The Change of American Society

Topics: Democracy, Government, United States Pages: 5 (1937 words) Published: February 28, 2011
Since the colonies were established, those living there never did quite agree with what the British were trying to enforce on them. After many years of new laws, acts, enforcements, changes in politics, slavery, etc; the colonists decided it was time to declare independence from the British. This led to the American Revolution, in which lives of all involved changed dramatically. Women suddenly were considered to have important roles in every aspect of the goings-on in their daily life. Many people such as Abigail Adams and Molly Wallace suddenly had things to say and had quite an influence on people. Deborah Sampson and Mary Silliman are others who showed to have a large effect during this time. Battles and bloodshed occurred every day. The way government was handled was changed (natural aristocracy) and the economics changed drastically: i.e. the costs for war, trade, and managing a new country. They way people viewed class, gender, etc had changed as well. Many new documents were drafted and established to help keep the country strong and free from British influence (Treaty of Paris, Articles of Confederation, Virginia plan, etc.). The American Revolution changed almost every aspect of the American society; however, the three areas most drastically changed were politics, economics, and social perceptions/ideas.

One of the three areas most changed by the war was politics. Whereas before most government officials had been appointed due to money or family ties, now were appointed based on "natural aristocracy". This was the idea that those who had demonstrated fitness for government through personal accomplishments should be elected in. Wealth still played a part in the election process, but those who flaunted their money or relied on it often were not elected to office, completely opposite of how government had been made up before. Those who had proved their worthiness for government needed to be able to govern the people fairly; "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition…….It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angles, no government would be necessary…..In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself" (Doc I). Another major change was that foundations were laid for a Republican government. Eleven of the thirteen states maintained a bicameral legislature, which means two-chambers. The lower chamber consisted of an elected assembly, and the upper chamber consisted of a council that was appointed by the governor. One other changed in and of itself was that Americans gained their independence. They no longer wanted slavery, strict regulations, etc that had been imposed by the British; they wanted all British influence gone. "Drive far from you every baneful wretch who wished to see you fettered with the chains of tyranny. Send them where they may enjoy their beloved slavery to perfection- send them to the island of Britain; there let them drink the cup of slavery and eat the bread of bitterness all the days of their existence- there let them drag out a painful life, despised and accursed by those mean whose cause they have had the wickedness to espouse. Never let them return to this happy land- never let them taste the sweets of that independence which they strove to prevent. Banishment, perpetual banishment, should be their lot" (Doc B). Later, congress took a weakened version of John Dickinson's draft proposal for the constitution and made the Articles of Confederation. Now, the national government was a single-chambered Congress, and rules were enforced within this to provide regulations. It also stated that each individual state reserved rights to its...
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