It is relevant that the American Revolution was caused by the unique nature of the American Colonists and their society in contrast to their relationships with the English Government. Throughout the Revolution, colonists suffered when it came to them realizing their independent, in order for them to start open rebellion, but the "Common Sense," by Thomas Paine influenced the colonists to structure their identities to enfold as a nation. The success of the Revolution has determined the success of the United States today.
The colonists felt (for the betterment of all Americans) that it was their duty and responsibility to rise up against their oppressors to form their own government. John Adams even states, "[that] the real American Revolution was a radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people. Above all, [the Revolution] was in the minds and hearts of the peopl... ... middle of paper ... ...ng, 87-8. 30. William P. Cumming and Hugh Rankin, The Fate of a Nation: The American Revolution Through Contemporary Eyes (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1975), 35.
This constant fear of suppressed freedom is what led them to desire independence. Consequently, this also led to the rising of two very important ideologies: republicanism and liberalism. Republicanism appealed more to the elites, and its goal was to defend the rights of the people with the use of vigilance. This ideology was completely opposite from that of liberalism, which favored those in the working class whose goal was to expand and grow. This idea surrounded itself around natural rights and believed that governments were created in order protect property rights.
However, the social ideas were very powerful for the colonists and kept them motivated to win their independence. These ideas of John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, and Voltaire were called enlightenment ideas and these ideas helped shape America into what it has grown to be. John Locke believed in natural rights such as life, liberty, and property. He also believed in people having rights of revolution, and he supported limited government. The revolting colonists that wanted to be free and believed in a republic style of government shared John Locke’s ideas.
They were also bitter about the Colonists trading goods with enemies of the British. Because of this the British increased authority over the colonies after the war. The British began to tax the colonists to meet England’s financial needs. England passed many Acts that were ill conceived and had long-term effects on the relationship between England and the colonies. The crown had never directly taxed the colonists before.
Mercantilism was by far one of the greatest sparks of the American Revolution. The British wanted to dominate the flux of imports and exports to and from the colonies, making it clear that they felt they wanted to control the economy of the colonies. To the British, the Americans were just tenants residing on their own land, meant for purposes to boost the British economy. To enhance the mercantilist system, the Parliament passed the Navigation Laws, which said all commerce flowing to and from the colonies could be transported only in British vessels. Future laws said that any European products headed for the colonies had to pass through Britain and its tariffs, which effectively gave the British middlemen a good amount of the profits.
The series of taxation acts Parliament levied upon America to recoup its wartime debt took a serious toll on colonial businesses, increasing their debt and frustration with England. At the same time, colonial merchants also wanted to maintain ties with their primary consumer, England. After the French and Indian War, wealthy merchants had stock piles of inventory which had primarily been sold to British regiments that had been encamped throughout the colonies. With their primary consumers gone, colonial merchants eagerly jumped on the bandwagon to boycott British goods, a way to maintain the sell of backlogged inventory to local colonies. After the Townshend Acts were repealed, however, these merchants were eager to continue their importation of British goods, in addition to selling their goods back out to the motherland.
The Goals of the Declaration of Independence The American Revolution was not only a battle between the British and the colonists; it was a historical movement that brought about new ways of thinking. The ideas of liberty and equality began to be seen as essential to the growth of the new nation. The separation of the American colonies from the British Empire occurred for a number of reasons. These reasons are illustrated in the Declaration of Independence. Although Thomas Jefferson wrote the document, it expressed the desire of the heart of each colonist to be free of British rule.
The big picture that is at stake is that the ideology of liberalism was the principle founding ideology in America and it was presence was felt in the social context via literature. The importance of human individuality and the freedom of humanity from subservience to another group was a crucial point in the ideology of liberalism. Therefore, when liberalism is found in literature, it carries the same determining factors. In a section of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson writes “He has incited treasonable insurrections in our fellow-subjects, with the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation of our property.” This language supports liberalism because Jefferson makes it clear that the “treasonable insurrections” were not caused by the people themselves but by King George III, i.e. an overbearing government and therefore it places the “fellow-subjects” in a subservient position.
The pamphlet placed blame on the British government for the distress of the colonies. Paine’s writing stated Britain was taking advantage of America through taxes and by using its corrupt power to keep the colonist in submission. It was this writing that became a stepping stone for the American Revolution and the changes that would soon follow. Thomas Paine's drastic thinking and legendary writings were what helped provoke the Colonies to fight for liberty and freedom. It was his writings that provided the inspiration necessary for many colonists to support the movement for independence from Britain.