Ideology really laid the foundation for the Revolution. British citizens, including those in the North American colonies, felt a special sense of pride in their political system. Unlike in other European countries at the time, the English king did not possess absolute control over his country. England has a parliament, and that stood as a check against the king’s power. Many Britons grew up skeptical of a single, authoritarian ruler.
Within this political framework, there existed the concept of liberty. “The English had no standing army, no letters de cachet; they had their habeas corpus, their trials by jury, their freedom of speech and conscience, and their right to trade and travel; they were free from arbitrary arrest and punishment; their homes were their castles.” The vast majority of the colonists considered themselves British, and as such, they were entitled to these rights and freedoms. Republicanism coexisted with the notion of liberty. “According to the classical republican tradition, man was by nature a political being, a citizen who achieved his greatest moral fulfillment by participating in a self-governing republic.” The colonists took this virtuous duty seriously, especially when it came to r...
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...t for their right to have a say in how their country should be run. In their old age, the leaders of the American Revolution and eventual founders of the United States worried about the extent to which democracy pervaded society. However, their actions planted the seeds for oppressed groups to fight for their rights. A country whose founding principle is that “all men are created equal…with certain unalienable rights” including “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” will always give people hope for a better future.
Countryman, Edward. The American Revolution revised edition. New York: Hill and Wang, 2003.
Norton, Mary Beth. Liberty’s Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750-1800. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996.
Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.
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