Social Impacts of the American Revolution

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A revolution of most any nation is going to have significant social impacts on the whole nation. The effect that the American Revolution made on the nation though was determined by how significant the desire for freedom was. It should also be taken into account how important the philosophies and beliefs of the revolutionists were leading up to the American Revolution. Esmond Wright could not have said it better himself when he wrote that “[the American Revolution] is the central event in American history” (Wright, 11). “[The American Revolution] marks the beginning of the distinctively modern period in world history” (Wright, 11). The years during and following the American Revolution had significant social impacts that would forever change the newly born colonial America for slaves, women, religion and Native Americans. The primary impacts involved freedom for slaves primarily in the Northern colonies, additional but limited equal rights for women, religious freedom and Native Americans being forced off their homelands. The topic of slavery created a huge amount of frustration and disagreement among American society during and after the American Revolution. The Northern colonies saw that despite the color of their skin, that all men were created by the same creator. This was best described by Author J. Franklin Jameson when he said that “…when we consider our deliverance from the abhorrent condition to which Great Britain has tried to reduce us, we are called on to manifest the sincerity of our professions of freedom, and to give substantial proof of gratitude, by extending a portion of our freedom to others, who, though of a different color, are the work of the same Almighty hand” (Jameson, 25). During the American Revolution many slaves volunteered their help and this was not only for America to win freedom from Great Britain but the slaves hoped this would help abolish slavery. Many of the Northern slaves saw the effects of all their work shortly after the American Revolution. Slavery had almost completely been abolished in the Northern colonies due to the dedication of the slaves during the war and the liberating ideas that followed the war. Slaves in the North either were granted their freedom by their slave owners or by their own colonial government. Vermont and Massachusetts were the first colonies to grant slaves the right to freedom. Shortly after New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania had all implemented laws surrounding the abolishment of slavery. Though slavery had almost completely been abolished in the Northern colonies fairly quickly, the Southern colonies were in no way considering it. “It was in the South [where] most African Americans lived, working in the tobacco fields of the Chesapeake and North Carolina, the rice plantations of South Carolina and Georgia, in domestic service, maritime trades, crafts, and many other occupations” (Frank, 44). Slavery was a majority of the economy in the South. The use of slaves had become something of a necessity to the horrid ways the South had implemented them. Slavery supported their economy and the lifestyle that many of the Southern slave owners had become accustomed to. Before the American Revolution, women were viewed as being legally incompetent similar to the way that children and mentally unstable people were viewed. “Since women made up approximately half the population of colonial America, their active participation made the War for Independence a woman’s war as well as a man’s war” (Frank, 208). During the war women volunteered in many aspects from taking care of wounded soldiers, doing their normal household duties, taking on the household responsibility of their husbands while the husbands were gone, and some women even went into combat. Women hoped with all their efforts during the war, they could prove that they were just as capable as a man and deserved the same rights. Dorothy D. Volo and James M....
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