To What Extent Did the American Revolution Fundamentally Change American Society?

851 Words Nov 7th, 2012 4 Pages
DbKatie Gordon
Mr. Vieira
September 24, 2012

DBQ: To what extent did the American Revolution fundamentally change American society? In your answer, be sure to address the political, social and economic effects of the Revolution in the period from 1775 to 1800.

After the American Revolution, Americans, who were free of British control, started to reevaluate politics, the economy and society. After breaking away from what they thought was a corrupt and evil government, Americans changed how they wanted to govern their society, even though they ultimately reverted to a more centralized government similar to Britain. The uneducated masses, as viewed by the elite, didn’t experience a lot of change though the ideals from the
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The Philadelphia society for the promotion of agriculture in 1786, handed out a medal, which said, “venerate the plough” (Document F). This demonstrates how the elite were still “rewarding” the common people who weren’t financially better off than before the revolution. Similarly, in Shay’s Rebellion farmers led by the ex-military officer “[stopped] the courts of justice in several counties…crying out for a paper currency, [or] for an equal distribution of power” (Document G). A particular example of the downfall of American economy was Shay’s rebellion. This represented economic strife that the common people were enduring and ultimately rebelled.
Two important socio-economic issues the founding fathers discussed were the rights of women and slavery. Women’s roles increased greatly during the revolution. While me were away fighting or running the country, women were at home running and defending the farm. This can be seen in the woodcut (Document A) and in Abigail Adam’s letters to Thomas Jefferson (Document G). Women had, for a time, the right to vote in New Jersey. The revolution also increased the education of women and encouraged them to be more involved in public life. However, all women were not content to go back to their household chores after the revolution as seen by Molly Wallace who says “if [taught] to read, why not speak?” (Document J), illustrating how some women wanted to further their domestic roles and play a larger role in society.
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