The book is on target with noting population changes, the availability of land, and incredible economic growth as factors leading to the Revolution. My host, a retired American historian, plans a series of trips to sites relevant to the colonial and revolutionary war periods. The Revolution thrust an already rapidly growing economy into many competing market interests that would now use government to increase their profits. Essentially, pre-revolutionary American society was ruled by a class of genteel patricians who, by virtue of their means, educations, leisure and resulting social stature, viewed themselves as the rightful masters of society. Local assemblies did not answer to the king.
Enlightenment principles cast on a distinctly fertile American culture set the stage for the American Revolution. There were some chapters that made my eyes glaze over Benevolence, Interests , but others Enlightenment were fascinating. Wood vivifies the colonial society out of which the American Revolution arose, delineating in particular the gulf between aristocrat and commoner he notes in passing that students at Harvard were ranked by social status , then shows how the disintegration of the traditional monarchical society prepared the way for the emergence of the liberal, democratic, capitalist society of the early 19th century. In this work, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. A Discussion of Gordon S.
Once upon a time, before the Revolution started, all was English-minded throughout the British realm. His research is impeccable and he is able to weave that research into a narrative that is readable if a bit dry at times and gives new understanding to his topic. To understand the events and ideas of the Revolution and how truly radical they were we must understand the times that spawned them. Wood claims that the American Revolution was not only a political revolution, but also changed the social and economic structures of North America and the United States. New parents were changing their ideas on raising children. In comparison to the French Revolution, for instance, it wasn't near as bloody.
In concrete day-to-day terms, invocations of the Constitution meant the freedom to be left alone, and in turn that freedom meant the ability to make money and pursue happiness. It's good at giving a good picture of colonial society and its change to something quite different. I give it one star less because this is a much more difficult book to read; the concepts presented here are much more complex and require effort and contemplation on the part of the reader. Others discovered the meaning in the freedom and equality that the Revolution had produced. The Radicalism of the American Revolution explores ideas related to the Revolution I had not previously explored. No matter how deep, how far, and how much I swim in American History, I always find something of interest and something new that informs my perspective and love for my nation's history.
In giving the social viewpoint of Britain and its Thirteen Colonies, it hops about quite a bit with quotes from a wide variety of people. Is the present Chaos to be arranged into Order? He is able to put the Revolution into the context of the time in which it occurred in a respect that brings the era to life with periodic anecdotes from individuals that lived from the time: whether common man, aristocrat or founding father. Protecting private property and minority rights is the great problem of democratic politics. The founders are elevated into mythic figures, but their views give way to a new generation's own experience. If I had been in that study while I listened to Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution explores ideas related to the Revolution I had not previously explored.
· · 1991 Gordon S. When we think of the American Revolution, we think of a war and a political revolution. Potter's sweeping epic masterfully charts the chaotic forces that climaxed with the outbreak of the Civil War: westward expansion, the divisive issue of slavery, the Dred Scott decision, John Brown's uprising, the ascension of Abraham Lincoln, and the drama of Southern secession. Enlightenment principles cast on a distinctly fertile American culture set the stage for the American Revolution. Rather it changed how people regarded their obligations to their government. Leisure itself became a vice and labor a virtue--the exact opposite of colonial America. Thus American society was more egalitarian and far more open to republican ideas.
However exceptional this political transformation may be, the main effect of the American Revolution was to completely transform American society. With the development of trade between widespread communities, the use of paper money grew, which further cut into the traditional control of the patriarchs that their system of credits had previously provided. Labor had been so long thought to be the natural and inevitable consequence of necessity and poverty that most people still associated it with slavery and servitude. It took me several months to finish the book. Because legislatures are inherently compromised, it's left to courts to mediate business disputes and uphold and interpret contracts, the inviolability of which is codified in the Constitution.
The study explains the astonishing transformation of disparate, quarreling colonies into a bustling, unruly republic of egalitarian-minded citizens. A disinterested member of the gentry was a man who was not dependent on anyone for his means, and so, presumably, could be trusted to make decisions for the common good of the larger population that were not burdened by the need to pander to any particular interest. After the dust settled they were stunned to find their philosophies cast aside as a proletarian democracy dominated by commercial interests took over. Wood argues that the revolution that began in 1776 radically changed life in the colonies and subsequently life in the United States. The most interesting portion of this book, in my opinion, is the part that deals with the aftermath of the Revolution. Peter Lee History 583 Dr. Since colonial society was in a state of flux, social mobility was more possible than it was in England.
The gentry of the early 1700s mirrored English aristocracy; inheriting their wealth, owning land, serving as judges and legislators, independent. He has no problem proving that, and does so thoroughly and consistently. The American Revolution does not seem to have the same kinds of causes the social wrongs, the class conflict, the impoverishment, the grossly inequitable distributions of wealth that presumably lie behind other revolutions. But if we measure the radicalism by the amount of social change that actually took place by transformations in the relationships that bound people to each other then the American Revolution was not conservative at all; on the contrary, it was as radical and as revolutionary as any in history. We have generally described the Revolution as an unusually conservative affair, concerned almost exclusively with politics and constitutional rights, and in comparison with the social radicalism of the other great revolutions of history, hardly a revolution at all.