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This is a review of a video clip which covers a period of 25 years starting around the 1760s. The clip covers a very exciting time whereby there is a change in the manner of thinking among the Americans from classical conservative thinking to liberal thinking. This article is a subject of discussion of this transition in thinking among the Americans.
The Conservative Thinking
In the early 1760s, the American manner of thinking was significantly conservative. This is shown in the manner that they particularly viewed the King of England and the noblemen with great awe. This is substantiated by the words of Benjamin Rush in the third second of the clip – all men’s passions, all men’s hopes aspire to nothing higher than this throne (Crafa, 2012).
The colonies in American revered their King and admired everything English, they considered themselves blessed to be part of the greatest Kingdom and consequently wealthy Virginia planters sent their children to study in England; New Yorkers read British books and news paper. England formed the central part of the American way of life and the colonies were grateful for that.
This especially came out well after the French, who were viewed to be tyrannical, were driven out of America and thus Americans viewed this to be a great blessing to their way of life. To the colonies, everything English was superior. Even the rich in the colonies knew that the noble in England looked down upon them.
Transition to Liberal Thinking
The transition from conservative thinking to liberal thinking started among the rich in the colonies. They were able to travel from the colonies and viewed life on the other side. This transition can be traced in the words of Benjamin Franklin in the 9th second of the clip …I am beginning to suspect that the deity is not nearly as angry at the offense of breaking the Sabbath as your average New England magistrate (Crafa, 2012).
The cracks in the conservative thinking of the colonies started to appear strongly when the stamp act came into effect. The Stamp Act, in my view, assisted the colonies to think in a liberal manner. It was more of a wakeup call to them that they were being treated as servants, people who didn’t have property, women, and children.
The colonies knew the stamp act was a bad idea and a liberal way of thinking was the only way to stop it. This started in Massachusetts and spread to other colonies – stamp distributors resigned all over the colonies as their lives were threatened. This was to be the beginning of more liberal ideas.
The Declaratory Act helped the Americans to fully embrace liberalism. The only way out was by boycotting English goods. This could be done by incorporating the common people in government working by explaining to them how boycotting the British goods will be beneficial to everybody. In essence, governance in the colonies had started to shift from the conservative aristocracy of noble men to the confines of the common people.
What I find Interesting
What I find interesting about the American shift from classical conservatism to liberalism is that it very closely resembles the shift of Benjamin Franklin. At the beginning of the 1960s, Franklin believed in England and its values but as the decade faded his respect for England and its conservative ways faded.
The transition from classical conservative ways of thinking to liberal ways of thinking in the American colonies was gradual but firm. It is worth pointing out that it is the liberal ways of thinking that helped the Americans to keep on fighting for their liberty.
Crafa, C. (Producer). (2012, November 25). Liberty: The American Revolution [Episode 1]. Clarks History Reels. You Tube retrieved from web.