How Revolutionary Was The Revolutionary War?
The revolutionary war is perhaps the most important and well known event in the history of the United States. The war began in 1775 and ended in 1783, in the beginning of the war it had just been America facing Great Britain and overtime nations such as France and Spain joined just to see Great Britain knocked down in power without the help from these nations America would have certainly lost the Revolutionary war. One thing that made the revolution so radical was the fact that the new independent nation did not involve change of the regime, but instead the development of an entirely new country utilizing democracy as a political base. The war caused many radical changes to the now independent America mainly in the areas of the economy, society, and political structure.
The Revolution brought upon many economic changes to the colonies, mainly because they no longer had to follow the customs of Great Britain. For example document G reports the states which abolished primogeniture (when the father dies the land goes to the first born son) last. once the colonies separated from Great Britain, the states began to abolish primogeniture This brought change to the way colonists families land was handled after the death of the father, the land no longer had to be given to the first born son instead it could be sold, or handed down to whomever was the most able to handle it. This was a radical change to the Independent United States; Primogeniture had to be followed but now the father could leave the land to whomever he favored/ preferred. This changed the way families faired after the father died; the family no longer knew what would definitely happen like they did before. The revolution brought more than just change to the colonists themselves; the revolution also increased the amount of influence the middle classes carried in the government.
Document I reports that prior to the revolution, the wealthy people of the United States had most of the power in government, but once the new government was established the amount of power the middleclass people had increased. This happened because the new independent government had the purpose to represent the people. This brought major change to America, instead of the middle class people being poorly defended and often having to deal with what choices the richer classes made they could now represent themselves and their needs. This resulted in a much more stable country, including things like less poverty, and more accurate and useful taxes. Also since a majority of most populations are middle class, most of the citizens were now represented fairly. To those who supported Great Britain, their family’s lives were changed greatly from a negative point.
Once the war ended, all who supported Great Britain in the war effort were forced to leave the now independent Americas. The changes this brought affected the families by forcing them to leave America, but more importantly they lost all of the land they had acquired and were forced to start new in Britain. The change brought to America was very beneficial; there was a lot of land freed up and sold to colonists. For example Document E reports the breakup of the Phillipsburg manor. The land was sold to 287 different purchasers; around 80% of the land was sold to farmers. Economics wasn’t the only thing the revolution changed, the way social classes interacted, social rights/ people’s rights also changed greatly for many reasons.
The revolution also brought changes to many things social; there are many reasons behind this such as much less Britannic influence on American people. Document D perhaps shows one of the most obvious and radical social changes. Prior to the revolution the social classes were much separated meaning that the poor almost never associated with the rich and so on. But after the revolution as the picture in D shows a group of men playing billiards together, some dressed as rich men in black suits and some dressed in rag like clothing without any shoes and every social class in between. The lack of British influence also brought major progression and change in women’s rights and how people would voice their opinions for representation.
Document M is a letter that first lady Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, and 2nd president John Adams. In the letter she asks him to remember the ladies, this show a change that was also brought by the revolution. The change being that people were not afraid to voice their own opinions, this included women fighting for their own rights. This is a major change from prior to the revolution, mainly being that people felt a growing sense of
empowerment. This spread into how women viewed themselves and their role in society, Adams letter shows that women were also becoming more aware of being treated equally as men. Also they wanted to have rights under the law such as voting, which did come but not until the 1920’s and the 19th amendment. Without the revolution women and people would have never have felt the sense of empowerment and the ability to voice their opinions to the public. All of this effort did show results; women soon had more say in things like marriage etc… Prior to the revolution, the amount of female petitioners on divorce cases was at 50% but after the number grew to 79%, also the amount of petitions submitted by females and males grew greatly “reported by Document O”. The changes in situations like this one are results of the people having more self-empowerment; also people had much more influence in government. This shows two major changes that made the revolution, revolutionary. The first being the say citizens now had in legal matters, both men and women were submitting more petitions because they knew that they would be taken much more seriously. The second being the empowerment the people had because of the revolution. The revolution brought the greatest change to politics, because America was now independent and in the process of creating its own government, but this was not the only change to politics. The biggest and most radical change that made the revolutionary war revolutionary was the new, independent form of government. This government was to represent the people and get its power from them, not god like it had been in Great Britain. Document B is part of the declaration of independence, it is the part that states all men are equal and that all men deserve unalienable rights, these being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The new government instituted by men is to secure these rights. This was an extreme change from the government that was in place before the revolution. Previous to the revolution the colonists had to deal with the laws and taxes that were arranged by the king and parliament and had no say in what happened but now they were to vote for leaders and were encouraged to speak up if there were issues and concerns. There were other changes in government that came along with the new independence. Document P is a clause from the northwest ordinance of 1787. It states that the Indians will always be treated rightfully, and that the land and property they own shall never be taken or disturbed, unless it is for lawful and just reasons authorized
by congress. This was a very different political view on Indians to the people. Great Britain was fine with forcefully taking the land from the Indians, but Americas new leaders were completely against all of that. This was a large change because now it was unjust to take the land and cause conflict with Indians. Indians were not the only individuals that were treated differently after the revolution, the public’s view of political figures changed also. Document C is a statement from a political figure and his telling of the new government and how he sees himself and his peers treated after the revolution to how they were treated prior. According to him he knows that the current government is far superior to the one when the colonies were under Britannic guidance. But he and other representatives are receiving harsher treatment from certain individuals than when they were under royal administration. Perhaps this is because they were no longer protected by Great Britain or maybe because of the decisions the new government was making. In all the revolutionary war was extremely revolutionary politically wise. The revolutionary war was incredibly revolutionary; it changed America in so many ways. The political structure of America was completely rebuilt from a clean slate, using a building base of power from its people, not god. Economics were changed through many ways, without any Britannic customs to influence the government, things like primogeniture were abolished, and since Britain lost the war in the end Tory’s were forced to leave America and return to Britain freeing up the land they had acquired. Also society was altered greatly without any of Britain’s influences to keep social classes apart, to limit the power of the public. In the end the revolutionary war changed the way America would operate forever, a completely new country free from the control of anybody else.