The Radical Movement for Independence in America
The historian Daniel Booriston has been quoted as referring to the revolution, specifically the American Revolution against Great Britain, as being a “conservative colonial rebellion.” However, one is engaged to ask exactly what defines a conservative colonial rebellion? For more than two-hundred-and twenty-five years Americans have been referring to the “conservative colonial rebellion” as the Revolutionary War; a war that claimed the lives of a plethora of citizens, turned soldiers’ and the lives of their families. This was also a chapter in American history that ignited, and led to, the independence of a nation desiring only to extend a separate, yet equal concept of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to every citizen. That in and of itself was radical at a time when democracy was just an idea and a monarchy was the only form of government which the fore fathers of the United States had ever been a part of.
Furthermore, one should beckon a dictionary so that a definition of what a revolution is might be procured. Pursuant to the American Heritage Dictionary the term revolution is defined as “an assertedly momentous change in any situation. A radical change” (“Revolution” 1113). The dictionary also goes as so far as to define American Revolution as “a War fought between Great Britain and her colonies in North America” (“American Revolution” 42). The dictionary perceives this historical world event to be a war; radical in nature; not a quiet rebellion that just dissipated like vapor in the air. It is inconceivable to ponder this event as anything remotely conservative in nature.
Next, the historian Gordon S. Wood argues that the American Revolution was indeed radical in nature. To Mr. Wood the war transformed American society as well as politics and culture in this country. It also changed the personal and social relationships between the American colonies and Great Britain. However, on a front other than government-related, the Revolution had an effect on a completely separate group of individuals; the women of the colonies.
Women’s role in society was changing and the dissolution of many of the social barriers between men and women was at hand. No longer, were women considered to be an inferior class, as the Revolution gave opportunities for women to become actively involved in activities related to the War. It is noteworthy to bring forth the point that this Revolution also brought forth one of the first, in a series of movements towards female equality. Therefore, it is also noteworthy to point-out that this too probably would not fall under the heading conservative either.
Finally, one must remember the main point; the American Revolution was not conservative, but was instead radical in nature. With the Declaration of Independence came the presentation of Democratic ideals to a monarchy that had no concept of such an independent movement. Furthermore, this was a kingdom at its pinnacle of power at the time and a demand of independence, from a tiny group of colonies was being presented when independence was predominately considered radical ideal at the time. Also, the feminine movement had inadvertently been born as women became actively engaged in a War of Independence; a war that would set an historical precedent for centuries to follow.
"Revolution, American Revolution."The American Heritage Dictionary. 1973.
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