The Radicalism of the American Revolution

by Gordon S. Wood
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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 163

The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1993) by Gordon S. Wood is a nonfictional account of the Revolutionary War. It discusses the events and developments that led to the war and explains how the political, economic, and social changes transformed the Western world. Wood also covers the immense changes so unexpected that even the Founding Fathers were left at a loss of how to handle the new nation.

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The book has one central question: How did the patriots manage to dismantle the power and influence of a nation with over a millennium of imperial history in under 75 years? What occurred in the American colonies during the late eighteenth century was as much a social revolution as a political one, in which colonists shed European constructs such as class systems and hereditary power.

Wood also emphasizes the fact that the democratic republic established in America was far ahead of its time, as most Western countries were still under the rule of monarchs, autocrats, and dictators.

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