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20 Cards in this Set

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1
American Revolution not seen by many to be as radical as other contemporary revolution because it did not have the same kinds of causes-- the social wrongs, the class conflict, the impoverishment, the grossly inequitable distributions of weath--that presumably lie behind revolutions. There were no peasant uprisings, no jacqueries, no burning of chateaux, no storming of prisons.
2
Precisely because the impulses to revolution in the eighteenth century America bear little or no resemblance to revolution in the eighteenth-century account for modern social protests and revolutions, we have tended to think of the American Revolution as having no social character, as having virtually nothing to do with the society, as having no social causes and no social consequences.
3
Although if radicalism is measured by the same standards as the French Revolution, the American would certainly be tame, but if it were measured by the amount of social change that actually took place--by transformations in the relationships that bound people to each other--then the American Revolution was not at all conservative, but rather perhaps on of the most radical in all of history.
4
The inability for both the people then and the other historians is their inability to consider the notion of society without considering it in terms of the government. The social distinictions and economic deprivations that we today think of as the consequence of class divisions, business exploitation, or various other isms capitalism, racism, etc. of the eighteenth century were all thought to be cause by the abuses of government. In fact all matter of any social standing or distinction was seen as derivative from the government in one form or another then in colonial America.
5*******
In our eyes, American revolutionaries appear to be absorbed in changing only the governments, not their society. But in destroying monarchy and establishing republics they were changing their society as well as their governments, and they knew it. Only they did not know--they could scarcely have imagined--how much of their society would in fact change.
6
By the time the Revolution had run its course in the early nineteenth century, American society had been radically and thoroughly transformed. One class did not overthrow another; the poor did not supplant the rich. But social relationships--the way that people were connected to one another--were changed, and decisively so. By the early years of the nineteenth century the Revolution had created a society fundamentally different from the colonial society of the eighteenth century. It was in fact, a society like none that had every existed before.
7
In the 1760's the American colonies are only a collection of disparate colonies huddled along a narrow strip of the Atlantic Coast--economically underdeveloped outposts existing on the very edges of the civilized world. The less than two million inhabitants still took for granted that society was and ought to be a hierarchy of ranks and degrees of dependency and that most people were bound together by personal ties of one sort or another. Yet scarcely fifty years later, these insignificant borderland provinces had become a giant, almost continent-wide republic of nearly ten million egalitarian-minded bustling citizens who not only had thrust upon themselves into the vanguard of history but had findamentally altered their society and their social relationships. Far from remaining monarchial, hierarchy-ridden subjects on the margin of civilization, Americans had become, almost overnight, the most liberal, the most democratic, the most commercially minded, and the most modern people in the world.
8
In addition to #7, another aspect of these amazing development that increases their value and provides perspective is that this astonishing transformation took place without industrialization, without urbanization, without railroads, without the aid of any of the great forces we usually invoke to explain "modernization." It was the Revolution that was crucial to this transformation. It was the Revoliution, more than any other single event, that made America into the most liberal, democratic, and modern nation in the world.
9
The Revolution even brought respectability and even dominance to ordinary people long held in contempt and gave dignity to their menial labor in a manner unprecedented in history and to a degree not equaled elsewhere in the world. The Revolution did not just eliminate monarchy and create republics, it actually reconstituted what Americans meant by public or state power and brought about an entirely new kind of popular politics and a new kind of democratic officeholder, The Revolution not only changed the culture of Americans--marking over their art, architecture, and iconography--but even altered their understanding of history, knowledge, and truth. Most important, it made the interestes and prosperiety of ordinary people--their pursuit of happiness--the goal of society and government ***(before the people have merely just strived to fulfill their role in society, not to try for anything better***). The Revolution did not merely create a political and legal environment condicive to economic expansion; it also released powerful popular entrepreneurial and commercial energies that few realized existed and transformed the economic landscape of the country.
10--My stuff
I believe that the largest influence on this major change would be the role the population migration had within this timeperiod. This trend provided for people to leave their established roles in their old towns or villiages to seek to settle a new life elsewhere. This movement would have a strong effect on the traditional hierarchal relationships, because it strained the traditional ideals of social hierarchies in that those who did not like their place in it could move on and try to raise their status somewhere else.
10 continued
The diffusion of the traditional social hierarchies from the population migration is even further importance when it is considered just how much the other protestant denominations of Christianity are able, by virtue of their lack of central authority and hierarchy, respond the the need for churches in newly developing areas, they increase their membership and coverage. Anglican church had always been a very stabilitizing and controlling influence upon the society both in the colonies and in Britain., more and more people begin not to have these long-founded seccularly sponsored messages in their religion; certainly had an influence.
11
The Founding Fathers were unsettled and fearful not because the American Revolution had failed, but because it had succeeded, and succeeded only too well. What happened in America in the decades following Declaration of Independence was after all only an extension of all that the revolutionary leaders had advocated. White males had taken only too seriously the belief that they were free and equal with the right to pursue their happiness. Indeed, the principles of of their achievement made possible the eventual strivings of others--black slaves and women--for their won freedom, independence, and prosperity.
12
The very fulfillment of these revolutionary ideas--the very success of the Revolution--made it difficult for those who benefitted from the success, for ordinary people and their new democratic spkesmen, to understand the apprehension of the founding fathers. The people looked back in awe and wonder at the revolutionary generation and saw in them leaders the likes of which they knew would never see again in America. But they also knew that they now lived in a different world, a democratic world, that required new thoughts and new behavior.
13
A new generation of democratic Americans was no longer interested in the revolutionaries' dream of building a classical republic of elitist virtue out of the inherited materials of the Old World. America, they said, would find its greatness not by emulating the states of classical antiquity, not by copying the fiscal-military powers of modern Europe. Instead, it would discover its greatness by creating a prosperous free society belonging to obscure people with their workaday concerns and their pecuniary pursuits of happiness--common people with their common intersts in making money and getting ahead.
Additional Theme
Tie in the theme that as the British monarch is removed as the figurative head of all the subjects as they get their independence, it likely had an effect on the diffusion in the practice in the colonies.
10 continued
The diffusion of the traditional social hierarchies from the population migration is even further importance when it is considered just how much the other protestant denominations of Christianity are able, by virtue of their lack of central authority and hierarchy, respond the the need for churches in newly developing areas, they increase their membership and coverage. Anglican church had always been a very stabilitizing and controlling influence upon the society both in the colonies and in Britain., more and more people begin not to have these long-founded seccularly sponsored messages in their religion; certainly had an influence.
11
The Founding Fathers were unsettled and fearful not because the American Revolution had failed, but because it had succeeded, and succeeded only too well. What happened in America in the decades following Declaration of Independence was after all only an extension of all that the revolutionary leaders had advocated. White males had taken only too seriously the belief that they were free and equal with the right to pursue their happiness. Indeed, the principles of of their achievement made possible the eventual strivings of others--black slaves and women--for their won freedom, independence, and prosperity.
12
The very fulfillment of these revolutionary ideas--the very success of the Revolution--made it difficult for those who benefitted from the success, for ordinary people and their new democratic spkesmen, to understand the apprehension of the founding fathers. The people looked back in awe and wonder at the revolutionary generation and saw in them leaders the likes of which they knew would never see again in America. But they also knew that they now lived in a different world, a democratic world, that required new thoughts and new behavior.
13
A new generation of democratic Americans was no longer interested in the revolutionaries' dream of building a classical republic of elitist virtue out of the inherited materials of the Old World. America, they said, would find its greatness not by emulating the states of classical antiquity, not by copying the fiscal-military powers of modern Europe. Instead, it would discover its greatness by creating a prosperous free society belonging to obscure people with their workaday concerns and their pecuniary pursuits of happiness--common people with their common intersts in making money and getting ahead.
Additional Theme
Tie in the theme that as the British monarch is removed as the figurative head of all the subjects as they get their independence, it likely had an effect on the diffusion in the practice in the colonies.