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American Revolution’s Effects on American Society

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One of the most significant events in United States history was the American Revolution. However, the significance of the event did not lay in the number of casualties or in Revolutionary wartime strategies. The importance of the Revolution lay in its effects of American Society. This landmark in American history has caused important changes to the government, affected vast and deep social changes, and altered the economic state of the newborn nation in the years of 1775 to 1800.

From the American Revolution, the United States came to establish a strong government that functions to this day. The Articles of Confederation, written in 1777, was the first American Constitution. It was ratified in 1781. The Articles established that the Congress was to be the leading agency of government, that there was to be no executive branch, and that the judicial branch was to be left in the hands of the states. The Articles were scratched off in the Philadelphia Convention of 1786, and a brand new constitution was drafted. The “Great Compromise” was established during this conference, which established a bicameral congress. Furthermore, the government was divided into three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial branch. A system of checks and balances was also implemented to equalize the powers of the government. Along with these establishments, the nation came a republic. In 1788, when Washington presided as the president of the United States, and the constitution was yet to be ratified, James Madison, an influential legislator and a federalist, wrote in “The Federalist” of the necessity of government and the difficulty for its establishment, as all people are naturally corrupt, and yet government is to be established by the people. (Doc. I) For the United States to be able to establish this functioning system of government at this point in history proved to be quite a significant accomplishment, especially since these systems of government are still function to this day.

In addition to the political effects caused by the Revolution, there were also numerous social influences, as the role of women and the role of slavery in society saw significant change. Demonstrated through artwork of the Revolutionary era, such as a Woodcut of Patriot Woman created in Massachusetts in 1779, women played an important role during the Revolution (Doc. A). They played significant roles in supporting Revolutionary troops and running society, as the men were off to fight. Some women even dressed up as men to join in to fight. Deborah Samson, for example, was a willing volunteer whom had disguised herself as a young man to fight against the British.

As the Revolutionary Era progressed, women’s cries for rights and suffrage were further amplified. More women sought education, and with it, more women’s education institutions were established, such as the Young Ladies’ Academy of Philadelphia (Doc. J) With education, women became much more politically active and opinionated. As expressed by Molly Wallace, an educated woman in 1792, they fought for women’s suffrage, wanting a public say in society, and the ability to vote (Doc. J) Furthermore, they sought to break from the cult of domesticity and the conservative female sphere. Many women did, in fact, break themselves from these conventional stereotypical views of women. Abigail Adams, for one, the wife of president John Adams, was a woman that had great influence in politics. Even Founding Father Thomas Jefferson sought the opinions and advice of Abigail Adams, as in a letter to Jefferson in 1787, she replied to his query of the tumults in Massachusetts (Doc. G). The fact that a Thomas Jefferson respected Abigail Adam’s opinion and advice reflects the bettering role of women in American Society.

Slavery, a controversial topic of the time, was another issue that was met with change after and during the American Revolution. Gradually, slavery was beginning to be looked upon as morally wrong, and many states began to ban it, such as in Ohio (Doc. H). The Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which was instituted to raise money after the Depression of the 1780’s, abolished slavery from the territories northwest of the Ohio River, and infringement of the law was to be met with punishment of varying degrees. Divided views on slavery and the advancement of the North towards the abolition of slavery created sectionalism, which would later serve as an important cause of the American Civil War.

In addition, the relationship between Native Americans and Americans was another topic of change from 1775 to 1800. After the British defeat, Native Americans rested on shaky grounds with the Americans, as they had supported the British. Therefore, they approached Americans with hopes of reconciliation. However, their attempts were futile. A “Message to

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