American Revolution - USA Essay Example
Though the American Revolution may have been fought on the context of greater equality and rights, the rights of several groups of American colonists were compromised by the rest in their fight for independence, including women, slaves, British Loyalists and the lower-class of the society - American Revolution introduction. WOMEN Most colonists who led the revolution, including New Englander John Adams, believed that most women lacked the necessary intellect or emotional make-up to deal with complex political issues, and were not worthy enough to be considered citizens of the new country of America.
Though many women such as Mary Wollstonecraft and John Adam’s wife Abigail Adams considered the Revolution to be the perfect opportunity for freedom and equal rights for American women, their calls for equality for women were ignored. Abigail implored Adams in her letter dated March 31st 1776 to “Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors,” as the founding fathers debated forming a new nation and prepared to draft a code of laws.
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Despite this, the founding fathers failed to make codifying women’s rights a priority as the Declaration of Independence in 1776 states ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ thus excluding women from these rights. Women in America were not granted the right to vote until 1919.
As women made up about half of the population, the fact that they were not granted equal rights in the decision-making of the country shows how the American Revolution did not result in equality, and when it was taking place, the rights of women were neglected. LOYALISTS Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to Britain during the American Revolution. Between 15 and 20 percent of the 2. 5 million whites in the colonies were Loyalists.
Many Loyalists were threatened with public humiliation including tarring and feathering by angry mobs and were subjected to confiscation of property, stolen livestock and personal effects, and destroyed property. One example would be Loyalist Thomas Hutchinson, governor of Massachusetts whose house was burned in 1765 by an angry crowd protesting British policies. Despite the American colonists having signed the ‘Treaty of Paris’ at the end of the war in 1783, which expressly protected the loyalists, the colonists did not keep their promise of not persecuting Loyalists and restoring their property to them.
Though the Loyalists did not support the cause of most colonists, they were still American colonists and were part of the American colonies. Hence the Patriots’ call for equality and rights should apply to them too as they were fellow Americans. The fact that Loyalists were subjected to such abuse and even had to fear for their own safety shows that when the colonists were fighting for Independence, equality and rights only applied to those that were on their own side. SLAVES
One of biggest contradictions of the American Revolution was that while many of the Patriots were fighting to be free from the supposed tyranny of the British, they themselves refused to abolish slavery. Though many slaves wanted to fight in the revolution as they believed it would bring them freedom, some white leaders thought that the African Americans were still savages, too stupid to be included in fighting the battles of free men and refused to enlist blacks, worrying that arming enslaved people would lead to a rebellion.
They felt that this was a war between Britain and the colonies and it only involved liberties and privileges of free men. Thus in the American Revolution the fight for equality was only for the equality of white men. In the Constitution of the United States drafted in 1787, Section 9 of Article I allowed the continued “importation” of slaves, thus encouraging the trade until 1808. During that time, planters in states of the Lower South imported tens of thousands of slaves, more than during any previous two decades in colonial history.
Citizens were also prohibited from providing assistance to escaping slaves. Thus instead of bringing about more equality and rights, the American Revolution encouraged the removal of equality and rights from even more people as slaves were not treated as people and hence had not rights. POOR Many colonists, primarily those in higher classes, wanted to abolish the monarchy without destabilizing the social hierarchy. They did not favor a new government that considered everyone?
from wealthy landlords and business owners, to poor tenants and farmers? as equals. Many colonists also believed that equality among the social classes would lead to unlawful outbursts, much like those witnessed during the opposition of the Stamp Act and the Boston Tea Party. The Declaration of Independence stated that all men were created equal, but most legislatures in the different states did not support this statement. Only men with a certain amount of property were allowed to vote.
Those without property were assumed to lack a stake in the government, and the proper work ethic to vote intelligently. The principle of equality means that all people within the society have the same status in terms of rights, yet the above-mentioned groups of people did not have access to many of the rights that the colonists wanted through independence. Thus the colonists’ assertion of independence in 1776 was not actually motivated by the need to achieve greater equality and rights at home, but only for the more powerful majority.