The American Revolution played a big role in the shaping of the current American political, social and administrative systems (Peterson 1).
Its effects were also felt globally as the former British colonies (which currently constitute the United States of America), rose up against their colonial powers to form one of the most powerful states on earth (USA).
However, even after the British were ousted from America, a great majority of the American public felt shortchanged (in terms of leadership), and as a result, several rebellious movements sprang.
Nonetheless, even before the dissatisfaction was eminent, previous rebellions existed, and they varied, depending on their cause. Most of the movements had a strong impact on the American Revolution.
This study will consider the positive and negative impact of four rebellions namely: the Bacon rebellion, Fries’s rebellion, Slave rebellions, and Shay’s rebellion. This sample will quantify the role rebellions played in hurting or helping the American Revolution.
Bacon’s rebellion did more harm than good to the American Revolution. It was started by Nathaniel Bacon in 1676 who wanted Native Americans to leave Virginia’s protected lands (Tim 36).
During the revolution, a series of attacks were launched on Indian farms, while other attacks were directed at Native Indians (in the form of killings and murders).
These aggressive acts were motivated by acts perfected by the Virginian governor, William Berkley, of favoring native Indians (Tim 36).
The Bacon rebellion was one of a kind because it was the first rebellion witnessed in the American Revolution, because a few years after its end, other rebellions sprung up (such as similar uprisings in Maryland).
The rebellion was retrogressive to the cause of the American Revolution because it facilitated the spread of the ruling class and further hardened the position of the ruling class regarding the hierarchical arrangement of slavery (Tim 36).
The only achievement evidenced from the rebellion was the recalling of Berkley back to England, but nonetheless, the locals never succeeded in driving Native Americans from England (Tim 36).
The Fries’s rebellion was a tax-related rebellion that failed to add to the gains of the American Revolution.
This rebellion was organized by a small group of taxpayers in the state of Pennsylvania who were revolting against tax measures imposed by the government (regarding housing) (Douglas 1).
The rebellion was directed at assessors who came to Pennsylvania to assess properties in readiness for tax measures (Douglas 1).
Fries, who was the leader of the revolt, warned such tax assessors on such a move and persuaded them to leave (otherwise, they would be attacked). They failed to oblige.
Small bands of mobilized groups then attacked the tax assessors and harassed them, leading to a massive resignation of such officers from their job (Douglas 1).
This rebellion was retrogressive to the cause of the American Revolution because it was a revolt against the newly formed federal government and an act of rebellion against American laws (Douglas 1).
Some philosophers openly note that Fries and his group were misinformed in holding such a rebellion and they were equally ignorant of the American language, in the same manner, they were of the country’s laws (Douglas 4).
The rebellion can, therefore, be assumed to be a long stint meant to belittle the American government and its constitution (again derived from the American Revolution).
Slave rebellions such as the Haiti slave rebellion which were witnessed during the American revolution made significant gains to the developments evidenced in the American Revolution.
Moreover, the revolutions helped catalyze the developments made by Americans during the revolution, through efforts made by slave rebellion leaders in the American Revolution, such as Gabriel Pressor (Santos 48).
During the American Revolution, slaves found a chance to express their dissatisfaction with the current state of national affairs and consequently, the years 1780-1810 saw a considerable number of slaves freed in the South (Santos 48).
Slave rebellions in Saint Dominique, during the 1790s, catalyzed the American Revolution, in the sense that, they were meant to fight against British oppression (a course which was also fought by many Americans) (Santos 48).
However, some historians note that the American Revolution also made many white slave owners nervous, especially considering many slaves were having more rights (supported by movements such as the French revolution and the Haiti revolution) (Santos 48).
This new and unsettled attitude among slave owners later led to increased freedoms for African-American slaves (Santos 48).
Nonetheless, the end of the American Revolution never saw an end to slavery. Many of the Southern states held on to slavery because their domestic economy was primarily defined by the agrarian economy (Santos 49).
Shay’s rebellion is among one of the most appreciated rebellions in the American Revolution (Richards 2).
The rebellion shaped American democratic systems as we know it today (even though it was crafted by a few, poor farmers and debtors who were protesting against unjust tax systems and the local civil authority) (Richards 2).
The rebellion was also motivated by poor leadership, with many of its proponents at the time crying foul that the gains made after ousting the British colonial rule were being backtracked by the present regime (Richards 2).
It is also from the rebellion that General George Washington came back into public life, and the articles of confederation were done away with, to pave the way for a new American constitution (Peterson 11).
It is because of this development that the American constitution was crafted and it has successfully governed the country for more than 200 years now.
The biggest contributor to the rebellion to the American Revolution is that it sealed the fate of the American Revolution by first shaking up the core of the entire country’s ruling class (Peterson 1).
Rebellions witnessed during the American Revolution both facilitated the gains of the American Revolution and equally did little to foster the realizations of such gains.
Initial rebellions never amounted to much; as can be noted from the Bacon revolution which never realized its goal of driving native Indians out of Virginia.
Though the Bacon rebellion was a precursor to subsequent rebellions in the American Revolution; not much progress was made by subsequent rebellions, such as the Fries’s rebellion which was a setback to the constitutionality of the American constitution.
However, there were other rebellions like the slave rebellions which fast-tracked the gains of the American Revolution because its cause was much similar to the American Revolution.
Shay’s rebellion, however, sealed the gains made of the American Revolution because it ushered in a new democratic spirit in America by paving the way for a repeal of the country’s laws and eventual writing of the American constitution.
These rebellions, therefore, define the gains and setbacks of the American Revolution.
Douglas, Paul. Fries’s Rebellion: The Enduring Struggle for the American Revolution. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. Print.
Peterson, John. Shays’ Rebellion and the American Revolution. 2010. Web.
Richards, Leonard. Shays’s Rebellion the American Revolution’s Final Battle. 2011. Web.
Santos, Robin. Slave Rebellions. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2006. Print.
Tim, McNeese. American Colonies. New York: Lorenz Educational Press. Print.