More than a Radical Revolution

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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.”
Through the book, we see Wood develop his argument for a social revolution by reiterating the change in America’s form of a monarchy government to a democracy where the people are in charge of the government. Wood points out that in pre-revolutionary society, people’s lives and livelihoods were determined by class, political power, and investment. It is also important to note that in the 18th century social customs were reflected from the dominance of the father family reflecting dow...

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...rials of previous aristocrats, American citizens sacrificed their private interests to better their community. To truly appreciate the struggles of the Founders, we must note that these individuals were leaders in their class, not large groups of people, whose sole duty was to provide authority and governance to society. These struggles were well worthwhile as we ourselves witness how the rooted principles of republicanism and democracy effect the character of America today. The almost unreal visions of The Founders was absorbed as the new century came about. Citizens began to value the rights of equality and the ability to separate individualism from government. Wood states his belief that through peoples understanding of new republicanism concepts and freedom people began to unite and become cohesive.

Works Cited

The Radicalism of the American Revolution
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