Cause of the American Revolution

Cause of the American Revolution


Specific reasons about the development of a new government in the U.S.

Gordon S. Wood Interpretation

  • Provo, UT

As part of the curriculum of my early American history course, we were required to read a book entitled "Radicalism and the American Revolution," by Historian Gordon S. Wood.  Although somewhat controversial, this particular book very clearly identified the reasons for the revolution and how the new, independant nation needed an innovative government.

Some have recognized this book as the most important analysis of the American Revolution.  Wood argues that the political history of the colonies went from a monarchy, to a republic, to a democracy, each with gradual changes.  The following essay by Christopher Bauermeister had a very interesting theory regarding this book:

"This relationship of dependence to a superior was, as Wood sees it, the fundamental principal of the larger pre - revolutionary society, affecting, through the system of patronage, even those white males who seemed to be free of all dependencies."

Wood emphasizes how in the beginning, the American colonies closely resembled the English Monarchy.  The inconsistencies with such a government prompted the colonies to emerge into a more closely, democratic society.  This became evident with the dramatic events leading up to the American Revolution.

It is basically no surprise as the why the Colonists were especially disgruntled in the few years preceeding the revolution.  The institution of the Stamp Act was especially notorious, and added the fury caused by simple taxation without representation.  The immediate cause of extra taxation was the effort taken by the English Parliament to attain more revenue, as most of the treasury was spent in fighting the French and Indian War.  The profitability of the Colonies was lucrative for the English agents, though their regard for the Colonists was minimal.

As emphasized elsewhere, violent reactions were not collective among all American citizens, who believed inclusion in the British Empire was still necessary.  These feelings would gradually change over the next few years before the Declaration of Independence.

References: Gordon S. Wood. Radicalism of the American Revolution. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.

Additional Info
kwright -Contributions private
View count:
28 (recently viewed: 2)