The American Revolution was undoubtedly a success in its immediate aims of ending British rule and establishing a system of republican self-government. It was less successful, however, in putting republican principles into practice. The biggest stumbling block was slavery.
As British critics of the American colonists never tired of pointing out, demands for liberty sounded pretty strange coming from slave-owners. To be sure, many among the American political elite understood that slavery was something of an anomaly in a nation supposedly founded on liberty and equality; indeed, many slave-owning politicians felt the same way. But for one reason or another they were unable to square the circle.
The states had just thrown off the shackles of British rule and formed themselves into a loose confederation. The last thing anyone wanted was for the new arrangement to be jeopardized by squabbles over slavery. If concerted action had been taken to end slavery then it's almost...
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