Radical possibilities of the american revolution thesis

It certainly does not appear to resemble the revolutions of other nations in which people were killed, property was destroyed, and everything was turned upside down. We cannot quite conceive of revolutionaries in powdered hair and knee breeches. They made speeches, not bombs; they wrote learned pamphlets, not manifestos. They were not abstract theorists and they were not social levelers.

Radical possibilities of the american revolution thesis

Starting out as a heroic struggle for liberty against the nasty British Empire, it then became the providential fulfilment of the American people's destiny.

During the first half of the twentieth century it was re-evaluated as a class and sectarian conflict, and more recently has become an event whose very worth requires serious questioning. Slavery continued for the following century and nothing was achieved for women, so what kind of a revolution was it anyway?

Professor Wood rejects any such anachronistic impositions of value as a comment only upon their proponents, and gets on with telling the story.

Theses on the American Revolution

Actually, he does rather more than that; for a slim summary of a big event there is a great deal of synthesised analysis wound around his narrative.

Joyfully for those of us who find it hard to get our historical kicks from ferreting on the battlefields, he devotes few pages to the eight years of actual fighting. Having won a Pulitzer in for his book The Radicalism of the American Revolutionwhich demonstrated how society and culture were transformed, Wood is clearly on strong territory when it comes to the real-life effects of the move from monarchical to republican society - on popular religion, the economy, education, the family and the slavery question.

He is careful to calibrate precisely what 'equality' meant at a time when blacks and women were essentially left out of it. He begins his tale by explaining the factors that, in the 15 years running up to the Declaration of Independence inwere aggravating relations between the British and their increasingly suspicious colonists.

New settlements were developing away from the East Coast in an ungovernable backcountry, weakening colonial authority. Standards of living were going up as cross-Atlantic trade flourished and settlements developed their own manufacturing, undermining the old paternalistic structure of colonial society.

Settlers were quick to blame the British, right up to the young George III himself, for any misfortunes which befell them.

Frequently bought together

And few of the British 'understood the explosive energy and the sensitive nature of the people they were tampering with' when a tax on all paper sold in America was imposed insucceeding only in uniting colonies against metropolis. Wood escorts us on a whistlestop tour of the growing tensions of the s, taking us through the chucking of a lot of British tea into Boston harbour and the charmingly named Coercive Acts which then closed that port until the tea had been paid for.

All this, then the preparations for military action and the fighting itself, are described with great elegance and crispness. With no space to go into their background, famous names are fluently introduced in order to step forward and play their part.

Where this book's real strength lies, though, is in its rendering of the intellectual and political debates of the revolution to a non-academic audience. Wood clarifies the convoluted British attempts to justify their ill-fated policy of taxing the colonies without providing them representation in Parliament.

He demonstrates with enthusiasm how a rebellion which its leaders insisted was on behalf of the principles of the English constitution was actually going much further, and how the irreconcilable faultline over the issue of sovereignty led to the development of a radically new kind of political structure.

Radical possibilities of the american revolution thesis

Although there are reminders of what, in the future, this new structure was going to evolve into, Wood is fairly scrupulous about not viewing the revolution through a twenty-first-century lens.

It is hard as a reader, though, not to consider some current elements of American politics. It would be good to be able to smile wryly, remembering how Bush Jnr was elected, while reading of the principle that only election should be a criterion of representation - but in these dangerous days it is more likely to provoke the tearing of hair.Gordon S.

Wood The Radical Possibilities of the American Revolution Background Changes Revolution Summary Middle Century Groups * The Radicalism of the American Revolution was published in and The Radical Possibilities of the American Revolution was published in The American Revolution and the Institution of Slavery - Introduction The American Revolution is defined as the political turbulence that took place towards the end of eighteenth century when thirteen colonies in America united to attain freedom from the British Empire (Clifford, ).

´╗┐The American Revolution should be seen as radical because it transformed a monarchial society into a republic and allowed colonists to separate away from the loyalists making America an independent country who could govern themselves.4/4(3).

-ESSAY: How Radical Was the Revolution: A Discussion of Gordon S. Wood's The Radicalism of the American Revolution (Gordon S. Wood, October , The William and Mary Quarterly) -ESSAY: Rhetoric, Reality, and the Revolution: The Genteel Radicalism of Gordon Wood (in Forum: How Revolutionary Was the Revolution?Author: Gordon S.

Wood. In THE RADICALISM OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION Gordon Wood challenges a generation of scholarship by consensus historians who have interpreted the American Revolution as a .

The American revolution with its hundredfold greater power will set in motion revolutionary forces that will change the face of our planet.

The whole Western Hemisphere will quickly be consolidated into the Socialist United States of North, Central, and South America.

The Radicalism of the American Revolution - Wikipedia