Radicalism of the american revolution thesis

Was the American Revolution Radical? Rothbard's Conceived in Libertyvol. This neoconservative view of the American Revolution, echoing the reactionary writer in the pay of the Austrian and English governments of the early nineteenth century, Friedrich von Gentz, tries to isolate the American Revolution from all the revolutions in the western world that preceded it and followed it.

Radicalism of the american revolution thesis

October 13, Summary: The Radicalism of the American Revolution overturns the common belief that the American Revolution was a ho-hum affair, led by genteel conservative intellectuals.

In this book, Gordon Wood methodically explains its radical and unique nature. More Details Gordon S. However, if your eyes are not quite as robust as perhaps they once were, you might want to consider an alternative to the paper-back edition. Thus pages seemed to take as long to work through as most books twice that length.

That being said, while the author bears responsibility for his somewhat dry style, the publisher, Vintage, might have splurged on a few more pages and a slightly larger font. That sums up the negative criticism of an otherwise excellent book.

Observer review: The American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood | Books | The Guardian

Now on to the review proper. The American Revolution was much more than a colonial fight for independence from an over-bearing mother country. It was a radical transformation of a society thoroughly imbued with government to one separate from government.

It marked a completely different way of thinking about government. Instead of a top-down patriarchy, the rights of the individual were to be what unified society.


Wood starts with a concise description of colonial society as it existed in the generation prior to the revolution. He explains how hierarchy, patronage, class, dependence, and political power factored into the lives and livelihoods of pre-revolution Americans.

It is only by understanding the status quo prior to the American Revolution that one can appreciate how radical it really was. Wood points out in his introduction that few in the 18th century could conceive of a world where society could exist independently of government. By setting the stage and laying out specifics as he did, the author provides a backdrop against which the reader may compare and contrast pre and post revolutionary American society, and understand the magnitude of the change it ushered in.

Wood does a thorough job of explaining how patriarchal society worked and how social mores were reflected at all levels, from the dominance of the father in families to that of the king in the monarchy. He explains the dramatic and unforeseen shifts in society that were mirrored by changes in government.

Because of the sacrifices and patronage of the upper classes, the lower classes were expected to defer to their betters, and to know their place. After providing a clear picture of early 18th century society, Wood explains how republican principles took root in the American colonies as they did in no other place.

In the 18th century, enlightened aristocrats toyed with republican principles by attempting to blend them with monarchical ones.

Radicalism of the american revolution thesis

Disinterestedness literally meant that politicians were expected to be above private concerns and should avoid even the appearance of personal gain in their service.

The ideal candidate was financially secure and did not need to engage in business, thus freeing him from conflicts of interest.

The concept, which largely failed under the weight of its own impracticality, was simply this: This virtue could be found only in a republic of equal, active, and independent citizens.

Wood sums up the vision of the Founders thusly, The vision of the revolutionary leaders is breathtaking. As hard-headed and practical as they were, they knew that by becoming republican they were expressing nothing less than a utopian hope for a new moral and social order led by enlightened and virtuous men.

Their soaring dreams and eventual disappointments made them the most extraordinary generation of political leaders in American history. Their vision resulted in, and was due in part to, changes in society that have become so ingrained in the character of America as to be unremarkable to modern Americans.

The government under the Articles of Confederation reflected how loose the bonds holding society together were becoming. Although the Federalists prevailed with the adoption of the Constitution, the days of enlightened luminaries were numbered.

In the end, the notion of disinterested public service gave way to a realization that men like Washington were few and far between. Instead, the merits of hard work and being self-made began to take precedence.

This was incorporated even in political life. Self interest was no longer taboo.

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Politicians were workmen worthy of their hire. However, even if altruistic disinterest was discarded as impractical, the concept of virtue was democratized. Being good was no longer the special province of the aristocracy.

Good governance depended upon it.The Radicalism of the American Revolution is a nonfiction book by historian Gordon S. Wood, published by Vintage Books in In the book, Wood explores the radical character of the American schwenkreis.com: Gordon S.

Wood. Thesis Statement. The break away from a monarchy-based social society to a republic one during the American Revolution posed some irony for certain members of society such as the poor dirt farmers, women and slaves. The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S.

Wood Order Description?? The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood. ?Locate the author’s thesis—their main point or conclusion—this can be found in the PREFACE or INTRODUCTION or the Beginning of a documentary. UW TACOMA DIVISION OF SOCIAL AND HISTORICAL STDY HISTORY (TACOMA) Detailed course offerings (Time Schedule) are available for.

Autumn Quarter ; Winter Quarter ; T HIST Introduction to History Methods (5) I&S Introduces students to historians' methods for researching and writing, including Chicago style, with a focus on formulating, researching, and writing a history .

[Chapter 80, "Was the American Revolution Radical?," from Murray N. Rothbard's Conceived in Liberty, vol. 4, The Revolutionary War, –]. Especially since the early s, America has been concerned with opposing revolutions throughout the world; in the process, it has generated a historiography that denies its own revolutionary past.

The Radicalism of the American Revolution Essay Sample. Gordon Wood is Professor of History at Brown University. He is one of the leading scholars researching issues of .

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