Wars often produce unintended consequences. How was that the case for the American people during the Revolutionary War?

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There were a few unintended consequences as a result of the Revolutionary War. One unintended consequence was that it created economic hardships for some Americans. There were people who worked for the British government during the colonial days. When the Revolutionary War began, and certainly once it ended, these people...

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There were a few unintended consequences as a result of the Revolutionary War. One unintended consequence was that it created economic hardships for some Americans. There were people who worked for the British government during the colonial days. When the Revolutionary War began, and certainly once it ended, these people lost their jobs. Some of these people were harassed as tensions increased before the war began. However, once the British were no longer involved after the war, those people had to find different jobs. Other Americans also made sacrifices economically to help the Americans win the war as American trade was impacted and people could no longer rely on the British for economic support.

Another unintended consequence was that the war showed the American people the need for the federal government to have a significant amount of power. The government created after the war under the Articles of Confederation was intentionally made very weak, because people feared the federal government would abuse its power. This led to many problems that made it difficult for the government to function successfully. Economic problems hurt the new government as states printed lots of paper money. The inability of the federal government to tax also made it hard to raise funds to run the government. Other countries and even the American people took advantage of the weaknesses that existed with the military. Since the federal government couldn’t require people to join the military, it was difficult to deal with internal rebellions and with aggressive actions that other countries took toward the United States. Many Americans didn't recognize the issues that could come with a weak federal government until those issues arose.

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One of the unintended consequences of the Revolutionary War was that it turned slavery into a live political issue. The American colonists had fought against the British for what they regarded as their inalienable rights as human beings, their God-given liberties. But many of the leading lights of the struggle for independence, such as Thomas Jefferson, were slave owners, and there were many who saw the huge contradiction involved in eloquently arguing for liberty while at the same time denying it to the slaves.

It would take until the Civil War, almost a hundred years later, before this glaring contradiction at the heart of American public life was finally dealt with. Until then, slavery would remain a festering sore at the heart of the body politic, driving Americans further apart and sowing discord between North and South. The Founding Fathers had unleashed the spirit of freedom, but it would take a later generation to fulfill its promise for all.

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I think maybe the biggest unintended consequence of this war was the impact that it had on the United States economy.  Before the war, they had been a part of the richest empire on earth.  After the war, they were a tiny country with a relatively weak economy.  The recession after the war was surely an unintended consequence of the war.

The other big one that I see is that democracy was an unintended consequence on the part of the elites who started the rebellion.  They did not anticipate building a country that was as democratic as what they ended up with.  That's a trend that they tried to stop with the Constitution, but that only delayed it a bit.

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