Discuss the American Revolution. What was the mindset of the colonials going into the altercation? Were they thinking about the ideas of freedom and liberty as we think of them today? How...

Discuss the American Revolution. What was the mindset of the colonials going into the altercation? Were they thinking about the ideas of freedom and liberty as we think of them today? How successful was the war on each side? Was Washington a good general? What led up to the Declaration of Independence? Who in the world sided with the colonials? Were all colonials for the war?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The questions that you ask here touch on a wide variety of issues that are not particularly related to one another.  I will answer as many of these as I can, but please keep in mind that questions on eNotes should generally be limited to one topic. 

What led to the Declaration of Independence was a growing feeling on the part of many American colonists that the British were taking away their rights and freedoms.  They felt that the British taxes were levied on them without representation and that the British regulations on trade took away their right to trade freely with other countries. 

The colonists wanted to protect their freedom and liberty, but were they thinking of those in the same way we do today?  That is hard to say as we do not have good sources about the thinking of the average person in the colonies at that time.  Many colonists at this time did not think in terms of universal freedoms and liberties.  Instead, they thought more about freedoms and liberties that belonged to them because of their membership in certain groups.  For example, many of them saw the right to vote as something that belonged to white men of a certain age and a certain level of wealth.  It was not a universal right, but one that belonged only to a certain subset of people.  There was very little thought given to the idea of rights for women or for African Americans.

While the colonists were thinking about ideas of freedom and liberty, not all of them thought that they needed to break away from Britain.  It is said that only about one-third of all colonists were in favor of independence.  Historians believe that another third were loyal to Britain while the remaining third did not really care one way or the other.  However, there was enough support for the idea of independence that the colonies, helped by Spain and, more importantly, France, were able to win the war.

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