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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How Revolutionary was the American Revolution?



 Richard Price, a British Unitarian minister, called the American Revolution "...the most important event in the history of the world since the birth of Christ." Ok, that might be a bit of a stretch, to say the least, but the core of his argument is that the American Revolution was a major world changer.  Yet when we look through the pages of history, it seems difficult to argue that the American Revolution was a great social revolution, such as the French Revolution in 1789, the Russian Revolution in 1917 and even the revolution that takes place in China in 1949.  According to most historians, a true social revolution destroys the institutional foundations of the old order and transfers power from a ruling elite to new social groups.

When we look at the American Revolution, we have to ask, was it a true social revolution or was it merely a rebellion? In the context of the American Revolution this is an important question that historians have been arguing about for generations. The question is whether or not the revolution was conservative in tone and tenor—essentially replacing one ruling stucture in Great Britain with another in America—or radical in the sense of changing the class system in society as well as changing the political structure. Carl Becker said it best a century ago: “The war was not about home rule, but about who would rule at home” (Carl Becker, The History of Political Parties in the Province of New York, 1760-1776,” [University of Wisconsin Press, 1909]).

This Week's Topic Question:
Do you believe that the American Revolution was truly "revolutionary" or do you agree with Carl Becker, that the American Revolution was purely a transfer of power from one elite group to another?

59 comments:

  1. According to the specific definition of the word “revolution”, it’s described as a “fundamental change in power or organizational structures” that happens rather rapid comparing to a long-term evolution. Aristotle classifies it into two types of political revolution, one being a complete change of the former constitution, the other being modification of the original constitution. Now for the American Revolutionary War: on the duration aspect, it fits the requirement of a revolution. Just a quick reference to French Revolution 1789-1799 lasting for 10 years, and Russian Revolution 1914-1921 lasting for 7 years, the American Revolution takes place from 1775, the eve of Declaration of Independence, to 1783, the year Treaty of Paris is signed and Great Britain formally recognizes American independence, the war lasts for 8 years. While on its deeper essence, it might not be considered to be either classification which Aristotle once identifies: American Revolution primarily aims at evicting the shelter or oppression from mother country, Great Britain, and tempting at predominate in their own home. Way back in 1607 when Jamestown is first established, self-government has already been offered somewhat under the appointed governor from the crown, due in large part to the transoceanic long distance and mercantile ideals. At that time, a colonial style of management among the societies or a so-called “constitution” has begun to take its shape. Early political and social agreement such as the Mayflower Compact, although not a constitution at all, still performs its function at regulating home rules. Later the Fundamental Orders drafted by the settlers of New Connecticut River, is surprisingly a modern constitution in effect. In an overall colonial development, colonies like Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware, all end up with a relatively democratic community---where freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of religion are functioning at their best.
    Some may argue that Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and his suggestion of “a republic”, where all citizens sacrifice their personal interest to the common good, might be considered a “complete” or “modification” of the original constitution. In the opposition to this argument: Thomas Paine’s publication is just an encouragement and enlightenment which convinces the colonists that independence is much more significant than reconciliation with Britain since power should be flowed from people themselves, not a corrupt and despotic monarch. New Englanders have already practiced a kind of Republicanism in their democratic town meetings and annual elections, also the popularly elected Committees of Correspondence 1774-1775, as well have the feasibility of republican government. Therefore Common Sense and the later anticipated Thomas Jefferson’s declaration are ONLY based on colonies’ original pursuit rather than transforming into another form of organizational structure.
    The American colonists have some power, yet under many circumstances including a necessary protection from Britain against French (before 1763) and Indians, they are still under the control or manipulation of Britain. Does it sound familiar? The indentured servants and African slaves also have the power to escape and ways to protect themselves, more importantly---to revolt, yet because of contracts (colonists’ loyalty to Britain) and harsh administrations (numerous acts and policies from Britain), or the more horrific color line, they are still under control of the wealthy Europeans.
    The American Revolution is a rebellion. Carl Becker says:“The war was not about home rule, but about who would rule at home.” The “revolution” is not changing the class system or political structure within their OWN colonies. Rather, it’s a vast scale revolt against the obstruction that prevents them from having their own taste of society and life.

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    1. Now that was deep!!! Good job, Carrie!!! Question though... would you consider Becker's comment about "...who would rule at home" almost an obvious question? Regardless of the premise of the Revolution, for a revolution or rebellion (again depending on interpretation), would not there have to be a "change of the guard" so-to-speak? My point is this, regardless of the actual interpretation of revolution or rebellion, we know the outcome and wouldn't it have made sense that some forethought went into who was going to rule (govern) once (maybe "if") they were successful in gaining their independence? It would seem that it would have been nuts (sorry, couldn't think of a better word at this time) for them to have embarked on this venture if someone hadn't thought "ok, guys, this is how we're going to attempt to rule once we defeat the British and gain our independence..." Therefore, "...who would rule at home" would have been a question that was at least somewhat thought out. Just a thought.....

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    2. Thanks Mr.Gehm! And for your "thought", do you mean the American colonists were only drawing their impetus from this revolution/rebellion of independence, in order to set the stage for their own sovereignty, in which a position of real ruling power is their actual pursuit rather than a so-called "independence"? If so, YES and absolutely. In my opinion, independence is indeed an abstract and ambiguous notion...it's like teachers saying "we have a rule in our class and you can't do whatever you want". A RULE---is just like proclaiming "we want independence", but what exactly is in it?! Cannot eat or drink in class, cannot talk over teachers, cannot have cellphones...and for the American colonists, having control over their land and never ever have to obey to the crown or parliament or any other subdivisions in Britain, is the independence they seek for. Therefore by setting out the whole incident, a real battle deciding "...who would rule at home" would obviously be a question the colonists have been thought out. Hope that I answered your question!

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    3. Good post Carrie! I have one thing to say though - if it wasn't a revolution, than what about the trace of British rule that we evicted after the it. Just like Mr. Gehm always says, a good essay slaps the reader in the face - Common Sense by Thomas Paine essentially slammed itself into some of the colonists' faces (though not all of them) by highlighting the corruption of the British monarchy and fueling the thought of outright independence from Britain. Like I said before, after the Revolution, there were no British soldiers garrisoned in the colonies, no British warships occupying its ports. We removed the "British-" element from "British-controlled America," leaving only "America."

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    4. As you mentioned "The American colonists have some power, yet under many circumstances including a necessary protection from Britain against French (before 1763) and Indians, they are still under the control or manipulation of Britain." During the American Revolution, in your opinion, what one battle, treaty or person do you think had the greatest impact on helping America gain more power? You have mentioned many different points but which do you think was the strongest?

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    5. I have to say that both American colonists and French allies have the greatest impact on helping America gain more power. American colonists possess the moral value for obtaining and pursuing independence, while the French allies provide military means for the colonists. Therefore both should be taken into consideration...

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    6. Your posts, are as always, detailed and thorough and I have to agree with it. Thomas Paine's Common Sense was quite a slap to the face not because it introduced any really radical ideas; rather, it smoothly and logically reinforced pre-existing ideas of self-governance.

      The analogy between what the American colonies did and what the blacks and Indians did was striking. In answer to your question ("Does it sound familiar?"), it does remind me of not only those, but also of Bacon's Rebellion. Bacon's followers did not like the governor's policies and violently protested to try and change it. In the same way, the colonists hated British policies and responded much like Bacon's rebels did.

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  2. In April 1775, rebellious colonists and British troops engaged in a skirmish in the city of Lexington, and later Concord, which sparked the American Revolution, one of the pivotal moments in American history. Eight years later, the Treaty of Paris solidified the existence of the United States of America, which went on to be one of the most powerful nations in history. However, even though it has almost always been called the "American Revolution" (except in England), some people, including Carl Becker, say that it wasn't a revolution, merely a rebellion. Still some people still want to call it a revolution. First, we must look at the definition of a revolution: according to the Oxford Dictionary, a revolution is "a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system. Now, look at the American "Revolution." There were multiple extremely gruesome and bloody battles, so it can definitely be called "forced." It overthrew the traces of the British monarchy in America, so it did overthrow a government (at least its control over a group of entities.) It replaced the British monarchal-controlled government with a democratic republic, so it did replace an existing government with a new system. Therefore, I think it is safe to say that we can call the American Revolution an actual revolution. I do realize that the French and Russian Revolutions actually toppled existing governments, and replaced them with different ones, but we must remember: each colony was a royal colony. Even though there was traces of republicanism and self-government present, at the end of the day, we all pledged allegiance and subordination to the king of England. So, while we didn't actually overthrow the British monarchy, we overthrew the British-directed colonial governments. After the Treaty of Paris, there were no royal governors in the nation. We didn't hang the Union Jack in our homes. The leaders of our states didn't have to write a letter to a government 3,000 miles away for help. Yes, we still had a social hierarchy with rich whites at the top, followed by yeoman farmers, poor whites, and black slaves and Native Americans at the bottom, but the post-Treaty of Paris American government was missing one extremely crucial factor that pre-Treaty of Paris had: the British monarchy. Our new political practices put the power in the people (to some extent), and not one hereditarily-elected person. That is precisely why I believe that the American Revolution is not a mere rebellion, but a full fledged revolution.

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    1. Brandon, you provided the Oxford dictionary definition of a "Revolution"... "a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system." (btw, you forgot the end quotation mark at the end of your quote...just thought I'd point that out to you). I'm not going to argue an OXFORD definition of a word, but I do have a question concerning your argument. First, which "government" was overthrown? You argue that it was the colonial governments and admit that, "... while we didn't actually overthrow the British monarchy..." Since the colonial governments ("British-directed" as you put it) are merely a satellite of the official government in England, did we in fact "overthrow" a government?

      The second part of that definition (the Oxford one) states that a revolution overthrows an existing government (or social order) "in favor of a new system." Next question: What new system? In your post you stated (very nicely by the way...since ya'll like the kumbiya statements) "Our new political practices put the power in the people...," but wasn't England ran by a constitutional government - with a Parliament made up of TWO houses (House of Lords and House of Commons) and a Prime Minister? So therefore a government that had "power in the people"?

      Just food for thought.....

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    2. Not going to argue with Oxford dictionary+2! But I'm deeply suspicious with your statement: "Even though there was traces of republicanism and self-government present...we all pledged allegiance and subordination to the king of England". Were republicanism and self-government only existed as a few traces? I have a rebuttal for both topics: Just look at the pattern of distribution for Loyalists and Patriots, Loyalists were most numerous in NY, Charleston, Quaker PA, NJ, and Anglican regions except VA, whereas Patriots were in most of the New England colonies, Presbyterian and Congregational regions. According to this pattern, colonists who believed in or practiced Republicanism were NOT a minority. It's also feasible to interpret the pattern as Patriots were the ones that were essentially performing self-government...and PA on the Loyalists side also had proprietor selected by the governor, as well as those Quakers who were most famous for their open-minded policies, which in turn had its democratic style.
      Also, were the colonists ALL (as you stated) having this loyalty or somewhat connection to the mother country? The answer was apparently no. Since at that time there was a melting pot phenomenon going on in the colonies, especially in the middle colonies where it was most ethnically diverse. There were settlers from all over Europe, Africa,and Asia...who no doubt integrated their own cultures into America. Thus is it suitable to say that ALL of them feel this correlation to Britain? At least I don't think an African slave has any devotion to the king of England...

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    3. You have a good point Carrie, but I have a counter-statement. The colonies, whether royal or proprietory, were under British control. Even if you didn't support the crown, the area you lived in was part of it. Also, for Mr. Gehm, I also liked your point, but after the American Revolution, the British had no control of American affairs. The British ruling class was forced out of power. Also, while there was republicanism in America before the American Revolution, and salutary neglect saw the birth of democracy, if something major for the colonies was to happen, the king of England was the one who had the power to say "yes" or "no." We didn't overthrow the government of England, we overthrew the British AMERICAN government. The actual revolution was by eliminating the traces, however subtle, of British autocracy in America.

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    4. As you mentioned "Now, look at the American "Revolution." There were multiple extremely gruesome and bloody battles, so it can definitely be called "forced." I agree with your point that the American Revolution should me considered a Revolution rather than a rebellion. However, would you agree that the argument or conflict had started as a rebellion and than transits to a revolution? Would you agree that the main conflict was just a rebellion at first?

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    5. I know that we didn't overthrow the government of England. What do you mean by 'British American' government?
      You stated that the revolution should be considered as such because it "replaced the British monarchal-controlled government with a democratic republic" and therefore fell in line with the Oxford definition. Was there not, however, already a self-governance or republicanism in the colonies? You also say that the king had absolute power over the colonies. After all, he was the one who appointed the governors. However, was it not the colonial legislatures that ultimately controlled these governors through their salaries? Plus, do you really think the colonial governments were going to fully to some man 3000 miles away? I quote The American Pageant on this one, "One of the king's agents in Boston was mortified to find that royal orders had no more effect than old issues of the London Gazette."

      Another thing that bugged me was that you stated how we can definitely call the revolution 'forced' due to the multiple gruesome and bloody battles. This, to me, implies the need for blood to be shed in order to call an event a proper revolution. Do you agree with this implication?

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  3. There are various aspects of the American Revolution that validate it should be considered revolution rather than a rebellion. A revolution is a complete overthrow and replacement of government or political system. On the other hand a rebellion is a protest to specific restriction, requirements or ideologies.

    AT FIRST A REBELLION……
    A rebellion does not mean a complete replacement for government or political system. The American Revolution began as a dispute over parliament’s authority and policy. The American colonists annoyed the British to reconsolidated their hold over the North American Empire, this extreme opposition caused anger. The “rebellion” occurred by riots and boycotts of imported good. At first it was just a dispute over parliamentary authority and policy. The colonist’s rebellion against tyranny had caused the situation to increase later resulting in the treaty of Paris (1783).

    TURNING POINT INTO A REVOLUTION……
    By 1777, the British still had a strong position to suppress the rebellion. Many plans were being made, one being Howe’s idea of seizing Philadelphia. He believed by conquering the capital, the rebels would be discouraged. His plan ended up failing. Meanwhile, the American victories helped convince France realize American independence and the French were now involved. And from here on the revolution was sparked.

    THE RESULT…..
    One aspect making the American Revolution so revolutionary is that it didn’t involve the change of a government. It was a CREATION of an entirely new nation and the adoption of democracy by the nation. Yes, at first it should be considered a rebellion. The U.S. was given the territory east of the Mississippi between Canada and Florida. The result of the American Revolution justifies it as a revolution rather than a rebellion. It changes a monarchial society into a republic. The revolution also gave a new political significance. Social classes were now organized better and it seemed as if the society was somewhat balanced.

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    1. I like how you brought up that the new "American" society was more balanced than that of contemporary Britain. I actually remember reading a part of Chapter 7 or 8 in American Pageant where it talks about how in England, people would sit in the graveyards filled with their ancestors, knowing that their lowly states would remain that way forever. However, it is this very point that I have a small problem with. American society wasn't really balanced to our current extent. In fact, in the 19th century, it was actually less balanced than England - by the time we had abolished slavery, England and many other European countries had already done so, much earlier.

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    2. Brandon, by saying the American Society being balanced i meant conditions were now better than before. In other words solutions were being made. ore land was available in the west and from land that was taken away from the Loyalists. For example religious freedom was expanding, american manufacturing increased, and now more people could vote.

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    3. Iqra, I believe the problem was that America did NOT completely change “a monarchial society into a republic”, instead, it is "a protest to specific restriction, requirements or ideologies" which in turn fits the definition of a rebellion. It was not like "okay so for now on our nation would become another version" but "we finally shatter the unwanted shackles". Well all that is ultimately depended upon interpretation, just want to point that out. On the other hand, the layout of your post this time is absolutely neat and convincing despite the fact that I have a different opinion!

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    4. Also, the Treaty of Paris (1783) had an immense impact as well. The American Loyalists were now being treated fairly. Under the terms of the treaty, Britain agreed to remove all of its troops from the new nation. The United States also agreed to pay all existing debts owed to Great Britain. This is what I actually meant by stability… sorry my wording wasn't that clear.

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    5. Carrie, your point is extremely strong and i respect your opinion as well but wouldn't you agree that the outcome of the American Revolution fits the definition of a revolution better? This rebellion becomes a colonial war at such a great rate! When i think of the situation, I think of it as a spider wed, the war networked and grew rapidly. The situation was now too intense to be called a mere rebellion.

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    6. Is it not more important to dissect something's ultimate essence rather than believing in its outer appearance and simply classifying it according to what is seen? It's no doubt a big-scale rebellion but this doesn't make it transform into a revolution. Oh wait this is really going into some sort of a sophistry...(pardon me!

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    7. Well, thats called interpretation! The way we look at the situation, defines what it is. I feel if we "dissect" the situation we are able to see each cause and effect. For example, if we look at Thomas Paine's Common Sense, it was the most influential pamphlets in American History. It helped the Americans support the revolution and condemned the Monarchy in England. Each cause and effect plays a major role and missing out on a detail can change the interpretation. This has been done throughout history causing the various views and beliefs.

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    8. I love how your post is so organized! I must, however, disagree with your statement about how there was "the adoption of democracy by the nation" and the change from "monarchial society to republic." The biggest change that occurred was really more of a kind of symbolic transfer of power from monarchy to the colonies. Ever since the early times, there'd already been a self-governance in the form of town meetings, house of burgesses, etc, that ruled throughout the colonies.

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    9. From your blog it is clear that you considered Britain to be at the time to be a complete monarchy. This, however, could not be further from the truth. At the time of the American Revolution, Britain was one of the closest European nations, government -wise, to be democratic. The idea of Parliament was a concept that was relatively unheard of before it was founded, and was an elected body that checked the power of the monarch in rule. Doesn't this sound somewhat familiar? This is because the concept of government that the Americans had created was nothing more than a change of power from the British to the Americans with a few tweaks.

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  4. PARADOX! The American Revolution wasn’t a “true” revolution. A revolution is a “forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system.” The American Revolution was to overthrow Britain oppression, but did not propose an entirely new system. However, it made some changes.
    The American “Revolution” was just a mere change of rule as Becker had put it, “the war was not about home rule, but about who would rule at home.” Liberty was the main goal of the “revolution.” Colonists felt they were denied the right to have free trade, to bring cases before truly independent judges, to be free of British troops in their homes, and the right of taxation with direct representation. The colonists wanted to be free of Britain’s oppression and in the American Pageant it reads, “Aroused Americans had brashly rebelled against the mighty empire [Britain].” From this, you can say that they were rebels NOT revolutionaries.

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    1. You make a good argument, however, would you agree that British-appointed judges, limited trade, and soldiers were all signs of a British control of the colonies that wasn't present when the American "Revolution" ended? I do believe that the post-Treaty of Paris America was a new system of government, because the PRE-Treaty of Paris America was, no matter how lightly, ruled by the autocratic England, and after the War of Independence, it was a true democracy. I just can't seem to say the same for the British colonial age.

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    2. Good excerpt from the textbook, and just as the quotation illustrates---it's essentially a rebellion. The colonists' main goal is to be freed from Britain's yoke and continue with their own life style on their vast continent.

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    3. Nirali,
      The essence of the argument is pretty good, but you should probably elaborate more next time. Perhaps you could provide an example of a social revolution that has occurred, which would make the American Revolution just look like a rebellion. This example is important because firstly it shows how a social revolution could possibly occur and it provides room for comparison to the American Revolution. Other than that, the post is true for the most part.

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    4. I like how you mentioned that the American Revolution was to overthrow British oppression and not so much to create an entirely new system. Unlike other revolutions that did attempt to make an entire new system of government, the colonists did not attempt to do so,

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    5. Nirali I completely agree with you that The American Revoltion was not at all a real revolution but a rebellion against the motherlans Britain in order to obtain or re-obtain a few if their previous liberties.

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    6. Would the fact that a new social order and liberal mindset that became a part of the Americans simply fall under the label of this "war" to be called a rebellion? I believe that in the end, the after effects of this emancipation is what truly defined the American's revolt against England.

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  5. The dictionary definition of a revolution is the overthrow and replacement of an established government or political system, and a radical change in society and the social structure. Jeff Goodwin further clarifies it as having "more or less rapid and fundamental social, economic and/or cultural change, during or soon after the struggle for state power." While the American Revolution is often romanticized as such, a closer look reveals exaggerated the extent of the 'revolution' was.

    Nothing really happened in regards to cultural change. The colonies, especially those in the middle, were already quite diverse for their time.There were large numbers of non-whites living: blacks, Germans, Scots-Irish, Dutch, etc. Circumstances generally meant that some degree of tolerance to other races existed in the colonies.

    The colonies' economy did not undergo radical changes, either. The colonies, at this point, had become relatively self-sufficient; they could and did produce foods, exports, and some manufactured products (manufactured products, however, were discouraged due to mercantilism policies). Merchants, at least, did win in that they did not have to go through great lengths to smuggle to other countries.

    The biggest change in the once-British colonies was sociopolitical. Power transferred from the monarchy to the elites of American society. Other than that, however, society largely remained the same. Blacks were still exploited as slaves, women were still the lesser gender, and propertyless men still had no say. Apparently, though "all men are created equal," some were more equal than others.

    The American Revolution was really a rebellion against what they considered to be unfair British practices. Culture, economy, and society were not much different from pre-revolutionary times. The colonists were merely defending rights they already had, such as self-governance and the sense of separation from Britain that had long since existed.

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    1. Hannah, as i read your argument it seemed as if your interpretation of the American Revolution was that the results were not so large that they could be considered a revolution. I disagree with this. I believe the Revolution had intense battles involved such as the Battle of Saratoga, which was perhaps the most crucial battle of the war, which increased the situation into the rebellion. In fact this battle was marked as the turning point of the war because it convinced France that America might actually have a chance to win.

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    2. Hannah, I agree with your post. The colonists were only defending their rights. They wanted liberty and certain rights. It was a Rebellion. If it was a revolution, the colonies would've undergone major changes economically, politically, and socially.

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    3. Iqra, I must admit, I am a bit confused as to what you are trying to say. You are correct in that my interpretation was how the American Revolution's results were not quite as shocking or as revolutionary as many believe. You are also correct in saying that the Battle of Saratoga was an important battle in the Revolution and that it convinced France to help the colonies. So how does the Battle correlate to what I posted? Perhaps you read wrongly. I was talking about what (little) the Revolution changed in the colonies, not about the how the battles changed the Revolution.

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    4. Hannah,
      This post is very well structured and supported by facts. The arguments are lucid and straight to the point as well. The only negative comment I would have is that you should have gave an example of a social revolution that occurred like the Russian Revolution for example to contrast it to the American Revolution thus supporting your thesis further.

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    5. Vinit, you're absolutely right. Contrasting would have made my argument stronger; I'll keep it in mind next time.

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  6. The Revolutionary War of 1776 should not be considered a true revolution due to the direct outcome of the war from a social perspective. In a true revolution, such as the Russian Revolution of 1917, all traces of the former social and political systems could have had been eradicated. Take the Russian Revolution as an example. When the dust cleared, the government of Russia had changed dramatically from a autocracy to a socialist government to a country ruled by the communist party. Just by simply looking at the radical changes of government can one tell that this was a true revolution, one which, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is "a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system." In the case of the American Revolution, however, such a change is not seen in the least. The type of government had the same structure, but with the exception of the absence of a monarch. In fact, the US Congress has so much in common with the British Parliament that it would not be such a stretch to say they are the same type of legislative sector with different names. As Carl Becker said, "the war was not about home rule, but about who would rule at home." The Revolutionary War was not such a radical change of government to warrant it to be a revolution, but rather simply a change of hands of power from the UK to the US.

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    1. Your argument as a whole became stronger when you provided the example of a "true" revolution. I agree, there weren't any major changes which doesn't (according to the definition provided) meet the criteria to be a Revolution.

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    2. Pranav,
      The points you stated are true because for something to be considered a radical social change, a complete or near complete government change is vital. The Russian Revolution did help to strengthen your argument greatly and it was overall well written. One aspect you could have added was at least a few minor social issues that did change as a result of the American Revolution. This would have allowed you to discredit the other side of the argument better.

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  7. The American Revolution was by far just a mere rebellion because of the situation during the late 18th century. Radical social change can only be brought about when a central government is currently existing within a country, but the founding of a country can not be considered a social revolution. For one, the revolution had not affected the fine line between the rich and poor, which means social structure remained constant. A prime example of this would be the French Revolution only a few years after the American Revolution. The French Revolution was fought over conflicts between the crown, peasants and the nobles. Since the French Revolution was fought over the social classes, it makes sense to say that radical social structures have been altered as a result of the war. The American Revolution was different though as it was fought over what the colonists thought was unfair taxation and political oppression. Since the colonists were fighting over non-social issues, it could only be considered a rebellion against unfair practices. Then after instances like the rejection of the Olive Branch petition, it was evident that a revolution was imminent. The result of war favored the colonists and the power was transferred down from one elite power to another. Carl Becker's statement about home rule clearly and logically states the predicament at hand. It was more of a question of who ruled rather than an entire social class change.
    Events like the Boston Tea Party also made the American Revolution more of a rebellion. In a rebellion people go against a larger force, which is essentially what the colonists were doing though protest. The Boston Tea Party was a protest as gallons of tea were being drained in Boston Harbor, in protest of unfair tea taxes. This action and many smaller ones, which eventually culminated to a larger event, showed that the people were more angry about the oppression rather than the rich versus poor boundary during the late 18th century era.
    For a radical social change the occur, a nation with a central government is first required. Since the country was only colonies before the revolution, it does not have an already well defined government of its own within reach. Although a few social changes have occurred such as increased voter turnout and changed policies toward Indians, these are not major enough to be classified as a social revolution. However, almost 100 years after the nation was founded, the Civil War broke out and this could be classified as a social revolution because the African slaves were now liberated, industrialization now began to greatly affect capitalism and rural lifestyles changed to urban lifestyles. These changes during and after the Civil War were substantially more significant than after the American Revolution. So rather than a complete social change, the colonists simply took the royal crown and converted it into a just republic through rebellion and transference of power.

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    1. You say the Boston Tea Party was an act of rebellion and that "This action and many smaller ones, which eventually culminated to a larger event," but then couldn't you agree that the "Revolution" was large rebellion that consisted of smaller rebellions?
      The rebellions were brought forth because the colonists felt that they were denied the right to have free trade, to bring cases before truly independent judges, to be free of British troops in their homes, and the right of taxation with direct representation.

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    2. The Boston Tea Party was an act of rebellion and it is true that the Revolution was a series of rebellions essentially. Even though militia still fought battles, rebellions still played a large part in the Revolution. The militia was the "large rebellion," and the majority of colonist's thoughts can be thought of as the "smaller rebellions," both of which helped to win the war.

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    3. I like how you compared the American Revolution to the American Civil War. Even with what little I know about the Civil War, I can agree with your statement that the title of 'revolution' is more apt for it than for the American Revolution itself.

      The colonists, at this point, didn't even really need to convert their 'new' power into a republic; they'd already been using republicanism ideals since their early beginnings. In my opinion, the Revolution's purpose was simply to make their self-governance an official thing to be recognized by others.

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    4. I found your argument to be very compelling due to the organization of your facts and the facts themselves. You accurately placed your facts in the location that would be most beneficial to your argument, which greatly enhances it. However, I must disagree heavily with your notion that the Civil War should be classified as a revolution, because no government was overthrown and even though slaves were liberated, was not a good enough reason to classify this as a revolution.

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    5. The idea that this whole revolution can be considered a combination of rebellions makes me question myself on then what makes a revolution a revolution? What is it that would give it the glory of being worthy to lab such a revolt like this?

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  8. I'd first like to mention what the words "revolution" and "rebellion" mean. A rebellion is an open, organized and armed resistance to ones government or ruler. A revolution is an overthrow or repudiation of an established government or political system by the people governed. These two words are extremely similar, except "rebellion" is more distasteful. A revolution can be bloodless, and without violence. A rebellion can also lead to a revolution.
    The American Revolution revolved around the colonists revolting or rebelling against the British government. Just as the definition of a rebellion states, the colonists resisted their government or ruler. The colonists were struggling under the rule of the British. So yes, the American Revolution was, at one point, a rebellion. Even if one may not believe it ended as one, it was most definitely, at one point, a rebellion. The colonists rebelled against their ruler.
    Just as I mentioned before, rebellion and revolution go hand in hand. A rebellion can lead to a revolution. The revolts and rebellions against the British government by the colonists led to a revolution. It eventually led to the colonists wanting to overthrow their government. The colonists could no longer stand being under their power, so they wanted a replacement. This revolution became known as the American Revolution. However, this revolution began as a rebellion. The colonists resisted their ruler before trying to overthrow their ruler.
    The American Revolution began as a rebellion and ended as a revolution.

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    1. The way you opened up by mentioning the difference between a revolution and a rebellion was a good tactic, especially due there being a blurred line between the two in some blogs (mine included). In addition to this, the way you tied in the first part of your blog and the concluding sentence was well done. I disagree with you stating that a revolution goes hand-in-hand with a rebellion. There have been very clear cases of this, with India's Revolution being a clear example. It was not a rebellion the way you had defined it, and it was most certainly a revolution, with there being much revolutionary changes in the way government was organized.

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    2. Fedah i liked how you opened up explaining the meaning of both revolution and rebellion because it helped to clarify, but the only thing is I think you kind of mixed THe American Revolution and the War for Independence together..

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    3. Fedah I agree that this had originally began as a rebellion, which later morphed into a revolution. I believe that time and "salutatory neglect" allowed for this great uprising amongst a mere bunch of colonist to arise.

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    4. Fedah, I like how you were able to tie together both the revolution and rebellion sides. I definitely agree with you that it began as a rebellion and finished off as a revolution. Actually many small rebellions had soon led up to the revolution which was finally the huge breakout for the Colonies where they finally knew what they wanted and how they were going to achieve it.

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    5. I am not here to start as Mr. Gehm says "love fest", but you made a good argument. you were able to state the rebellion, and how it shaped into a revolution. and just to ad something, most people forget that even tho they had some self government, the key word some, Britain still ruled over them and on a map, it would say Britain.

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  9. By definition a revolution is a complete overthrow of a governtment. This didn't exactly happen during the revolution because they did not actually overthrow the government or monarch in England, they just tried to not allow a government which was 3,000 miles away from controlling them.

    After the "revolution" itself there was technically no huge political change, technically the colonies were still under the British crown, only when the War of Independance came to an end did they truly break free from the reigns of the British parliament.

    There was no massive impact on American social structure after the "revolution", although there were thoughts wizzing around such as the right of every man to be free, people still held slaves. So this belief, at the time in question, was actually very hypocritical. Gordon Wood stated that "no one american is inherently better than any other", this of course was not true as slavery was still around and real women's rights has yet to be established. The roles of women in the colonial society remained the same as they were prior to the "revolution", women were still expected to stay home and tend to the needs of her children while the man was the main bread-earner.

    This being said there were a few changes in the colonial society after the "revoltution". The requirements needed to be allowed a vote slackened leaving more people with the right to vote. The there was also the beginnings of true religious freedom, due to the new found hatred for the British the Church of England was no longer the church of america. People became more tolerant of other religions, well at least christian religions.
    Even thought these changes took place at the end of the day The American revolution was not a true revolution but more of a rebellion, the result of which was that many of the things prior to this "revolution" remained the same although there were changes in voting rights and beliefs on religious freedom. The American Revolution was not in fact a revolution because at the actual end of it there was no great change in government, the huge change would only come after the War of Independance.

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    1. It was great that you backed up your statements and opinion, however wasn't it true that the colonies achieved what they wanted? Didn't they get what they wanted after they fought for all these years? If it wasn't known as a revolution then how would you interprate the American 'Revolution'? What do you think it should have been called since you disagree with what has been stated and used for, for so long.

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    2. If you look deeply they actually did overthrow a government that was being unfair to all. They were putting laws on them without them representing themselves, as someone who has never been there was representing the colonies. which in the end they revolted and made a revolution cause they were still Britain property

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  10. The concept of something being revolutionary, means that it will completely change the way something is currently viewed as, or used. It will have an after shock that will ricochet throughout time. The American's fight for freedom and independence did just that. The British empire during the 1700's was feared by the rest of the world. Their naval supremacy kept the waters clear from any other inhabitants who would dare cross there way. The British had such control over the world during this time period that the Declaration of Independence was not just a document that stated the colonies freedom, if not, it was also sending a subliminal message to any other country to steer clear of the idea of taking charge over the colonies in the new world, due to the fear and suspicion that one nation might even pity England, and side with them.
    This break from the hegemony of the New World is something that is not to be considered a mere rebellion due to the fact that England had a strong hold of the way things were ran. Consider that the British had some 50 colonies and only a select 13 decided to secede from the monarch. These people living in the New World were kept afloat through England, since they were the “motherland,” without them, starvation and no money would set the settler's up for an inevitable demise. The fact that this risk was taken, is a sign of courage.
    Moreover, after Britain had finally given up on the colonies and allowed them to self-govern, new ideals began shaping the new minds of the “Americans.” An arising wave of patriotism was rekindled for the love of a country, while under British rule the colonists evidentially lost pride in their authority as “gentlemen.” The adaption of ancient Greek and Roman ideas on government was proof of a small renaissance style of thinking to be set into the new generation of people.
    In a rebellion, the people launching the revolt did not have a strong desire that would burn for years, possibly. For instance, once Nathaniel Bacon died in his rebellion, the whole ensemble dissolved. During the revolution, various great leaders had fallen, however, the sense of wanting to be independent lived inside of the hearts of men, and propelled them to push the continent of North America to be what it is today.
    In the United States, the revolt against England is commonly described to be the “American Revolution.” 3,000 miles over in Europe, it is described to be the “American Rebellion.” Just as beauty is within the eye of the beholder, the revolt against the British by the Americans is ultimately up to you to decide if it were really a rebellion or in fact a monumental revolution.

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    1. I agree when you say that this was a revolution. People may have different interpretations, however like you said a revolution happened on a much larger scale compared to the small rebellions like Bacon's Rebellion that only occurred for a few days. That was just the beginning of what was soon to come as time passed by and the colonies knew that it was time to ride up and achieve the independence that they desired.

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  11. With all due respects for people who disagree, I believe that it was truly a revolution. When dealing with England, the colonists fought back and fought hard, and knew that they had boundaries that had to be crossed in order to achieve greatness and get the independence that they wanted. People in the seventeenth century, all they knew was war and agressiveness to achieve what they wanted. When alliances and petitions didn't work, they began to forcefully push and attack the British in order for the independence that they desired. For the period of time that the Colonies and England fought, just that can be interpretated as a revolution. The battle between dominantion and the owning of land was so long that it was known as a revolution even for the period of time that the colonists and England had to put toward this brawl that soon turned into a huge war.

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    1. Yes i truly agree with you, they fought long and hard to gain their "independence" (key word) saying that they were still part of Britain rather than already being independent.

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  12. I believe that it was a revolution, rather than a switch of power. the colonies of america were't there own country, they were of the country Britain. by the American colonies being a part of Britian, it can't be a switch of power cause that would result in it being a whole other country, to shift power. The colonies were an extension, so to say, of Britian, to me making the war revolutionary, rather than, a "shift of power"

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