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American Revolution

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Essay title: American Revolution

While the American Revolutionaries were successful in achieving some of their aims through the revolution, it had become apparent that the post-war country they had envisioned had since failed to formulate in 1789. The ideals of equality, political freedom, liberty and a republic government were only partially achieved by Washington's inauguration. However, this was not achieved easily or immediately. Between the period 1775-1783, the revolutionaries treatment of the loyalists was a contradiction to the political freedom they had fought for. However, by winning the battle of Yorktown in 1781, the Americans had achieved liberty and was independent of British rule.Throughout the period of 1783-1787, the revolutionaries had mimicked the actions of the British. Americans were being taxed heavily without representation and many prerequisites had to be fulfilled before a person could vote. Black slaves, native americans and women were all denied the right to vote. Despite this, the revolutionaries had managed to establish a just government system during the Philadelphia Convention. The period 1788-1789 saw the introduction of the twelve amendments to prevent the abuse of powers by the government. In 1789, George Washington was elected as the first President of the United States without an election taking place. Over centuries, there have been numerous varying assessments of the revolution. Left wing historians considered the revolution as a failure whilst conservative historians claim that it was the 'greatest and completest revolution'. More recently, revisionists have felt that the dreams and disappointments have made the revolutionists extraordinary gentlemen.

After the war, many of those who had once been loyal to the crown, or where not fully supportive of the new regime were persecuted and suffered terrible hardship, as well as losses of their rights, and in some cases, their lives. Rather than recognizing the loyalist's rights to political freedom, many of the former revolutionaries proceeded to accusing those who had been loyalists of treason. This paints the loyalists as extremely hypocritical as they were persecuting others for the very things that they had hated the British for up until 1783. Politic freedom being one of the objectives the revolutionaries had claimed to have been fighting for, one is left with no other choice but to consider this objective failed. Although free speech had been secured for those select rich and powerful few, the majority of the country was still at risk of being labeled traitors for their beliefs. Harsh punishments were given for those unloyal to the new government. In Pennsylvania, two people where hanged for their disloyalty. Furthermore, in New York, over 1000 accused traitors were charged, and many had their homes and farms taken away from them. However, the Americans had managed to fulfill their objective of obtaining liberty, in that their new country was free and was no longer simply a colony of Britain.

The period of 1783 - 1787 saw the revolutionaries temporarily diverge from the ideals they had preached prior to the revolution. The argument of no 'no taxation without representation' was completely ignored post-revolution. State governments had readily imposed taxes on their population after the war. By 1786, American states had imposed more taxes on its citizens than the British government

had ever tried to do. The matter of suffrage was also an issue. There were many restrictions on who was eligible to vote, though these varied between states. For example, in New York, you had to have lived in New York for 6 months, be an American citizen, be at least 21 years old, be male, own 20 pounds of property, and be white. In South Carolina you had to be 21 years old and own 50 acres of land. The only exception for this was in Pennsylvania where the requirements were least onerious; any free male over 'the full age of twenty-one years .. resided in the state for one whole year ... and paid public taxes during that time' was eligible. However, despite this, a large portion of the population were unrepresented whilst being taxed. Again, this is in complete contradiction to the goals that the revolutionaries claimed to be fighting for, one of which being the achievement of representation in order to justify taxation

Furthermore, the 'unalienable rights' of men were not extended to women, black slaves and native americans. In 1787, the newly written constitution stated that black slaves were worth three-fifth's of a person for the purpose of estimating how much tax each state should pay and

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