More than 230 years after the American Revolution, there are still people in America who believe the war was not a revolution at all. Daniel Boorstin, one of America’s most prominent historians, for example, once said that “The Revolution itself had been a kind of affirmation of faith in ancient British institutions. In the institutional life of the American community the Revolution thus required no basic change.” In contrast, another great historian named Henry Steele Commager said that “the United States embarked upon a career that was [different from] most of the things governments… in the Old World believed in and stood for.” To truly understand and formulate an opinion of this somewhat controversial issue, one has to do research on the developments that led to the American Revolution and occurred after the bloodshed.
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The mere fact that thirteen colonies rebelled against Great Britain, a country who owned an empire; a country which had a military that boasted one of the best navies of the time is incredible. The chances of becoming liberated and realizing a revolution were nearly impossible, yet the soon-to- be free Americans never gave up, even in the hardest times from 1775 (Lexington and Concord) to 1783. In my opinion, the American Revolution was truly a revolutionary event as there were deep seeded causes, changes the war produced at home and abroad; and other, more significant changes that therefore make the American Revolution a true revolution.
There are many causes for any war that has happened or is happening, but there are always a few key, deep seeded causes one can say is the true reason why a war or revolution transpired. In the case of the American Revolution, there are several deep seeded causes that led to the thirteen colonies to revolt against King George III and his Great Britain. One of these deep seeded causes included the primary reason why settlers and colonists came to the Americas, which was to gain religious freedom and to live under their own rules, not of an oppressive king. Another deep seeded cause included British
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policies and taxes on the American colonies. These policies and taxes that were issued by the British started to pile up and burden the American colonies. Policies included the Navigation Act of 1696, Staple Act of 1663, Wool Act of 1699, Molasses Act of 1733, Proclamation of 1763, Quartering Act of 1765, and etcetera. Many of the policies revolved around limiting the colonies to trade and pass through Great
Even though salutary neglect– a British policy of avoiding strict enforcement of parliamentary laws– the policies became stricter as the revolution inched closer. Taxes included the Sugar Act of 1764, Stamp Act of 1765, Townshend Acts of 1767, and etcetera. These taxes heavily weighed down colonists as the taxes were on everyday items. Other evidence of deep seeded causes of the American Revolution include the Magna Carta, which was a document written in 1215 by Englishmen attempting to limit the King’s powers by law and protect their own privileges. When the first settlers and colonists came to America; they had written constitutions similar to the Magna Carta.
Hence, one could say that the Magna Carta was what founded the colonies, metaphorically speaking. Then, how can thirteen colonies be ruled in such a manner that were opposite of the Magna Carta? How could colonial leaders allow a king thousands of miles away to rule them when they too believed in the Magna Carta? Surely, a revolution was in sight. The Enlightenment, which was a movement of intellectuals emphasizing reason and individualism had a profound cause to the Revolutionary war occurred. Revolutionary war enlightenment thinkers included Montesquieu, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, Thomas Paine, and Isaac Newton. Clearly, the reason for settling in the Americas, British policies, the Magna Carta, and the Enlightenment were greatly deep seeded causes of the American Revolution.
After the Americans had officially become a liberated nation, there were many changes produced at home and abroad which were, but not limited to revolutions in other colonies of other countries, egalitarianism, and becoming one of the largest nations in the world. After the American Revolution, several other countries and colonies of various mother countries rebelled and in turn, created a revolution. Many experts and historians theorize it is due to the Revolutionary War in America these other countries and colonies gained the extra courage needed to fight for a cause near and dear to the heart.
Examples consist of the French Revolution (1789-1799 or for Napoleon fans, its 1789-1815), and a number of Latin American revolutions. The American Revolution exhibited that it was possible for Enlightenment ideas to be put into practice, especially in a government. With so many Enlightenment intellects from France, a revolution began in France to overthrow the monarch government. Even though the revolution in France did not succeed mainly because the leaders of the rebellion were much greedier with power unlike the Americans; it still represented a major dent in old thinking.
In terms of Latin American revolutions, Simon Bolivar was nicknamed the George Washington of Latin America. Many of these colonies of Spain and Portugal succeeded in independence. Secondly, the new nation of America was one of the first countries to openly accept and believe in egalitarianism. Egalitarianism is the belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs.
Finally, another change brought about by the American Revolution was it made America one of the largest nations in the world. Not only that, but the new country had a lots of unfound and undiscovered natural resources. The geographic factor of two oceans separating the U.S from enemies in Asia and Europe was another great advantage. With so much available land, America was able to expand military-wise. Changes produced by the American Revolution were positive both nationally and abroad. As stated in the previous paragraph, there are many changes that the American Revolution produced, but there are a couple certain significant changes that make the American Revolution truly revolutionary.
As Great Britain officially surrendered in the war, the leaders of the newly formed United States soon realized they needed to form a new type of government that represented the ideals that which this land was settled on. These leaders were not power savvy, greedy politicians unlike the times; they were fair and just. They wanted to establish a form of government in which the all the people of its country were represented.
Even though, representatives from the states set up a confederation because they thought the central government would have too much power, the leaders later set up a republic government in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch. At the time, America was one of very few nations in the world with this type of government.
The founding fathers made three branches of governments and checks and balances to make certain that no branch of government will ever have more power than another branch. Therefore, I believe the American Revolution fits the definition of a revolutionary event. With the various different changes I have written about and the many more that are out there waiting to be read about, the American Revolution is truly revolutionary. The formal definition of a revolution is a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system and my personal definition of a revolution is an event or ideas that bring about great change or thinking.
It is something that is different from the past. If one compares this to the American Revolution, without any doubt, that person will say that the Revolutionary War was truly a Revolution. Thus, the deep seeded causes of the Revolutionary War, changes, both significant and not significant produced by the war all support the fact that the American Revolution from 1775 to 1783 was truly revolutionary. What is even more amazing is the product; a republic filled with democracy, has lasted for more than 230 years and hopefully will last forever. How can one say that there was nothing revolutionary about the war when it has created arguably one of the longest running democracies in the modern era?See More on Revolution