Perhaps the most passionately contested topic of the great American Revolution is how it impacted ordinary lives. Much of the contestation focuses on how the revolution secured the independence of one big but united nation. Each of the various states would have followed the example of other British colonies and chosen to be independent. Instead, the country in the declaration of independence emerged as one united country whose model has been adopted by various liberation movements across the world (Schultz). This essay explains how post-revolutionary America impacted the citizen’s opportunities, freedom, and oppression.
From a careful assessment of the post-revolutionary state of the country, only a few seem to have “benefited from the fruits of the revolution, particularly the influential elites” (Alpha History). In essence, the revolution was only a change of masters from the British to the American elite with little social consideration of social inclusivity and liberty. The militia took control of the nation after the revolution started and the rule of law was replaced by frontier justice. At the same time, young and energetic Americans yearned for political power.
Although the revolution succeeded immensely in driving political and economic impacts, little was done to capture the social impacts on society. Popularly referred to as the land of opportunity, America’s splendor was built by immigrants. According to Scott, however, in the post-revolutionary era, immigration controversy emerged and people traveling to the country in search of better lives encounter significant challenges (Scott). Unlike the obvious political and economic agenda that commonly flooded the public records, government systems, and the constitution, it did little for ordinary citizens. Arguably, its effort was against the oppressive forces of the colonial government rather than the mistreatment of the poor.
Schultz argues that the social structural changes that occurred were often faint, sophisticated, and incidental rather than being deliberate and explicit (Schultz). For instance, even though slavery declined from the revolutionary concepts, it was fortified in the emerging society. The slaves that demanded their freedom ended up either in the army or in other forms of state forces. Compared to their contribution to the revolutionary, women benefitted little from the revolution by remaining extensively invisible in society.
Indeed, post-revolutionary America proved to be a land of opportunities, liberty, and oppression for the aforementioned reasons. The revolution was one of the most disturbing events in global history as the country had suffered a long search for freedom. The search for new land and the declaration of independence was true sign that America was a land of opportunity and freedom. Notably, the impact of the revolution is still felt today as America continues to offer space for new immigrants and ensure the freedom of its people.
Alpha History. “Post-Revolution Social Changes”. American Revolution, 2015, https://alphahistory.com/americanrevolution/post-revolution-social-changes/#:~:text=On%20the%20surface%2C%20the%20revolution%20did%20little%20for,rights%20of%20the%20poor%2C%20women%2C%20slaves%20or%20%E2%80%98Indians%E2%80%99.?msclkid=759091a1b38311ecad7314c23ee1ce7d.
Schultz, David. “Too Much Liberty?: Perspectives on Freedom and the American Dream.” International Studies in Philosophy 30.4 (1998): 141-143.
Scott, Charles. “Freedom and Oppression in North America.” Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 17.1 (2012): 1-13.