Take a position on whether the conflict between England and the Colonies in 1776 was a Revolution.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I believe that there can be some divergent and compelling points made on both sides of this issue.  The first position would be in support of the statement in that it was a Revolution.  The Colonists where one of the first groups of people to call for rebellion and follow through on it.  Up to that point, British rule across the world had been not adamantly questioned.  Skirmishes and uprisings had been put down quite successfully with the world's largest armed forces at the British crown's disposal.  Yet, the rebellion between the Colonists and the British was a protracted struggle, something that was incapable of being set down quickly.  The British learned this quickly and that a rag-tag group of Patriots would be able to set aside and eventually defeat the mightiest army in the world would represent how the conflict was a Revolution in that it caused a sense of pure change and transformation.  If one were to pursue the position that the conflict between both nations was not a Revolution, I think that borrowing the Howard Zinn analysis from his work, A People's History of the United States, would work here.  It is a "kind of revolution" when those who hold power do not change.  The Colonists refused to acknowledge rights to women and people of color, the same denial of voice that they were fighting against in their disagreement with the British.  When the Colonists needed soldiers, they intimidated and subjugated others to join their cause, representing some of the same actions of the British.  The ending of the war resulted in the free acquisition of Native American lands, embodying some of the same attitudes of the British.  In this, the conflict between both nations could be seen as falling short of a Revolution because real and transformative change was not as evident.  In the end, the conflict can be seen as both elements dependent on how one wishes to pursue the argument.

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