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What were the goals and ideals of the American Revolution?

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dickey2012 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:10 AM via web

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What were the goals and ideals of the American Revolution?

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beautifulsunshine16 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:14 PM (Answer #1)

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At first, the colonist's goal was to restore their natural rights and have some sort of representative in government... but then when things got ugly and there was war from all of the issues, the colonists realized that it was too far gone to be attached to Britain. So, they declared independence and a new form of government based off of the ideas of the Enlightenment and "Common Sense." (democracy)

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted December 7, 2014 at 9:47 PM (Answer #3)

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The American Revolution ushered in a new form of government that many looked at as an “experiment” that might well fail. However, we often forget that the new United States’ government was not initially the same type of government we are accustomed to. We usually associate our revered Constitution with the revolution. In fact, it was not written until several years after the war ended, and it was actually our second attempt to craft a workable national government.

As the Revolution progressed, Americans created a government based on the Articles of Confederation, which was ratified in 1781. This government relegated most power to the individual states, as Americans were not inclined to trust a strong central authority as they fought for independence from Britain. The American ideal at this point was to keep power close to home and avoid subjecting themselves to powerful forces outside their own states.

However, this form of government proved inefficient, and in 1787 the Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia. After much argument and haggling, the delegates wrote the Constitution, which created a government with a much stronger central authority. The Constitution was ratified the next year. In effect, this represented a shift in ideals toward a more powerful national government.

Our original revolutionary ideal was to free ourselves from the tyranny of a strong and intrusive central government. However, practicality dictated that we come up with another form of self-government, which became the federal system that we recognize today. 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:18 AM (Answer #2)

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The goals and the ideals were related, but not completely the same.  The goal of the Revolution was simple; the colonists wanted to be independent from Britain.  The ideals were connected to this, but went beyond simple independence.  The ideals of the Revolution had to do with democracy.  The Revolution was based on the idea that government existed only by the consent of the people.  It was also based on the idea that the government should exist to preserve the rights of the people.

In other words, simple independence was not sufficient as a goal of the Revolution.  The ideals of the Revolution called not just for independence but for democracy.

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