Tag: American Revolution

American Revolution War

The American Revolution that started in 1775 was an open conflict between thirteen united colonies and the Great Britain. It may not be possible to draw out the actual cause of the war, but it may have started as a result of disagreement in the manner in which the Great Britain treated its colonies versus how these colonies felt they needed to be treated. The American felt that they deserved all the rights that the Englishmen had. The government by the Britons on the other hand was of the opinion that the colonies were created and could be used in any manner that the crown parliament saw fit. One major conflict embodied in the rallying cries of the American Revolution was that: No Taxation without Representation. The American Revolution was a result of both political and economic issues.

The economic causes of the revolution include the Intolerable Acts by King James III after the Boston Tea Party, and the hefty taxation of the colonies to support military expenditure. The political causes of the revolution include the First Continental Congress where delegates proposed breaking away from British rule due to killing of their people by Britain, imposing of intolerable acts and closing down of the Boston sea port among other grievances.

The American Revolution had several societal impacts on individuals in the colonies. The revolution resulted to the high instability and inflation of the fragile American economy. Demand for commodities during the war led to the rise in prices. The flooding of the market by the continental paper money led to the money becoming close to worthless. After the war, demand for supplies fell suddenly and surpluses created increasing inflation and high rates of unemployment in the urban areas. Many men and women suffered as a result of the post effects of the war. Women, for instance, were affected by the property rights which a bit beyond reach. When men left, the women were tasked with running the farms, homes and businesses and at times all the three combined. At that time, the idea of spheres of influence was rolling out and women such as Abigail Adams were hopeful that men would remember that women had more talents and abilities alongside being simple housekeepers.

The rich were also not spared as some of them lost a lot of property to pirate attacks due to withdrawal of protection from the British navy. The poor lived in suffrage as a result of the war since the economy was in turmoil. The Native Americans also felt the pressure of change. White settlers flooded territories that were previously considered as territories of Native Americans. The resultant effect was that there was strife and war breaking out between groups of individuals such as the Shawnees of Ohio and the Cherokees of the Appalachian Mountains. Some of the challenges were not felt instantly. The slaves, mainly comprised of African-Americans continued to suffer as slave trade would not be abolished in the next hundred years.

In conclusion, the American Revolution was a historic event that was caused but both political and economic issues. It may be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the war as a number of successive events led to the war. From the American Revolution, a number of societal impacts were felt by women, men, African Americans, the rich and the poor.

HS250 – Origin and Fallout of the French, American, and Haitian Revolutions

Rebellions that took place during the last years of the eighteenth century had varying political ambitions. However, all of them seemed to have been inspired by the racial philosophies that surrounded the Enlightenment period. The principle of popular sovereignty that was emphasized by the American Declaration of Independence states that the general will of the people is the source of all governmental power (Judge and Langdon, 2011). According to the American constitution, the main reason why governments exist is to protect the rights of citizens. These are the same rights that the French revolutionaries fought for. The French revolution aimed at ensuring that all citizens were charged fairer taxes and the press was not denied the right for freedom. Haiti revolution of 1791 was inspired by talk of equality and liberty for the slaves. Although the French, American, and Haitian Revolutions of the eighteenth century had differing political goals, they all focused on the principles generated by Enlightenment such as liberty, equality, and security (Judge and Langdon, 2011).

The French Revolution of 1789 came about because the social and political transformations in France did match the nation’s intellectual and economic development. During the ancient regime, majority of bourgeois could no exercise desirable social and political influence (Judge and Langdon, 2011). Even though the roots of feudalism had been destroyed by King Louis XIV, feudal forms still persisted in the country. The privileged groups remained in power while citizens were charged extremely high taxes. Moreover, the court system in France remained extravagant and the national debt continued to rise. Peasant farmers were subject to feudal dues and the country experienced recurrent food shortages due to internal tariff barriers. The French Revolution was specifically caused by the muddled state of government finance (Cobb and Gilmour, 1999).

The French Revolution had significant fallouts despite the fact that it appeared nullified by the year 1815. The land owners acquired dominant power as the feudalism that was initially common in France was now dead. This was characterized by consolidation of contractual relations and social order (Judge and Langdon, 2011). The French Revolution contributed greatly in unifying France that was initially divided. As a result of the Revolution, the power of the nation state was enhanced. Furthermore, the Revolution played a big role in the establishment of the precedents of democratic institutions such as Constitutions and elections. Even though there are different views and arguments about the origin and fallouts of the French Revolution, almost everyone agrees that it contributed greatly in shaping the events of the modern world. Like the French Revolution, the American Revolution fought to protect the rights of citizens (Cobb and Gilmour, 1999).

The American Revolution is known as the first modern revolution because it allowed citizens to fight for their independence for the first time in history. The origin of the American Revolution can be traced back to the year 1763. Prior to the Revolution, Britain lived peacefully with its colonies (Judge and Langdon, 2011). However, their relations became conflict-driven when Britain came up with a land policy that prohibited settlement in the West. The Revolution was influenced by the need for money for supporting the empire. Several Acts were formed to help raise money rather than to control trade. This move was strongly resisted by the colonies. The Acts that were used to help raise money include the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and the Sugar Act. Tensions were further increased when the Coercive Acts were passed and when the first step towards independence was taken by the First Continental Congress (Judge and Langdon, 2011).

The American Revolution had three major fallouts. First, it caused death of approximately 25,700 Americans. About 8,500 Americans died while in detention in British Prisons, approximately 7,200 of them died in the battle, and about 10,000 of them died from diseases or exposure to infections. Second, 25 percent of slaves in Georgia and South Carolina managed to escape from bondage during the American Revolution. Various States in the Northern parts of America began to adopt plans to eradicate slavery. Third, American States began to adopt written constitutions that clearly protect citizen’s rights such as religious freedom. The constitutions adopted by the states also made taxation more progressive, increased the size and power of legislature, and restructured inheritance laws. Like the American Revolution, the Haitian Revolution is regarded as a milestone in African and American history (Judge and Langdon, 2011).

The Haitian Revolution posed a significant challenge to the European Colonialism during the last decades of eighteenth century. The main origin of the Haitian Revolution was the political imbalance in Haitian society. The Haitian population was largely comprised of slaves who were continuously oppressed and remained poor in a wealthy country. The Haitian Revolution aimed at terminating the social inequality and slavery in Haiti considering the fact that approximately 90 percent of the population is faced with the problem of slavery. The slaves were made to work on the plantations to generate wealth. It can therefore be concluded that the Haitian Revolution was fueled by the social imbalance between the Haitian population and the colonial economy (Judge and Langdon, 2011).

The colonial society discriminated against the Haitian population on the basis of race. Those who occupied the top positions were the Whites who also seemed to own the highest percentage of property. At the bottom most position were slaves, especially people of sub-Saharan origin. The race issue became extremely complex in Haiti periods just before the Revolution. When slaves were denied their privileges by the white colonists, they decided to engage in successive bloody revolt that was eventually termed as Haitian Revolution (Judge and Langdon, 2011).

Haitian Revolution enabled Haiti to proclaim its independence from France. As a result of the Revolution, the whites were driven off from Haiti and deprived of their slave property that they owned. Although the whites lost political power over Haiti, some of them remained behind to retain their social and economic power. Moreover, the Haitian Revolution resulted into the abolishment of slavery from Haiti. According to historians, the Haitian Revolution is considered one of the most successful slave revolts in the Atlantic world. From the events of the Haitian Revolution, the Europeans leant about the importance of eradicating slavery and they began to support anti-slavery movements to avoid bloody uprising (Stempel, 2008).

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After the Revolution : Profiles of Early American Culture – Book Review

The author writes primarily of the American Revolution period. The book, originally published in 1979, is a study of four colonial artists namely; the painter, novelist, dramatist and the educator. The book offers anincredible look at the colonial life and makes it clear that the New World was a new invention and not a new Europe or any other thing. America is simply itself and is still becoming that. The book is easy to read and is a perfect choice for a textbook.

The biographies of the artists contain an impressive balance of chronology, analysis and trivia. In a natural way, they all tie into the author’s thesis and theme which is centered on the conflicts between American art and democracy. The book was written close to three decades prior to most of Ellie’s best-selling and lauded scholarships. As such, the introductory parts of the book including the preface were unreadable and Part I of the book was not any better. The second part of the book was good and displayed a glimpse of the author’s future writing style. The bibliographies not only document why culture floundered in the early American history bit also provide a detailed look at the Americans, their revolutionary principles and in particular republicanism and the politics of the land. The ending of the book looks at Emerson briefly whom the author believes was the founding father of America.

Ellis, further makes two primary points and makes the book repetitive by arguing these points from the introduction chapter to the four profile chapters of Noah Webster, Charles Willson Peale, William Dunlap and Hugh Henry Brackenridge. The onset of the argument by the author is that there was a general feeling of cultural potential during the early periods and when the republic was young albeit no tangible evidence of any cultural flourishing.The belief by the author is that the culture was based on the general feelings thrived by the artists along with commerce in an atmosphere characterized by freedom. “Artistic creativity and economic productivity were expected to flourish together in the free and stimulating conditions of the American marketplace.”

A keen reader and literature enthusiast would identify the failure of the said flourishing. The author argues that, “Here was the crucial point at which so many Americans of the Revolutionary generation had gone wrong. They had failed to recognize the inherent antagonism between the bourgeois values of the marketplace and the sensibilities essential to the life of artists and intellectuals. By leaping into the marketplace, they had in effect, and quite unknowingly, committed cultural suicide.” The author also writes of Peale that it was easy for him, “let his political convictions overwhelm his esthetic judgment.”

I am of the opinion that it is part of the truth. For instance, I do not feel that this was the reason Brockden’s novel was a failure (it is interesting that Ellis does not include Brockden). The reasons are more complicated though Ellis is right about it being one of the maincauses for the failure of the arts to flourish during the periods of early American history.

The literature is well researched and well written, but one would feel that it is incomplete. The short biographies tell the grand story well but the author falls short by failing to wrap up the volume with an examination of both the common and uncommon characteristics of the four detailed personalities.

The superb command of the English language by Ellis is nearly as present in the book as it is in his other publications. However, based on the methodology used and writing style employed, I felt at times that I was missing some vital information from the life stories that were responsible for shaping the ideas of the four individuals in the study. What is more, it was impossible to get the intricate details of any of the individual’s life in the volumes. The volumes used the four individuals as supporting evidence for a grander narrative and getting into details would bore the reader or result into Ellis straying far from the primary subject matter.

I liked the book and found it to be interesting. The author had a simple thesis and a well-written documentation in the cultural ideas of the immediate post-American revolutionary period. However, as aforementioned, the research was incomplete and a reader would be left yearning for more information about the artists. Ellis would have refined his ability to synthesize information and accurately describing figures and characters of the given age to ensure complete and in-depth information is documented. Such a move would make the book much more successful and appealing to readers.

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Book Review – The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution

Review:  “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution”

In the preamble of “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution” indicates that he felt marked excitement and viewed himself as a discoverer at Harvard University. At the university, he explored the revolutionary America’s ideological premises. He indicates that is keen on bequeathing those who read the book the excitement. Bernard Bailyn disapproves the understanding that the American Revolution was essentially a struggle of competing social classes. Those who held the understanding as spot on promoted in their public, as well as private writings. Bailyn demonstrates that the fear the expressed that given conspiracies, corruption, and slavery threatened sweeping libertarianism was authentic. In the book, Bailyn explores the countrywide debate on the constitution’s ratification. He shows that there has always been a struggle between the national government’s foundations on one hand and the revolution’s original persuasions and principles on the other. He demonstrates that the USA’s national ideological sources have remained persistent to date.

Bailyn writes that the revolution’s leaders were all radicals. He writes that the leaders’ principal concern was not to end income or class-related inequalities. They were not keen on remaking the then extant social order. Rather, the leaders were keen on purifying the constitution, which they deemed corrupt. As well, they were keen on fighting off the perceptible development of privileged power. According to Bailyn, the leaders desired to repair a constitutional system that they deemed broken. They desired to repair the then prevailing social thoughts, especially Enlightenment and English conservatism. They were out to ensure that the thoughts refrained from retrospective understandings of medieval Roman civilization in favor of forward-focused perceptions of the people inhabiting the New World.

Bailyn appraises the diverse origins of the conflicting notions about the leaders. He reflects on how the constitution’s framers resolved such notions, especially by inventing the federalism doctrine. He puts efforts in examining the thoughts of those who executed the revolution. “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution” is hinged on the analyses and surveys of many political publications, especially pamphlets. The publications were published a few years prior to the revolution. The book benefited also markedly from several other momentous scholarship works like the treatise penned by Caroline Robbins about the traditions that define Commonwealth. In his book, Bailyn succeeds in establishing the meanings that revolutionaries drew from terms such as republicanism, liberty as well as power. In the book, the author appears to easily strip away the outdated accretions characterizing the terms and related ideas. In addition, he appears to recover the revolutionaries’ actual thoughts along with the real thoughts of the revolutionaries’ rivals or opponents.

For students of the revolution, the book certainly comes off as a highly influential treatise. It offers insights into the early pamphlets on the revolution. Interestingly, Bailyn demonstrates that, generally, all the pamphlets had many similarities: invocation of particular figures like John Wilkes, language, and the attendant arguments. Bailyn credibly demonstrates that the pamphlets’ contents aimed at giving pointers to the social thoughts that defined the English colonies in North America.[1] In “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution”, the author profoundly, as well as considerably, changes the direction and character of the typical inquiries on the revolution. As well, he erects a novel framework for the interpretation of a lengthy component of the US’ history. In all the areas explored by the book, Bailyn transforms what history students along with scholars priory thought regarding the colonies, and the revolution.

Bailyn uncovers a range of notions that colored the lives of the revolutionaries. Prior to the publication of the book, it is quite probable that the majority of the present historians did not know that the notions, or ideas, existed. Bailyn projects the ideas as radical, especially with respect to liberty and power. He projects the ideas as profoundly informed and fueled by conspiracy-related fears. As well, he amply and persuasively explains that the ideas triggered and sustained the revolution from the 1760s.

Through the book, Bailyn’s attainment is assorted. He succeeds in demonstrating that the leading scholarly influence on the revolution’s executors was a set of various classical models. The models included Enlightenment, British political and intellectual dissent traditions, common law tradition along with the covenant theology. The dissent defined the 17th century’s commonwealth arrangement. The models’ lenses were particularly essential and bound related multiple interpretative lens and traditions. Through the other foreign, or received, ideas were appraised. Bailyn convincingly demonstrates the ideas’ articulation particularly within America. He convincingly demonstrates how the ideas inevitably occasioned conflicts with the then Britain’s growing imperial authority. The book is a vitally acclaimed treatise. The author comes off as fueled by odd courage in his efforts to appreciate the revolutionaries as they appreciated themselves.

The book is a classic in which Bailyn giftedly explores the revolutionaries’ ideological persuasions and backgrounds. He brilliantly demonstrates that the revolutionaries were inclined towards opposition republican, as well as libertarian, English literature. He brilliantly overturns classical interpretations that project Locke as the elementary influence by showing the critical significance of individuals like Algernon Sidney, Lord Bolingbroke along with Thomas Gordon. Even then, the author acknowledges the significance, as well as centrality, of the natural rights principles and philosophy associated with Locke. He views the elementary philosophy underlying the revolution as having been a philosophy that perceives power as the persistent adversary of human freedom, or liberty.

Bailyn convinces his audiences that power ought to be restrained and watched keenly to ensure that it persists within its set limits rather than ending liberty and facilitating slavery. As opposed to numerous other historians, Bailyn asserts that the constitution does not repudiate the revolution. He asserts that the constitution is the revolution’s fulfillment, or realization. Notably, that assertion attracts significant skepticism although it appears to be hinged on sound scholarship. The reasoning behind the assertion is challenging as well as suggestive.

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Why the British lost the American Revolution

This paper discusses the factors that led to Britain losing the American Revolution. It will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages that each side held, their preconceptions going in, and the decisions made on the field, 1775-1781. The American Revolution signified an essential political disorder that occurred from 1765 to 1783[1]. During that time, the thirteen American colonies had had rebel colonists who dishonored the British and aristocracy and monarchy and defeated the Great Britain’s authority leading to the founding of the United States of America. In other words, the American Revolution was an outcome of the maturity that Atlantic English-speaking communities had attained. This maturity influenced their objectives and interests to differ from those of the then government in the mother nation. The British government, in 1763, considered a move to enhance the imperial control system and demand the colonists to make contributions to imperial defense. This influenced the patriotic locals to protest against the move to tax them because of lack of representation.

It is worth noting that there are various reasons that led to Britain losing the American Revolution. First of all, the British did not station its army in the right place at the right time. At the beginning of the conflict, the British had its army numbering to about twenty seven thousand soldiers. However, six years later, a large-scale mobilization of troops had occurred. The British increased its manpower through engaging the German mercenaries from related states, a move, which saw its number increase to an impressive one hundred and fifty thousand troops[2]. Failure started being realized when the British government did not deploy most of these troops North America. For instance, only about thirty five thousand soldiers were deployed in the colonies that were present on the mainland during the Yorktown period. Even though, the Americans lacked adequate troops, they had an advantageous position to be able to capitalize over the British. After capturing New York and Philadelphia cities the British troops embarked on garrison duty making it hard for them to mount any further offensive operations due to logistical problems[3]. The British army had to rely on overseas provisions whereby the supply ships were always disrupted by enemy action, privateers and storm issues. This factors most of the British soldiers from the mainland to the coasts and rivers.

The second reason why the British lost the American Revolution is that the rebel forces tried their best to evade direct and major confrontations with the British troops under circumstances that they found disadvantageous. In 1776; for instance, the British lost an opportunity to destroy most of the American army in Washington[4]. However, after that moment, the continental army derived a strategy that would prevent them from engaging the British army in situations and opportunities of no retreat. Every other time the rebel commanders sensed a sign of defeat; they were pragmatic enough to withdraw early enough. This was a tactical move that made it difficult for the British troops to pursue the retreating rebel forces. This was difficult because the British commanders did not have enough manpower reserves to care for the wounded soldiers while maintaining the offensive. Besides, the American landscape had high fences and ubiquitous woods that bared and challenged the operation of the British troops in America[5]. This led to the British army becoming mentally and physically exhausted thereby becoming vulnerable to simple attacks and defeat by the rebel forces.

Divided opinion of parliament regarding was another reason why the British lost in the American Revolution. Before the beginning of the war, parliament had conducted passionate discussions about whether or not the British citizens and the British colonies were supposed to have similar rights. This opinion was influenced by the faltering British economy due to the economic pressures of the time. In respect to this opinion, divisions arose when most parliamentarians and British citizens supported the idea that colonies should receive equal rights; but refused to support full liberation from Britain[6].

The British, also, lacked the support of loyalists thereby leading to them losing the American Revolution. During the entire period of the war, this phenomenon was evident especially in the Southern region. Initially, the British embarked on raising as many loyalist armies as possible in order to defeat the Americans. This is because they believed the crown had an overwhelming support from all quotas. They thought recruiting loyalists would relieve them of the need for more British troops Britain and other parts of the world. This, however, did not happen making the British troops to remain vulnerable. This is because the success at Guilford Courthouse, Cowpens, and Kings Mountain as well the guerrilla fighters had disrupted the British lines of supply and threatened the loyalists if they ever supported the crown[7]. It is at this point that loyalists stopped their support for the crown for fear of losing what they had obtained for their families since a large portion of the countryside was controlled by the Americans.

One of the advantages that the British had during the war is that Britain had the best and the most experienced military in the world after having witnessed successive triumphs in the preceding hundred years before the war. Besides, the sea was always dominated by the British navy. Funds for funding its operations were easily available from the empire[8]. On the other hand the Americans were disadvantaged due to lack of sufficient resources that could enable them acquire essential supplies for their army. Besides, majority of Indian tribes chose to cooperate with Britain mainly for protection of tribal lands[9]. The advantage, which the Americans enjoyed during the revolution, is that they were fighting the war in their homeland and they were well familiar with the geographic massiveness of the colonies. One of the main disadvantages that Britain faced is that they were fighting in a foreign land where military supplies, orders and troops took long to reach. The preconception going into the American Revolution was that the Americans were fighting to secure their liberty, their independence and their rights. Some of the field decisions made during the American Revolution included George Washington’s decision to inoculate the continental troops against smallpox.

In conclusion, the British lost the American Revolution because of failure station its army in the right place at the right time especially in North America. The second reason why the British lost the American Revolution is that the rebel forces tried their best to evade direct and major confrontations with the British troops under circumstances that they found disadvantageous. Divided opinion of parliament regarding was another reason why the British lost in the American Revolution.