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Was the American Revolution Revolutionary?

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Introduction

Oliver Diaz 12/19/11 Was the American Revolution Revolutionary? The relationship between colonists and the British was meant to be one based on cooperation. The economic system they relied on was mercantilism. Mercantilism provided a profitable system for both the colonists and England. The colonists were to collect and grow raw materials that were unavailable in England and sell them to England who would then turn them into manufactured goods, and sell them back to the colonies. However, England didn't have a strict policy to control the mercantile system with the colonies because they were pre-occupied with wars in Europe and they were separated by thousands of miles of ocean. Therefore, Parliament passed the Navigation Acts which were meant to maintain control and supervise mercantilism in the colonies. The Navigation Acts were effective in most colonies because tobacco was in abundance and the colonists knew that they would profit from the system as long as they followed orders. The British and the colonists had a cooperative relationship while this system was at its peak. The British relied on cooperation from the colonists because they knew that it was hard to control people who lived on the other side of the Atlantic. However, the Proclamation of 1763 shined some light on the British government for the colonists. The Proclamation made the British into "insensitive" people who were unable to effectively span the Atlantic through their governors (Jordan 86). Following the realization of Britain's inability to properly enforce their acts and laws, the colonists saw their position in the relationship differently. They began to stretch the constricting bands implemented by Britain that limited their ability to prosper. On the other hand, George Grenville, the British colonial minister, decided that the increasing amount of disloyalty and smuggling done by the colonists had to be counteracted, hence the arrival of the Sugar Act of 1764 (Jordan 87). Similarly, the Quartering Act was meant to force the colonists to pay for their protection provided by British troops but the colonists hadn't asked for the troops to be stationed in their states. ...read more.

Middle

The regulator movement was an effort made by farmers in North Carolina against wealthy officials. The Regulators were focused on preventing the collection of taxes and helped prevent the confiscation of landed (Zinn 64). According to Zinn, the American Revolution was not revolutionary. He believed that even when the colonists earned their independence they were experiencing the same problems. The nationalist elite who had fought against the British were stepping in and acting in the same way as their predecessors had. The political inexperience was a possible reason for the repeating problems but Zinn believes that mainly the men of property were able to profit once independence from Britain was obtained. The beginning of Zinn's argument is convincing because he plays devil's advocate and talks as if the American Revolution was revolutionary. He then breaks down the progress of the French, the Indians, and the British from the perspective of the colonies. The French and Indian war took care of the French and expelled them from North America; the Indians were kept on the opposite side of the Appalachians and that left the British (Zinn 59-60). The perspective changes and the British are now planning their restriction on the colonies. This was convincing because the colonies and British were working at the same time to expand their control without the other one knowing, which shows how their conflict began. Later in his argument, Zinn is convincing by showing how the American Revolution is not revolutionary without directly stating it. He shows how the nationalist elite were not entirely different from the pro-British elite. The crowd action that had been rallied by the nationalists suddenly seemed like it might backfire and negatively affect them (Zinn 65). This piece of evidence provides foresight and can help us assume how the nationalist elite will rule similarly when their time comes. Word Count: 795 According to "The Greatness of this Revolution" in Who Built America? ...read more.

Conclusion

The realization that they had established themselves enough to break off from their mother land became clear to the colonists and conflict ensued. The colonial trade amounted to 2,800,000 pounds for Britain and this significant income forced them to depend on the colonists. The crowds were the first to gather in order to resist Britain. However, the crowds consisted of miscellaneous colonists who all knew that Britain had no right to control them and their resistance was aggressive and not particularly effective. Between 1764 and 1765 New York saw 57 crowd retaliations, which would have been more effective if they had been organized, but alas the colonists had not yet learned of the importance of organization (Levine 138). Still, the ever persistent crowds did intimidate stamp distributors and even forced some of them to resign their posts. However, the main issue was the hesitancy of the colonists to join in the fight against Britain. Luckily, Thomas Paine came along and wrote Common Sense which spoke to all the social classes in the colonies and willingly committed treason against Britain. This was a significant shift in the minds of the colonists because the more colonists who would openly protest and resist Britain, the easier it would become. Thomas Paine set an example for his fellow colonists and helped show them that Britain should not control them anymore. The ideas of deference towards Britain that had once existed were crushed by pamphleteers, mainly Paine, and the colonies were changing. The revolutionary actions of the colonists, like committing treason, are what made the Revolution truly revolutionary. Lastly, the key to the revolution was the organization seen in groups like the Loyal Nine and the temporary Sons of Liberty and Daughters of Liberty. When the colonists joined together in organized groups that were meant to openly resist Britain, they showed a new cooperative ability and willingness to create something new. The mother land that had birthed them was now in need of their economy, but the American Revolution led to the birth of a new nation. Word Count: 451 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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