I wrote this essay as part of the Coursera course The French Revolution. The instructions are somewhat vague: How revolutionary was the French revolution? Did the Revolution simply replace the old ruling elite with a new, bourgeois one?
Posted on March 18, by launiusr This is a favorite question on Ph. In fact, I had one professor on my committee who embraced this approach and asked me a succession of similar questions: How new was the New Deal?
How great was the Great Depression? How cold was the Cold War? You get the picture. Some of those kinds of questions strain credulity: How gilded was the Gilded Age? How Jacksonian was the age of Jackson?
But in the context of the American Revolution this is an important question that historians have been arguing about for generations. The question is whether or not the revolution was conservative in tone and tenor—essentially replacing one ruling stucture in Great Britain with another in America—or radical in the sense of changing the class system in society as well as changing the political structure.
I believe it was the latter. Carl Becker said it best a century ago: Those elites, of course, had no real interest in changing the social structure.
After all they were at the top of society.
They might believe in equality of opportunity, at least for adult white males, but they were generally less friendly toward a leveling of society. But is this also the story of thousands who took up arms to overthrow what they considered a repressive regime that trounced on their ability to live their lives and make their fortunes?
For them, the revolution was about both fundamental social and economic as well as political change. This comes across clearly when reading about the intellectual underpinnings of the era.
The Britich colonies in America were a society transforming itself from one of feudal relationships to one predicated on republicanism, democracy, and market-driven capitalism in the middle part of the eighteenth century.
The revolutionaries aimed at nothing less than a reconstitution of American society. They hoped to destroy the bonds holding together the older monarchical society—kinship, patriarchy, and patronage—and to put in their place new social bonds of love, respect, and consent.
And all Americans seemingly embraced the idea of equality as manifested in labor and accomplishment. Wood closes The Radicalism of the American Revolution with this:Oct 28, · When art was truly revolutionary.
Not even the Menshevik Revolution -that from February which led to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II-, was able to compete with the incredible achievements of the October Revolution of that year that hoisted the flag of the Soviets.
considered revolutionary enough for some.
Some people think that the American Revolution should not be considered a revolution, but I do think that was a revolution. The American Revolution was truly revolutionary in many ways, including the new ideas of Political Equality of the Classes, Inalienable Rights, and Consent of the Governed.
The American Revolution caused the movement of Political Equality. Is the American Revolution truly Revolutionary? Politics Declaration of Independence The rights of the people Economics Social The Boston Massacre The Boston massacre was a really important event in the road to the revolution.
How revolutionary was the French revolution? Did the Revolution simply replace the old ruling elite with a new, bourgeois one?
What were the major effects on different groups of people, including nobles, priests, peasants, urban workers, slaves and women? Through an examination of the social, cultural, economic and political causes of the American Revolution, an exploration of key arguments both for and against the American Revolution, and an analysis of the social, cultural, economic and political changes brought about by the American Revolution it can be demonstrated unequivocally that the American Revolution was indeed truly revolutionary.