Gordon Wood Paper
Through Gordon Wood’s work, entitled The Radicalism of the American Revolution, I am convinced that the American Revolution was the most radical event that occurred in American history. In the face of the ways and basis of other revolutions that occurred in history, the American Revolution was unlike any other major rebellion of the past for it completely shaped our nation’s foundations for the future. The revolution sought drastically different ideologies within the nations politics, society and culture. The American Revolution was as radical as any revolution in modern history, for it replaced monarchical authority with representative government and created a society that was far more democratic than even the founding fathers had anticipated. These new ways of thinking are why Gordon Wood strongly believes that the American Revolution was "the most radical and far-reaching event in American history". Before the revolution even began radical thoughts and ideas about things swept through the colonies. Through the Enlightenment and Great Awakening new ways of thinking based on reason emerged and took tolls on the people’s beliefs. Thinkers such as Ben Franklin noted that the government was more of like a business and man-made sort of structure. This was a very a radical idea which went against the prevailing way of running countries through a monarchy. Once people conceived of a government as an artificial, then it became much less sacred and much more susceptible to criticism and even overthrow. The Revolution also brought change within social standards and hierarchy. The colonists had long thought themselves loyal subjects of the British monarchy, and significantly, there was no well-established aristocracy in place on American soil. In short, the colonies developed a more egalitarian society than Europe. Gordon Wood has said, "Although eighteenth century society was much tighter and less permeable than American...
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