The Unconventional American Revolution

The Unconventional American Revolution

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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

The American Revolution as we know it was not a conventional revolution. There was no change in social hierarchy as in Russia when the Czar was overthrown, or mass killings of the aristocracy as in France’s revolution. Given, there were the occasional mob torching of a wealthy tory’s home, but on the whole, it was very little like any other revolution in previous history.

     In this way, the American Revolution was unique unto itself. It was utterly different than the conventional revolution. It could almost be called an intellectual uprising. The fact that “The true revolution lies in the hearts and minds of all Americans.'; (John Adams) is the key to understanding why the American Revolution may not necessarily seem to be a revolution in terms of guns and death, but in terms of enlightenment, and the thirst for freedom, there has been no more fervent war fought.

     One such example of devotion to the American cause is that of Long Bill Scott. Looking over his accomplishments, one cannot help but see the heroism, and the sacrifice that this one man made for his country. He leaves his children and wife in order to risk his life in a war that would protect, and further the ideals that he held dear, those of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

     This zeal may seem confined to the very radical revolutionaries, but upon looking at the child-rearing practices of the time, one can see that children were engrained with American ideology at a very young age by their mother in a process called “republican motherhood';. Witness John Adam’s brother; at the age of eight sneak out of the house and march with revolutionary soldiers. This is not merely young energy, it is the passionate devotion to further those precepts that were taught to him by his mother.

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     Another important issue that influenced, and was changed in the course of the Revolution was that of the common man. Under England&#8217;s laws, the poorer, lower social class was for the most part repressed by the wealthy upper class. Wealthy landowners controlled much power, while serfs or people living on the land were forced to accept the upper classes&#8217; rules. This was changed during the Revolution. The poorer class were no longer forced to defer to the upper class for political leadership; they wanted to rule themselves. And they did, abolishing with kingly-appointed governors, and replacing them with elected officials from their own state. The whole concept of democracy spread like wildfire and soon all of the states were in a capitalist frenzy.

     Even such issues as women&#8217;s rights and education were toyed with during and after the revolution, something that had never been attempted before. Men and women began to see each other as more equal, and thus, more American.

     Slavery was also briefly repealed in some states. While this did not last, it is a good example of the spirit of the revolution, an unprecedented burst of human rights, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

     But more key was the concept of the government. The American governing system can be called a mix-and-match of many governments through time, including Greek, Roman, and English. Americans introduced the ideas of checks and balances tailored to fit a growing nation, and formed a written constitution that spelled out the power, and the limitations of the ruling government.

     Indeed, the American Revolution was not only unique, but extraordinary. It was a fight for freedom, a war fought in order that people may develop on their own. The Revolution was earth-shaking, and it laid the basis for many other upheavals throughout history, and radically changed America forever.
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