The Radicalism of the American Revolution Questions and Answers
by Gordon S. Wood

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Does Gordon S. Wood's The Radicalism of the American Revolution challenge the existing history on the subject?

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The entire premise of Gordon Wood’s history of the American Revolution is intended to challenge the “existing history on the subject.”  Early in his introduction to The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Wood observes the distinctions between the American and other nations’ revolutions in terms of the conditions that existed and the objectives of the “revolutionaries.”  Wood is interested in the uniqueness of the American Revolution.  He is interested in the questions of why the revolution occurred when the conditions that historically fuel revolutionary fervor – “poverty and economic deprivation” – did not exist to an appreciable degree in Britain’s North American colonies.  As the author writes,

“. . .the white American colonists were not an oppressed people; they had no crushing imperial chains to throw off.  In fact, the colonists knew they were freer, more equal, more prosperous, and less burdened with cumbersome feudal and monarchical restraints...

(The entire section contains 628 words.)

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