Radicalism of the American Revolution

Topics: Democracy, Thomas Jefferson, United States Pages: 2 (795 words) Published: October 22, 2012
Essay 1
“Radical”, a term generally defined by many as an event or action that fundamentally changes the political, cultural, and/or economic nature of a society. The American Revolution was a time of great change within the structure of society, greatly transforming certain parts of America, yet leaving other parts relatively unchanged over the course of the Revolutionary period. When asked whether or not I consider the Revolution to be “radical”, I can give no absolute yes or no response. Instead I will have to take more of a “grey area” approach to the question and say a bit of both yes and no, because although the revolution did change quite a bit, there were still areas it was unable to change. In my opinion, I would say the American Revolution was “radical”, but only to a point. Some of the most important changes that the Revolution did make in American society were focused heavily on expanding and redefining political freedom throughout the country, and establishing religious tolerance. One important way that the revolution did not change the American society was in social hierarchy. Prior to the American Revolution, politics consisted of many voting, but few actually holding any kind of political power, those who did have power not listening to voters, no parties, and few public political arguments. During the Revolution, however, many Americans had a much more powerful voice in politics. This newfound power was due to an ending of old governments and authority, and the fundamental “need to reinstitute legitimate governments”. Election campaigns also became very public arguments over what the government “should” be, this is very different than what the political scene was in post-Revolution Colonial America. Some of the most radical movements can be seen in the Revolution in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, the pro-independence radical took control, abolishing such political offices as governor. The issue of voting rights was also a very contentious...
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