Consequences and Changes of the American Revolution

Add: 29-09-2015, 20:35   /   Views: 598
Consequences and Changes of the American RevolutionThe American Revolution was fought for a plethora of reasons, notably because of a series of actions by the British stemming from around 1763 to the beginning of the war in 1776.

In other words, there were three imperial crises that eventually led up toe the Declaration of Independence in July 1776.

The first period began with the Proclamation of 1763, which created a “border” between white settlers and indians and ended with the 1765 Stamp Act.

Enraged, the colonists rioted, boycotted, and formed Congresses until it was repealed in late 1765.

Yet it was not long until the second imperial crisis period began with the Townshend duties, including the Tea Act, and ending with the British eventually installing troops in Boston.

Under pressure from the infuriated colonists, all Townshend duties-except the Tea Act-were repealed.

Finally, during the third crisis period, the colonists protested against the British installments in Boston, resulting in the Boston Massacre, and against the Tea Act, leading to the Boston Tea Party.

As a result of colonial insubordination, the British then imposed the “Intolerable Acts” which in turn finally led to the colonists’ declaration of independence in 1776.

1. After the Revolutionary War’s end in 1783 with the signing of the Peace of Paris, many changes, both domestic and foreign occurred.

Yet, I feel that the main consequence of the Revolution was domestic change because it affected all aspects of life, not just political.

But looking at the political side, especially at the state governments, one can see that a lot of change occurred.

Now, not only were the colonies no longer under British rule but also lacked a strong central government, being that the Revolution had been fought to resist it.

Instead, there was a pandemic feeling of Republican idealism, in which state focused on itself as an independent republic rather than as part of a national entity.

In addition, the British had destroyed the original political communities, the ones that had relied on charters, so it was up to the colonists to create a new type of government.

1. In doing so, they did something that had never been done before: they used constitutions, or social contracts, to create some form of legitimate authority.

In these constitutions, the power roles were reversed-this time, the majority of the power rested in the hands of the legislature because it was they who were felt to directly represent the people.

In addition, the executive branch was weakened and the legislative branch held annual elections to ensure that it did not lose contact with the people.

As a result of these annual elections, a larger percentage of the colonial population was allowed to participate in the government.

2. Within these state governments, each state had its own way of interpreting its constitution.

In Connecticut, one of the only states to still have a charter (the other was Rhode Island), the people still chose their own governor.

In Pennsylvania, the majority of the legislative branch either wanted to stay loyal to Britain or were pacifists.

With the drafting of their state constitutions, radical politicians instilled a sense of a more “worldly” franchise, in which all men, even landless ones, could vote.

In addition, this new constitution created a unicameral legislature.

The reason for this was to avoid the original separated legislature, which represented the sharp divides in society: the upper class was represented by one house, the lower by the other.

With a unicameral legislature, not only would the only source of authority be the people but also there would be a mixing of upper and lower class, creating a better sense of unity among the people.

In this constitution, a council of censors that was elected every seven years replaced the executive.

Their job was to review all legislative actions, thus they were in effect the only body that could veto any legislative bills.

2. Finally, as a result of the Revolutionary War’s calling elite patriots such as John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson into action, whether it was in the military or in the Continental Congress, the government in effect became “watered down”.

In other words, the local men replaced the educated and economic elite.

And contrary to popular belief that the average citizen would be poorly equipped to participate in the government, they were able to govern fairly.

Perhaps this was because that they came from the same economic background as the people who voted them into office.

Thus, the legislative branch became in a sense a spokesperson and true representative of the people.

2. Aside from the political aspect, changes in society also took place in the colonies.

For example, during the Revolution, many black slaves were offered freedom if they served in British armies and some accepted even though they knew they wouldn’t be treated much better than their current owners did.

Yet still more joined the colonial ranks.

The main reason that blacks joined either the British or colonial armies was that during battle, if one killed a white man, he felt that he didn’t belong to him anymore, in other words, a sense of autonomy.

Many blacks also felt a sense of dignity, having been asked to join the Revolutionary cause.

In addition, many felt that fighting might get them recognized as true citizens, men of virtue, to prove that they would sacrifice for their country.

2. After the war, each region, beginning with New England, gradually began to abolish slavery as a feeling of anti-slavery spread throughout most of the colonies.

As a result, a large, free black community began to emerge in New England, the middle colonies, and parts of the Cheseakeapeake region.

2. Another social group, women began to gain status before, during, and after the Revolutionary War.

Before the war, women contributed to the boycotts by refusing to purchase British domestic wares.

During the war, they not only fed and provided clothing to the cold, hungry, Washington’s soldiers that had been abandoned by the Continental Congress but also took over the farms while their husbands were at war.

But perhaps the most significant change in the attitude towards women came after the Revolution.

Along with the idea of republicanism came the concept of “republican motherhood”, which believed that a man who was “clothed in virtue” had been taught this by his mother.


Thus, women began to become more educated, they were taught how to write and read, especially political newsletters so as they could discuss political issues with their husbands and teach their children about virtue and liberty.

2. All in all, these were not the only changes that occurred in the colonies as a result of the Revolutionary War.

But these changes are subsequent enough to prove that the mot important consequences from the war took place not abroad, but domestically, within the colonies themselves.1. Sugrue, Michael.

Lecture 18, From Protest to Revolution.

The Teaching Company Limited Partnership, ©19982. Sugrue, Michael.

Lecture 20, The Meaning of Revolution.

The Teaching Company Limited Partnership, ©1998.