In all the letters I have read from the founding generation, no one person exemplifies self-reliance better than perhaps Abigail Adams. After reading over 900 letters of Abigail to various personalities, particularly John Adams and Mercy Otis Warren, it became clear Mrs. Adams believed that God had blessed America and that Americans ought to consider fending for themselves. In this excerpt from a letter to John Adams dated 21 September, 1777, she tackles the issue of remaining self-reliant:
"Your observation with regard to Luxery are very just, but trade and commerce will always support it. The Necessity of times will be a temporary restraint upon it, and put us upon seeking Resources among ourselves."
She then asks:
"We can live much better than we deserve within ourselves. Why should we borrow foreign Luxuries. Why should we wish to bring ruin upon ourselves."
Read this letter and more here: http://founders.archives.gov/
Abigail Adams to John Adams, 21 September 1777,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/04-02-02-0279 [last update: 2014-12-01]). Source: The Adams Papers, Adams Family Correspondence, vol. 2, June 1776 – March 1778, ed. L. H. Butterfield. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1963, pp. 346–349.