Name: Kit Larson Class, Day & Time: History 101 M/W
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Neutral Nation, Radical Revolution Kit Larson History 101 M/W Class 11:10a.m. Word Count: 1,692
1 What does it take to start a revolution? It has been said that “every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind; and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era.” The eighteenth century marked a new era for Americans, an era of change. In a time where communication was slow, the American Revolution demanded a series of moderate actions in order to set in motion what would become radical change. The American Revolution proved to be a radical revolution as a group of scattered colonies came together to tackle an international superpower head on, meanwhile establishing a new patriotic sense of identity and paving the way for future revolutions that soon followed. In order to come to accurate rationalization as to whether or not the American Revolution was indeed Radical, one must define what it is and what isn’t moderate. How ironic it is that the seizure of the ship Liberty would ultimately lead to the Boston Massacre, an event that could easily be debated as one of the more momentous events that pushed towards independence. In retrospect, historians know that this “massacre” was indeed nothing close to a massacre at all. It was the moderate retaliation from the Sons of Liberty’s own Paul Revere, that produced one of the most influential pieces of propaganda during the revolutionary period. Revere’s depiction of the Boston Massacre included a print in which British soldiers, aligned into formation, are illustrated to be firing fiercely into an innocent crowd of Colonists. There were no angry mobs of revengeful seeking colonists in response to the casualties. Instead, this single portrayal of the event acted as a prelude to a growing social change, as the repercussions of the massacre would be chaperoned by John Adams, a man viewed as elite in the eyes of the general public.1 Adams didn’t believe that lower-class mob action was an effective way of contending British polices.
Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! An American History, Seagull 3rd Edition (New York: W.W. Norton, 2011), 193 1
2 This belief was publicized strongly throughout the community as Adams defended the British soldiers apart of the Boston Massacre, convicting only two of seven in the court of law. The complement acts of John Adams and Paul Revere inform historians that ordinary colonists were largely influenced by the elites of early America. John Adams...