September 26

Blog #40 – Was the American Revolution conservative or radical by its nature?

One of the primary themes that I’ve wanted you to consider over this unit on the American Revolution was the concept of whether or not it was a conservative revolution (people trying to keep powers that they already have been exercising for years) or whether it was truly a radical revolution (people striking out on their own by overthrowing an existing political or social order and creating a new one).   American historical scholars have been debating its very nature of the American Revolution soon after it ended.

As we read over and study chapter 7 in our textbook, many of you are asking questions about the use of my analogy of the American colonies as the spoiled child / teen overeeacting to limits being placed on the adolescent by previously indulgent parent (Britain / Parliament) who now realizes that their child has grown up and needs to take some responsibility.  My attitudes about the Revolution have changed over the past three years since I’ve started teaching APUSH and have become more nuanced.  What I mean by that is that I used to believe what most of you have probably been taught – we were right and the British were tyrants, and it was just a matter of time that we asserted our unalienable rights by breaking away from the British empire to become the greatest nation in the history of the world.

The more I study the Revolution, the more I see numbers like the taxation issue (Brits were taxed 26 shillings to the colonists’ 1 shilling), and I wonder what the big deal was.  Parliament wasn’t asking the colonies to pay the debt of 140 million pounds sterling that the empire had accrued during the French and Indian War – just 1/3 of the 100,000 pounds that it cost for the soldiers to be there to protect the Indians on the other side of the Proclamation Line of 1763.


The pre-Civil War era (1840-1870) was filled with historians who saw the Revolution as a quest for liberty, and the most important scholar was George Bancroft who wrote a ten-volume History of the United States.  Bancroft felt that the Revolution was a “struggle between liberty and tyranny… represent[ing] one phase of a master plan by God for the march of all mankind toward a golden age of greater human freedom” (Bancroft 13).   Bancroft represented a national historian who told America’s epic story  in an ultra-patriotic way.  After the Civil War, however, historians wanted to reassess the Revolution in light of the country’s amazing industrial growth.

Imperial and Progressive Schools 

The Imperial School believed that political and constitutional issues brought on the Revolution.  Britain’s colonial policies were not as unjust as Bancroft had said.  There were benefits and burdens with the Navigation Acts, and the colonists benefited under Salutary Neglect too.  Also, Imperial School historians felt that the British were justified in taxing the Americans b/c it was British blood and treasure spent during the Great War for Empire 1754-63.  American colonies were moving in the direction of more home rule which, in essence, was revolutionary, by nature.

The Progressive School emphasized that it was the economic split caused by the competition between the colonies and the mother country.  Not only that, but the Progressives placed a great emphasis on class conflict, so this Revolution was actually two – external against Britain and internal between social classes (which class would rule America after the British left).  Historian Arthur Schlesinger noted that usually conservative merchants played a key role in kick starting the Revolution b/c they feared what would happen to their positions if the lower classes won the internal Revolution.

Consensus Movement

Historians in the 1950s, the consensus school of history, feel that there wasn’t class conflict during this time period, but that a “shared commitment to certain fundamental political principles of self-government” was what bound the colonists together (Bailey 140).  It was these ideas – liberty, voting, representative government, trial by jury, habeas corpus – that bound Americans together.  The leading historian of this movement was one of my favorites, Daniel Boorstin.  It was these grand, shared ideas that bound the varied colonial interests together and minimized the social and economic conflicts that could have torn the colonies apart.

After the 1950s, historian Bernard Bailyn focused on ideological and psychological factors that drove the RevolutioFront Covern.  He had read hundreds and hundreds of pamphlets from the Revolutionary era and discovered that not only were the colonists extremely literate, they were very knowledgeable in political theory.  These American writers also grew suspicious (some say too sensitive) of conspiracies, and this hypersensitivity led the colonists to begin armed revolt in 1775 at Lexington and Concord.

New Left (1960s, 70s)

Another one of my favorite historians, Gary Nash, has examined the social and economic forces that moved the Revolution along.  He pointed out the increasing gap between the social classes and lack of social mobility before the Revolution, especially among the people who lived in the countryside.  Attacks by the poor (the Paxton Boys in PA and the Regulators in N.C.) on the wealthy before the Revolution are prime examples of the frustration and resentment that laborers felt at being left out of the rapid economic change.  Unlike the Progressive historians, the New Left historians like Nash don’t pin all of the conflict upon economic conflict but include social changes as well.

Not only have you gotten a lesson in historiography (the history of the history – of the Revolution in this case), you can see that history is not a static thing and changes over time.  The history usually reflects the political and social conditions of the writers / historians living at that time.

Using what you’ve read here and in chapters 7 and 8, provide with me some insight into what you think our American Revolution was – a conservative revolution or truly radical one in nature.  Also, please provide some rationale for your answer. 

Due Monday, October 1 by class time.  Minimum of 250 words.  


Bailey, Thomas Andrew, David M. Kennedy, and Lizabeth Cohen. The American Pageant. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. Print.

Wood, Gordon S. “Rhetoric and Reality in the American Revolution.” The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States. London: Penguin, 2011. 25-55. Print

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Posted September 26, 2012 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

74 thoughts on “Blog #40 – Was the American Revolution conservative or radical by its nature?

  1. Aaron Walt

    The American Revolution was a radical revolution, although not as radical as other revolutions around the world. The reason it is not quite conservative though is because although it appeared they did, they actually didn’t have any power toward governing itself until not long before the revolution. The main reason this revolution was not more radical was because Britain was ruling them from across the Ocean. They had limited soldiers and governors in the colonies. If they were directly ruling them, the revolution would have been much more radical and violent than it already was. I think the revolution was made radical by the British. I say this because they did certain things to cause the revolution inthe first place. The Boston Massacre and the taxes on various goods in the colonies added anger to the colonists that sparked the revolution. If England listened to the colonists about what they wanted, and try to make them happy, America would be very different than it is. Also, the Quebec Act and the Proclamation of 1763 were terrible ideas. They were the opposite of what the colonists wanted. Not only did they restrict where colonists could live, they gave land back to people they had recently beaten in a war. (The French) So, if you had up all of these factors, you will realize that the British had absolutely no interest in the benefit of the common good of the colonists, but instead focused entirely on ways to make themselves money to pay off their debt. This was the perfect reason for the colonists to have a radical revolution and overthrow the British.

  2. Michael Shi

    Today, the revolutionary war is usually taught from America’s point of view. In most elementary and middle schools, students are taught that the revolutionary war was a war fought for our independence under the tyrannical British rule and the war is always depicted as conservative. However, I believe that the American Revolution was a radical revolution. As a result of the revolution, which was against a non-tyrannical government, the English hierarchy was abolished and a new, democratic government was established. Colonists were suspicious of the motives of the British when new taxes were implemented. However, these taxes were justified as the colonies were British property. Although some of the Colonists’ rights had been violated such as the right to trial by jury, the colonists wanted more than just to retain their rights. Colonists tarred and feathered British officials and incited violence. Many radicals such as Samuel Adams acted as catalysts to the revolution by lying and spreading propaganda throughout the colonies. For example, a radical spread word that a British soldier had killed a soldier and was going to get away with it. The colonists started to harass the soldiers, throwing rocks and surrounding the soldiers’ barracks. Somewhere in the crowd of colonists, somebody yelled “fire” and the British opened fire on the colonists. Eight colonists were killed and many more were injured. This event later became known as the Boston Massacre. Last, the new government created by the revolution was democratic, unlike any other government in the world at the time.

  3. Cameron_S.

    I believe the Revolution was conservative; the Historiography brings up a good point in how the nature of the Revolution has changed. I think we started to think the Revolution was truly radical when we started to become a world superpower. The Colonists were no creating a new social order, they were just frustrated, they were English citizens living in the colonies who were not getting the right English citizens had in Great Britain, the colonists wanted to have fair trials and representative government which was lacking in the colonies. Now I think that some radicalism helped spread revolutionary ideals because, I think conservative thought wouldn’t be as extreme to start a full-fledged revolution. Also I think the colonists were a bit fed up with the outcome of the recent war, I think the proclamation line riled people up , paying soldiers to guard land that might have been theirs before the war. I also think they saw Parliament as someone who wouldn’t listen to them. The colonist also were probably really frustrated about losing their rights they had for years , they wanted a change leading to the revolution. By these facts was conservative because the colonist protected rights they had exercised for so many years before. Also the colonist were tired of being pushed around by a Government across the ocean in England, the Revolution was absolutely conservative by nature.

  4. Ariel B 2nd hour

    I believe that the American Revolution was both a radical revolution and a conservative revolution. In some ways it was like a conservative revolution, with the colonists wanting things to stay the way they were. Simultaneously, the colonists wanted to completely let go of the mother country, Britain, and start fresh without the rule of a king. The Americans wanted to keep things the way they were. I think that when the Brits started disrupting the peace and order the colonists had and changing the way they live it made the colonists think about whether they even needed Britain controlling them when they could obviously take care of themselves. I think it was radical because the American colonists were rebelling for some petty reasons. I think the Americans paying 1 shilling of taxes while the British citizens paid 26 shillings of taxes was a very small matter, and having a revolution over that was kind of silly. I understand that it was the fact that they had no say in whether or not they had any taxes but I think if Britain had paid better attention to the colonies over the years, a war wouldn’t have broken out. It’s funny that we still ended up having to pay taxes in the long run. I think the American Revolution was a mixture of both a conservative and radical revolution. Both Britain and the colonies played a role in starting the revolution, and they both did things wrong that were instrumental in causing the conflict. Britain the neglectful parent, and Americans the spoiled, dramatic, teenagers.

  5. Bridget LePine

    I think the American Revolution was both a conservative and radical revolution. Saying that I also think there is more support to back up the American Revolution as a conservative revolution.
    After the French and Indian war that the colonists helped fight in, Britain won a lot of land in North America, this land used to belong to the French. The colonists felt like they really helped in the war, and were ready to expand into the new land that they fought for. The British soon ruined the spirits of the colonists by creating the proclamation of 1763. The Proclamation stated that the colonist could not settle on the new land, that they just fought for. The colonists were furious with the British.
    The British sent an army to America, to defend the colonists. This was thought of as a nice gesture, until the British made the colonists pay for the army. The British thought that since the army was protecting the colonists, the colonists should pay for it. This didn’t settle well with the colonists. They thought the army was unnecessary, no one was attacking the colonists and quite frankly the colonists didn’t think they needed defending since the French and Indian war was over.
    The colonists loved their tea, but most certainly did not love the taxes on tea. The tax on tea was being placed by the British. The thought of paying the British to enjoy a cup of tea, infuriated the colonists.
    The colonists were happy with the way of living in America, and didn’t really think about finding a new way to govern the colonies. But the British thought otherwise. The British wanted to restructure the New World’s society.

  6. William Schwartz

    The American Revolution was a conservative one, rather than a radical one. All the signs point to this conclusion, the colonists were fighting for rights that they had already flourished with for hundreds of years, they weren’t creating a social upheaval. The main cause of the Revolution was the paranoia that the King would become an overtaxing tyrant, not that he already was one. As the article A New Kind of Revolution states “ Americans were convinced that a conspiracy was afoot in Britain to deprive them of their liberties. Historians, however, can find no real basis for such fears.” The Americans just wanted to keep their lifestyle under the old British trend of salutary neglect. Another fact that supports a conservative revolution is that they were fighting not because the taxes were “excessive or oppressive” but because they thought the taxes were disregarding their rights as a British subject. The Americans saw the British as greedy, powerful, and corrupt and an “obvious threat to liberty”. Another factor in starting the conflict that indicates a conservative revolution is the Proclamation of 1763. The Americans felt that it was their god-given right to expand deeper into America, so they saw the proclamation as taking away their rights. To the British though, it was just made to stabilize relations with the Indians. The revolution was caused mostly by people distorting the truth and not seeing it for what it really was. The paranoia toward the British Government caused the revolution, not the social or political order, therefore the revolution was conservative.

  7. Remy Combs

    I believe that the American Revolution was overall conservative. It didn’t create a strong social disturbance like the French and Russian revolutions, and it didn’t pit the classes against one another. The men in Congress and the men who led the Continental army never wanted to change society. Although the shape of the American government changed, it always stuck to its traditional practices and ideas. Because of this, the AR has been thought of as a conservative revolution, making it special among the major revolutionary movements of the modern era. A lot of the leaders of the AR were men of property, members of the elite that had controlled the colonies before the war with Britain. They consisted of lawyers, landowners, and merchants. They were not nobility; American society was too fluid for that. There was a room at the top for the self-made man. The space between rich and poor was not as big as it was in Europe. Even so, the men who oversaw the struggle for independence saw themselves as the natural leaders of a social order that was necessarily just. Some of these men worried about the social consequences of their revolution. They did so even as they followed the logic of their own political ideas and encouraged a wider pool of men to participate in government.

  8. Chris G.

    In this respect the movement of the American ‘revolutionaries’ from British colonial citizens to citizens of an independent democratic nation might not seem ‘conservative’ however some argued that the movement to democracy didn’t go far enough. With the definitions you have been given, it is a Radical Theory/Movement. The idea for the colonies was revolutionary, that is, it had never been tried before and it was sweeping in it’s scope. Under current political definitions it would be considered part of conservative thought. Freedom from tyranny, even at the price of war. Dissolution of the monarchy and moving towards representative republicanism. Taxation with representation and the idea of overwhelming freedom of the individual to rise above his station through his own efforts rather than entitlement. Conservative, liberal, none of this was intellectual thought in the last half of the 1700’s. there’s nothing that was fought for or won that made the political system or economy more conservative. It was a rebellion involving overthrowing the king’s power in the colonies. This was a time of rapid change and subversive thinking, asserting the rights of all people. I wouldn’t say it was conservative at all. The Americans were tired of being treated like trash so they chose to break free from the oppressive powers. it demonstrated to the british and other monarchies that there was a limit to what their populace would put up with. With the american revolution, even more than the taxes, the subjects of benign neglect, representation and redress were demonstrated to be critical for maintaining rule over a people. Secondly, it proved that governments other than monarchies could succeed–and in doing so, paved the way for a long series of revolutions against the monarchies of europe.

  9. Neelan J.

    In my opinion, I think that the American Revolution was a conservative and not a radical revolution. Before the revolution even started, the colonists thought and new that they were being unfairly taxed by the government for things that were not necessary to be taxed. Things like the Navigation Acts and the Sugar Act showed the colonists’ anger and their rage. Those were just some of the acts that had angered the colonists which had led them to protest against the government. A “Conservative Revolution” means people trying to keep powers that they already have been exercising for years. This definition basically exemplifies what the American Revolution really was. Many of the laws that had been issued before the American Revolution stayed the same after the revolution was over. I can agree why people can say that the American Revolution was radical, because colonists did try to “overthrow some of the existing political or social order” and protest for what they had believed what was right. During this timeframe there was also an increasing gap between both the social classes and attacks by the poor on the wealthy showed that they were trying to protest and the economic change that was going on. Overall, in my opinion, I think that the American Revolution was a conservative and not a radical revolution.

  10. Darab Khan

    I think that the American Revolution was a conservative revolution. The colonists just wanted what they believed was already theirs. We were simply fighting to keep our previous rights. We had restrictions on what we could and could not make in our own homes, so that we wouldn’t compete with British goods. They didn’t allow us to start our own currency in fear of the colonists defrauding British merchants. Even after they had won the Seven Years’ War and gained all the new territories west of the Appalachian Mountains they made the Proclamation of 1763 which wouldn’t allow the colonists to settle there because they wouldn’t be able to control all of the colonists if they were spread out too far. And then came the taxes. They taxed pretty much everything the colonists used including stamps, tea, sugar, etc. This was unfair to the colonists because they did not believe they could pay these taxes. The colonists were even forced to house and care for British soldiers due to the Quartering Act of 1765. Who would want to want to take care of random people you don’t know and probably don’t even support. And when the First Continental Congress asked to be representatives in Parliament the British came up with Virtual Representation. It was an excuse that claimed that the colonists didn’t need to represent themselves because the British would do that for them with their best interests in mind. All of these are things that colonists already had and been taken away from them, or things they believed they should have. That is why the American Revolution was a conservative revolution.

  11. Ryan Jezierski

    I believe that our revolution was a conservative revolution other than a radical one because I believe American was just trying to exercise the rights that they had already had, that Britain was trying to restrict, for example, after the French and Indian War when Britain had to revert back to Mercantile laws that kept America from trading with Britain, and the Carrbbean nations. This caused American’s to only be able to use what they had at home, like woolen cloth and beaver hats, which wasn’t made to compete with Britain, but to compliment its goods.

    Another reason I believe that it was conservative was that Britain was attempting to change an agreement of payment for after the French and Indian War, attempting to make America pay 1/3 or 140 million sterling pounds, and also help pay for the 10,000 soldiers that were stationed in the colonies to reinforce the Proclamation line.

    Britain then started enforcing all of these “acts” on America such as the Sugar Act, Quartering Act, and Stamp Act. The Prime Minister, Grenville, claimed that these laws were reasonable and that the colonists can pay their “fair share” because the English were far too fimiliar with taxation because they paid a different Stamp Act of over two generations. He also tried to have “virtual representation” and stated that the power of the Pariment was undisputed and the colonists claimed “taxation without representation” which was followed up by the Americans wanting to choose someone to represent them to tax them.

    The Stamp Act had failed before it even started because agents refused to enforce it. They were abused and no on e sold the stamps when the law went into effect. Britain then created the Declaration Act which retreated from the Stamp Act that stated they could “bind” the colonies with any laws that they deemed fit.

    I believe that this was a conservative revolution other than a radical one because America was only trying to exercise the rights that they already had while the British were just trying to constrict the colonies with many different acts and laws, just trying to state that they were the ones in control and had power of the colonies.

  12. Aliyah McIlwain

    I think the American Revolution was a conservative revolution. The colonist were not looking to create a new government, but to protect what they had known of the one they had. The colonist thought that the British were infringing on their rights and that the British had no right to tax them. The Stamp Act Congress states that “His Majesty’s liege subjects in these colonies are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects with in the kingdom of Britain.” The colonist request that they be treated the same as British subjects in Britain but fail to realize that they actually were better off with fewer rules and taxes. Although, the colonist were lacking one very important benefit that homeland Britons did have, representation in Parliament, the colonist felt that because they were not adequately represented that they shouldn’t be taxed. They colonist tried to negotiate with the British government to get representation but were continuously shot down. The colonist in return decided it was time for the two vastly far and different nations to part ways. Britain wasn’t going down without a fight. The colonist didn’t create a completely new government. Their own constitution was and is largely based on the British constitution, although, the colonist did add to the constitution or change what they thought the British had done wrong. They also slightly changed how the system worked and how the government was run. The colonist didn’t sail to Britain behead the king and take over the British Empire, they simply separated themselves from what they didn’t believe in.

  13. Michael Trease

    In my opinion, the American Revolution was a conservative revolution rather than a radical revolution, as the colonists continued to have the desire to support the English Crown and did not want to break away from England, only to be somewhat released from its chokehold of various tax acts. A conservative revolution is a revolution that involves the rebellious movement of a nation that has the desire to maintain their rights that they had held for years, rather than a radical revolution in which those who rebel wish to completely modify the existing regime of government. The colonists had only wanted to maintain many of their rights that were gradually being taken away from them, and did not have the desire to completely change their structure of government. As the British had made the descision to revert back to a mercantile economy after the French and Indian War, requiring the colonists to provide a market for Britain’s manufactured goods and provide raw materials for Britain’s rapidly growing military, the foreign trade of the colonists was restricted to trade only with the British. The colonists had wanted to solve this problem and return to their more efficient economy that they had held before, exemplifying their desire of a conservative revolution. It should also be taken into account that the British had left the colonists under salutary neglect for over a century, resulting in the colonists becoming more likely to hold the desire to conserve their rights that they had held for years and causing the colonists to resent and even rebel (non-violently) the grievances thrown upon them by the British such as the Sugar Act and Quartering Act.

  14. Kacey arnold

    The Revolution was conservitive by nature seeing as how war had already been considere by many of the colonist’s reps and england had already become agressive in the colonies by putting in troops .also the acts were causeing civil unrest and organized rebellion in many of the colonies so the colonist were already angry which is not going to end up being the sturdiest foundation for a conservitive war but became the perfect breeding grond for a radical one.

  15. Isabelle Molnar

    Although the motives for keeping the colonies rights were conservative, I believe that once the actual war started, the American Revolution became radical. I can’t say that bloody battles and constant protests are very conservative. Americans were tired of begging the British to spare their lives and be kind. A stand had to be taken. They had to hitch up their pants and puff out their chests. No more waiting around for a King across the Atlantic to decide what was right for the colonies. It was time for a revolution, and the colonists were prepared to take any risks to ensure their rights.
    The Revolution turned from keeping the colonies rights into completely withdrawing from the British Empire to be an independent country. They did this using violence and war, instead of using peaceful tactics. I cannot say that I think what the colonies did was wrong. They tried to please the British and persuade them to grant back America’s rights with polite documents, but the British did not budge. America broke because of the taxes that were laid on them, although they were repealed because of protests. Force was the only thing that impacted the British, and the colonists knew that they would have to apply violence in order to completely push the British in the direction that the colonists wanted them to go. It seemed that the only solution was use force, and the colonies were desperate. The conservative route was not the way to go in order to quickly restore the rights to the colonies.

  16. Will Briggs 5th Hour

    The American Revolution was a conservative revolution because no one was overthrown, the people weren’t invading they were “protecting” their land, and they declared their independence with a formal, civil, and well written document. However, it was also a radical revolution, as the Americans were violent towards loyalists, who were often tarred and feathered. They were also very brutal towards soldiers before and during the war. However it was not like we went over to king George and kicked him out. We just wanted to “move out”, we had it pretty bad before hand. We only had to pay utilities, but that’s waaaaay to much. So it was time we moved out, it definately made sense.

  17. Jalen Zeman

    Blog #40: Was the American Revolution conservative or radical by its nature?

    To say whether the Revolution was conservative or radical by its nature depends on the view point of the speaker. Pretty much all American colonists at the time believed they were fighting for their freedoms that the British government had been restricting. The British point of view was that they were trying to assimilate the American colonies into what British colonies around were paying. To the Americans, who had practically all the gold and silver sucked out by British Mercantilism, could not pay the extra taxes set upon them. This made the American colonists very deprived and upset at the British rule. Americans thought that the British were placing taxes on them without representation, which violated the Rights of Englishmen. This return of British Mercantilism to pay for the French and Indian war extremely affected British control of North America. This closed market drove up prices on pretty much all taxable goods. When they tried to print money, the English Parliament denounced the money and halted the printing. The rebellion was seen by some in the south as a bad thing because the south relied on the English to provide an open market for their crops to be sold. Basically, they thought getting all hyped up about some taxes would be considered a rebellious act against the authority. Some either way you look at it, the Revolution could be considered both conservative and radical by its nature. Plus the British organization and military direction didn’t help their cause even with their immense numbers and navy.

  18. Amber Abboud

    In my opinion, the American Revolution was conservative by nature. This is because the American’s revolution doesn’t measure up to other “radical” revolutions around the world. In addition the way the colonists reacted to the Parliament’s laws and taxations weren’t by all means drastic. The Americans were not setting out to behead the royal English King and his wife, the royal English Queen, or the loyalists; they simply strived to become their own independent country separate from their motherland. Perhaps they would have even wanted to be a separate country if England had only considered their proposals of less taxes and more liberty. The colonists had intended on keeping the rights they already had, they were not planning to completely overthrow the system and start anew. They felt they could no longer be represented by the parliament because they had been separated from the New World for so long they didn’t share the same values or languages for that matter.

  19. Shelby Clay 2nd APUSH

    When I was younger like everyone else i was taught that the American revolution was fighting the British, so that us Americans can be “free”. As I’m reading about the revolution and as I am learning more, I honestly think that the American Revolution was a radical war.
    The definition of the word Radical is forming a basis or foundation. This mean to me and is also stated on Wikipedia “Some radicals sought republicanism, abolition of titles, redistribution of property and freedom of the press.” The father’s of the America were radicals in my opinion, I think they were being radical when it came to freedom. Like Mr. Wickersham stated America was like the teenager, who was trying to gain freedom and maybe even respect from their strict “parents”.
    Like kids the Americans wanted to rebel against Parliament. The American Revolution was radical because, the Americans were rebelling against a monarchy based government to have a Representative based government. The fathers of our nation broke free and “escaped from their over protective parents”. The war is Parliaments fought. They were to controlling to the colonists, with the raised taxes on goods the limited freedom they gave them with trading and selling goods to other countries was just wrong! The colonist weren’t that good to the British people either Colonist paying one shilling while British citizens were paying 26 shillings This made the colonist want to rebel of course. The “parents” didn’t want to help the colonist at all, they wanted Americans to depend on them forever.

  20. Courtney Wilkie

    I think that this Revolution was a conservative revolution. The colonists were unhappy about so many things and they wanted to make many changes as well. They were being taxed on things such as tea and stamps, but they didn’t want to pay these taxes. In the Townshend Act, the money from the taxes went to pay the salaries of the royal governors and judges in America and they didn’t approve of this either. One major thing that upset the colonists was taxation without representation. Many of them found that they could secure smuggled tea at a cheap price, therefore, smugglers increased their activities. These are examples of why this was a conservative revolution because the colonists didn’t want things to change. They didn’t want to pay the new taxes on items and they didn’t like the control that people had and how they were able to charge them and tax them. I think that this revolution could also be somewhat of a radical revolution as well. The London government suspended the legislature of New York shortly after Townshend taxes were passed because they failed to comply with the Quartering act. Events such as this one would be part of a radical revolution because the British were trying to overthrow our government and take control of things like imports and taxes on those items. Also, things such as nonimportation agreements were put into effect for things like the stamp act and the Townshend act, and these were both attempts to change/overthrow the people trying to tax them. Overall, I think there are many reasons that the Revolution was both a Radical and Conservative one.

  21. Sherami Fernando

    Along with the majority of people who first learn about the American Revolution, I did strongly believe that the revolution was conservative and not radical, and that the British were wrong and we Americans were right. But the more we are learning about it, the more I think that it was more radical than conservative than anything else. The American Revolution as I see it, is primarily radical. The British was much lighter on Americans than they were themselves, and let America “slack off” without putting too much on America’s plate. As far as i am aware, the British were paying 26 times more than we were concerning taxation. the British paying 26 shillings while we had been paying only 1 shilling. That almost blew my mind because Americans seemed to describe the taxes as if they were a huge deal that was getting out of control fast, but it seemed rather the opposite and that we might have even been underpaying and that we should have shouldered maybe half of the taxes Britain had to. Later on Britain was even afraid of taxing us more in fear that we would totally detach and become independent which ironically was the end result. Even though they started to tax us more later on and in some over the top ways, they were only trying to pay off some debts that had accumulated over the years, their only wrong in that is maybe starting to pay them off a bit too late or too directly and quickly.

  22. Sara Keebler

    The American Revolution may be viewed as a conservative one. We are taught from textbooks in school that the Americans are right and that is that. We are never given opinions from people outside of our country. When we learn things and only have one source that the information is coming from we’re not going to know anything different than what is “right”. I believe it was conservative too. Americans were only trying to exercise the rights they had. The Americans were trying to keep everything they had and the British were trying to take it away. When they are doing that the Americans are obviously not going to be happy. They want to keep what they have been exercising and not just give it up for the British. Although some may view this as a radical revolution because Americans were trying to an already existing social order. In a way, I’m in the middle on this issue. This is because it was conservative in some ways and I can see how people came to that conclusion but also it was radical. The Americans were striking out on their own against Britain, which was already a major country that influenced the world. But because Americans did not like what the British liked and they wanted what they had wanted for their country for a while, they lashed out on Britain. They were only trying to exercise what they had been trying to do for many years, yet in certain ways it was radical and conservative.

  23. Marta Plumhoff

    I believe that the American Revolution was a conservative revolution, but mostly because of the way it is taught across America. The rebels won, so the rebels are in charge of the way the information of the war is portrayed. If Britain had won, not only would every we all be English, but we would view the Founding Fathers as insane traitors who tried to drastically upset the order of the British Empire. Our entire view of the revolutionary war is biased based on the outcome, and the status of our nations and its relations today.
    But since the American rebels did win, modern America believes the same thing that our Founding Fathers did during the war: that we were fighting to keep rights we already had in place. Something that really angered these mean was the extreme taxing without representation Britain had imposed on them. Before these outrageous tariffs, America was okay with being under British control; they even wanted it. But with the drastic change, they felt that rights were being taken away from them, after being able to practice with them for decades. If the king and parliament hadn’t imposed these taxes without representation, America probably wouldn’t have felt so violated and betrayed and they probably wouldn’t even see the need to try to get things back to normal. Because of this fear of losing this fundamental right and others rights that Americans already had experienced, they revolted, which caused a conservative revolution and eventually their freedom.

  24. Alexa R

    The Revolution was a semi- radical revolution because the Colonist were tired of being “mistreated” they weren’t really being mistreated it is like a teenager being left alone at the house for a weekend and the parent coming home and trying to reestablish the rules but the teenager has had that taste for freedom and cannot go back. When I say “mistreated” I mean the British started asking for taxes that helped them and in a way I feel like the American owed It to the British. But also it seems like the Colonist didn’t want to be all the way free from the British a lot of the Colonist depended the British economically in some areas. So in those areas they just they wanted back there same rules and not to be totally free. I say its semi- radical because a lot of the colonist just wanted things to go back to the way they were no hikes in taxes and none of their rights being taken away. But it does have a radical part because before the government was set up as a monarchy and they wanted to over throw that to make it so every person could get there say. I believe in some parts of the country they wanted to remain under British control and in other parts it seems were there where poorer people wanted to be free. It seems like more of fight not for freedom all the way but more a fight for better economic standing.

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