September 24, 2012
DBQ: To what extent did the American Revolution fundamentally change American society? In your answer, be sure to address the political, social and economic effects of the Revolution in the period from 1775 to 1800.
After the American Revolution, Americans, who were free of British control, started to reevaluate politics, the economy and society. After breaking away from what they thought was a corrupt and evil government, Americans changed how they wanted to govern their society, even though they ultimately reverted to a more centralized government similar to Britain. The uneducated masses, as viewed by the elite, didn’t experience a lot of change though the ideals from the revolution still guided some to seek better financial opportunities. Women, slaves, and loyalist experienced a considerable amount of change in society as women experienced more freedoms, some slaves were set free, and loyalist left America. Overall, America didn’t experience a lot of economic change, but it did experience, to varying degrees, political and social change. Politically speaking, the Americans did not want their government to resemble that of the British government. Which brings about the development of the Articles of Confederation. However, there were many holes in the Articles: there was no executive branch, the federal government could not implement taxes and overall the government did not have much centralized power. Everyone knew that a change needed to be supplemented and quick. This brings about the writing and ratification of the Constitution. In order to persuade states to ratify the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton wrote and circulated the Federalist Papers. James Madison also writes, “ambition must be made to counteract ambition” (Document I), insinuating the system of checks and balances that the Constitution insures. This active separation of power was pivotal in the ratification of the Constitution,...