To what extent did the American Revolution fundamentally change American Society? IN your answer be sure to address the political, social, and economic effects of the Revolution in the period from 1775-1800.
Intro – The American Revolution spurred a dramatic shift in American Society which spawned numerous changes to the status quo, though in some cases this idealistic outpouring of principles was tempered with the harsh contradictions of colonial society. Though a change from the “virtual representation” and British tyranny, colonial federal government was weak and ineffective and prevented a true shift to an effective democratic society. Agrarian self-sufficiency was stressed, but only truly realized through protective tariffs. And while the ideological outpouring of the Declaration of Independence staring, “all men are created equal”, could have lead to a truly egalitarian society it so became clear that the statement applied (from 1775 – 1800) to rich, white, protestant, land owning adult males. Additionally visionary desires of peace with Native American tribes were never realized du tot the greed under, “The White Man’s Democracy”.
Under the Articles of Confederation , federal government lacked the needed authority to tax or maintain a standing army.
Abigail Adam’s letter to Thomas Jefferson serves as an account of the chaos surrounding the post Revolutionary era. (Doc G.)
The Articles of Confederation brought federal politics to a standstill due to the fact that a unanimous decision was required to exact Amendments.
As bandits roamed the streets, and the prominent Shays’s Rebellion threatened rich property owners, it became obvious that change was needed.
Spurred into action, delegates met and authored the new Constitution which would allow for representation based upon population in the house and equal representation per state in the senate.
The empowered nation now pushed for ratification in the famous Federalist Papers (Doc I) noting the merits of the new system.
Madison, frequently known as the Father of the Constitution, notes that government is required to provide order against the inherent flaws and vice of human nature.
Indeed the passage of the Constitution signaled a dramatic shift in establishing political stability to a fledgling nation.
The fledging nation also showed a dramatic economic shift as it tried to become less dependent upon the imports of fledgling nations and promote a favorable balance of trade.
The Society for the Promotion of Agriculture 1776 (Doc F) shows a farmer working next to lady Liberty, stressing that the fruits of liberty could be obtained through the toil of labor.
Though this propaganda was somewhat effective, it would not be till 1800 when Jefferson’s Democratic Republican party, favoring agrarian society, would agriculture and economic self sufficiency really begin to take off.
In the meanwhile, Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Manufacturers stressed the need for protective tariffs to limit cheap French and British imports from flooding the markets.
Though Hamilton’s plans favored industrialized areas the tariffs aided struggling farmers as well.
The social agenda of the Revolutionary period seemed to stress equality that was never really achieved until some two hundred years later with the passage of Johnson’s Civil Rights Act and other policies which limited gender inequality.
Though the woodcut of a patriot woman (Doc A) depicts a colonial woman with a musket, a patriotic fighter for the case, women and little to no status in the 1775-1800 era.
They could not vote, few were trained to read, became property of the husbands, thought of as intellectually inferiors, denied rights to their children, obviously lacked any sort of birth control, were allowed to be abused, and could not gain a divorce even under the harshest conditions.
Aside from some minor participation in church activities (especially Massachusetts) women were hardly classified as humans though as Molly Wallace addresses (Doc J) women still maintained a sense of self worth and realized their need for equality and rights to not be constrained to the separate sphere of domesticity.
Though the 1770 Pennsylvania Packet (Doc B) cites that anyone opposing freedom in American should be denounced as a Tory and banished, the degree of hypocrisy is astonishing as many of the same people supporting this banished Africans to a lifetime of bondage.
While attempts to limit the expansion of slavery there made in the northwest Ordinance of 1787 (Doc H) it was duly noted that fugitive slaves would be returned to their masters, meaning the elimination of slavery in the Northwest Territories was not one of ideology, but of politics.
Finally what was thought to be a chance for peace amongst whites and Indians turned into another chaotic domination of whites over Native Americans.
In a Message To Congress (Doc C) Indians express optimism for the future of White/Native Amreican relations, though after violation of treaties and contracts (which should be have noted as contradictory later the case of College of Dartmouth)
The 1786 Speech at the Confederate Council (Doc E) notes the contempt as broken contracts, abuses, Paxton boys massacre, domination of whites sparked animosity between the two groups.
Overall the American Revolution sparked change through this change in all areas was less than originally intended and resulted in a tempered shift in American society.
The American Revolution was the start to the United States as a country. After the war from 1775 – 1800 the United States was completely changed. The impact of the Revolution affected the new country politically, socially, and economically. The new country had to set up their own government and experienced problems as society was experiencing issues as well. Native Americans an women each had their own concerns and opinions, and the United States economy was fresh and inexperienced as well.
Politics after the Revolutionary War was just evolving into independent ways.
Before the war, each colony was governed in separate ways.
All of them had two houses, but the way in which they were managed varied.
The king had much control in the colonies where he chose some governors and appointed member of an assembly.
However, after the war, the king no longer had control of the colonies were on their own.
First, the Articles of Confederation were3 decided on.
However there were many resulting problems under the Articles.
The government had no power to tas or alter taxes, and when Bacon’s Rebellion broke out the government was not able to respond efficiently.
Consequently the Articles were repealed, and the Constitution was put into development.
As the Constitution was being created different sets of opinions arose.
There were some who as James Madison in the Federalist Papers believed should enable the government to control the governed. (Doc I)
These believers were federalist who supported a strong central government while others, the anti-federalists thought the power should go to the people.
As a result the first sign of factions of political parties that had ever been arose.
Finally with a set of compromises such as the 3/5 Compromise, and addition of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution was ratified.
However, this new government had problems to deal with.
The Native Americans were a concern of the national government.
When a peaceful agreement was made between England and the U.S. the Native Americans were included in the document.
They were pleased according to the message to Congress (Doc C) due to previous confrontations between the original settlers of the land and the Native Americans who were already there.
Years of persecution and kicking Native Americans out of their land seemed to be over. However the United States failed to keep their agreement and the Native Americans were not actually included as expressed in 1786 (Doc E)
Nonetheless, the Native Americans were angry and the U.S. government was forced to take control.
Treaties were signed however ignored and the Native Americans were constantly abused.
Other issues arose because of the new acquired land.
Confrontation with neighbors other than Native Americans as well as internal problems arose the central government was forced to take a stand.
The U.S. previously was assisted by their mother country when problems developed, however they were now on their own.
When Americans began to complain about currency and the distribution of new aquired land the government was forced to step in mentioned in A. Adam’s letter to T. Jefferson. (Doc G)
Laws were made in attempt to solve problems however the newly established government was inexperienced, nonetheless various other problems came about.
The American Revolution fundamentally changed American society between 1775-1800 in the areas of political, social, and economic aspects to a significant extent. In previous years the colonies had solely relied on the King of England to take care of any problems. However with the growing nationalistic attitudes of Americans, the strive for independence created a completely new and challenging way of life. Americans were faced with the pressures of a new government, changing social patterns and an independent economy.
The first step for the American people was to establish a working government.
They wanted a flawless system in which absolute power could not exist.
This was a complete change from what the colonists had originally been used to ,and not doubt difficult to accomplish.
In an article written by James Madison in The Federalist, (Doc I) he openly professes the hardships involved with creating a government in which the government can control the governed and itself.
Some Americans simply wanted to copy their father nation of England.
Abigail adams wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson complaining of “restless desperados” who were never satisfied with change. (Doc G)
Most however were eager to stand on their own two feet.
A courageous plight in a 1779 Pennsylvania packet (DocB) illustrates the emergence of a new government.
In addition to the political aspect of the American Revolution many social changes also took place.
Americans had always lived in a strictly patriarchal society where men dominated over everything.
However with the coming of the Revolution hope for women began to emerge
In a valedictory address by Molly Wallace (doc J) the role of women in society was questioned.
Although it would take many years for women’s suffrage to finally take place speaking out was a significant step for equal rights.
Women weren’t the only ones benefitting from the American Revolution.
The freedom of religion was also granted to those who were citizens.
The Statutes of Virginia 1786 (Doc D) highlight an underlying cause of mass immigration into the United States.
Patriotism was also evident in the social aspects of Americans.
People proudly stood their ground as illustrated in a 1770 woodcutting (Doc A)
Americans like the idea of independence and felt honored that England finally respected them as an independent nation. (doc C)