In the Continental Army was not just a force that was motivated by its service to a united cause, but by the democratic impulses that differentiated this from the British system of nobility and military rank. As a result, the dedication to cause elicited from the Continental Army solider was inherently more driven by the theoretical opportunities to follow victory. Certainly, for those who took part in the struggle to remove the British from American soil, there would also be an adoption of the view of this as a personal homeland now imposed upon by occupation.
To an extent, this motive may be said to be a greater assurance of eventual victory than military might. In the case of the American war for Independence, the better armed and more resource-wealthy British Imperial forces would be worn down by a commitment to what the Continental Army and militias alike saw as their soil. To speak nothing of the clear economic motives which caused the Founding Fathers to desire freedom from British taxation and forced exportation, those who led America into war with Britain would deal a significant blow to the British Empire on the whole. Certainly, French support...
While we may stop short of arguing that Britain lost a war -- particularly because many conditions suggest its defeat was inevitable regardless of military tactic -- it may be reasonable to argue that this signaled the beginning of the end of a colonial system which had sustained all European monarchies to this juncture. The power of the British Crown had been tarnished, but the initiation of the Industrial Revolution in both the United States and throughout Europe during the next century was fully dismantle its structural relevance. The type of wholesale occupation through which it had conducted its international presence would no longer be possible for Great Britain on the scale that had been achieved prior to American Independence.
Ultimately though, it seems appropriate to acknowledge these events first and foremost as a victory for the aristocratic leaders of the American rebellion and the working class enlisted men alongside whom they fought. Without too greatly idealizing this relationship, it may be acknowledged as a root to Americas socioeconomic identity today.
Martin, J.K. & Lender, M.E. (2006). A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic, 1763-1789. Harlan Davidson, Inc.
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