How Revolutionary Was the American Revolution?

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The Revolution is considered one of the greatest chapters of American history, a triumph in the face of oppression by the British. It's true cultural significance, however, in the context of the times is not thought of as much as it should, however. [This is one of a series of DBQ's I've written. Unfortunately I don't have access to the documents in question.]
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  John CramerusU.S. HistoryHow Revolutionary Was the American RevolutionIf one was to ask someone what the most important moment within American history was, howwould they guess their reply would be? Perhaps they might think that when our country was almost splitasunder during the civil war, or perhaps the great economic struggle that we went through during theGreat Depression. It would probably be far more likely, however, that the response would be that ourmost defining moment was the formation of our country; The American Revolution. The question is,how revolutionary was this event in reality? Was it truly the world-turning event that America makes itout to be, or was it of a more preservative nature?In order to truly divine the answer to that question one must look at all aspects of the changesthat occurred before and after the revolution. Perhaps this might be best shown by the legislature and its effects on its subjects. As was said in the Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty,and the pursuit of happiness, ” (Document A).The economy itself was not drastically overthrown upon its head. While there were some shiftswithin the upper class and those in power, it was no French Revolution where the entire aristocracy wasmore or less put to death. In fact, the powerful families which supported Britain during the war which had their land confiscated were allowed to buy them back at fair prices using their “pre - emption rights.”(Document E). While this wasn’t exactly the same as the ir conserving their wealth, it was similar. Of thePhillips family, one such group of loyalists who had their property taken, only a third of the land thatwas resold was to buyers other than members of the Phillips family who used pre-emption rights.(Document E). This wasn’t to say that it was all this way, however. In totality over 1,800,000 acres of  loyalist families changed hands as a result of the revolution (Document F).The members of the government, representatives of the state governments, were probably asaccurate a representation of the aristocracy of those times as any other group, being that they were allmembers and wealthy land owners. The members of the Constitutional Convention themselves wereoverwhelmingly beneficiaries of the Constituti on’s adoption (Document H). The members of  government in general, however, decreased in their economic stature, the amount of them having anincome of over five thousand pounds more than halving, and the amount with an income between fivehundred and two thousand pounds more than tripling (Document I).Beyond the changing of hands of property, deeds, and pounds, there were also severalfundamental changes in the legislature of the states, most notably, policies concerning slavery. Theabolition of slavery began in the year 1777, the year after the Declaration of Independence, when Vermont outlawed slavery, as a direct result of America’s newly gained independence. Several states had followed, outrightly outlawing or beginning to outlaw slavery and finishing at a later date. It is true  that the majority of the southern states did not outlaw slavery until Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, however (Document K).Of course, the ideals behind legalities are not always put into place within the realities of life. Inthe year 1819, a young black man who was valedictorian of his school in New York, which had begunthe abolition of slavery but was doing so gradually, passionately spoke about the truths of a black person’s opportunity within the States. W hile progressivism began to be put into place at the time of the Revolution, it still would be much longer until measures of equality would begin surfacing. There were other fronts being fought on the topic of equality. As John Adams’ wife Abigail Adams w rote her wishes to him in 1776, “…in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors,” (Document M).   While the matter of woman’s suffrage wasn’t resolved until thenineteenth amendment of the Constitution instituted in 1920, it isn’t to say there weren’t changed following the Revolution. In the two decades of and after the ground breaking event, the favorabledecrees made towards women in a court of law concerning divorce increased by significant margins(Document O).While it may be true that there was no complete cultural upheaval identifying Americans completely distinctly from their previous British Colonist selves, that doesn’t mean there weren’t huge changes. From abolition, to equality, to the economy itself, there were major differences before andafter the American Revolution. While one might pre-suppose that we were merely protecting ourfreedom and nothing more came of it, close examination leads to a much difference answer.
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