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Ethics and Civics of the Patriots in the 18th Century Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Aug 23rd, 2021

Introduction

There are several reasons for paying attention to the history of the United States during the 18th century. First, colonial changes were observed, provoking new concerns and demands. Then, the emergence of the Great Awakening and the American Enlightenment led to the American Revolution. Finally, the birth of an independent nation could not be ignored. However, all these events could not happen if the mother country of colonies listened to English colonists and recognized their true causes of grievances. The governance was not perfect, and devoted colonists, also known as the patriots, paid attention to such problematic areas as political representation in the legislature, tax policies, and power concentration. Different methods were used to achieve the desired goals and eradicate injustice in society, starting from insignificant consumer revolutions and attempts to reform administration and ending with the American Revolution. Native-born Americans used civic engagement and ethical norms to fight for their rights to govern themselves. In this paper, grievance causes, civics methods, and ethical considerations of the patriots in regard to the metropole during the mid 18th century will be discussed to understand the worth of the new United States.

Main Body

The rise of the patriots was explained by the necessity to redress various grievances among English colonists about unequal power concentration, unfair tax policies, and the lack of political representation in the 1700s. During this period, the American land was a melting pot with a number of landowners from Britain, Spain, and France pursuing their own interests.1 They set specific rules to meet their political and economic benefits but neglected the demands of the native citizens. As a result, people united to protect their rights and called themselves patriots. They fought against invaders and injustice that was related to colonialism.

The patriots focused on the support of economic growth and the necessity of rejecting the idea of raising taxes.2 The national debt was a problem for many countries in the 1700s, but English colonies should not take responsibility for all the British invaders’ mistakes. Another critical aspect of the patriot’s activities was the desire to promote political change because the locals did not have enough representation in the legislature. An abusive attitude was a norm that deprived colonies of the potential to gain independence. The statement mentioned in the Declaration of Independence about the necessity for people to dissolve their political bands and be equal within the frames of the Laws of Nature proved the grievance of the patriots.3 There were no specific laws and acts where the relationships between the Americans, the British, and other owners were equally discussed.

It was necessary to resist the invaders, and the patriots used various methods, including consumer revolutions, administration reformation, boycotts, which resulted in the American Revolution in 1765. English colonists developed a specific understanding of how to defeat the British power and gain privileges as the subjects of the metropole.4 They found it possible to buy consumer goods made by specialized manufactures instead of making their own products, which led to a decrease in prices for local commodities, known as the consumer revolution.5 It was one of the methods to demonstrate how powerful people could be if they were civically engaged.

However, Britain did not recognize a threat and did not want to listen to the patriots who continued supporting the local citizens and hitching their aspirations. The creation of two cultural and social movements, known as the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening, was another method to declare the rights of Americans. Their purpose was to unite people and explain why old authority ideas were not effective anymore. John Lock underlined the importance of education for all human beings to develop their capacity for critical thinking and ask correct questions.6 The effectiveness of such tactics as protests and boycotts was proved by the growth of their followers after the Revolution when farmers struggled for their rights in the late 1700s.7 All these civic engagement methods made the American Revolution possible during which colonists were freed from the British and reached democracy.

The success of the patriots’ methods can be explained by an appropriate evaluation of ethical considerations with the help of which their grievance was redressed in the new United States. As well as any political or social change, the American Revolution and the identification of grievance sources among society were characterized by a number of ethical issues. One of the most evident aspects was the fact that people strived for civil liberties and independence. They experienced economic problems due to the unequal concentration of power that was actually located on another continent (in Europe).

In addition, people were unhappy because of the current state of affairs and the negative impact of colony administration and enslaving.8 When the United States gained its independence from the British invader, the first step that was taken was the introduction of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution helped to strengthen the government, ensure domestic security and defense, and define the responsibilities of the administrative bodies.9 Still, the ideas promoted by the Articles like a friendship between people and free inhabitants were poorly supported.10 Despite the intention to take into account all ethical considerations like civil liberty, humanitarian impact, education, cohesion, and autonomy and redress grievances, the new United States was not able to address all of them. The goals to raise the Revolution were ethically successful, but much work had to be done to create a perfect nation.

Conclusion

In general, the events of the 18th century demonstrated the highest potential of the American nation to set and achieve goals. The power of the British Empire, as well as other landowners, determined the quality of life of millions of native-born citizens. It was expected that one day people could not stand with the regulations and standards imposed by the nation that did not even live nearby. Therefore, the origins of the American Revolutions were rooted in various grievances that the metropole did not want to discuss with English colonists. The emergence of the patriots was a question of time, and in the middle of the 1700s the representatives of the Great Awakening and the Enlightenment raised a number of burning ethical and civic questions. The decisions made by leaders of the colonists and the rulers demonstrated their readiness to cope with challenges and understand what could be done to achieve the desired success. Instead of using administration and legislature as the only sources of power, the patriots addressed real people with their problems and expectations and promoted the creation of a new nation with its Constitution, goals, and freedom.

Bibliography

Ambuske, James, Alexander Burns, Joshua Beatty, Christina Carrick, Christopher Consolino, Michael Hattem, Timothy C. Hemmis, Joseph Moore, Emily Romeo, and Christopher Sparshott. “The American Revolution,” in The American Yawp, edited by Joseph Locke and Ben Wright, chapter 5. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018. E-book.

Arendt, Emily, Ethan R. Bennett, John Blanton, Alexander Burns, Mary Draper, Jamie Goodall, Jane Fiegen Green, et al. “Colonial Society,” in The American Yawp, edited by Joseph Locke and Ben Wright, chapter 4. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018. E-book.

Basile, Marco, Nathaniel C. Green, Brenden Kennedy, Spencer McBride, Andrea Nero, Cara Rogers, Tara Strauch, et al. “A New Nation,” in The American Yawp, edited by Joseph Locke and Ben Wright, chapter 6. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018. E-book.

America’s Founding Documents. Web.

America’s Founding Documents. Web.

Ourdocuments.gov. Web.

Footnotes

  1. Emily Arendt, et al., “Colonial Society,” in The American Yawp, ed. Joseph Locke and Ben Wright, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018), e-book, chap. 4.
  2. James Ambuske, et al., “The American Revolution,” in The American Yawp, ed. Joseph Locke and Ben Wright (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018), e-book, chap. 5.
  3. “Declaration of Independence: A Transcription,” America’s Founding Documents, Web.
  4. James Ambuske, et al., “The American Revolution,” chap. 5.
  5. Ibid.
  6. James Ambuske, et al., “The American Revolution,” chap. 5.
  7. Marco Basile, et al., “A New Nation,” in The American Yawp, ed. Joseph Locke and Ben Wright (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018), e-book, chap. 6.
  8. James Ambuske, et al., “The American Revolution,” chap. 5.
  9. “The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription,” America’s Founding Documents, Web.
  10. “Transcript of Articles of Confederation (1777),” Ourdocuments.gov., Web.
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IvyPanda. "Ethics and Civics of the Patriots in the 18th Century." August 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethics-and-civics-of-the-patriots-in-the-18th-century/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Ethics and Civics of the Patriots in the 18th Century." August 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethics-and-civics-of-the-patriots-in-the-18th-century/.

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