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The American Revolution: Not Exactly a Revolution

It can more appropriately be called the great American Evolution.

Addressing the question of how much the separation from Britain actually affected America.

It has always been taught in school that the American Revolution introduced great transformations to society; that the thirteen colonies broke away from Britain and united to create an ideal country. But this is far from the truth. The American Revolution did not actually revolutionize the American lifestyle much in terms of politics, society, or economics.

Before the revolution, Americans were ruled by a monarch who sat thousands of miles away in a nation that was smaller in size than the colonies. The Americans were angered when the British Parliament started imposing taxes on many everyday items. A few attempts at revolt were seen with the Boston Tea Party and Boston Massacre. Once the Americans were granted independence, they wanted to live without taxes and strongly distrusted the idea of having one man as their leader. The colonists established The Articles of Confederation as their first constitution, but it was too drastic a change and was virtually ineffective. However, it was necessary because it acted as a step from unitary government to federalism, therefore allowing the Americans to realize the error in their ways. They then attempted to “form a more perfect Union” with the newly drafted Constitution, but was there really a revolutionary change in American society compared to life under Britain?

The colonies did not see much political change after the revolution. Under the British monarchy, each American state already had some form of government or leader in place. The same conditions carried over after separation, but more visibly. In other words, upon breaking away from England, the states kept their governments and each held their own interests; there was no immediate unification. As time passed, Americans regained a trust for an executive branch, and then implemented one into the Constitution. The state governments agreed to give up or share some rights with a federal government, such as the right to tax the public. The two main aspects that the Americans fought against were restored. As for other conditions, they stayed the same as pre-revolution times. The speech at the Confederate Council of the United Indian Nations in 1786 makes clear that relationships with Native Americans remained unchanged after America’s separation from England. Also, aristocrats were still, for the most part, the only ones who held public offices. The political changes, if any, that occurred after America’s independence cannot be described as revolutionary.

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