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The American Revolution started in 1763 and ended in 1783. The upheaval was characterized by the unity of thirteen colonies that were against the authority of Great Britain (Sisson 22). In addition, they were against the decision by the British parliament to create laws that affected them directly, yet they were not allowed to have a representative who would fight for their interests in government. The American Revolution was preceded by the French and Indian war that has lasted for seven years, as Great Britain struggled to have control over the colonies (Greene 13). The British victory over France meant that there was a huge debt to settle and the parliament had to come up with new taxation laws that would allow its government to raise more money. In addition to the new laws, the idea to reform the colonial administration created more tension between the Patriots and the British government who had begun feeling overly oppressed. The first sign that the relationship between the two parties had become acrimonious was the 1773 Boston Tea Party when Americans rejected the tea provided by the colonists in favor of that provided by the East India Company (Greene 26). The colonialists responded to this move by accusing the patriots of vandalism, whose punishment was served by closing the Boston harbor. This move led to the emergence of a new group of Americans who chose to remain loyal to the colonial government irrespective of the way they were being treated. The patriots resolved to form an alternative government that would steer their agenda to gain independence from Great Britain (Knott 61). This feat was finally achieved on 4 July 1776 following the drafting of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson.
Many factors propelled the American Revolution. It also attracted the input of various groups of people that hoped to be delivered from their various struggles. Native Americans were tired of oppression from Great Britain and believed that forming their own government would be the only solution to delivering themselves and recovering their land (Knott 93). Following the formation of a parallel government by the patriots, tension grew across all colonies as the colonialists fought to counter the moves made by the patriot militia. Events in the Lexington and Concord in 1775 sparked the American revolutionary war that resulted in the thirteen colonies freeing themselves from the rule of Great Britain to form the present United States. Studies have established that several factors and individuals propelled the American Revolution. One of the main factors behind the American Revolution was the need to suppress loyalist groups. Through the leadership of General George Washington, the Patriots felt the need to prevent more of their people from being lured by the colonialists into trading their freedom and independence at the expense of invaluable favors (Greene 68). The people that had chosen to remain loyal to Great Britain were said to lack value for themselves and their country. Another factor that was crucial in propelling the American Revolution was the political philosophies practiced by the patriots. The patriots believed in liberalism and republicanism. They believed that the systems promoted equality among all people. They strongly rejected the monarchy and its aristocratic ideologies, as they could show their allegiance to an autocracy governed by a monarch who usually inherited authority (Knott 123). The patriots championed for independence and a system of government where people could elect their own leaders and change them whenever they failed to deliver good governance.
Studies have established that the radicalization centered on the elements of power, liberty, and the fear of conspiracy played a major role in propelling the American Revolution (Sisson 35). The experiences of Americans under British colonial rule enlightened them about the numerous political and legal values that come with independence. The Americans developed a new view that opened their minds towards understanding everything they stood to lose if they failed to halt the British dominance over their rights and resources. The view motivated Americans to challenge the traditional views that they had come to accept as facts. The rights of kings started to be put in question and the intellectual aptitude of human beings brought into the light. Americans believed that the time was right for Great Britain to accept them as equal human beings with the necessary competencies to govern themselves. The patriots realized there was an urgent need to come up with new values that were more logical, rational, and extensively examined with regard to the life that Americans desired to lead (Knott 156). At the time, the country’s population was growing very fast and in a highly diversified manner. Therefore, there was a need to counter the new laws and policies that the colonialists had introduced by reinstating some of the old values they considered to promote fairness and liberty. Leaders of the patriot movement did not find the need to involve themselves in unlawful political plots because they would compromise the sovereignty of the people they were leading. Utopians had a strong desire to see the realization of the American Revolution as they strongly believed in the ultimate perfectibility of all people (Sisson 42). They managed to deliver sovereignty to a population that had proven to be politically ready and mature, as well as intellectually active on all fronts that influenced their lives.
One of the main groups that had shown strong support for the American Revolution was the working class (Bailyn 203). Over the years, most Americans that had been privileged to work for the colonial masters developed a strong desire for actual representation in the parliament. Manchester was one of the fastest-growing industrial cities in America and the thousands of people that lived and worked there felt that their voice was not being felt within the parliament. In addition, they advocate for all Americans to be granted their natural rights (Sisson 71). Over the course of the American Revolution, the ideology of natural rights developed into an integral element that provided the patriots with the necessary motivation. This element was even emphasized by progressive philosophers such as John Locke, who argued that all people have natural rights that should not be taken away from them by any government. Native Americans and farmers had special interests in the realization of the American Revolution because they desired commercial freedom from the colonialists (Bailyn 219). Great Britain had strong restrictions that limited the ability of Americans to realize their potential in business and achieve financial freedom. Experts on American history argue that the colonialists knew that it would be very hard to contain the patriots once they had enough money to fund their activities, thus the reason they had resolved to tax them heavily (Knott 200). American merchants that were greatly involved in the American Revolution were motivated by the potential trade partnerships that America would build with other countries such as Spain and France (Greene 119). This struggle has carried on after the birth of the United States, as the country continues to seek more trade partnerships with countries across the world in a bid to maintain its status as a superpower.
The American Revolution is one of the most important events in the history of the United States. It represents a period when the patriots united to achieve their independence from Great Britain and end the various struggles they were experiencing. Although many people feel that the struggle for liberty continued even after the declaration of independence, many groups of people that were involved in the American Revolution feel that they achieved most of the things they sought to achieve. The African American community in the United States takes pride in the fact that the declaration of independence helped to end slavery. Native Americans take pride in the fact that their opposition to taxation and a strong desire for representation bore the fruits of sovereignty. Women were very afraid of military oppression because they felt their rights were highly violated and the future of their families was in doubt. Americans had a very strong desire to be free and form their own government that would offer the kind of governance they wanted. They wanted to have a system where leaders would be elected into office on merit. Patriots believed that having its own economic structure would help the country grow and ultimately achieve its potential.
Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Harvard University Press, 2012.
Greene, Jack. The Constitutional Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Knott, Sarah. Sensibility and the American Revolution. UNC Press Books, 2009.
Sisson, Dan. The American Revolution of 1800: How Jefferson Rescued Democracy from Tyranny and Faction. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2014.