Could it be argued that the American Revolution did turn against its roots and were there limits to social and political change in the American Revolution?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is certainly possible to argue that the American Revolution turned against its roots if you identify its roots in a certain way.  There were also very definite limits to the social and political changes that came out of that revolution.

We can argue that the root of the American Revolution was a radical form of democracy.  We can see this in the words of the Declaration of Independence.  That document argued that all men were created equal.  It was a clear call for the sort of widespread democracy that Thomas Jefferson wanted to see.  However, within a few years of the end of the Revolutionary War, America had turned against this idea.  In the Constitution that went into effect in 1789, the US set up a system of government that was much less democratic than Jefferson would have liked.  This system did not allow the people to vote directly for the president, the Senate, or the judiciary.  It thereby limited democracy quite severely and we can say that this is a departure from the roots of the revolution.

Similarly, we can say that the Revolution had very clear political and social limits.  Politically, we can say that the revolution was limited because the same class of people dominated the government before and after the revolution.  There was no sweeping away of colonial elites.  Socially, we can clearly see limits in that the revolution did little or nothing for women and people of color.

Thus, the American Revolution can be seen as having turned to some degree against its roots, thus showing some of the limits of the change that it engendered.

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