Gordon S. Wood, in The Radicalism of the American Revolution, discusses what it means to be truly revolutionary. In this work, Wood shares his thoughts on the Revolutionary War and whether or not it was a movement radical enough to be considered an honest revolution. Wood discusses the reasoning behind the views of those in favor of the war being considered radical, as well as the views of those who believe the American Revolution to be unfortunately misnamed. He claims that “the Revolution was the most radical and most far- reaching event in American history.” Wood’s work is a valuable source for those studying the revolution because it redefines what it means to be radical, but the piece is also limited by the lack of primary information
Many revolutions have taken place throughout history, ranging from the unremarkable to the truly memorable, such as the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution and the American Revolution. Through an examination of the social, cultural, economic and political causes of the American Revolution, an exploration of key arguments both for and against the American Revolution, and an analysis of the social, cultural, economic and political changes brought about by the American Revolution it can be demonstrated unequivocally that the American Revolution was indeed truly revolutionary.
During the late eighteenth century, the thirteen colonies demanded independence from the domineering Great Britain. Angered by unjust taxes and acts limiting the autonomy of the colonies, the colonies acquiesced in a weak union to fight for freedom from oppression and British rule forever. While the American Revolution caused massive change in the political structure of the government, the fight for independence had less impact on the social atmosphere and economy of the United States.
Posterity chooses to view the American Revolution in a different light than many revolutionaries experienced it, for history is often mutable at the founding of a country. As revolutionary ideals blossomed, certain people were rejected from the pages of history. Many of them fought and bled for America, and one penned a history of his colony, but none were given historical shares of American independence. They were rejected from posterity’s heroic, romantic play of the American Revolution because their historical truths could not be cast—they created another play altogether. The following is an analysis of the Continental Army, the Oneida people and of Thomas Hutchinson— each was rejected from an idealist’s view of the American Revolution.
The American Revolution will always be a source of nationalistic pride for Americans. It represented the era where the freedoms and liberty of the common man fought against tyranny and an oppressive government. What many people overlook is the five year period which defined what the new country would become politically and socially. As the framework for the Constitution was being debated, these factors played a role in how the Federalists saw the future of the fledgling country. Through examining the Federalist papers and comparing their ideology with the Constitution born of it, it is clear that the Constitution created and safeguarded the rights of citizens while maintaining an informal class system.
The American Revolution, the conflict by which the American colonists won their independence from Great Britain and created the United States of America, was an upheaval of profound significance in world history. It occurred in the second half of the 18th century, in an "Age of Democratic Revolution" when philosophers and political theorists in Europe were critically examining the institutions of their own societies and the notions that lay behind them. Yet the American Revolution first put to the test ideas and theories that had seldom if ever been worked out in practice in the Old World--separation of church and state, sovereignty of the people, written constitutions, and effective checks and balances in government
America. Its history is long, with many twists and turns. Americas beginnings are where our most revolutionary moments lie. The Revolutionary Period is the period in which America drifts from Britain 's rule, and finds its own route to prosperity and happiness through freedom and equality. During this time period American heroes such as Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Paine emerged. The political events, struggle for freedom and rhetorical writing during this time ignite the fire that becomes The United States of America.
Gordon Wood’s book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, creates a new perspective for the ideals of the American Revolution. Wood adds to the idea that the revolution was not simply a conservative mutiny and fight for neutrality, but also a social revolution. Wood was born in November of 1993 and attended Brown University; He won the 1933 Pulitzer Prize for The Radicalism of the American Revolution. In The Radicalism of the American Revolution Wood argues that the revolution actually began in the 1760’s and continue into the early 19th century as the country experienced a social transformation where people changed their habits and united rather that attempting to overthrow each other. He argues that the American Revolution was far beyond conservative. Wood describes how in order for our country to prosper we must do the impossible and separate our government from the citizens of our country. This would be a revolution in itself. Wood quotes that, “… if we measure the radicalism by the amount of social change that actually took place — by transformations in the relationships that bound people to each other — then the American Revolution was not conservative at all; on the contrary, it was as radical and revolutionary as any in history.”
Wood’s work to be illuminating, it is not free from shortcoming, Firstly, while he does place focus on certain political and economic factors, some issues and groups need could have been given more attention. With just two paragraphs focusing on slavery and no significant research regarding the lower class, both of which being essential ingredients of the American Revolution. Consequently, he chose to place his crosshairs on the elites and nobles, overlooking the role of the silent and forgotten majority. Secondly, he avoids talking about the reason and circumstances American Revolution end and opts to instead illustrate the extent of effect and benefits the radicalness of the revolution has had on modern American society. Nevertheless, these criticisms hardly touch the great perspectives laid out in this book. Dr. Wood presents American Revolution and more so the concept radicalism from a historical perspective which is as comprehensive as it is insightfully
It was thought that throughout American history, one of the most significant qualities of the culture was individualism. The idea of individual freedoms was a forceful motive driving to the independence of America. America, in the efforts of pursuing individualism, had influenced numerous fights which stemmed from movements. There was the American Revolution which began on April 19, 1775 caused by the instigation of the Seven Years’ War which began in 1754. Since the earlier periods in which America’s patriotism highlighted it as important, something American culture has always strived to attain was independence. But, according to the modern history of America “the great”, there is only the realistic portrayal of restrictions in society and conformity. Conformity, although it is not an ideal quality of American identity, is the most apparent in its culture.
Gordon Wood’s Radicalism of the American Revolution is a book that extensively covers the origin and ideas preceding the American Revolution. Wood’s account of the Revolution goes beyond the history and timeline of the war and offers a new encompassing look inside the social ideology and economic forces of the war. Wood explains in his book that America went through a two-stage progression to break away from the Monarchical rule of the English. He believes the pioneering revolutionaries were rooted in the belief of an American Republic. However, it was the radical acceptance of democracy that was the final step toward independence. The transformation between becoming a Republic, to ultimately becoming a democracy, is where Wood’s evaluation of the revolution differs from other historians. He contributes such a transformation to the social and economic factors that faced the colonists. While Gordon Wood creates a persuasive argument in his book, he does however neglect to consider other contributing factors of the revolution. It is these neglected factors that provide opportunity for criticism of his book.
The American Revolution (1775-83) is also known as the American Revolutionary War and the U.S. War of Independence. The conflict arose from growing tensions between residents of Great Britain’s 13 North American colonies and the colonial government, which represented the British crown. The tension that arose because of this was due in simple fact thanks to the crown applying harsh rules and regulations involving taxes. Skirmishes between British troops and colonial militiamen commonly many times called the minutemen thanks to their ability to be into combat at any time in Lexington and Concord in April 1775 kicked off the armed conflict, and by the following summer, the rebels were waging a full-scale war for their independence. France entered the American Revolution on the side of the colonists in 1778, turning what had essentially been a civil war into an international conflict. The reason for this allied nation was thanks in part to the war that accrued right before the Revolutionary War called the Seven Year War. After French assistance helped the Continental Army force the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, the Americans had effectively won their independence, though fighting would not formally end until 1783. First, let’s look at the lead up to the Revolutionary War
The start of the American Revolution, described by Edmund Morgan as, “the shot heard around the world,” was the “Americans’ search for principles” (Bender 63). Although the world’s colonies did not necessarily seek independence much like the Americans, the world’s colonies were nonetheless tired of the “administrative tyranny” being carried out by their colonizers (Bender 75). The American Revolution set a new standard in the colonies, proclaiming that the “rights of Englishmen” should and must be the “rights of man,” which established a new set foundation for the universal rights of man (Bender 63). This revolution spread new ideas of democracy for the colonized world, reshaping people’s expectations on how they should be governed. Bender emphasizes America as challenging “the old, imperial social forms and cultural values” and embracing modern individualism” (Bender 74). Bender shapes the American Revolution as a turning point for national governments. The American Revolution commenced a new trend of pushing out the old and introducing new self-reliant systems of government for the former
Americans, having had the drive and the vision to emigrate here from abroad, were distinct in character and mettle from Europeans. While this belief tended to be particularly prevalent in the northern American colonies prior to the Revolutionary War, by midway through its undertaking, when the idea of an eventual reconciliation with England was abandoned, it increasingly became true for all Americans. Once England had made it clear that there would be no outcome other than victory for one side and defeat the other, America fully embraced the philosophical fervor that characterized the ‘Age of Enlightenment’, which not coincidentally was reaching its apex just as America was coming into being. An era characterized by the passionate interest in philosophy, science, and rational thought to which, its adherent’s argued, all mankind should strive towards, in Europe it was seen as having been constrained by the bonds of outmoded restraints such as Absolute Monarchies and oppressive religious hierarchies like the Catholic Church. America, its founding fathers asserted, would be the first nation where the ideals of the Enlightenment could fully flower without the smothering constraints of decayed and decadent
The American Revolution marked the divorce of the British Empire and its one of the most valued colonies. Behind the independence that America had fought so hard for, there emerged a diverging society that was eager to embrace new doctrines. The ideals in the revolution that motivated the people to fight for freedom continued to influence American society well beyond the colonial period. For example, the ideas borrowed from John Locke about the natural rights of man was extended in an unsuccessful effort to include women and slaves. The creation of state governments and the search for a national government were the first steps that Americans took to experiment with their own system. Expansion, postwar depression as well as the new distribution of land were all evidence that pointed to the gradual maturing of the economic system. Although America was fast on its way to becoming a strong and powerful nation, the underlying issues brought about by the Revolution remained an important part in the social, political and economical developments that in some instances contradicted revolutionary principles in the period from 1775-1800.