All of the preceding applied of course only to white Americans. Ordinary Americans grow absorbed in the individual pursuit of money. · · 1991 Gordon S. The American Revolution does not seem to have the same kinds of causes the social wrongs, the class conflict, the impoverishment, the grossly inequitable distributions of wealth that presumably lie behind other revolutions. As such, Wood rebuts the traditional representation of the Revolution as a conservative tax rebellion. The masses were in a state of constant disarray and needed the guidance of their gentlemanly superiors to survive in society.
Patronage was conducted through local institutions and assemblies not answerable to the monarch. The questionable loyalty also extended to the British nobles from whom the king drew his support. These and a host of other fascinating questions are the book's reason for existing. However, the newfound wealth of American colonists also meant significantly more consumption of goods like tea sets, pianos, and china that were traditionally bought only by the gentlemanly elite. It left me with some confusion as to whether social change caused the Revolution, or whether it was the other way around. The founding fathers believed they were establishing a new republic guided by benevolent rationalism. Radicalism of the American Revolution.
Wealth in America was acquired by hard work and tenacity, and it was no longer an embarrassment to work for a living, rather than inherit a tidy sum and live a life of leisure buoyed by careful investment and management of tenant farmers. Wood depicts a revolution that was about much more than a break from England, rather it transformed an almost feudal society into a democratic one, whose emerging realities sometimes baffled and disappointed its founding fathers. By adopting enlightened standards of paternalism, rulers of all sorts are collaborating in the weakening of their authority. Because legislatures are inherently compromised, it's left to courts to mediate business disputes and uphold and interpret contracts, the inviolability of which is codified in the Constitution. Historians are not wordsmiths in most cases and Wood proves the point. For a certain duration Wood appears to be taking a similar approach with the monumental changes which occurred leading up to and causing the Revolution. This newfound appetite for westward expansion to acquire cheap land in the West caused by immigration played a huge role in loosening family ties and traditional patriarchal relationships in the colonies.
The Revolution not only changed the culture of Americans, but even altered their understanding of history, knowledge and truth. The E-mail message field is required. It reconciles Americans to it, while infusing more elements of monarchy than the Federalists dared try. America was an enormously diverse society as a colonial entity and becme united only by the mutual desire to be independent. New parents were changing their ideas on raising children. The opening chapters are a bit wordy and repetitive. Thirty years later Americans occupied an unimagined world.
This meant people were on the move establishing new homesteads and new communities, breaking established ties and lines of authority. With very little money, it had to operate by granting private charters for banks, bridges, roads, etc. Labor was an act of poverty, and anyone who could not live on their inherited wealth was a member of the mob, unsophisticated and dependent upon the gentry both socially and politically. The book is on target with noting population changes, the availability of land, and incredible economic growth as factors leading to the Revolution. This is a thoughtful, nuanced analysis of the American Revolution. A wonderful book that every high school student should read, as well as the rest of us. In book 2 chapter 6 , the narrator undergoes a rather disparate voice change.
I read this just after Empire of Liberty, Wood's contribution to the Oxford History of the United States, and I will say I was more impressed with that. This massive leveling of society unleashed the awesome power of a creative and industrious people who were suddenly free to apply their energies to making themselves rich. Most books focus on the war or specific people. I prefer readers who don't call attention to themselves in the reading. Gordon Wood writes a somewhat celebratory account of the radical democratizing effects of the American Revolution.
Wood points out that those patricians did not regard the patronage system as a selfish means of rewarding friends. I chose this particular book to learn about the ideas that inspired the Founding Fathers. The bottom had ambitions to move up the social ladder, while upper-class reformers sought to elevate the masses through reform and culture. Well, he succeeded with flying colors. How did it diffuse throughout the population, eventually illuminating not only white male property holders but also women, African slaves, and others? His successor Martin Van Buren would be the first pure politician to be elected president. By the time of Jackson, a sort of rhetoric of true democracy erupted, with the feeling of direct representation by non-elites in the government. Wood asserts that these attitudes have become so prevalent today that we have forgotten what it was like before this revolution and describing that is probably the biggest challenge for the author and reader of this book.
I was expecting more of a political history, or even something that would touch on military exploits, but this is a social and intellectual history. Its subject matter is interesting, but, alas, its writing lumbers and stomps around and makes the overall reading experience less than enjoyable. Wood clearly indicates that the American Revolution meant more than avoiding taxes. Is the present Chaos to be arranged into Order? This is a theory book; there is very little action. Their classical republicanism stressed benevolence and government by an enlightened elite. America had readily available land and far fewer tenant farmers, which predominated in England under the control of the aristocracy. From this colonial revolt sprouted ideals of liberty and democracy, and all the aspirations and ambitions of a new people.