The American Revolution is one of the pivotal events in the country’s history, which has shaped the modern political system. In general, the revolution refers to a series of opposition movements against the British in the period from 1763 to 1791 (Farmer 62). At the time, the British held political power in America and initiated several laws restricting the economic autonomy of the American people (Farmer 33). These events led to discontent of the public and, consequently, to revolution, which resulted in the adoption of the Constitution (Farmer 140). Therefore, the modern political system only exists since the American people had achieved political autonomy in the 18th century. Ultimately, the current essay thoroughly examines the American Revolution and establishes the impact of the war on the modern political system.
Causes of Revolution
Most experts date the American Revolution War to the 1775-1783 period; however, the initial discontent of the public with the British dates back to 1763. The political situation in 1763-1765 was continually getting more unsettling due to several regulations, including the Proclamation Line 1763, the Sugar and Currency Acts 1764, and the Stamp Act 1765 (Farmer 33). These laws addressed the White Americans-Native Americans conflict and trade freedom, prohibited colonial paper money in some colonies, and increased taxes (Farmer 39). It was evident to the public that the British officials wanted to extract more money from them and restrict their freedom.
Consequently, there were several key figures who played a vital part in the American Revolution. George Grenville – the prime minister of Great Britain in the period of 1763-1765 – wanted to raise the overall taxes and redirect these funds to the conflict against Native Americans (Farmer 35). He supported most of the new regulations, including the Stamp Act, which was perceived negatively by the public. In other words, experts argue that the short-term actions of George Grenville were some of the most impactful decisions that caused the American Revolution (Farmer 35). Consequently, John Wilkes also stirred the public to assertive actions by criticizing the British government and insisting that they were corrupted and fought against democratic values (Farmer 37). Ultimately, the political tension in the country was getting more anxious, which soon led to the American Revolution.
The Americans perceived the actions of the British power with suspicion and fear of losing their freedom. By the time, most people were confident that the new regulations were a direct threat to democratic values. Furthermore, Wilkes’ criticism of the government was highly supported by the public and initiated a series of consequent documents and declarations concerning the British abuse of power (Farmer 38). As expected, this tension led to opposition movements and local conflicts, which emerged in New York, Boston, Massachusetts, and other cities from 1765 to 1775 (Farmer 51). Furthermore, the Americans responded on both the intellectual front by publishing articles in newspapers and the political front by creating opposition movements. Consequently, the tension reached its peak, and the American War of Independence started in April of 1775.
American Attitude toward Government Then and Today
As the public’s distrust in British rule gradually increased, the attitude toward government also changed. The American political system shifted to autonomy and gave rise to other political movements, including republicanism (Farmer 117). Furthermore, the colonies were transformed into States, and the people began to regain trust in the new government. The political system was supported by the Constitution, and the ratio of elite and common men among voters also changed drastically (Farmer 121). As a result, more people had some degree of political power, and the public felt that it could make a positive change in the country.
This design was the first iteration of the modern political system, and the public was highly appreciative of it initially. Nevertheless, at present, the trust in the government is very low compared to the 18th century or even the middle of the 20th century (“Public Trust in Government”). According to the research, approximately 20% of American citizens trust in the government’s decisions, despite the fact that almost 80% believed in the government in the 1960s (“Public Trust in Government”). Even though the number of people eligible to vote changed drastically since the 18th century, the system is relatively similar. From these considerations, the public has trust in the political system, but most people are skeptical about the recent decisions of officials. Therefore, people are content with the system that emerged due to the American Revolution but discontent with politicians.
American Independence Movements
There were multiple independence movements throughout American history, including Indigenous, Spanish American, Nation of Islam, and others. This phenomenon transparently demonstrates the desire for democratic values in America and numerous barriers to their implementation in the country. For instance, the Nation of Islam is a political activist movement aimed to improve the lives of African-American people in the country (Gibson 5). Many experts also describe the organization as a religious movement since it has a series of theological beliefs and myths associated with it (Gibson 3). It was established in 1930 and gained a significant political presence in the country throughout the 20th century (Gibson 3). As a large number of political movements, the Nation of Islam emerged out of necessity as many black families struggled with daily lives after the Great Depression (Gibson 3). As a result, some of the African-American communities were converted to Islam despite the relatively little understanding of the religion (Gibson 6). Nevertheless, while NOI is a controversial organization, it helped a large number of black families find their place in society.
Consequently, the indigenous independence movements have occurred throughout South America and North America since the early colonization. In a sense, these activities mostly resembled opposition wars instead of independence movements since the Native Americans were never presented with a choice (Farmer 2). The research demonstrates that most natives were initially friendly to European colonizers (Farmer 2). However, the new settlers had an overwhelming technological advantage which enabled the opportunity to seize the lands of Native Americans by force (Farmer 2). These initial battles in the early 17th century set in motion the conflict between Natives and Colonizers, the outcomes of which are still noticeable today. Similar conflicts occurred throughout both American continents as the Natives were constantly driven away from the mainland (Breña 46). Even the American Revolution and the achievement of freedom have not relieved the conflict between the two parties, and the indigenous independence movement continued (Breña 51). Ultimately, there was a large number of independence movements in the history of America, and many of them were able to make a positive change in society.
Similar to the independence movement, there has been a large number of government movements in America. While the scale and necessity are different, the concept of the movement to make a positive change is similar. Some of the prominent government movements include libertarianism and the Tea Party political movement. The former resembles the general liberal tradition and advocates for individual freedom and the protection of private property (Van Der Vossen 1). The Tea Party movement has more narrow objectives and focuses on lowering taxes and rejecting government involvement in the market (Schmitt et al. 60). The members of the movement objected to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and insisted on lower government interaction (Schmitt et al. 60). The government activity is named after the Boston Tea Party – a notorious event of discharging tea cargo during the American Revolution (Farmer 54). Ultimately, the small-government movements have similar objectives to independence movements, but the scale is generally lower.
The American Revolution had a drastic impact on the political system in the 18th century, and its outcomes affected the modern government. The achieved independence from the British power allowed to transform colonies into states, establish the Constitution, and organize a comprehensive and more equal voting system. As a result, many changes implemented after the American Revolution became the foundation of the contemporary American government and politics. The public was content with the achievement of freedom from external forces and regained trust in the government. From these considerations, the impact of the war cannot be underestimated, and the modern political system only exists due to the multiple struggles of the American people in the late 18th century.
Breña, Roberto. “Independence Movement in the Americas during the Age of Revolution.” FIAR, vol. 11, no. 1, 2018, pp. 46-79.
Farmer, Alan. Access to History: The American Revolution and the Birth of the USA, 1740-1801 (3rd edition). Hodder Education, 2020.
Gibson, Dawn-Marie. The Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, and the Men Who Follow Him. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2016.
“Public Trust in Government: 1958-2021.” Pew Research Center, 2021. Web.
Schmitt, Carly, et al. “Drinking the Tea: The Tea Party Movement and Legislative Agendas in the U.S. Senate.” Congress & the Presidency, vo. 46, no. 1, pp. 2019, pp. 60-88.
Van Der Vossen, Bas. “Libertarianism.” Philosophy Faculty Books and the Book Chapters. 2017, pp. 1-15.