prince Rupert’s Land. You could also include the North West Territories and Columbia. The British hadn’t bothered to give its American colonies a name, because each colony had named itself on its own. Nations like Peru and Brazil are named so today because their European colonizers gave them a name early on in their formation. Even after the USA won its independence, Great Britain continued to call its American colonies “British North America”. Because no previous name had been betrothed upon them, the 13 Colonies were forced to choose a name of their own. In their haste, and because they had no reason to do otherwise, they chose the most generic name available to them that would not displease any of the 13 Colonies.

#4 Political Vs. Geographic labels:
When citizens of the USA call themselves “Americans” or refer to their nation as “America”, they do so not with the intention of describing their ethnic or geographic nationality; they do so to describe their political nationality, or their political label. There is no such thing as an ethnic American. Every American can trace his or her ethnicity back to a place outside of the Western Hemisphere, except of course the Native Americans, but that’s a different story. Now once again, I know what you’re thinking. “But their political nationality is just an outstretch of their geographic nationality, so anybody living in the ‘Americas’ is technically an American by your logic”, but you’re wrong. When you ask someone living in Brazil or Mexico what nationality they are, they will say “Brazilian” or “Mexican”. They do not say that they are “American”, because “American” is not their political label. “Brazilian” and “Mexican” are not ethnicities. Like America, Brazil and Mexico are only political labels placed upon a very wide range of people, and when you ask an American what nationality they are and they say “American”, it is not a reference to their geographic location or ethnicity, but to the political label placed upon them and their nation. So with that, citizens of the USA are not “United Statians” or “Unionites”, they are Americans.

#5 State = Country:
You might already know this, but the words “State” and “Country” are synonymous. The United States of America is the same as the “United Countries of America”. The reason for this is that each of the 50 states is supposedly an independent nation of its own existing within the larger USA. Today, this doesn’t usually remain true, but in 1776, each of the 13 Colonies functioned as an independent nation, and didn’t want to give up their sovereignty when they joined the Union. Given this knowledge, we can ascertain that the USA is essentially a giant conglomeration of countries that are united for mutual power and economic prosperity. Sound familiar? It should, because it’s basically what the European Union is trying to be. If the EU succeeds and drafts its own constitution to unite the nations, then I’m sure that other European nations, like Switzerland, Russia, and Serbia, will be complaining to about how they are technically Europeans too. But if the EU does succeed, the name “European” will be a reference to their political nationality, not their geographic location.

#6 We aren’t alone:
The United States of America isn’t the only nation to ever use the name of a continent or part of a continent as the name of their country. The Republic of (Gran) Colombia for example. Simon Bolivar named Colombia what he did as a reference to its geographic location. He, and many other important figures in 19th century Latin America referred to the New World as “Colombia” in honor of Christopher Columbus. He originally planned to unite all of the Spanish New World colonies, but failed to do so when regional loyalties split. It wasn’t until sometime after the Latin American Wars of Independence that America replaced “Colombia” completely in Latin America. The United Provinces of Central America also used a geographic name as its political label, even though southern Mexico, British Honduras, and the Istmo state of Colombia (Panama) were also located in Central America. The UPCA officially broke up in 1831. Before Western Australia joined the Commonwealth of Australia, the continent of Australia was split between two different political entities, Australia and Western Australia. Other examples include South Africa, Central Africa, Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea, the East African Federation, etc.
Personally, I am a Texan and as such I always refer to myself as a Texan when I visit other countries. This is in honor of Texan independence, which has occurred twice in its history. But I must always rise up to defend my fellow countrymen, and our right to call ourselves “Americans”.

If you want to pick holes in my argument, then go on ahead. I had to rush when I typed it so some of the wording might be off, but if you tell me specifically what you think disproves my opinion, then Ill restate it again more clearly so that you can understand it. There’s a good possibility you won’t even read this far down.
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:iconlouisthefox:
LouisTheFox Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Funny though I once heard that many people when Canada was going to be named they thought to name it Albion but then again it sounds more like a faceoff of Albania
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Actually it was "New Albion", a name the British tried to stick on a multitude of regions from Canada to California. The British were always just sticking "New" in front of European names and trying to find a place to put them. 
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:iconlouisthefox:
LouisTheFox Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
But once again isn't Mexico known as the United Mexican States? United States in Spanish is Estados Unidos.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Yes, although that doesn't contradict my argument. The United States of America translates to "Estados Unidos Americanos" while the United Mexican States translates to "Estados Unidos Mexicanos", which is one of the principle reasons I argued against names like "United Statesian" either in the description or in the comments. 
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:iconkyuzoaoi:
kyuzoaoi Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Student Artist
Now, I wonder, if the Confederate States exist today, they will also call themselves Americans alongside those of the Union, right? 
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Student Digital Artist

Its a very interesting question that I hope all historical theorists ask themselves at one point or another. This is my take.

 

Citizens of the Confederate States of America would refer to themselves as "Americans" and they would refer to citizens of the United States of America as "Yankees", or alternately as "Northerners".

 

Citizens of the United States of America would refer to themselves as "Americans" and they would refer to citizens of the Confederate States of America as "Rebels", or alternately as "Southerners".

 

Citizens of foreign countries would refer to citizens of both the CSA and the USA as "Americans", but to specify citizens of the CSA they would use the term "Confederates" or "Southerners", and to specify citizens of the USA they would use the term "Unioners" or "Northerners".

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:iconlouisthefox:
LouisTheFox Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Honestly if the CSA existed today I would probably call them Confederates.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Student Digital Artist
You might, but they wouldn't. It just depends which side of the border you are on. 
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:iconlouisthefox:
LouisTheFox Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Or on the other hand I would call them Mega Rednecks lol
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:iconlumi-natis:
Lumi-Natis Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013
It's understandable that you want to defend your right to be called "American" as you are a citizen of USA. People of USA of course deserve this appelation, but the problem is, that it creates a confusion in many languages such as english. It isn't always easy to know if we talk of the citizens of the united states or of people of the american continents. That's I believe the principal argue of the people who defend the call of "United statesian", althought it sounds horribly idiot.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Student Digital Artist
My argument is not denying that the term "American" can cause some confusion, only that it is the correct denomynom for citizens of the United States of America, and that citizens of other countries in North and South America can only call themselves "Americans" in reference to their geographic location, and not in the same way used by US citizens, which is strictly a political nationality separate from their geographic location in North America. The term "United Statesians" can be used to refer to US citizens when specifically trying to isolate them from other residents of the Americas, but it is important to understand that this term is fundamentally incorrect and does not hold any political weight.
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:iconlumi-natis:
Lumi-Natis Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2013
Yes indeed. I didn't know other people pretended to be called "Americans" for their nationality...
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:iconarminius1871:
Arminius1871 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The USA is the super-power of that continent so it deserves that name, and everyone calls people of the USA Americans,
it´s already too normal to be changed.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I think there's a little more reason than just being a super-power, but its true. Most people refer to citizens of the USA as Americans, but many people in Latin America and Canada (or at least the ones who complain loud enough for me to hear) find it offensive and arrogant because they are technically Americans too, only in a difference sense. Because of this, certain groups in South America and Europe have been advocating name changes to "United Statsiens" and other names like it. I just want to quiet those people before it becomes a big deal.
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:iconarminius1871:
Arminius1871 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well I can only say how Germans see it, for us the USA is America, the only important nation where all the german emmigrants
went in the 19th century, Latin America was not really important to us, so USA citizens are "The Americans" for us. Also you have the
name America in your national name (United States of AMERICA), that´s another reason we can call you Americans and the rest not.
As long as you are called USA, Americans should be fine.

And to be honestly but United Statsiens sounds extremely silly, I would cry and laugh when this name would be really used, sorry,
that is a bad idea.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yeah it does sound pretty ridiculous, but Ive been tolled that it doesnt sound white as silly when said in languages like French and Finnish. Trying to call Americans "United Statesiens" makes as much sense as calling Australians "Commonwealthians".
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:iconarminius1871:
Arminius1871 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well in German it sounds awful XD Hm I don´t even know how to translate it.

USA means in German VSA Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika. So the name would be Vereinigte Staatler or Staatliche or Stäter....no none of this makes much sense,
we don´t have a word for this XD Except we translate the word state into land, then it would possible to call you Vereinigte Ländler XD

But I´m not satisfied with any of these.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Im pretty sure that "Statsien" isnt a word in English either.
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:icongoliath-maps:
Goliath-Maps Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013
Thank you for this. I wholeheartedly agree.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
No, thank you!
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:iconfametsuri:
FametSuri Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
I'm from Brazil and I dont like this name, Amerigo Vespucci was a swindler and a lobbyist; american people can use it with all its grace.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
If that means Brazilians will stop complaining about our use of "American", then I would gladly accept!
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:iconwhatifguyplz:
whatifguyplz Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
people in other American countries like canada, mexico, brazil etc. can be called americans too because they live in the americas
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist

This is the conclusion that I have come to:

The term "American" is ambiguous, or has more than one meaning. "American", in reference to geographic location, can be used to describe all citizens of nations located in North and South America. "American", in reference to political nationality, is the official term used by citizens of the United States of America to identify their political identity, which is separate from ethnicity and race. While the "American" political nationality has its origins in its geographic location, they are separate and not synonymous.

 

This discussion is about the right of US citizens to call their country "America" and themselves "Americans", when much of the world disagrees.

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:iconthasiloron:
Thasiloron Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
How about Vespucia?
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:iconarminius1871:
Arminius1871 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What about Waldseemüller, a German who gave America its name XD He made the first globe and called it Amerika then.
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:iconthasiloron:
Thasiloron Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Everything sounds awesome in German!
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Now that is an interesting idea. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. But it respect to the issue today, it wouldnt happen obviously.
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:iconparasky:
Parasky Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't see how the rest of the world has the right to comment on what we call ourselves anyways. People in Northern Ireland call themselves British, but they're not on the Isle of Great Britain, now are they? People in China call themselves Chinese, but I doubt the Tibetans consider themselves Chinese. In Japan they call themselves Japanese, but I doubt the Ainu see themselves as Japanese. Do the Australians have the right to call themselves Australian despite the fact that the aboriginals were there first? What about every white person in South Africa? Or Africa in general? Are they African or not? Should Hungarians not be allowed to call themselves European? And what about Canada? Are French Canadians French or Canadian?

Nationality is a meaningless distinction, it's simply a way to tell ourselves apart. American Nationals and American Continentals, they're both American. There's no reason the same term can't have two definitions. Besides, a citizen of the USA calling themselves American is literally the same thing as anybody else in the Americans calling themselves American, they are in North America either way. So it could be argued that citizens of the United States don't even have a name for their nationality; you could argue that they're simply referring to the continent they live on. That's all I have to say on the subject.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist

I disagree with one thing you said. "citizens of the United States don't even have a name for their nationality; you could argue that they're simply referring to the continent they live on". I dont believe that because I believe that the "American" political nationality is separate from the America that is N. & S. America. "The Americas" is a geographic term, while "America" and "American" are poltical terms that have their origins in their geography but are today fundamentally different in meaning. Arguably, citizens of other American nations could call themselves "Americans" but it would only be in reference to their geographic location, not their political nationality. When US citizens call themselves "Americans" it is in reference of the political entity which they themselves live in, which is separate from the geographic term of "American".

 

Like you said, its one word with two very different deffinitions.

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:iconpaudraic:
Paudraic Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well stated. I would add that most of the rest of the world calls United States citizens 'Americans' and refers to other inhabitants of these American continents by their respective countries and not 'Americans'. Through usage, 'American' has also come to be identified with a general collection of beliefs and customs--the 'culture' so many claim not to exist--and to those who hold and practice them.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
What Ive been led to believe is that the confusion rises up when Europeans refer to the Americas as a whole, calling them "America", making some believe they are refering to the USA.
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:iconslingblade87:
SlingBlade87 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
Alright, that's it, I'm adding this to my favorites for the commentary alone.

This is just too amusing to not watch it unfold.

As to all the rest, I am not uttering one word on the matter.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
The map only took like 10 minutes to make and its only been up for a few hours and look what kind of response it got!
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:iconslingblade87:
SlingBlade87 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
Yeah I know, it's rather fun honestly.

Personally I can see the validity of your points as far as historical precedents go.

A few of the other comments make good points...and then there are those which obviously just want to argue for argument's sake.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
The real reason Im doing this is because I want to know the points that my oponents use so that I can build a stronger case. There are some weak points and inaccuracies in my original argument that a skilled oponent could use to disprove the whole thing.
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:iconslingblade87:
SlingBlade87 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
Well the honest reality is that Americans chose to be called Americans and to date no one has seriously challenged that assertion as a national claim though the point can be raised in contest.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
The argument isnt very well known, at least not in America itself, but its a very complicated and touchy subject for those who have researched it.
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:iconslingblade87:
SlingBlade87 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
Oh I've been hearing the argument ever since high school and I took my first Spanish classes.

It's an interesting one because I've yet to meet anyone from any of the other American nations who would call themselves an 'American' unless they were a US citizen and even then they identify themselves more often than not as whatever nation they are from.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, its like they express pride for their country (partly in resistance to American dominance) and then start calling themselves Americans too, at least the people I have been arguing with.
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:iconkyuzoaoi:
kyuzoaoi Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Artist
Looks like many people, especially in the political left, wanted to restrict the word American to native Americans. This is unfair even to the ethnicities that would benefit as well as those who won't. Looks like the so-called white guilt all over again.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
While I agree, I dont see how this comment relates to what this map is about.
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:iconshikku27316:
Shikku27316 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
Oh, goodness. America originally referred to the whole continent that is called the "Americas". Here's my thoughts on your arguments:
#1: The USA wasn't the first country on America, there were plenty of Kingdoms and confederations, such as the Powhatan and Iriquois, and the Inca, Aztec, and Mayan empires.
#2 They could have come up with a name. To be honest, they did come up with a few, but they didn't get popular. While I don't recognise the USA's authority, I have a name for them that I came up with because they need it: "Monovacia". It comes from Native American words meaning "turkey land", and then I Latinised it.
#3-see above.
#4-some Brazilians and Mexicans call them selves American, yes.
The rest had nothing to do with your argument. :) Hope I helped!
Reply
:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist

Its not an "Oh, goodness" situation.

#1: I never stated anywhere that the USA was the first country in the Americas. I VERY specifically stated that the 13 Colonies were the first European colonies in the Americas to gain their independence. And with that, your argument on fact #1 is lost.

#2: They did come up with a name, "America". At that time, the Americas had multiple names. Its only in modern times that North and South America as a whole are refered to as "America". Names like Appalachia, Freedonia, and Allegheny that were proposed during the American Revolution either only replied to some of the colonies, or didnt really connect with the people of the colonies themselves. "America" was broad enough to encompass all of the colonies and it correctly represented the newly formed American people. Your "Monovacia" was not around at the time, nor would it have been supported by the people.

#3: I guess you dont dispute that.

#4:You have no idea what I was talking about do you?

I dont see it as help. I see it as enlightening people who dont understand.

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:iconshikku27316:
Shikku27316 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
Look, do you think I give a flying fuck about you Oil-eating country?!
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
You gave enough of a "flying fuck" to type out a few paragraphs of information and continue to argue a point that you could never hope to win. So now you have nothing more to add.
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:iconshikku27316:
Shikku27316 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
The only reason why I could never hope to win is because your mind is too full of "Murica" to even let the truth in. I could tell you plenty of shit that your oil-fucking country did and continues to do today.
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
This isnt even relevant to what this map is about. You started off on topic but now everything you say is just negative and irrelevant.
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:iconshikku27316:
Shikku27316 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
You said that I couldn't hope to win this argument, and I mentioned why. Nationalism really is bullshit. See what it does to people?!
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:icondafreak47:
DaFreak47 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I said you couldnt hope to win, because your arguments were already disproven.
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