‘It Was A War That Began On A Single Bloody Day’ Concerning The American Revolution Essay, Research Paper
“It was a war that began on a single bloody day.”
Was the American Revolution a war that began on a single bloody day? Quite frankly, it was not. It could not have been, at least if you consider the war to have started at the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Although the idea of revolution and freedom had been brewing in the minds of the oppressed since the first time a tyrant claimed his right to rule, the war for American independence did not start until America came to exist. Prior to the Declaration of Independence the fight with Britain was simply a revolution, with the colonists having hopes of changing how they were treated and earning the freedoms that were defined by the Laws of Nature. Afterwards, it was a war against Britain, a war to defend their home country from the English invasion. A revolution and a war are two entirely different forms of aggression, the former an internal struggle, the latter an external one.
If you disregard the literary meanings of the words revolution and war, and consider them one in the same for this quote, you have an entirely different story. The result is the same, however. It was not a war that began with just shots being fired and blood being spilled, it was a war that began deep in the roots of human civilization.
The American Revolution could be traced so far back in history that the date on which one could say it all began would seem ridiculous. You might argue that it began with Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract, a book that leaned heavily upon the ideas of popular sovereignty and free will (Hanes 460). But isn’t it true to say Rousseau was largely influenced by John Locke, a seventeenth century scholar that made clear all humans had certain natural, god-given rights they should never be denied(Hanes 459)? And wasn’t John Locke a bit inspired by Isaac Newton’s scientific work which led to the ideas of Natural Law? Wasn’t Newton influenced by Ren Descartes(Hanes 409)? And Descartes by Sir Francis Bacon(Hanes 407)? The list could go on and on, with each philosopher in turn passing ideas to the next, and much like a small ball of snow rolling down a hill, with each passing century the knowledge grew stronger. It would be for the most part impossible to pinpoint an exact date or exact person that started the snowball moving that eventually resulted in the formation of the United States of America.
To look upon it in a slightly more recent light, one could point out many occurrences of revolutionary actions by the colonists well before they were at open war with Britain. Most prominently perhaps would be the Boston Tea Party, an extreme way for the colonists to show their displeasure of England’s granting of exclusive tea trading rights to the East India Company(Class notes). They also formed the Son’s of Liberty, a radical group of men filled with an anti-British attitude that opposed Britain’s near every action that concerned the colonies(Class notes).
No matter where you say that the American Revolution began, it is undeniably true that this surely was not a war of whim that began on a single day of bloodshed, rather a boiling over of events that were set into motion God only knows how long ago by most likely a man history has long forgotten or never even known. The American Revolution was simply a result of a mind set of a people, it had little to do with the British, and it had little even to do with the Americans. I have the utmost confidence a revolution such as this would have occurred with two entirely different groups of people, as it was a revolution more for the mind than for actual freedom. I suppose it could be considered a significant stage in the development of human society when the majority of a people finally realized that we are not mere peons kept in line by a king, but as individuals with hopes, dreams, ideas, and rights.
Hanes III, William Travis. World History, Continuity & Change. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1997.