Before the American Revolution occurred, the colonies had experienced a laissez-faire style of government imposed by the British. The British believed in the policy of salutary neglect, which refers to the policy of avoiding strict enforcement of laws meant to keep American colonies obedient to England. The American Revolution occurred due to mercantilist policies imposed by the British due to an effort to lower the tremendous amount of debt after the French and Indian War (1754-1763).
The British imposed new taxes such as the Stamp Act (1765) which was a tax on printed items. The Americans then began the slogan “No taxation without representation” which beci the cry of the American Revolution. Although men took the front-lines of the battlefield, the women also did their fair share in supporting the revolution by performing tasks previously done by men (Doc A). America declared independence from British rule on July 4, 1776, which sparked a movement of unity and nationalism.
The American Revolution fundamentally changed American society by establishing a new plan of government known as the Articles of Confederation, by developing a southern economy reliant upon cash crops worked by slaves, and sparking a social conflict among Americans and Native Americans. During the American Revolution, the term “Whigs” referred to the men and women who supported the revolution, while the term “Tories” referred to the men and women who wanted to remain loyal to England. After America had declared its independence, the “Whigs” still had negative views of the “Tories” who did not support the fight for independence.
Awake, Americans, to a sense of your danger. No time to be lost. Instantly banish every Tory from among you. Let America be sacred alone to freemen” (Doc B). Americans continued the ideology of freedom in politics when developing America’s first constitution. The Articles of Confederation was the first constitution of the United States adopted in 1777, but not ratified by all thirteen states until 1781. The Articles of Confederation created a loose confederation of the states and a weak central government, leaving most of the power with the state governments.
Ambition must be made to counteract ambition… It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government” (Doc 1). Later in 1791, the Bill of Rights would be added to the constitution with the first amendment stating the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. “Be it enacted by the general Assembly, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever… ” (Doc D). In the past, as well as the present the South has been known for its agriculture dominated economy.
Farming has been a way of life for many southerners and a huge part of the southern economy due to cash crops such as tobacco (Doc F). However, the demand for cash crops led to slavery, which was supported by the South and opposed by the North. The territory located northwest of the Ohio River banned slavery and involuntary servitude. “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted… ” (Doc H).
There was a growing controversy over the economic future of the United States being based on agricultural practices or commercial businesses and manufacturing. The American Revolution not only involved the British and the Americans, but it also involved the Native Americans. The Native Americans fought on the side of the British and were happy to see the war come to an end. “It makes our hearts rejoice to find that our great father, and his children the Americans have at length made peace, which we wish may continue as long as the Sun and Moon” (Doc C).
However, the Native Americans did worry about how they would be treated by the Americans since they did fight alongside the British, but they hoped for a lasting friendship. However, tensions began to rise when the Native Americans were not included in the making of the Treaty of Paris (1783) which negotiated peace between the British and America. “It is now more than three years since peace was made between the King of Great Britain and you, but we, the Indians, were disappointed, finding ourselves not included in that peace… for we thought that its conclusion would have promoted a friendship between the United States and the Indians.. (Doc E).
These conflicts would eventually lead to the idea of “assimilation”, which states that the Native Americans should integrate into American society and give up their traditions and heritage. The American Revolution brought about many significant changes in history, however it failed to alter society’s view of women. “Do they not plainly inform us, that, because we are females, we ought therefore to be deprived of what is perhaps the most effectual means of acquiring a just, natural and graceful delivery? No one will pretend to deny, that we should be taught to read in the best manner.
And if to read, why not to speak? (Doc]). However, later in history women will be known as the backbone of several prominent wars. During WWI (1914-1918), large numbers of women were recruited into jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight in the war. The women were the ones producing war supplies and materials to help the war effort. Without the women taking over the roles of the men, it is safe to say that America would have suffered greatly during WWI. The wars fought on the battlefield are what most Americans recall in history, but it is what occurred behind the scenes that helped shape this nation into the powerful nation it is today.