What were the main effects of the American Revolution?

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saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conclusion of the American Revolution in 1783 had many different effects on both North America and the world.

The most immediate effect of the end of the revolution was the independence of the colonies. It was not known immediately after if the colonies remain independent republics or if they would form into a nation, but the independence of the colonies changed the geopolitical reality of the late 1700’s.

Britain lost a considerable amount of territory at the end of the war. In addition to the colonies themselves, the entire interior of North America, a region known as the  Ohio River Valley, was lost. This area would provide the U.S. with the opportunity for expansion after the fighting ended.

The effect on the British economy was also sobering. With their largest market gone, British trade revenues plummeted. It took Britain many decades to recover, especially since they had a new global competitor for markets that had always been theirs.

The introduction of Americans into the world of European politics also had major repercussions. During the wars of the next few decades, the colonies were a weak but strategic presence in many conflicts, even when it didn’t want to be. Some nations impressed American sailors while others hired them out as privateers.    

The biggest effect of the revolution was how it inspired numerous subsequent revolutions around the globe. Using the colonies as their model, France had their own revolution in 1789. From that point on most global revolutions, even some very recent ones in the Middle East, borrowed from the playbook of America when they began their own struggles for independence.