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American history witnessed the rise of liberty and democracy among the population of the United States. At the same time, it is the history of oppression, racism, and exploitation. This presumption allows us to consider slavery as the main paradox in the United States, as it contradicted the concepts of freedom and liberation promised by the governmental declaration of independence. This doctrine became the hope for the United Colonies to be free from British governance. American immigrants were in the anticipation of a better life, job, and attitude. The rise of the American Revolution triggered the formation of utopian ideals in terms of liberation, work, and race; however, these concepts were not supported in practice so that the dream for the united homeland was broken against governmental negligence and social cynicism.
Utopian views on the liberation
The revolution infused the hope for the liberation of the United States using consolidation and cooperation within the country. People believed that the government would destroy slavery and exploitation instead of giving priority to human dignity and freedom. The government was isolated from the social needs, as it reflects only the purposes of several privilege layers. Being in the state of natural liberty, people still felt the vestiges of the colonial past. Therefore, the problem is that “the dedication to human liberty and dignity exhibited by the leaders of the American Revolution” was impossible because American society “…developed and maintained a system of labor that denied human liberty and dignity every hour of the day” (Morgan 6). The only hope for liberation was independence, especially for those who strived for reconciliation and consolidation. These aspirations were rigorously rejected by the government because of the inability of moral virtue to govern the world. In this respect, the concerns of populations with their utopian ideals of liberty were increasing simultaneously with an increasing desire of the government to take control over the former colonies.
Utopian ideals of work
The utopian views on freedom were transferred to the views on the place of ethnic minorities within the American society and their right to work. Still, the American Revolution gave hope for the better for people striving to stop the suppression and excessive exploitation. It also provided people with a new vision of freedom or equality of rights. Being inspired by the changes, people started creating utopian communities directed at the extermination of inequality toward national minorities. Jobs were granted to former slaves in the form of compulsory labor (Morgan 8). This ‘imaginary’ freedom of choice was spread on suppressed minorities, as it was determined by the previous stereotypes built by the government. According to Paine, the problem lied in the corruptness of the government since “if people suffer, they know the head from which their suffering springs, know likewise the remedy, and are not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures” (7).
Relation of the race to the development of Utopian concepts
When referring to the racial issues, one could not avoid the problem of slavery that “the revolutionary generation failed the test of their hopes more deeply than on any other” (Fraser 24). Initially, the revolutionary actions seemed to be promising for the minority groups believing that the margins of society will become equal with the dominating white race. African Americans, therefore, hoped to be freed thus building utopian images of an equal country. The Declaration of Independence adopted by Thomas Jefferson, a “slaveholding spokesman of freedom”, also distorted this vision of the fate of the African people (Morgan 8). This doctrine proved the corruptness of the government whose views contradicted reality. In particular: “Jefferson’s pronouncements in favor of republican liberty and his complicity in denying the benefits of that liberty of blacks” advocated the assumption that society of that time was reduced to hypocrisy (Morgan 9).
The colonial past of British North America, constant suppression and exploitation of African Americans propelled the society to create the communities that would have protected them from the negative political and economical environment. The development of utopian ideals granted people more hope for the establishment of a fair government that could protect the rights and freedom of each person irrespective of race. Hence, people believed that liberation from slavery and tyrannical attitude would ensure them with a normal level of life so that everyone could have a diligent job. This concept, therefore, commits these three pillars of human welfare – liberty, work, and race – to the idealization of the revolution and the doctrine of independence.
No doubt, the issue of race predetermined the social and cultural welfare of a person, since the notion of liberty was spread over the white people only; race thus was a social phenomenon created by cynicism. The sense of whiteness was the main requirement of prejudiced society who despised any display of equality on the part of the immigrants. Arising from what has been mentioned earlier, it is possible to assume that the rise of liberty and democracy was a false presentation imposed by the government. The hope for a better future cultivated by the American people was destroyed thus triggering the establishment of pseudo-Utopian views.
Fraser, James W. A history of hope: when Americans have dared to dream of a better future. US: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
Morgan, Edmund S. Slavery and Freedom: American Paradox. Journal of American history. Vol. 59, no 1, pp. 5-29.
Paine, Thomas. Common sense. US: Capitol Net Inc, 1942.