Why was the American Revolution is a Conservative Movement?

Some historians say the 13 colonies were destined for revolution since their creation. Although it took many years to develop, resentment for British rule finally grew so much that in 1776 the colonies declared independence from Britain. This wasn’t about to be granted without a fight from the world’s most powerful nation, and thus the American Revolution ensued. When colonies won the war, a drastically different society and government were formed, making it clear this was a radical movement.

First, deep societal changes occurred in the social structure of what was now the United States of America. Prior to the revolution, social classes were strict: lawyers and politicians were generally more important than metalworkers and other artisans, and it stayed that way. There wasn’t any fluidity, a person couldn’t move into a higher socioeconomic status. However, after the revolution, as author Gordon Wood states, “One class did not overthrow the other. But social relationships – the way people connected to each other – were changed” (Wood 132). He is explaining that the class gap between rich and poor became almost undistinguishable. In fact, the whole middle class was created; whereas before the war, families were either rich or poor. This had a profound impact on society, as the population was generally more accepting of who you are, and it also created opportunities to build wealth that individuals didn’t have before.

Second, an even bigger change was in the government of the colonies. After the revolution, they became a confederation of states, one independent country. The men who just a few years earlier were considered British subjects and had no experience whatsoever in governance, were now tasked with not just being part of a government, but creating a whole new one. They intended the new government to be “far from remaining monarchial. Americans had become almost overnight, the most liberal, the most democratic, and the most modern people in the world” (Wood 133). Colonists were used to being forced to accept laws that were dictated to them, but now, in the republic, citizens actually had a say in government. No country had ever before used a democracy as the primary government in a country, and it was a huge change for people living there, and a primary reason why the revolution should be considered radical.

All in all, the American Revolution proved to be a major turning point in the life of the new American citizens. It completely revamped their social class structure, increasing fluidity and creating a middle class, and implemented a completely new form of government, a republic that gave everyone a say. There was hardly anything left the same after the war was fought, proving this was not a conservative movement.

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