Rhetoric And Reality In The American Revolution Summary

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The American Revolution was a unique revolution. Unlike the revolutions which followed it, like the French and Russian revolutions, the American Revolution did not end in tyranny. This defies the trend of history. Interestingly, there was also little provocation on the British side. In the history of revolutions, a people who have been downtrodden and abused for a long time will revolt, but it is usually after numerous and great injuries. The American Revolution seemed to spring from nowhere. Thus it makes an interesting study for historians who are curious to know what caused this revolution to be different from any other. Gordon S. Wood in his article “Rhetoric and Reality in the American Revolution” addressed three ways to view this unique …show more content…
Neo-Whigs claim that the British government should have let the colonists have a say in their own government and the British refusal to let them is sufficient to spark a rebellion. The British were so far from America that much of the European influence did not live long in the colonies. British officials sent to govern the Americans did not have the correct mindset with which to govern a self-reliant people. British officials were used to the people of conquered territories coming to the British governor for everything from protection to lawsuits. Americans wanted to solve their own problems. This is what angered them in the sudden taxes imposed by Britain. Americans were fond of salutary neglect, where the British allow the Americans to govern their everyday affairs while Britain manages the international affairs. The new taxes, which went to fund European wars, threatened this way of life the Americans had grown accustomed to. Even this, Neo-Whigs argue, was not the whole cause. Primarily, the American colonists had grown to be so different from the English that the English style of ruling did not work for them. Even slight grievances were resented, because the colonists saw this as a violation of what they had begun to view as their rights. The Neo-Whig view justifies the American Revolution’s seemingly unwarranted existence by granting the Americans to be different people with different

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