Fundamental Change of American Society
The American War for Independence was brought on due to the subconscious aversion to British control. Americans increasingly wanted nothing to do with Great Britain and developed different societal Ideas from them constantly. America was growing as a nation, but to grow even further, they needed liberation from the Crown.
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Patriots took supremacy over all Tories in favor of the Crown and the rest of those remaining impartial.
They felt strongly about getting rid of British existence by he time the war had commenced, and in 1779, a newspaper stated, “Instantly banish every Tory from among you… [And] send them to the Island of Britain” (Doc. B). Because of the war, American society was changed in numerous ways. American fundamentals were altered by the American Revolution in regard to class differences economically, the growing trend of a strong central government politically, and the granting of more freedoms socially.
Before the war, America’s economy was controlled by Britain’s mercantilist system; therefore, America was comprised of farmers in the south and merchants in the orth. Without the mercantilist system, disputes arose on whether the new country should be based primarily on agriculture or manufacturing and trade. Those In favor of the Jeffersonian idea believed that farming was, indeed, a very important occupation (Doc. F). Thomas Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican, believed farmers were so virtuous because they were economically independent and were self- sustaining.
Because of the new land ordinances, there was plentiful land for farming utilization, too. Alexander Hamilton, a Federalist and first Secretary of the Treasury, n the other hand, believed that imports and exports was the best way to better the economy and develop as a country. He also pressed for a national bank to stabilize and Improve the nation’s credit, whereas Hamilton was strongly opposed as he sought a more stately-governed nation. The post-war economy gave the citizens many hardships, though, and there was serious civil unrest in some areas (Doc. G).
The classes differed in America greatly due to the poor economy, making a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Rebellions arose, including the Shays Rebellion, hich took place In Massachusetts from 1786-1787. It occurred because of the financial diffculties the lower-class people were going through, the lack of credit in the new paper money, and harsh policies to decrease the debt. A militia had to be formed instantaneously and the government power eventually won, but It showed that a strong military was needed for the government to be successful and reduce the amount of rebellions.
Under the Articles of Confederation, the American government had little success. Federalists and Anti-Federalists existed, where Federalists generally pursued a strong entral government as the Ann-Federalists wanted the opposite. The Articles of Confederation gave a state-supported government, but It wasnt successful In many ways. There were many rebellions arising due to the weak government as a new 1 OF3 nation, so tne Idea 0T a strong central government Degan to arlse . Ine reaerallst papers addressed many aspects of why the Constitution should be ratified.
The main ideas included the following: including the fact that a strong government would better defeat the rising up of factions and other rebellions. The Annapolis Convention occurred in 1786 and resulted in a call for a Constitutional Convention. In September of 1787, the Convention took place to revise the Articles of Confederation, but Alexander Hamilton and James Madison schemed to propose a new government all together: the Constitution. James Madison’s main idea resulted in the Virginia Plan with a very powerful, proportionate bicameral legislature, an executive, and a judiciary.
After the Constitution, the paper Federalist No. 51 was published in February 1788 and created by Madison to get across to the people the structure of he government planned by the Constitution Convention. The main ideas were: dependency and encroachment to assert that each department should be as independent as possible, the legislature to assert that it is the strongest branch with equally powerful individual branches, usurpations and security to guard from usurpations because it is divided into distinct and separate departments, and factions to end any political uprisings.
Basically, the Federalist Papers advocated a means by which checks and balances can be created and a separation of powers. The government had more power than the Articles of Confederation now, but Madison still feared the Constitution gave too limited of federal government power (Doc. l). Since the Constitution was implemented, the Federalists and Ann-Federalists were now disputing about loose and strict interpretations of the document. For example, if a law came about that wasn’t specifically stated in the Constitution that the Federalists wanted, the Anti-Federalists deemed it unconstitutional.
The Federalists argued that if a law was not expressly stated against, the law was constitutional. From being a divided, state-governed nation under the Articles of Confederation, to a united nation under the U. S. Constitution, the United States was now under the control of a strong central government and on the road to being one of the most powerful countries in the world. During the American Revolution, many social changes were brought about. In the war, women were taking part in activities that men typically only performed.
Deborah Sampson was one of the women that participated in the war to assert her importance as a woman. She disguised as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army. Other women who were said to participate in battles were given the nickname “Molly Pitcher. The phrase “Patriot Woman” came into existence, and before the war, both terms were always separated (Doc. A). Daughters of Liberty used their home skills to create a home manufacturing system for all the soldiers to support the war. Molly Wallace stated her claim that since women were allowed to read, then they should be allowed to speak (Doc.
J). She wanted for women’s voices to be heard since they were just as educated and active as men in society. Unfortunately, this speech signified that, although women contributed very much in the war, women’s rights were not significantly changed. As far as Native American relations, they were hoping to have peaceful relations with Americans since the King told them to “take [the Americans] by the hand as friends and brothers” (Doc. C). The Native Americans were not included in the Treaty of Paris of 1783, however, as the United States were making pollcles 0T separate treatles wltnln trlDes.
I ne Natlves were quite apprenenslve, ana they stated, “we thought that [the treaty’s] conclusion would have promoted a friendship between the United States and the Indians” (Doc. E). The whites were moving west now, as the Proclamation Line of 1783 was eliminated (Doc. H). The Northwest Ordinance was declared to let the Americans move westerly as long as they did not bring any slavery into the areas with them. The Indians were in no place mentioned in the laws of the Northwest Ordinance and were again trying to be disregarded by the Americans.
On the other hand, the northern slavery opposition started growing even more, which was a huge step in social change for the blacks. They were also accounted for in Congress due to the Three-fifths Compromise allowing the slave population to be represented in the southern states in the House. Religious freedom came about as well during the American Revolution as the Virginia Statutes stated, “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever” (Doc. D).
This promoted religious diversity in the United States; thus, encouraging the American Identity. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights also established freedom of religion, as well as freedom of speech, the right to assemble, and freedom of the press. These new freedoms escalated to the fundamental idea of a free country. The fundamentals of American society were changed by the American Revolution. Economic change in class differences, political change in the strong central government trend, and social change in the spreading idea of freedom.
Egalitarianism was an overall change in the society, too, meaning everyone is equal. The main effect of the revolution was a new strong federal government brought about by the Constitution, which gave everyone equal rights. This is a main foundation for the United States of America’s prospering. Without the ideal of equal rights for all, America would be a completely different society all together, without “life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. “