A British minister, Richard Price, once described the American Revolution as one of the greatest events in the global history since the birth of Jesus Christ. It is an acknowledgeable fact that the American Revolution was not a social revolution like the ones that were experienced in France, Russia or China, but it was a social revolution that was aimed at destroying the older or the ancient institutions and consequently, transferred power from the elites to the social class.
There developed some differences on thoughts, interest and life between Britain, which was the colonial head, and US, the colony. The local political structures and institutions were different from the English ways and this led to conflicts, particularly because the British preferred the policy of mercantilism.
The American Revolution took place in the 18th century, and it involved the 13 colonies of North America ganging up to bring to an end the British colonial rule; they had grown tired of the British rule and had shown some sense of discontent and rebellion. The revolutions highly impacted on various aspects of the American society like political independence, land reforms, economic reforms and social equality.
It was the moment when all Americans irrespective of their class, religion or race came together to fight for their freedom. In examining the American Revolution and its effects, it is imperative to examine the degree of radicalism exhibited by the revolutionaries regarding their ideologies and philosophies, their actions and intentions. This will drive us into the conclusion as to whether the America revolution was revolutionary or not.
Revolution implies a radical change, and the big question is whether the American Revolution brought about change and whether or not the American Revolution should be treated as a revolution or civil war since it involved the change in power but retained the normal way of life.
In total opposition to the popular beliefs, the American Revolution did not result to change because the rights, system of government and class structure was maintained just as it was in the colonial times. In analyzing whether American Revolution was or was not revolutionary, it is imperative to understand the term revolution. According to historians, a war qualifies to be labeled as revolutionary if it includes social, intellectual, economic or religious dimensions, and if it can result in political change.
The American Revolution had all these dimensions, and hence it was a revolution, in fact, and forms. According to the Oxford dictionary, a revolution is defined as the overthrowing of government or any social order to usher in a new system that might have dramatic or far-reaching changes. A revolution is bound to have alterations in the entire society, political system or ideologies. The degree of defining how revolutionary a revolution is is based on the level of change it can bring.
The American Revolution had several effects on the entire American society and particularly on the social spectrum that had women, natives, loyalists and slaves. It was after the revolution that women were granted various rights like the right to own property and the right to divorce though it still excluded women from the political spectrum. The principles of equality and liberty that the revolutionaries fought for provided an opportunity for women to champion for their rights.
Consequently, the revolution radically transformed the American political system. Before the revolution, for example, the Monarch of Britain was the head of state and there existed no national political systems. The most contested radical taste of the revolution was the American constitution which encompassed all the values that were espoused by the revolutionaries, and it acted as instruments of social contract.
The America Revolution had a lot of consequences in the shaping of American politics. It created the present United States of America by transforming the monarchic society into a Republic where the citizens wholly participated in the political process, and it emancipated the position of middle men by making them part and parcel of the Republic by giving them equal rights as the elites.
The revolution brought the alteration of the social institutions and expectations. The voting rights ware extended to the larger population. For the first time, the public officers were elected and not appointed, and it was only those who claimed to promote the interest of the masses who were voted into offices. It was also after the revolution that assemblies of states erected a lot of galleries hence allowing for the public participation and to watch live legislative debates.
The American Revolution also radicalized some fundamental ideals like popular participation, government of the people, rule of law, liberty, justice and equality. All these ideals, though they were compromised, to some extent, they shaped the path of reforms. Religious intolerance, marginalization of women and slavery emerged as the main problems that threatened the social fabric of the society.
The revolution enabled the Americans to reconstruct their society in alignment with Republican principles. It inspired majority of the Americans to questions such practices as servitude and slavery.
This led to slow abolition of slavery or an emancipation of slaves. Regarding the lives of women, the revolution had dramatic effects. They, for the first time, had the audacity to protest against male power, and they started demanding power both within and outside their household and demanded for equal rights with men.
The greatest achievement of the revolution was the initiation of the modern model of a Republican written constitution that stipulated and enshrined the powers and the limits of the government and how to safeguard the rights of the people.
This made America the first country to consider the constitutions as the supreme and superior document that was separate from any statutory law. The constitution originated from the people which was initiated by a special convention and ratified through a popular vote. This new constitution was expected to embody the principles of a Republic, and it increased the composition of the state legislatures.
The American Revolution was not that revolutionary because it never involved any regime change but was concerned with the creation of a new nation as well as the adoption of democracy by USA. After the revolutionary war, the colonies that were governed by the English king changed.
The new autonomous states adopted democratic mode of government where the citizens participated directly in the democratic process or in the election of leaders. There has been a lot of debate as to how the American Revolution gave birth to democracy.
There are those who consider it as a struggle for autonomous governments while others perceived it as a class struggle, but they are unanimous on the fact that the revolution created a new state and that it was the constitution that transformed democracy from theory to be practical. The revolutionaries were motivated by the sole intention of reconstituting the American society by destroying the monarchical bonds of kinship, patriarchy and patronage.
The ratification of the declaration of independence was clear evidence that the main aim of the Americans was not only to drive away the colonial power, but it demonstrated their intention to govern themselves. The long time that the revolution took, despite the challenges and the setbacks, was an indicator that the American people wanted to be free.
The main concept behind a revolution is the change; change of any kind and this was reflective of the American Revolution. The American Revolution gave birth to political parties that are traced back to the federalist versus the anti-federalist debate that followed the enactment of the constitution. This debate ignited the formation of political parties.
In conclusion, the American Revolution was revolutionary because it had a lot of impacts on the social and political environment in USA. The colonial monarch was overthrown, and it was replaced by a democratic, national, revolutionary Republican and a representative government that was symbolized by the constitution that had the principles of liberty and equality enshrined in it.
The revolution gave the Americans a complete sense of autonomy and emancipated the women. The revolution, yes, may have led to the perpetuation of conservative beliefs and policies like slavery but the gains made from the revolution are unmatched. It was not contemplated that America would delink itself from the Great Britain but with the revolution, it was achieved.