American Revolution: Consolidation or Independence Essay

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The success of the Tea Party resulted in Britain's Parliament passing the Coercive Acts, nearly establishing martial law in Massachusetts, getting rid of t he colonial government and closing the Boston port and sending in troops 67. Despite these attempts at quelling the colonists, the town meetings and mass meetings continued to develop in opposition.

It soon became even more clear that the colonies needed to include the poorer classes to join the Revolution if all planned to defeat the British oppression 68. Each colony was basically forced into getting these other groups to become one cohesive group with the American Revolutionaries. Patriotic sentiment was one useful method to effect this goal. Indeed, Patrick Henry with his verbal repertoire and Tom Paine with his skillful pamphleteering with Common Sense both used their skills to appeal to the masses, rich or poor 68. Eventually the development of the Continental Congress, an illegal act according to Great Britain, ordered that a committee prepare the Declaration of Independence which was written by Thomas Jefferson 71. After debate regarding certain statements in the declaration such as all men created equal which did not include women or blacks, the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed on July 4, 1776. The declaration made all British law void and separated the colonies from Great Britain 71.

Howard Zinn clearly believed that the American Revolution was about consolidation and not independence is evident in the way he uses some points to that are clearly not tied to independence. Getting all the citizens to join in the cause and the ideas of overtaking property and beneficial trade are definitely on the side of consolidation. Making the revolution about such things as money and land is a clear indication supporting consolidation. The intention at the time by those seeking change seems to have been related to consolidation and independence together rather than exclusively one or the other. For example, the pamphleteering of Tom Paine and the verbal ability of Patrick Henry both seem to fall on the side of independence. While others such as the Sons of Liberty sought to consolidate their own powerful positions by consolidation through independence. It seems to be the case that regardless of your status at the time, only independence would allow the consolidation of power or privilege that some sought. The poorer groups could only accept independence as the route for change and of course was the reason the Revolutionary War would be successful. Without the poor who sought betterment the War would never have been won. So those who sought to include the poor in obtaining better treatment were more likely to be independence seekers.

Britain had sheer numbers on its side however, the fact that colonists had a fervor for independence and separation gave these outnumbered and poorly equipped citizen soldiers a drive to succeed in hopes of gaining some betterment for their families and their future. It was the goals in their hearts which gave them the drive to win, something the British soldier lacked. Without those driving goals, the British soldiers were in a foreign land, fighting for an ideal to which they were not linked and were in effect killing people who could trace their ancestry to Britain. The Revolutionary War was not won easily or handily, but it did provide a goal for every colonist who volunteered to do battle in the hopes of achieving either consolidation…

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Works Cited

Zinn, Howard A Peoples History of the United States, 1980 HarperCollins. New York, New York

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