History Tutorial Journal: American Revolution

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History Tutorial Journal
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The American Revolution displayed radical ideas on freedom for its time. However, there was one fatal flaw – the contradiction between their ideas on freedom and on slavery. The importance of the American Revolution was limited due to the lack of support for abolitionism, argues the historian Nash in Sparks from the Altar of ’76: International Repercussions and Reconsiderations of the American Revolution. The article relates to imperialism and colonisation, mentioning what the self-determinism of the Americans meant for the Great British Empire and Europe. Nash’s arguments and article as a whole have various strengths, such as the many historians he mentions to reinforce his claims (e.g. Bayly, Langley, Marshall), all whom have the benefit of hindsight. He not only includes historians who agree completely, but overlaps similar points and differences (e.g. Palmer and Armitage). However, whilst starting analytically, Nash then adopts a largely narrative style, which is slightly less academic. Despite this, there are primary sources throughout this section that help to bolster it. Citing Palmer, Nash begins by arguing the American Revolution placed America as the ideal for those “seeking a better world”. Key elements of their ideology filtered unevenly across Europe and influenced movements of liberation. However, with reference to Armitage, it is also said these ideas of independence and self-determinism were not usually accompanied with the concurrent rights movements that happened in America. Imperialism was threatened by the distribution of the ideas of self-determinism and liberalism. Ultimately, the loss of the American colonies and the ideas spreading didn’t diminish Great Britain’s commitment to imperialism or the way they governed their colonies. In fact, the American War for Independence was more influential. As to why the American Revolution’s programme of change and freedom did not truly spread, Nash supplies two...
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