HIST 120 Midterm Examination
Section 1/ Essay 1
Was the revolution revolutionary?
There are many aspects of the American Revolution that make it significant in the shaping of the American political, social, and economic system. For instance, the guerrilla war that was used during the war played a very significant role in the fight for the independence of the nation and replaced the earlier form of pitched battle that had been utilized mostly during those periods. The other aspect that makes the revolution unique was the fact that the revolution itself took place beyond the borders of the parent country that the change was expected to take place. Even though the American Revolution happened in the most unusual way, it was revolutionary in nature. That is because it did not comprise of regime change. Instead, the revolution was concerned about the establishment of a completely new state, in addition to the adoption of the democratic system of governance by the state.
Even though the seeds of democracy had been sown by the Paris treaty of 1783, many of the colonies were still ruled according to the decisions made by the colonial masters, but not according to the constitutions or certain rules that could cater for the welfare of the colonized. The English king, in particular, determined the way in which the colonies were governed. That changed at the time of the revolution. When the colonies escaped from England the fighting began during the revolution, the new states that were self-governed began to exercise the democratic principles in exercising their authority over their people. That is an indication that the revolution was not just about regime change and the maintenance of the status quo of the colonialists, but it involved the creation of the new state and the improvement in governance by applying the different democratic principles.
Effects on socio-economic and political relationships in the United States
Even though many historians have a general belief that the revolution was about the struggles between different social classes, the revolution impacted positively on the socio-economic, and political welfare of the American population. It is because it made the state to ratify the constitution in 1789. The constitution was the key factor in the enhancement of the lives of the various individuals in the country. The constitution ensured that the principles of democracy were practised. As such, it promoted the protection of all the civil rights and restrained the state from exercising absolute power over the people. Because the constitution that resulted from the revolution introduced a democratic system with a document that was to be used in the adherence to law and order, it contributed to positive relationships socially, economically, and politically. That is the reason for the promotion of the socio-economic and political relationships in the United States by the American Revolution.
Effects on patriotic men
The patriotic men and women were adversely affected by the war. For the patriotic women, they lost their husbands to the fight and had to assume the roles of their husbands. Since the continental army recruited soldiers from the low-income families, the women lacked sources of economic income and had to relocate to the army bases where their husbands worked. For the men who participated in the war as patriots, there were instances of loss of lives. They were also separated from their families for long periods of time during the war. Further, they were branded as loyalists and those who survived the war faced a lot of persecution for being loyalists as described below.
Effects on African-Americans
The African-Americans benefited a lot from the revolution. One of the benefits was freedom. It is because of the fact that there was a lot of fighting in the south that enabled a large number of slaves to escape to the British lines. Since the British were determined to dwindle the war effort by the Americans, they released and evacuated several ex-slaves. Some of the Africa-Americans also became free by fighting within the continental army. As such, the revolution meant a lot for the African-Americans.
Effects on Native Americans
The Native Americans suffered most in the revolution. It is because they fought on different fronts during the war and they were replaced and victimized after the war, irrespective of the side that they supported during the revolution. An example is the Iroquois confederation in the New York City who were decimated immediately after the revolution by the American soldiers.
Effects on Loyalists
The loyalists suffered as a result of the revolution. It is because they were dubbed traitors and after the independence declaration, their properties were seized by the various governments. Even though the Paris Peace Treaty required that the seized property from the loyalists was to be returned, some of the states in the US failed to comply. As such, the loyalists lost their properties, amongst other items as a result of the revolution.
Section 2/ Essay 2
Formation of the two parties
The Anglo-American Culture was the basis of the fear of political parties and factionalism in the United States before the American Revolution. Various American leaders like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington had the belief that the unified government that was based on the principles of the ratified constitution was to unite all of them without factionalism. However, Hamilton, who was a federalist, in addition to the other individuals, had a contrasting opinion. Their opinion was that it was necessary to have different opposing sides in the nation in order to exercise checks and balances and to restrain the excesses of the sitting government or the individuals in office. As such, the idea of the formation of the different political parties was driven by the need to have the opposition side that would regulate the operations of the government. That is how the political parties in the United States came into existence.
The formation of the political parties was according to the visions of the various technocrats. Hamilton was for the idea that a national bank be formed that would ensure the federal government had more power over the citizens in the country. That ideology of giving more power to the federal government was opposed by Thomas Jefferson who advocated for the devolution of more power to the various states in America. His sentiment was that by giving more power to the federal government and without any body to check on its excesses, the government would operate like a monarchy. As a result, the Federalist Party was formed by Alexander Hamilton to propagate his ideologies and the Democratic – Republican Party formed by Thomas Jefferson to advocate for the devolved power and the opposition to the creation of the national bank.
Apart from the fight over the creation of the national bank and the devolution of power to the different states, the other domestic event that shaped the early history of the two parties was the election of the 1790s in which Adam was elected as president and Jefferson became his deputy. The international event that shaped the history of the parties was the Jay treaty that was ratified in the year 1794. The federalists supported the treaty because they argued it would prevent war. However, the Democratic-Republicans were against the treaty since it would encourage the impressments of the American sea men by the British. Apart from these events, there are some other events that shaped the early history of the political parties.
The division that was experienced in America was inevitable. It is because not all the citizens of the country supported the ideology of a single ruling party in the country. The citizens wanted to have their say in the government and it was difficult to do so without proper mechanisms through which they could express their opinions. By having the opposition parties to the government, the government could be transparent and the leaders could be answerable to the people through the opposition parties and other individuals. That was a way of ensuring accountability and the division had to take place for the good of the nation.