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American Revolution Essay

The American Revolution is remembered by Americans as possibly the most


important event in the countrys history. It had lasting impacts on how Americans
viewed themselves in the world, and paved the way for a series of global
revolutions which would follow. However despite how it is remembered today,
the revolution did not deliver the immediate change it promised, nor did it live up
to its own ideals. Life for African and Native Americans, and even lower class
White Americans either stayed the same, or was negatively affected by the
declaration. Change for these minorities, and even for women, would be gradual.
The Revolution did however create a mindset for the newly created country. The
ideals, and the dream held by those revolutionaries, still echoes through
American society today.
On July 4 1778, Thomas Jefferson wrote into the Declaration of Independence
that All men are created equal. Contrary to the benevolent message this
assertion endorses, it seemingly only applied to those of European descent, and
then only to those who owned property. For African Americans, including slaves,
who made up approximately one fifth of the American population of 1776 1, the
revolution did not change life dramatically. Despite the fact that rights for African
Americans were written into the declaration, they were still viewed as naturally
inferior, and because of this these rights were not enforced. These rights,
including the right to vote, only applied to free African Americans. Slaves still
made up the vast majority of the African American population, and many
measures were written into the constitution in favour of slavery, including
protecting the trade for at least 20 years following the drafting of the constitution
in 1887. Native Americans were also negatively affected by the revolution. Many
tribes allied with the British after the promise of protection from the encroaching
American settlers2. However after the British left following the war, the Native
population was left to fend for themselves against the settlers. The war also split
the once powerful Iroquois Confederacy, and all Natives lost following the victory
of the revolutionaries. For the majority of African and Native Americans in 1776,
life was affected negatively by the War.
The American Revolution did create change, despite its gradual state. Society in
1776 was fuelled by high levels of prejudice against racial and religious
minorities and women. Despite this, written into the Declaration of Independence
was the right to religious freedom. This gave people of all religions the right to
practice their religions without prejudice. There was voiced opposition to this,
especially against the catholic and Jewish minorities, and this right did not in
eliminate the prejudice against these people. Women also began to gain rights
following the revolution. They were able to be involved in politics as well as
household work, and were also allowed to buy and sell property, provided that
they were unmarried and over 21. A married woman was considered her
husbands property however, and their opportunities were severely limited
1 Digitalhistory.uh.edu,. 'Why Did The American Revolution Take Place?'. N.p.,
2015. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.
2 Historywiz.com,. 'Native Americans And The American Revolution'. N.p., 2015.
Web. 12 Aug. 2015.

because of it. Nevertheless in 1797, New Jersey passed the voting act which
allowed any inhabitants of the state to vote, including women. Though it was
reversed only a decade later, this was a large step forward in womens rights,
and helped encourage the first wave of feminism in the United States. For
Religious minorities and women, the Revolutionary War began the process which
would ultimately give them more freedoms.
A revolution is defined as a radical and sudden change in social order and
structure3. Though the American Revolution did not create a social, nor a political
upheaval, it is still remembered as possibly the most important event in
American History. Politicians today continue to quote and follow the beliefs and
wishes of the nations Founding Fathers. The Constitution and the Declaration of
independence are possibly the most culturally significant documents in the US.
Because of this importance, they are often interpreted in different ways for the
political gain of movements, notably right wing and conservative. The War of
Independence is often dramatized as a struggle for freedom and human rights by
an oppressed people against a tyrannical ruler. This Mindset of fighting for
freedom continues to dominate American foreign policy today, demonstrated in
their mission to instil democracy into regions such as the Middle East and North
Africa.
The American Revolution did not bring high levels of change. The Wealthy and
Powerful remained so, and life did not improve for racial minorities and those in
poverty. Minor levels of change were brought on for Religious people and
Women, but the largest impact the American Revolution had was on the hearts
and minds of its citizens. The Revolution had a profound and continuing impact
on American values, ideals and politics, and so while not having an immediate
impact on American life, it is undoubtedly the most important event in United
States history.

Bibliography
Archives.gov,. 'Declaration Of Independence - Text Transcript'. N.p., 2015. Web.
12 Aug. 2015.
Digitalhistory.uh.edu,. 'Why Did The American Revolution Take Place?'. N.p.,
2015. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.
Google Docs,. 'Group 1_African Americans'. N.p., 2015. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.
Google Docs,. 'Group 4_Religious Groups'. N.p., 2015. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.
Historywiz.com,. 'Native Americans And The American Revolution'. N.p., 2015.
Web. 12 Aug. 2015.

3 'Revolution'. Dictionary.com 2015. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

'Revolution'. Dictionary.com 2015. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.


The Heritage Foundation,. 'New Jersey Recognizes The Right Of Women To Vote'.
N.p., 2015. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Wikipedia,. 'Slavery In The United States'. N.p., 2015. Web. 12 Aug. 2015.