American Revolution as Turning Point in US History

Subject: History
Pages: 5
Words: 1390
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: Bachelor

Introduction

The events in the history of a state comprise a complex system of changes that occur in response to some new ideas or critical situations. Such events serve as turning points or triggers of bigger shifts in state formation and development, so it is essential to research the events from the past to identify the connections and envision the whole picture. Such an approach to historical events’ analysis allows for perceiving and evaluating current events more critically and interpreting them in the context of the state’s history at large.

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One of such pivotal events was the American Revolution that occurred between 1765 and 1783. Before the revolution, the citizens of America were slaves under the rule of the British Empire. In contrast, the event’s aftermath consolidated the power in the hands of the American nation and formed a new state with the first Constitution, laws, and institutional significance. Thus, it was a turning point in history due to the range of shifts in the political organization of the state, making it independent from the colonists. Moreover, it changed the citizens’ philosophical perception of their nation and themselves as independent individuals who have the right to build their own country. Therefore, the American Revolution was a philosophical and political development in frontier North America from 1765 until 1783. In the American Revolutionary War, the Americans in the Thirteen Colonies beat the British, along these lines winning freedom from the British Crown and establishing the United States of America. This paper is designed to justify the reason why the American Revolution is a turning point in history, identify its causes, analyze the changes it provoked, and evaluate its impact on modern society.

Causes of the Revolutionary War

The Revolutionary War emerged on the basis of a set of prior decisions made by the British Empire and the overall economic, trade, and socio-political situation in the second half eighteenth century. Depending on the rule of the British monarchy since the beginning of the seventeenth century, North America functioned as an economic point of supply for Britain that obtained a dominant position in Europe (Foner, 2013). One of the main causes that allowed for the idea of the revolution to emerge was a so-called salutary neglect rule, according to which the British Empire imposed soft trade regulations in the colonies giving the opportunity for the locals to promote their liberties (Woodburn, 1892).

However, with the advancement of the colonies’ trade efforts and liberation attempts, the growing independence of the then-dependent colonies became a frightening factor for the British Empire, which started introducing the Navigating Laws and Acts of Trade (Woodburn, 1892). For example, such stricter regulations as the Sugar Act of 1964, the Stamp Act of 1965, and the Tea Act of 1973 were aimed at strengthening the economic controlling power of the colonists while oppressing the locals (Woodburn, 1892). These actions were intolerable for the colonies, the residents of which started riots and protests, such as the Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, and many others. In such a manner, the open opposition between the North American colonies and the British Empire started and later transformed into a full war.

Overall, the movement that emerged in the aftermath of these causes was not only of national but also global importance. As stated by Foner (2013), “the momentous era that came to be called the Age of Revolution began in British North America, spread to Europe and the Caribbean, and culminated in the Latin American wars for independence” (p. 140). Thus, it is essential to analyze how the revolution changed life in the USA within the political and philosophical realms.

Analysis of the Political and Philosophical Changes Induced by the Revolution

Political Change

The American Revolution produced a new political order, which was no longer based on subordination to an overseas colonist but was grounded on the standards of democracy, representative government, and constitutional rights. Historical research indicates that “the Revolution announced the birth of a new nation, defined the noblest ideals and aspirations of the American people, created the world’s first written constitutions, and reformed laws and remodeled institutions” (Thompson, 2019, p. 175). Importantly, the formation of the first US Congress was a pivotal political result of the American Revolution. According to Nokken (2017), the establishment of Congress allowed for practical implementation of the ideas of representative governance. Another significant political change followed the American Revolution, which marked “the dismemberment of the British Empire and thus put an end forever to the political unity of the English race” (Woodburn, 1892, p. 5). Thus, the Revolutionary War in the USA shaped the political order in the country and induced reorganization of the global political system eliminating its then-dominating entity.

Philosophical Shift

Apart from the political changes, the American Revolution became a significant event that shaped the formation of advanced philosophical considerations of the nations and governments. In particular, during the period preceding the revolution and later, the Enlightenment emerged and developed, which promoted democratic government, constitutional rule, tolerance, justice, and other attributes of democracy that substituted weakening monarchical power (Constitutional Rights Foundation, 2004). While such ideas existed theoretically in the works by Thomas Hobbs, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Lock, Charles Montesquieu, and other philosophers of Enlightenment, the American Revolution triggered the practical application of these theories.

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In particular, a major philosophical work by Lock under the title Two Treatises of Government was devoted to the proclamation of the freedom of speech, thought, religion, and property and the importance of representative government in a democratic state (Constitutional Rights Foundation, 2004). These ideas were practically implemented by Thomas Jefferson when writing the Declaration of Independence, in which the separation from the British Empire was declared and documented (Constitutional Rights Foundation, 2004). Thus, giving the beginning to the representative government, the overall thinking mode, and the philosophical perception of American states as a united independent entity formed. Indeed, with the establishment of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and the onset of developmental democratic processes inside the country, the ideological perception of the nation changed toward self-identification as a separate entity (Thompson, 2019). The politicians and the general public started developing morally new ideologies that ultimately shaped democracy in the USA.

Evaluation of the American Revolution’s Impact on Today’s Society

Firstly, contemporary US society is particularly impacted by the gains of the American Revolution since it uses the Constitution for regulating the functioning inside the state. The Constitution was created and first written due to the aftermaths of the American Revolution that launched the liberties and rights that had originated in the Enlightenment era and were practically implemented by the founding fathers (Foner, 2013). Secondly, the REvolutionary War is relevant to modern times because the nation’s sovereignty and the priority of natural law continue being the guidelines in American politics (Zhao, 2019). Thirdly, the overall consolidating effect on the population that the revolution as a movement caused is reflected in the contemporary movements, where protestors unite around common ideas for promoting rights as the founding fathers did.

For example, the latest movements for women’s rights, racial equality rights, and the Black Lives Matter movement have been based on the principles introduced by the American Revolution. Lastly, the features of American society that are now considered hallmarks, including justice, freedom, and liberty, were originated and standardized during the American Revolution and remain the main reason why immigration is so active in the country (Zhao, 2019). Consequently, the positive influence of the Revolutionary War is far-reaching and ground-forming for a modern democratic society.

Conclusion

In summation, the analysis of the causes and effects of the American Revolution has demonstrated that this movement was a turning point in American history due to its far-reaching national and global impact. Indeed, the Revolutionary War caused the separation of the first 13 states from Britain and the formation of a new political order and a constitutional state. This turning point in US history stopped Britain’s global dominance, inspired revolutionary movements in other parts of the world, and started a new philosophical era, the foundations of which remain relevant today. Thus, the American Revolution was a significant event, the outcomes of which are evident even after two and a half centuries. It has made the USA a multinational and diverse democratic society driven by the principles of freedom, constitutional rights, representative government, and liberty.

References

Constitutional Rights Foundation. (2004). Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau on government. Web.

Foner, E. (2013). Give me liberty! An American history (4th ed.). WW Norton & Company.

Nokken, T. (2017). The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government. The Forum, 15(1), 213-2016. Web.

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Thompson, C. B. (2019). The American Revolution and the new moral history. American Political Thought, 8(2), 175-201. Web.

Woodburn, J. A. (1892). Causes of the American Revolution. Johns Hopkins Press.

Zhao, Y. (2019). Views of freedom prior to American Revolution – A view of Eric Foner’s Give me liberty! An American history. In 2019 International Conference on Advances in Literature, Arts and Communication (Vol. 1, pp. 8-16). The Academy of Engineering and Education.