Essay, Research Paper
Was the American Revolution a True Revolution?
In 1789 the American Revolution came to an end, when the Constitution was ratified. But was this revolution really a revolution? Many renowned experts on revolutions have argued whether or not the American Revolution was in actuality a revolution. Did the American Revolution cause social, political, and economic change? And were they revolutionary? The American Revolution was a true revolution in political, social, and economical aspects.
The American Revolution although it was lead by the elites, did cause social change. The American Revolution was led by the elites of that time. The elites detested the monarchy they had rebelled against because it had oppressed them. They decided to emphasize in their new government, that the individual is the most important entity and authority is not to be followed, and that the natural rights of the individual can not be violated by government. The natural rights are fore fathers spoke so highly of were the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of property. This was a major social change because for the first time individualism and participation in government was being promoted by the government doctrines. The social change can be said to be revolutionary for it had never happened in a government.
Another change that the American Revolution brought was a political one. The Americans who were under a monarchy that supported mercantilism felt that their new government needed change. Very little power was reserved for the government and the power that was given, had checks and balances attached to it in order to keep one branch from becoming too powerful and to make sure the electorate had the control. They set up this type of government to keep all the power out of the hands of one person. Hence creating a republic instead of a monarchy. Richard Buel, Jr. brings this up in his reading, stating that there was much hesitation about doing this, because what was to stop the people’s abuse of what power they were given? It is evident that the government and political values changed drastically from what they had been before and for that reason it was revolutionary.
Economic change also took place due to the American Revolution. Prior to this revolt, the colonies were the “motherland’s” producers. This type of system was a mercantilistic one. In this type of system the motherland’s producers would only supply them and wouldn’t receive anything in return. This did not allow the businessmen of the colonies to become competitors in the trading market that existed. After the American Revolution, the thirteen colonies became thirteen separate countries. Now they were open to compete and became involved in the trading market. After the Revolutionary War, the motherland felt as though they had been betrayed, so they closed all the ports and trade routes to them. Due to this lockout, “America’s fishing industry was decimated,” states Howe, in his reading. Many doors were closed to the new countries (because of the “motherland” turning their backs to them), nevertheless these thirteen countries progressed to become one country.
When discussing this issue, it may be wise to compare the American Revolution with other revolutions of the same time. In his reading, Robert Dartnon states that the French Revolution was based on a will to build a new world from the ruins of the regime that fell apart in the summer of 1789. This is not so different than the “new world” formed by the thirteen colonies. One thing that didn’t change was the status of slavery. As Gary Nash states, slavery received protection from the new national government.
To conclude, the American Revolution did cause change. The revolution brought social, political, and economic change. This is evident in the fact that there were long lasting changes afterwards. Socially, the masses were given rights that the government could not violate and a sense of individualism, which is the quintessential American value, born out the American Revolution of the 18th century, was now present. Politically, the American Revolution brought much change. The new checks and balances insured that a monarchy would never exist as it did before. Economically, the new nation was now open to become a competitor and become a renowned power in the trading market. The American Revolution brought all of the changes required. The American Revolution initiated a wave of enlighten political activists that transformed the world political tradition. And for that reason the changes that the American Revolution brought can be considered revolutionary.