In The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Gordon S. Wood claims that the American Revolution was the most progressive thing to ever happen in America’s history.[ Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (New York: Random House, 1991), Paragraph 10] He supports this claim by first addressing the views of his opposition; he says that other historians argue that the American Revolution was not even a social revolution, but a mere political movement. These historians “have tried to describe the Revolution as essentially as a social struggle by deprived and underprivileged groups against entrenched elites,” though the colonists of early America were “less burdened with cumbersome feudal and monarchical restraints than any other part of mankind in the eighteenth century.” The next argument that Wood presents is that all social change that came about following he Revolution was only a side effect or result of political change. According to Wood,
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...wards a specific demographic can create a blurred line between what is fact and what is opinion, which in turn can allow for personal assessments to be presented as arguments and facts even though they have been influenced to a great extent by prior thoughts and opinions.
In Gordon S. Wood’s The Radicalism of the American Revolution, a new, postmodern take on what the word ‘radicalism’ really means. He focuses on not only the political and social effects of the American Revolution, but also on its lasting contributions to American society. Wood uses a fresh- but still knowledgeable- point of view while making his claims, and uses examples to support these claims. The biggest weakness of the source is that it is a secondary source that was created over two decades after the American Revolution ended, creating a lack of firsthand primary knowledge given in the document.
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