Patricians and Plebeians 3. Patriarchal Dependence 4. Patronage 5. Political Authority II. Republicanism 6. The Republicanization of Monarchy 7. A Truncated Society 8. Loosening the Bands of Society 9.
Enlightened Paternalism Revolution Enlightenment Benevolence III. Democracy Equality Interests The Assault on Aristocracy Democratic Officeholding A World Within Themselves The Celebration of Commerce Middle-Class Order. Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history emeritus at Brown University.
Dunning prizes and was nominated for the National Book Award. Learn more about Gordon S. Table of Contents. Also available from:. Aug 24, ISBN Available from:. Paperback —. About The Radicalism of the American Revolution In a grand and immemsely readable synthesis of historical, political, cultural, and economic analysis, a prize-winning historian describes the events that made the American Revolution.
Also by Gordon S. See all books by Gordon S. About Gordon S. Wood Gordon S. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Faces of Revolution. Bernard Bailyn. The American Revolution. Revolutionary Characters. Inventing America. Plain, Honest Men. Richard Beeman. Broad Band. Claire L. Colin Woodard.
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States. Sarah Vowell. Stephen Fried. Friends Divided. Without Precedent. Joel Richard Paul. The Barbarous Years. Charles C. The Essential Debate on the Constitution. James Madison. Scars of Independence. Holger Hoock. Robert Middlekauff. Jared Diamond. Sugar in the Blood. Andrea Stuart. The Wordy Shipmates. Plagues and Peoples. William McNeill. American Dialogue.
Joseph J. American Colossus. First Family. Patrick Boucheron. Native American History. Ralph Ketcham. Jay Burreson and Penny Le Couteur. Common Sense. Thomas Paine.
More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Radicalism of the American Revolution. Aug 28, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: polly-sighs-and-pubic-policy , non-fiction , history-usa , , audiobook , history.
Nothing dry, parched or plodding to be found here. This is history that reads more like literature and will trap your attention into the folds of its narrative flow like sailor falling into Charybdis. Despite the myriad of histories and biographies picking over the remains of this pivotal moment in world history, Wood manages to distinguish this piece by boldly and brilliantly recasting the historical, cultural and societal underpinnings of the colonies break with England.
And he does so while thoroughly entertaining his reader with his smooth, polished prose. For fans of history, in general, or the American Revolution, in particular, this is not a book to be missed. Au contraire, Wood argues, the American Revolution was an extreme and radical departure from the English regime. By deconstructing of the social, economic and political systems in place in America before, during and after the break with England, Wood demonstrates in no uncertain terms how "monumental" an upheaval was the American Revolution.
Without regurgitating the wonderful detail Wood imbues in the narrative, below is a brief sketch of his depiction of the colonies that give to his central argument. Pre-Revolution America in had the following characteristics: 1. Colonists were intensely proud to be British subjects due to the sense of unprecedented freedom that British subjects had in the world.
Love and respect and to some extent even deification of the King. There were few separate factions as everyone was divided into essentially two large groups: gentlemen i. Patriarchal Dependence. This familial arrangement helps partially explain two important aspects of the colonial mindset. First, it sheds light on why slavery was not widely condemned as inherently evil. Since, to a large degree, all of society was formed along the lines of a de facto class system, slavery was simply another rung on that ladder and differed from other arrangement only by a matter of degree.
Second, this ordering of the family unit also lends explanatory force to the love and deference of the people to the King as the "patriarch" of the country. Business and commerce in the pre-Revolution colonies was almost wholly dependant on relationships between people rather than impartial factors like price and quality. Political Authority was tied to relationships. Family members and patrons were routinely given political offices and this nepotism was not looked on with disfavor.
In Post-Revolution America, all of the above characteristics had been completely transformed. By , in less than 70 years, the Revolution had created what readers will recognize as the beginning of modern America both good and bad. When describing the U. This is a fascinating book and one that makes me want to read a lot more about our founding fathers and this critical period in U.
View all 34 comments. Jan 10, Max rated it it was amazing Shelves: american-history. I found his analysis absolutely fascinating. It changed my perspective on what the American Revolution was about and what it achieved. Enlightenment principles cast on a distinctly fertile American culture set the stage for the American Revolution. The founding fathers believed they were establishing a new republic guided by benevolent rationalism. After the dust settled they were stunned to find their philosophies cast aside as a proletarian democracy dominated by commercial interests took over.
Wood emphasizes ideas and painstakingly explains rapidly changing cultural norms, foregoing the patriotic drama of other accounts of the period. Thus it can be a slow read at times, but it is well, well worth it. Wood starts off by introducing us to American society in the mid-eighteenth century, a society much different than our own.
To understand the events and ideas of the Revolution and how truly radical they were we must understand the times that spawned them. Monarchy was the accepted form of government and it determined the relationships of people. Unlike today where people identify and collaborate in horizontal groups such as teachers, blue collar workers, homemakers, etc.
This system was patriarchal. Power was vested with the male heads of elite families who controlled everyone connected to that family. Everybody, wife, child, laborer, tenant, etc. Strict norms dictated how one related to those above and below them in the pecking order. Communities and towns were small and run by a few powerful men in a well-defined hierarchy. This was a world in which many wives called their husbands sir, in which labor was commonly produced by indentured or apprenticed workers who could be bound over for any offense.
It was difficult to run away because you had no place to go. There was no privacy. Everyone knew everyone else and their business. Tradesmen relied on patronage rather than customers. They were there to meet the demands of the rich. If they stopped selling to a dominant family, no customer was likely to take their place. Conversely, if a dressmaker had run out of work, her patrons recognizing her reliance on them would typically place orders just to keep her solvent.
The top families lent out significant portions of their estates for income but just as important to exercise control over their communities. This was a world of dependence. Freedom as we understand it today was unknown. The elite families also controlled politics. Political appointments were a favorite form of patronage.
High political offices of course went to family members and many offices were essentially hereditary. Commoners were not allowed to occupy any important office since it would denigrate gentlemen to deal on important matters with a commoner. The last half of the eighteenth century would see dramatic change.
Taking hold in England and America were republican ideas with their implicit moral duty to fairness that undercut patriarchal control and dependence. In England republicanism was constrained by an established hierarchy running from the king through Parliament, the nobles and the gentry who controlled their tenants, servants and laborers.
Patronage was administered through this structure. Parliament following the revolution served as the counterpoint to the king but its members had a vested interest in the continuance of the monarchy. Not so in America. Local assemblies did not answer to the king. Republicanism in America would not complement the existing structure but undo it. To the colonists, many of whom left Britain with grudges against the monarchy, the king and Parliament were far away.
Patronage was conducted through local institutions and assemblies not answerable to the monarch. And most colonists did not answer to the Anglican Church which the king used to extend his authority. America had readily available land and far fewer tenant farmers, which predominated in England under the control of the aristocracy. Thus American society was more egalitarian and far more open to republican ideas.
American society was much more fluid than English society. From to the population doubled from 1 million to two and doubled again in the next twenty years. This meant people were on the move establishing new homesteads and new communities, breaking established ties and lines of authority. Economic opportunity grew and American commoners were far better off than their English counterparts.
With the development of trade between widespread communities, the use of paper money grew, which further cut into the traditional control of the patriarchs that their system of credits had previously provided. Contracts became impersonal instruments with clearly delineated responsibilities replacing the more informal personal agreements between people who knew each other in prior generations.
Americans were more independent and less accepting of authority. Increasingly sons and daughters left home for new opportunities diminishing the role of the traditional extended family. New parents were changing their ideas on raising children. The concept of strict control and absolute obedience was being replaced by the idea of parents and children having responsibilities to each other. The relationship was now being viewed as a contract with rights and responsibilities on each party instead of the traditional paternalistic model.
All of the preceding applied of course only to white Americans. But the shift in thinking caused for the first time many white Americans to see that slavery was wrong. Before this economic and social transition, everyone accepted slavery as just another category, the lowest in the pecking order, although poor whites, indentured laborers and servants were often not much better off than slaves.
The first anti-slavery society in the world was formed in Philadelphia in The founding fathers were well educated in the classics and classical ideals. They were steeped in Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke. For them the Revolution was seen as the fulfillment of the Enlightenment. Naturally they saw their ilk as the leaders of their new creation feeling only the liberal gentlemanly class would be benevolent and fair.
They believed that only the educated elite would not be swayed by the narrow interests of everyday commerce and thus be unbiased enough to hold together the new republic. However equality had a different meaning to the common man. It meant that he was as good as anyone and just as qualified to occupy political office. Such notions alarmed the gentry, not because they felt ordinary men lacked ability, but because they felt the farmers, merchants, traders and mechanics of the country could not be above self-interest and thus would tear the government apart.
The Revolution thrust an already rapidly growing economy into many competing market interests that would now use government to increase their profits. From the very beginning the notion of enlightened republicanism was challenged by the reality of everyday parochial commercial interests. Acceptance of the idea that competing self interest in elected officials was the best way to govern signified the demise of classical republicanism and the start of liberal democracy.
By the end of the eighteenth century the Federalists who represented the aristocracy had lost most of their power. This was particularly true in the north where laborers and proto-businessmen rose up in egalitarian anger under the Republican banner.
A huge shift in the national perception of the value of work was taking place. Once deemed a necessity of plebeians, it was becoming a badge of honor. Increasingly laborers were seen as the true producers of wealth and the idle rich as parasites. Even southern plantation owners, who oddly enough were also Republicans, now described themselves as hardworking. The first decades of the nineteenth century saw continued rapid population growth, the massive movement westward, the decline of traditional religious denominations and the rise of strident evangelical ones, unprecedented alcoholism, increasing entrepreneurship and dramatic growth of domestic trade.
All these disruptive changes broke traditional ties and values. And cohesion was not forthcoming from the federal government which was so weak that for most people it seemed practically non-existent. With very little money, it had to operate by granting private charters for banks, bridges, roads, etc. Introducing the spoils system, Jackson recast patronage in the context of the modern political party.
His successor Martin Van Buren would be the first pure politician to be elected president. This was not the outcome the revolutionary leaders had envisioned and those that survived to see it begin to unfold were appalled. Is the present Chaos to be arranged into Order? View 2 comments. Sep 06, Eric rated it liked it Shelves: 18thcentury , history , americans.
Recent reading about the Roman legacy and disaffected Russian gentlefolk has, however, recalled Wood to my thoughts. The Radicalism of the American Revolution was written against a notion of the revolution as essentially conservative.
One group of white landowners in buckled shoes and knee breeches is as good as another, right? Not quite. He writes about how the educated of the day could not hear enough about the severe martial personae of Sparta and Republican Rome. I seriously get dewy-eyed at the idea of backwoods humanism—at Cicero carried in a saddlebag, Tacitus piercing the forests of New World.
Not all our books will perish, nor our statues, if broken, lie unrepaired; other domes and pediments will rise from our domes and pediments Memoirs of Hadrian [image error] Jun 11, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , politics-political-science , history , usa. The book is divided into three sections: Monarchy, Republicanism, and Democracy. To sum up very briefly: a group of idealist classical republican revolutionaries who thought of a "disinterested educated elite" sought overturn the patrimonial and hierarchical structures of the old monarchical system, and they were in turn supplanted by advocates Or, "How A Revolution Transformed a Monarchical Society into a Democratic One Unlike Any That Had Ever Existed", to quote from the introduction directly.
To sum up very briefly: a group of idealist classical republican revolutionaries who thought of a "disinterested educated elite" sought overturn the patrimonial and hierarchical structures of the old monarchical system, and they were in turn supplanted by advocates of a broader democracy - which still comes nowhere near to the modern definition of a democratic state of course but surpassed whatever came before.
The previous utopian ideals of the revolutionaries came to conflict with the reality of what was the 19th century - "population growth and movement and commercial expansion". By the s, the surviving revolutionaries could barely recognize what their revolution had created. In some cases, their idealism seemed out of touch - the ideal of the United States as a society of landholders seems far afield by the late 19th century. In other cases, it is tragic.
The most optimistic would assume a withering away of the criminal institution of slavery after a legal ban on the slave trade in Wood makes his argument by compilation- piling up stories, quotes, and illustrations to make his point. While this book is rosier than post, he takes the argument seriously. Apr 13, Lobstergirl rated it really liked it Recommends it for: flautists.
Shelves: vacation-reads , american-history , own. There were some chapters that made my eyes glaze over Benevolence , Interests , but others Enlightenment were fascinating. I was expecting more of a political history, or even something that would touch on military exploits, but this is a social and intellectual history.
The war itself is not discussed. The first section Monarchy describes the social structure of the colonies at about mid-century and lays the foundations for the next two sections Republicanism , Democracy , which rela There were some chapters that made my eyes glaze over Benevolence , Interests , but others Enlightenment were fascinating. The first section Monarchy describes the social structure of the colonies at about mid-century and lays the foundations for the next two sections Republicanism , Democracy , which relate the way Revolutionary ideas disrupted and upended the societal order.
If you're tired of hearing people argue on behalf of American exceptionalism, quote them this: The revolutionary generation was the most cosmopolitan of any in American history. The revolutionary leaders never intended to make a national revolution in any modern sense. They were patriots, to be sure, but they were not obsessed, as were later generations, with the unique character of America or with separating America from the course of Western civilization. As yet there was no sense that loyalty to one's state or country was incompatible with such cosmopolitanism.
As enlightened gentlemen, they abhorred "that gloomy superstition disseminated by ignorant illiberal preachers" and looked forward to the day when "the phantom of darkness will be dispelled by the rays of science, and the bright charms of rising civilization. Jefferson hated orthodox clergymen, and he repeatedly denounced the "priestcraft" for having converted Christianity into "an engine for enslaving mankind, When Hamilton was asked why the members of the Philadelphia Convention had not recognized God in the Constitution, he allegedly replied, speaking for many of his liberal colleagues, "We forgot.
In many cases they were disappointed, or even horrified and disgusted. They had designed a nation based on elitist virtue and classical ideals, with religion held in check; but the nation they now saw was deeply religious and sectarian, increasingly irrational and superstitious, commercialized and money-obsessed, anti-intellectual, socially crass, politically vulgar. George Washington "had lost all hope for democracy. Benjamin Rush viewed his Revolutionary efforts "with deep regret" and could not find a man who loved the Constitution.
Dec 12, feldman rated it liked it. Wood takes us through an entire description of how radical politicians tore down monarchy Feb 04, Nathan rated it it was ok Shelves: aquinas-library , history , politics. Wood's thesis - that the American Revolution was essentially a cultural and political metanoia - is not actually so controversial as it might seem.
He has no problem proving that, and does so thoroughly and consistently. What this book has more trouble with is building towards a useful conclusion after laying the theoretical groundwork; Wood never quite manages to address the question "So what? May 26, Joe rated it really liked it Shelves: history. Caveat: While this book is the kind of great history book to tickle a history fan like myself pink, I see it as being too "on subject" to appeal to most general readers.
My nutshell review is that it offers a fine three stage analysis of the changes in the American social-political thought process in the years before, during, and after the Revolution. If that sort of thing floats your boat you will love this book. If not, I know very well this one will bore you stiff. Too bad that last bit, since Caveat: While this book is the kind of great history book to tickle a history fan like myself pink, I see it as being too "on subject" to appeal to most general readers.
Too bad that last bit, since the material inside would go a long way toward disabusing you of a lot of the bowdlerized notions of history they filled your head with in public school. You'll also learn a bit about the rise of the religeous right in the years just after the Revolution, which took good rationalists like Jefferson and Franklin quite by surprise. Actually, when I consider the subject matter I am inclined to think that the people who would benefit most from reading this are the sort of people who by political leaning never would.
This makes it just the sort of history book that if I were an instructor at the college level, and so free to pick most of my own ckass material, I would inflict on my students for their own good. Jul 12, Colleen Browne rated it it was amazing Shelves: history , political-science. There is a reason that Gordon Wood is held in such high esteem by historians and those who read history.
His research is impeccable and he is able to weave that research into a narrative that is readable if a bit dry at times and gives new understanding to his topic. I have studied the revolution and read many books on it but none of them explain the Revolution as thoroughly and clearly as this book. From his explanation of the prevail There is a reason that Gordon Wood is held in such high esteem by historians and those who read history.
From his explanation of the prevailing attitudes of the people of Europe and America previous to the War to effects it had on the post-war world, the reader is left with a much fuller and richer understanding of why it was revolutionary. The Founders were not completely happy with the result because even though they were not happy playing second fiddle to their compatriots while still part of the empire, they still very much liked their place as the aristocracy in the newly created country.
They set in motion the creation of a democracy failing to understand that as Woods put it, democracy is an extension of a republic. This book belongs on the shelves of anyone interested in understanding the American Revolution. Jun 06, Robert Owen rated it it was amazing Shelves: american-history. The overriding cultural attitudes surrounding power and structures of social hierarchy of pre- and post-Revolutionary Americans were as vastly different from each other as they each are from those of our time.
Woods begins his work by describing the highly patriarchal social and economic structures of pre-Revolutionary America and how these, in many ways, were actually more pronounced and deeply entrenched than those of England at the same time. Essentially, pre-revolutionary American society was ruled by a class of genteel patricians who, by virtue of their means, educations, leisure and resulting social stature, viewed themselves as the rightful masters of society.
A disinterested member of the gentry was a man who was not dependent on anyone for his means, and so, presumably, could be trusted to make decisions for the common good of the larger population that were not burdened by the need to pander to any particular interest. As the vast majority of the colonists were, in addition to being culturally obliged to respect this hierarchy, also economically dependent on the patronage of this class the status quo was generally accepted by all as the natural order of things.
As such, modernly perceived horrors of things like slavery or indentured servitude were not seen as wrong by this proto-American society so much as they simply represented a particular status of debasement along a spectrum of indignity that non-gentry were entitled to and naturally shared. The founding fathers were essentially a group of only-just gentry who chafed under a social structure that inevitably relegated them to a second-tier sort of preeminence.
Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Hamilton, Washington, just to name a few were, each in their own way and for their own reasons, relegated to the top of a second class heap. Interestingly, none of them were particularly adept at anticipating the consequences of the revolution they sponsored. They essentially envisioned a Republican world free of historical hereditary hierarchies in which merit and not birth was the measure of a man.
Yet, they utterly failed to think through exactly how different the world they envisioned would be from the world they actually coveted. Meritorious men who rose in prominence, they assumed, would be like them….. Democracy, however, produced a decidedly different result. With the patronage systems of the past stripped away and access to power available to a far broader group of men, the nation they created quickly devolved into self-interested factions whose constituents were obsessed with acquiring wealth.
The result was at once glorious and terrible. The common man, liberated by currency and politics from a state a near-serfdom was suddenly free to go and make his fortune by whatever means seemed good to him. This massive leveling of society unleashed the awesome power of a creative and industrious people who were suddenly free to apply their energies to making themselves rich.
I found this idea that relative to the ideals they were striving for, that for the most part the Founding Fathers felt their Republican experiment was an abject failure. Shelves: history. Picked this up at Heirloom Books in Chicago in preparation for a visit to Vermont later this summer. My host, a retired American historian, plans a series of trips to sites relevant to the colonial and revolutionary war periods. This book is about cultural history. It's divided into three major parts descriptive of three sociological modes of being, those being the monarchical, the republican and the democratic, with the intention of showing how the peculiar circumstances of North American settle Picked this up at Heirloom Books in Chicago in preparation for a visit to Vermont later this summer.
It's divided into three major parts descriptive of three sociological modes of being, those being the monarchical, the republican and the democratic, with the intention of showing how the peculiar circumstances of North American settlement led, almost inevitably, through these stages to the present-day United States of America.
Implicit to author Wood's argument is what may be taken as a critique of Marxist analyses as applied to the American experience. The centerpiece of the story is, of course, the American revolution, a revolution which, as he has it, was not of the economically oppressed against their oppressors--descriptive of the later French and Russian revolutions.
Rather, the American revolutionaries were relatively well off compared to their English peers, their movement precursing a broader cultural transformation which in time would manifest in Europe as well. When still in high school I read Charles Beard's economic interpretation of the American revolution and McDonald's critique of same, the argument of the former being that the delegates to the constitutional convention were significantly motivated by their economic interests.
This, despite errors in detail, seems to have been the case overall. In a Marxist sense, so far as I understand it, the American revolution represented a pivotal transition from late feudalistic forms to a maturing capitalistic one, distinct from subsequent European changes in great part owing to the abundance of land and the paucity of its white population.
In this sense, recognizing that the American revolution was not a revolt against capitalist exploitation, but a revolt which fostered the development of wage labor, of industry, of markets and, yes, of peculiarly capitalistic modes of exploitation, Wood's work seem to me to be a valuable contribution to any discussion of the transformations of dominant modes of production. Feb 08, Thomas Harayda rated it it was amazing. The forces of Americanism are dynamic and have always been so.
My assumption, born of ignorance, from the outset of attempting to self-educate on the American founding was this: All colonists hated the British for the unfair treatment of them, ie "Taxation without representation," rebelled against a tyrannical government in unison, won against extreme odds through sheer determination, got together, without partisanship and schisms in interest, and created the best documents to birth the first na The forces of Americanism are dynamic and have always been so.
My assumption, born of ignorance, from the outset of attempting to self-educate on the American founding was this: All colonists hated the British for the unfair treatment of them, ie "Taxation without representation," rebelled against a tyrannical government in unison, won against extreme odds through sheer determination, got together, without partisanship and schisms in interest, and created the best documents to birth the first nation-sized democratic republic in history.
All was joyous and the founders lived the rest of their lives patting themselves on the back for the genius of which they had wrought. Many of the founders to their dying day recognized approximately nothing American about the country they founded at the end of their lives. From the early rise of the corporation in the early 19th century to strict partisanship, changes in who should best represent the people, all evolved in some way during their lives.
For better or worse, many of these founders thought what they had created was destructive and in honest moments antithetical to the mission of their beginnings. The American founding, in all its radicalism and invention, was never destined to achieve any great global, society-changing outcomes. Many speculate about what the founders would think of America and our current governing structures and habits today. I now think of this exercise as pointless and impossible because of how different we are from the days of a new nation with only 2.
It truly is amazing that this country has survived the way it has over the past centuries. What will become of us and the wider world in the centuries to come can't be speculated with any certainty but it is not destined to be a nation of great wealth, a pillar of democracy in the world, or functional for its citizens. Democracy is not guaranteed and we must protect it with Enlightenment principles and reflections of what kind of country we want to be. Jul 07, Sean rated it really liked it.
Some found the meaning of the Revolution in the Constitution and the union it had created. Others discovered the meaning in the freedom and equality that the Revolution had produced. But many other Americans knew that such meanings were too formal, too legal, too abstract, to express what most actually experienced in being Americans. In concrete day-to-day terms, invocations of "Americans' interpretation of their Revolution could never cease; it was integral to the very existence of the nation.
In concrete day-to-day terms, invocations of the Constitution meant the freedom to be left alone, and in turn that freedom meant the ability to make money and pursue happiness. Oct 28, Paul Donahue rated it it was amazing. A great read on the revolution from a completely different angle than I've ever read. Wood doesn't write the book chronologically; there are no story arcs, protagonists, etc.
It reads like a textbook and as such can get pretty dry. But textbooks can also be fascinating. When we think of the American Revolution, we think of a war and a political revolution. We were taught that the French Revolution, even though it happened afterward, was the more monumental event because it was a social and societ A great read on the revolution from a completely different angle than I've ever read.
We were taught that the French Revolution, even though it happened afterward, was the more monumental event because it was a social and societal revolution, eradicating monarchy and enabling middle class rule. Wood doesn't spend time comparing the revolutions, but his point is clear: ours produced every bit the change as in France. To fully understand this revolution, Wood says we must consider not just the war of , but the entire time period from about to Thomas Paine an American colonist born in Britain published a Political Pamphlet in , which supported the colonist into open rebellion.
The excerpt, "Common Sense," Paine emphasized the case for the revolution in straightforward language, where it became clear and direct to understand the meaning of the excerpt. The excerpt itself influenced colonists to take actions for their tolerance from the British and gave them the strength they needed to become unified. Even though the latter side has its points, I believe that the American Revolution was not a product of market-driven forces. The American Revolution paved the way for democratic rule in nations and ignited the spreading of the idea throughout the whole world.
However, the events that led up the spark of the revolution have been varied in their importance by historians. Some historians believed that the revolution was an external event whose primary cause was the political differences between the colonists and their British rulers.
While others, were more concerned with the economic and social aspects of the American Revolution. In my own opinion, the American Revolution was a war that represented a country seeking freedom and liberty. Despite the use of boycotting, the colonies were also using other methods besides economics to break away from Britain. Taking Breen and Degler into consideration, the American Revolution was both an economic and political revolution.
Gordon S. Wood, in The Radicalism of the American Revolution, discusses what it means to be truly revolutionary. In this work, Wood shares his thoughts on the Revolutionary War and whether or not it was a movement radical enough to be considered an honest revolution.
Wood discusses the reasoning behind the views of those in favor of the war being considered radical, as well as the views of those who believe the American Revolution to be unfortunately misnamed. However is his assertion true? Zinn is correct in stating that the Founding Fathers created America with a degree of self-interest, which is reflected in the benefits they received, but is incorrect in regard to the extent of their intentions.
These men though self interested in their goals and this is reflective in their work, but they did do dome goods as the amendments, and other ideas that did push for freedom, and the ability to usher in new freedoms and take away obsolete ones. This separation pronounced a new age marked by a decisive political change in the colonies because of the implementation of the Enlightenment ideals and the continuation of English liberties.
Furthermore, the revolution occurred not on the issue of taxation, but on the issue of representation. The Loyalty after the French and Indian War, was a belief that the British would bring peace and prosperity back to the colonies. Then there was the Idea of Republicanism, this really started to take hold around the end of the French and Indian war. That idea inherently was an idea of opposing hierarchical and authoritarian institutions, such as aristocracy and monarchy. The absence of English nobles such as barons, and bishops, in the colonies, also helped to bolster Republicanism.
The theory of the English government being corrupt, was a heavy factor in the mind of the colonists. Introduction Thomas Hobbes is frequently credited as being a forefather to modern liberalism. However, Thomas Hobbes does not support the concept of a democratic government, rather he supported the notion of a absolutist government up until his death.
The American Revolution began for many reasons, some are; long-term social, economic, and political changes in the British colonies, prior to provided the basis for and started a course to America becoming an independent nation under it's own control with its own government.
Not a tyrant king thousands of miles away. A huge factor in the start of the revolution was the French and Indian War during the years of through ; this changed the age-old bond between the colonies and Britain, its mother. To top it off, a decade of conflicts between the British rule and the colonists, starting with the Stamp Act in that eventually led to the eruption of war in , along with the drafting of The Declaration of Independence in Originally the fighting between Britain and France began in with a quarrel in North America.
A few ideas from Hume may be found but the real influence was from Locke. Rousseau, on the other hand, had none. Open Document. Essay Sample Check Writing Quality. Wood explains in his book that America went through a two-stage progression to break away from the Monarchical rule of the English.
He believes the pioneering revolutionaries were rooted in the belief of an American Republic.