The Radicalism Of The American Revolution

2135 words - 9 pages

History of the United States I AMH 1010 CRN 10800, December 1, 2014
Wood, Gordon. The Radicalism of the American Revolution. Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, Inc., New York, 1991
Gordon Wood describes the American Revolution as a journey from paternal colonialism to an egalitarian democracy. His contention is that the American Revolution does not seem to have the same kinds of causes that Revolutions usually display. There were no big social wrongs, no class conflict, no severe poverty, or gross inequitable distribution of wealth. Wood claims our revolution was not about independence as most history books claim but about the radical transformation of the American society.
...view middle of the document...

New concepts of equality of people, integrity, virtue and disinterestedness were key elements of Republicanism. Concepts of self-government, personal liberty and private rights of the individual were embraced. “Liberty was realized when the citizens were virtuous-that is, willing to sacrifice their private interests for the sake of the community” (Wood 104).
Disinterestedness was defined as not being influenced by private profit and private advantage. It required the ability to be unbiased when a personal interest might be present. A republic, as defined in the 18th century, required each man to sacrifice his personal desires for the sake of the public good. Our founding fathers were railing against persons whose position or rank came artificially from hereditary or personal connections that ultimately flowed from the crown or court. “Patriots were those who not only loved their country but were free of dependent connections and influence; their position or rank came naturally from their talent and from below, from recognition by the people” (Wood 176). The Founding Fathers did not envision the way post-Revolutionary society would evolve, define equality, and embrace the promotion of self-interest. The leaders were eager to create a new kind of aristocracy, based on principles that could be learned and were superior to those of birth and family. According to Wood, many of the Revolutionary leaders died with disappointment in their hearts because they did not approve of the Democratic America that emerged in the late 18th century and early 19th century.
Wood claims that the ink was barely dry on the Declaration of Independence before the American people seemed incapable of the degree of virtue needed for republicanism and were unwilling to respect the authority of their newly elected leaders. Americans were focused on the monetary aspects of “pursuit of happiness”. Equality was the most radical and powerful force let loose in the Revolution. It became the center of all democracy. Equality evolved to mean that everyone was really the same as everyone else, not just at birth, or in talent or property or wealth. America was the first society to bring ordinary people into the affairs of government. “This participation of ordinary people in government became the essence of American Democracy” (Wood 243). This inclusion of ordinary people in government violated the disinterestedness concept of Republicanism and introduced the concept of “self-interest”. Americans began to feel disconnected from one another and “so self-conscious of their distinct interests that they could not trust anyone different or far removed from themselves to speak for them in government” (Wood 245).”American localist democracy grew out of this mistrust” (Wood 245). The desire to consume products, obtain wealth, conduct commerce, and serve the self-interests of the local ordinary people made the Founding Fathers concept of disinterested rulers unworkable.

Other Papers Like The Radicalism Of The American Revolution

The American Dream Essay

613 words - 3 pages The American Dream The grass is always greener on the other side. Many people have gone to America in search of “The American Dream”. Many have succeeded, but even more have fallen flat on their faces. Apparently the grass is greener on the other side, but you need a lawnmower to handle all the grass. What I mean with my last sentence is that you can’t just go to America and get rich. You have to have a skill, something you are good at. The

The American Dream Analysis

1554 words - 7 pages Shreeti Sigdel Hamilton AP English III/5th 20 September 2013 The American Dream For generations, the American dream has floated around society in different forms. In the 19th century, it was viewed as an independent and cowboy-worthy lifestyle, whereas in the early 20th century, it corresponded to nationalism and unity. In today’s society, young generations often fantasize the lavish lifestyle of Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake while

“The Facebook Revolution”: Social Networking Sites And The Correlation With The January 25 Revolution

3378 words - 14 pages Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. International Journal of Communication [Online] 5:0. Retrieved from 18. Radsch, C. (2012). The revolution will be blogged: Cyberactivism in Egypt. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). American University, Washington D.C. 19. Seymour, R. (2008, April). Middle East bloggers set cat among the pigeons. Middle East, 388, 62–63. 20. SBWire (2012). Internet users in Egypt to get double by 2012. Retrieved from

Criminals And The American Dream

1169 words - 5 pages Blinded Aristotle once said, “Poverty is the parent to revolution and crime”. Throughout time, poverty has always played its part in America’s history. For some people, they were never offered as many opportunities as the average person. This caused them to look at life in a much different way, because they had to fight for many things that a vast majority of people never had to fight for. For some of these people, being a criminal was the

Eflection On: Robert F. Williams, “Black Power, ” And The Roots Of The African American Freedom Struggle

375 words - 2 pages armed self-defense emerged only after 1965. Rather, Tyson points out that the roots of Black Power stretch further back and often worked "in tandem and in tension" with non-violent direct action. This is an important reconceptualization of a critical era in American history. As a matter of course, Historians have depicted the civil rights movement as a nonviolent call on the morals of America and following the Black Power as a violent

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1052 words - 5 pages The American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Novel The Great Gatsby   Since July 4, 1776 Americans have had the opportunity to pursue whatever they can think of. This has given the people the opportunity to become whatever they want. A person who works hard can become successful; this is what the American Dream is centered around. A person who is a hard worker and persistent can reach any goal he strives for. The American Dream changed as

Analysis Of African American Culture In The Health And Human Services

1993 words - 8 pages 1 An Analysis of African American Culture in the Health and Human Services Setting Introduction ​Communication has often been defined by scholar as the process by which people send messages and generate meanings across various contexts, cultures, and media. The process of communicating does not stop; it occurs cycle after cycle. Whether through verbal or non-verbal messages, the transaction takes place and is inevitable, named by

American Apparel: Exploitation To The Highest Elevation

1578 words - 7 pages American Apparel: Exploitation to the Highest Elevation Amanda Data Lifestyle and marketing through social media platforms, such as Instagram, has increased company sales exponentially. Well-known, “Made in the USA” brand, American Apparel has continually sought after its minimalistic customers through heavy media presence. Clay Shirky’s “Here Comes Everybody” suggests that social media democratization has secured a “unified freedom of

Great Gatsby And The American Dream

2843 words - 12 pages The ‘American Dream’ has existed since the funding of the United States. Typically, the dreamer chooses to rise from being poor to being wealthy, while accumulating things such as love, status, wealth, and power. The dream has grown through the years and time periods, even though it was based on freedom, self-reliance and the desire to be something greater. In the past the dream was for someone to go out west for land and to start a family. It

American Freedoms For The Muslim World

6644 words - 27 pages American Freedoms for the Muslim World As an American we are guaranteed certain rights, one of these rights is the freedom of speech, granted to us by our founding fathers, it is the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights, it has since been used as a founding point for the Right to Freedom of Expression which is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in International Human

An Overview Of The Canadian Health Care System With A Comparison To The United States Heath Care System Canadian And American Health Care

1310 words - 6 pages Running head: An Overview of the Canadian Health Care System with a Comparison to the United States Heath Care System Canadian And American Health Care Parween Nooruddin Stratford University Abstract The reason for this exploration paper is to look at healthcare systems in two very progressed industrialized nations: The United States of America and Canada. The principal piece of the exploration paper will concentrate on the portrayal of

Related Essays

Brics: The Vanguard Of The Revolution

1322 words - 6 pages Case Study The BRICs: Vanguard of The Revolution The BRICs, composed of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, are the future of the world’s most powerful economies and the current most accelerated emerging economies. Together they are home to nearly 2.8 billion people, about 40 percent of the planet’s population. They currently generate about 30 percent of world’s GDP. They have come a long way from the last 30 years or so, each one overcoming

What Was The Cause Of The Cuban Revolution?

1235 words - 5 pages excellent guy, he has done many undesirable factors, merely trying to describe to you how Cuba came to revolution and why the thoughts of those revolutionaries have never been satisfied. CONSEQUENCES OF THE CUBAN REVOLUTION POSITIVE: At least on a formal level, all Cubans are equivalent regardless of sex, competition, etc. Before Trend, Cuban community was separated by competition (identical to segregation here in the US), and ladies absolutely

Similarities Of The American & French Revolutions

829 words - 4 pages Similarities of the American and French Revolutions Occurring during the latter half of the 18th Century, the American and French Revolution were linked through similar circumstances and ideals. Born out of dire economic conditions and a desire for liberty, they both brought about constitutionalism in their respective nations. Just prior to the Revolutions, the citizens in both France and America were suffering under the weight of tax

The Physics Of Tackling In American Football

1298 words - 6 pages Brandon Hergott The Physics of Tackling in American Football The game that America has come to know and love may have more behind it than everyday viewers and fans realize. Physics fuels every aspect of the game of football and is evident in the collisions that take place on every play. Watching a game of football can be a great learning tool to anyone interested in better understanding the laws of physics. Many great examples are provided on