What is the specific meaning of the American Revolution?

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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although the British Empire continued to expand during the 18th and 19th centuries, the American colonies, by breaking away, became the first areas under British control to leave the empire and establish their own political entity.  This process continued for many countries under British rule, even into our own day, and although politically independent, became known as "Commonwealth Countries."

The American Revolution also inspired much of Central and South America, most of which was under Spanish control,  to break away from Spain.  Up until the 1830's various former Spanish colonies became their own countries.

Finally, the Americans, having thrown off what they perceived to be an unjust governance, inspired the French to do the same in the French Revolution a few years later. The main difference here was  that the changes took place within the mother country and not within far flung colonies.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In immediate terms, the specific meaning of the Revolution was that the thirteen British colonies became an independent country.

The more important meaning of the Revolution, at least in the long term, was its emphasis on democracy and political and personal rights.

The early United States were undemocratic in many ways (no votes for women, slavery, etc) but the Lockean ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence were strong enough to grow within the United States over time.

In the years after the Revolution, its ideals were to have some amount of impact on the movements for freedom and/or independence in France and Latin America.

So the more lasting meaning of the Revolution has been that it helped establish the ideals (even if it did not completely reach them) of democracy and freedom.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most critical components that help to define the American Revolution is the convergence of political and economic rights into one setting.  A very compelling case can be made that displays how the American Revolution was fought on the grounds for expanding political rights.  This can be seen in the Colonists' notions of being free and living a life where they can be active agents of their own narratives.  At the same time, the meaning of the Revolution can be seen as an articulation of the colonists' economic rights.  The ability a to keep and make material wealth generated by the Colonists became a critically driving force behind the Revolution.  The convergence of both articulations of freedom became a critical element in understanding the meaning for the American Revolution.

b4ethics | Student

January 10th in 1776 was rightfully the start of the American Revolution the date that “Common Sense” was published. Up until then there were no thoughts of independence. Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States acknowledged this by saying, “Neither did Livingston, nor Washington, nor any of the prominent leaders in the cause of the Colonists at that time looked to anything but a redress of grievances. None were looking to a final separation and Independence.” Again to verify that up until January 10th the hostilities that had erupted were directed only to a redress of grievances, we can look to George Washington who remarked, “The sound doctrines and unanswerable reasoning contained in the pamphlet ‘Common Sense will not leave members at a loss to decide upon the propriety of separation”

And to bring this more in focus, it is made clear by Journalist Herbert N. Casson who said, “The real man back of the American Revolution was the man who had the ideas and not the man behind the guns.

So, what was so powerful about “Common Sense” that it was read, or read to by about everybody (it was a best seller)? It described the tyranny of monarchies and proposed the idea of a democracy. And who was able by great authoring to persuade the colonies to unite and seek independence? It was Thomas Paine. Commemorate his birthday January 29th. And commemorate “Common Sense” January 10th.


krishna-agrawala | Student

American Revolution, also called American Revolutionary War was a war fought between Great Britain and its thirteen colonies along the Atlantic Ocean in North America. This revolution or war which began on April 13, 1775, ended on September 3, 1783 with the signing of Treaty of Paris. An important event in the history of American revolution is the adoption of declaration of independence on July 4, 1776. This document which was adopted by the colonies at their Second Continental Congress Declared their freedom from British rule. This historic date is now celebrated as independence day of USA.

This war was consequence of Great Britain government to impose unjust and oppressive rules on the people of American colonies to benefit rich and powerful people in the home country. American people resented this and took up arms against Great Britain in revolt. Initially the war was fought by citizen army called militia. But later a regular army was raised which fought the war under the leadership of George Washington as its Commander-in-Chief.

American revolution led to the birth of a new nation - the United States of America. This revolution also created the desire and will to fight for freedom in many other countries across the world. Because of this R.W. Emerson described the first shot fired in this war as "the shot heard round the world".