It would not be much of an exaggeration that the most important part of American history is the Revolutionary War, the war which began the process of the United States of America becoming its own country. However, even though it is well known among the states, we still have debates in the historical field as to whether or not it was radical for the time. The sources that are used within this paper are under the belief that the American Revolution was radical for the time. The reasons why the radical side of the revolution are more persuasive are the state of power in the colonies at the time, the situation of commerce after the Seven Years War and actions of the English people at the time.
Even though the Americas were half the world away, they were not fully in control. Before the Seven Years War, a majority of the power that ruled over the states was still within England. In the colonies, the king appointed a governor who was given directions for said colony. However, with both the chance that said directions would be lost in transition and that they might not even be followed, the colonists believed that England was very hands off with them. The governors they had also had low funds which, in turn, caused them to have even less power since there was no currency to back whatever they wanted. This, by no means, was something bad to the Americans, however. They thought it was quite a wonderful opportunity since they were not being directly forced to work with the English rules. Now for the moment, if the colonies suddenly revolted, it would be extremely strange, insane even, especially with their description as “a quarrelsome, litigious, divisive lot” that would more than likely declare wars on each other before making their own country together. Any colonist who would hear this description of themselves would be furious for being treated like a child. The primary problem this created, and thus provided as a radical point for the colonies’ rebellion, is that England was incapable of showing and enforcing power in the new world. This is important more based on the situation in the colonies before the war and perhaps a bit of a turning point for them before the next nail.
With the situation of power in the colonies and the situation in England, The Seven Year War was occurring to the north of the colonies. England entered it and brought along the colonies with them. During 1755, Britain sent a decent number of soldiers to try to quell the war as soon as humanly possible. This led to a large amount of battles that ended with embarrassing British losses. From the Indians’ point of view, it was quite helpful. When the English won, their enemies were defeated and if there was a loss, their enemies got weakened. The colonies took the chance to take their land for more farming and to recoup the losses they received. The colonies did fare better than the British, primarily because they were not dug into the normal way of fighting that was common in Europe. Other than the British’s form of combat against the French and Indian guerilla tactics, this clearly would cost Britain an large amount of money and we all know they wouldn’t pay the bill all by themselves. England did have a fairly good way to make money however, but the colonies would not be that pleased with the thought.
Of the main ideas we’ve been going through, the actual time directly before the revolution provides the best framework and supports this side the most. As many of us know, England began to add a large amount of taxes to the colonies, the first and most well-known of which being the Stamp Act in 1765. This specific one did not bother the Americans that much since they found ways to go around it, usually by smuggling, and it was repealed within a year. A Well-known Activist, Thomas Paine, wrote an entire pamphlet, titled “Common Sense”, explaining that the taxation the British were putting on the colonies was directly opposing their previous ways which were more beneficial to their way of life as well! He mentions that “we should examine the contrary side of the argument… the many material injuries which these colonies sustain, and will always sustain, by being connected with, and dependent on Great-Britain”. It is my belief that Paine believed that the only way the colonies would rebel against Britain was to forcefully show them the problems. Later, they created a new tax on tea which then caused the well-known event of the Tea Party. George R. T. Hewes, a member of the Tea party, recalled that the politicians of the time were “Puffing politicians talk of violent measures, -forcing tea upon the Americans with a fleet and troops to guard it. But to what purpose all this, it righty added ‘unless determined to knock out the brains of those who refuse to buy and drink it!”. It is my belief that both Hewes and the people at the time were being subjugated by the powers of the British to work to pay off the debts they had incurred without them. Because of the massive hole in its vault, England literally was forcing their debt onto the colonies only because their original purpose, decades ago, was a business venture. The Americans were rightfully annoyed and threw the tea into the ocean causing Britain to respond forcefully. With the basic history out of the way, let us reach the conclusion.
With taking this side, it put the revolution in a different light. It means the revolution was to defeat the tyrants that were wrongfully using them to mend their own mistakes. The English were not there with enough power to properly control them, they forced them into a war that they received almost nothing for and after that war, they threw almost all of the cost at them. The colonies were treated poorly as soon as they left Britain and even when they landed, England only wanted them when they could get something out of it. With these reasons, the belief that the American Revolution was radical is the correct one.