How did equality become a stronger component of America freedom after the Revolution?
The revolution released public debates and political and social structures that expanded the scope for freedom. It also challenged inherited structures of power within America. In result of rejecting the principle of hereditary aristocracy, Americans also rejected the society of patronage, privilege, and fixed status. Men who led the revolution from start to finish were considered the most prestigious men of the American Elite. The lower classes however, did not rise to power in result of independence. Nonetheless, Inequality had been fundamental to the colonial social order. The revolution challenged it in many ways, therefore American freedom would be forever linked with the idea of equality. For free white men, the democratization of freedom was dramatic. In the political thought of the eighteenth century the term democracy had several different meanings, one meaning, coming from the writings of Aristotle defines democracy as a system in which he entire people governed directly. In the wake of the Revolution, democracy came into wider use to basically express the aspirations for greater equality.
The revolutions potential was way more evident in Pennsylvania. In the other states, the established leadership embraced independence in the spring of 1776 or they either split into pro-independence and pro-British factions. In Pennsylvania, almost the entire prewar elite opposed independence, the feared that serving the tie with Britain would lead to attacks on property. The vacuum of political leadership however, opened the door for the increase of new pro-independence grouping, based on the lower class and atisian communities of Philadelphia. Their leaders included Thomas Pain, Timothy Matlack, and Thomas Young. As a whole group these men of the middle-class who stood outside of the Merchant Elite had little political influence and believed strongly in democratic reform. These men formed a temporary alliance with supporters of independence in the Second Continental Congress. Three months after independence, Pennsylvania adopted a new state constitution that sought out to instill democracy by concentrating power in a one-house legislature elected annually by all men who paid taxes. Pennsylvania’s new constitution reflected the belief that since people had a single set of interests, a single legislative house was sufficient to represent it.
John Adams believed that men without property had no judgment of their own. The provisions of the new state constitutions reflected the balance of power between people of internal change and those who feared excessive democracy. The least democratization mostly in the southern states. In Virginia, and South Carolina, the new constitutions stated that you had to own property in order to vote. Maryland, however, combined both property qualifications for voting and voting with high requirements for office holding. The most democratic constitutions moved towards the idea tat voting was an entitlement rather than an privilege. But that idea quickly stopped short of universal suffrage. Pennsylvania’s constitution no longer required property ownership to vote but it still retained taxpaying qualifications. Nonetheless, it represented a dramatic departure from the colonial practice of restricting the suffrage to those who claimed to be economically independent.
How did the expansion of religious liberty after the Revolution reflect the new American ideal of freedom?
In Virginia, Thomas Jefferson created a bill for establishing religious freedom, which was presented in the House of Burgesses in 1779 and eventually adopted. Jefferson viewed established churches as a major example of despotism, and he believed that religious liberty served God’s will. Religious liberty became the model for the revolutionary generations definition of rights as private matters that must be protected from...
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