Was the American revolution a radical or conservative event?

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The answer to this question is subjective. Either answer can be adequately defended, and neither answer is more correct than the other. Additionally, "radical" and "conservative" are subjective, relative terms. What is radical for one person might not be anything close to another person's definition of radical.

Personally, I feel that anytime a group of people decides to overthrow a governing entity by using violence against that ruling power, it is quite radical. I generally consider violence to be a last resort option. The normal, "conservative," and/or political strategies have failed, and the only remaining option is violence. That's a radical step because thousands of lives would have been spared had the revolution not turned violent. America might be a very different country or maybe not independent at all, but saving lives is an admirable goal.

On the other hand, I suppose that staying passive and letting the British government dish out legislation that didn't aggressively care for the colonies could be considered the radical option. The idea of getting slapped and turning the other cheek is quite a radical idea to many people, so fighting back is the conservative option.

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To some degree, the American Revolution was radical, as the American colonies revolted against a great imperial power. The Declaration of Independence enshrined the ideas that Americans had the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and that these were "inalienable rights," or rights that could not be taken away. The revolution was the embodiment of the ideals of Locke's social contract theory, and the new United States would become the closest thing to a democracy since Athens in ancient Greece.

However, the revolution was less radical than revolutions such as the French Revolution and the later Russian Revolution. The American Revolution did not change the status of slaves, who remained enslaved, and women were not allowed to vote. For these reasons, the revolution, which also preserved existing property rights, was somewhat conservative.

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