U.S. History/American Revolution
Hi Mr. Troy,
I have some questions regarding American Revolution, I hope you could get me well-prepare for my history final.
1. Can you explain and discuss what you might describe as radical elements in the Declaration of Independence. And do you believe the Revolution was radical or conservative, and why?
2. Hamilton and Jefferson both represented differing views of revolutionary ideas and ideology. Can you compare their views and include a discussion of their influence today in detail.
Thank you so much
At the time the Declaration was a rather radical idea. That idea was that governments existed for the improvement of people's lives. If a government failed to live up to that end, it was the right of the people to overthrow the government with violence and create a new one. Throughout most of of the world, those ideas were unheard of. Leaders were generally thought to be ordained by God and challenging a leader was considered a grave sin. Even those who accepted the idea that government was a "social contract" to improve society over the situation where no government existed, did not articulate the idea that a less than optimal government could be overthrown. That right of revolution was truly radical.
The revolution itself was less radical than most revolutions. There already existed a social and economic order in place. Many revolutions seek to overthrow that order and create a new and better the American revolution did not. Rather, the colonial leaders before the revolution were largely the same leaders after the revolution. Only the British control, which was not that involved before the Revolution, was stripped away. So in that sense it was conservative. The Revolution did establish the right of the people to select their leaders as a fundamental right, but most colonial legislators were already elected before the Revolution.
As to your question about Hamilton and Jefferson, there are whole books written on this subject, so I really can't do justice to is here. But basically, Hamilton wanted a British style government and economic system, only with democratically elected leaders. He was also a strong proponent of developing manufacturing and modernizing a banking and trade system. Jefferson, on the other hand, wanted to maintain the US as a farming community. He saw bankers and businessmen as greedy people who sucked the wealth away from hard working people. He wanted to discourage financial and economic development. He also preferred the model of the French Revolution, were equality was more strongly valued and promoted.
I hope this helps!