Research Paper on American Revolution

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The process of creating the United States was revolutionary. The struggle against an external enemy, i.e. the metropolis, was hand in hand with major internal changes. USA was the first new democratic republic; its organization embodied the political ideals of the Enlightenment. Although something was left from the colonial past as the institution of slavery, the organization of local authorities, but that „the old order”, which the revolutionaries fought in Europe, in America never existed in full. Therefore, the conquest of independence was the crucial internal change.

The most striking feature of the American Revolution of the XVIII century is an absence of terror, which distinguished English and, especially, the French Revolution the late XVIII century. No royal governor was executed and the loyalists were allowed to leave the United States. Colonies struggle for Independence and the proclamation of the republic did not cause a sense of horror in the civilized Europeans. Outside of the UK an attitude to the Americans was quite sympathetic. Even an autocratic Russia, which fought with the republican France, traded with Republican America (Reynolds, 96).

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Although the Russian government does not hurry to establish diplomatic relations with the latter, arrived in St. Petersburg, in 1782, the American commissioner F. Dein received from the Vice-Chancellor I.A. Osterman a formal assurance that he, personally, and his compatriots, „who happen to go to the Russian Empire for trading or other business” (Tindall, 118), met a friendly reception and protection in accordance with international law. In the eyes of Catherine II, and then Paul I, the image of Americans was not associated with the „enemy” – French sans-culotte, or Jacobins (Reynolds, 164).

USA had such a good reputation by no accident. The emergence of an independent republic in the New World did not threaten the feudal monarchical Europe by any revolutionary upheaval. Unlike the French Revolution that declared the „peace to huts, war to palaces”, America is not carried out such a mission, and in the midst of the Revolution in France, the U.S. government refused to support it, arguing that the union contract was awarded to King Louis XVI. Endorsing, in principle, the replacement of a monarchy by a republic, the American public men were guided in foreign policy is not ideological but pragmatic considerations, seeking for their country a peace, neutrality, and the possibility of free trade with all countries. In this „limitation”, The American Revolution, so unlike the English and French, resembled more the Netherlands one of XVI century, which was also a war for independence (Reynolds, 157).

Founding Fathers of the United States were differ not in the moderate goals as independence and republican system but the means and methods for solving internal problems. Instead of conspiracies and coups followed extermination of the vanquished by the gallows or the guillotine, it was used purely political means of struggle, and often compromises. Due to this the elite headed the struggle for independence has retained power until the end. The task of gaining independence and building a new nation united a society, and in the American ideal – freedom and property – all social strata believed. Broad civil liberties have played the role of „safety valve”, transferring social tensions in a peaceful manner (Tindall, 93).

Even the Shays’ Rebellion was not resembled a „senseless and merciless revolt” masses used to loot and burn houses the rich and share someone else’s property. Participants of the movement were the owners themselves, seeking to defend their property from sale and to avoid imprisonment for debt. Shays’ followers gathered at noisy rallies, shaken arms, ousted judges from the attendance places, frustrated the execution of their decisions, even tried to seize an army arsenal.

Itself the state structure of the United State precluded the establishment of a revolutionary dictatorship of any large scale. Under „Articles of Confederation” only states had real sovereignty, there was no one center, where one could pursue a common policy. Unlike the all-powerful French Convention, Continental Congress could not usurp the power, as he would have to fight in such a case with all thirteen states.

The outstanding role in this fight belongs to Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), author of „Declaration of Independence” (1776), one of the greatest documents of American Revolution, where were first formulated the requirements claimed human rights as the foundation of a just social order.

„Declaration” is opened by the famous words that became a manifest of the revolutionary American educators and later is caught up in Europe: „We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” (Tindall, 139). The focus in the „Declaration” was set shared by all educators’ theory of the „natural right”, which directly displays the civil rights as well duties of citizens, but the organization of society is understood as a consequence of the social contract.

Prominent American historian Samuel E. Morison and Henry S. Commager rightly thought that the end of the revolution not only serves the interests of its leaders but also the masses. The development of every revolutionary movement comes to a moment when the masses get tired of campaigning and yearn for peace and security. Then they eliminate the radicals, a disturber of peace, instigators, and take action to improve their governments to ensure the safety of the achievements obtained by the suffering. In this sense, the federal Constitution in 1787, supplemented by Bill of Rights, meant to bring to the end of the transformation, which gave independence.

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