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Your Name Due Date Changing Perceptions: Equality in American Revolutionary Era In the United States today we have a rather simple, clear, and concise interpretation of what “equality” means. It is an inalienable human right that should he ethically supported and legally protected…
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Download file to see previous pages In the past, defining what equality is and should be became a contributory factor of the Revolutionary War. In the years prior to the war, the only social structure and governmental administration ideologies were those brought with them from Britain. In Britain, it was status and wealth that indicated if a citizen was qualified for equality.(Van Til 1) In other words, equality did not apply to everyone within the society only to a specific elite group. However, the American colonists were far from British life, in the colonies life was different and, often, harsh. These struggles like Indian attacks, hunger, and diseases were experienced universally by the rich and poor alike. Slowly but surely colony life and the philosophical concepts of “enlightenment” thinkers, gave people the idea that “equality” could and should not be something bestowed or earned, but something that should be a principle right.(Van Til 1) When Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men are created equal,” it sparked the fires of change, particularly, among those that, generally, were not offered equality within society. Anti-salve supporters spoke out that it was absolutely hypocritical to speak of equality of all men, while owning and profiting from the slave trade.(Foner 4-5) Women were encouraged by the changing perceptions of equality to speak out and be more active. The Native Americans, would not benefit from this changing times, in fact, they would suffer greatly. Even as the colonists fought for the right to freedom and individual equality in the New World, the Native Americans would, sadly, lose all hope of equality, freedoms, and rights to ancestral lands. It is easy to see that in these turbulent and changing times that finding the definition of equality that was inclusive, concise, and agreeable to all, was no easy task. The Revolutionary War itself was, both, a revolt against the British rule, but, also, a civil war among colonists who did not share the same views on the impending rebellion.(Nash) Loyalists, those faithful to the British Crown and the Patriots, those colonists that sought to make America a new nation all of its own, were forced to stand against each other. Even the slaves found themselves on opposing sides of the war. The British gained their allegiance by offering to “free:” the slaves that would fight for them against the colonists; the colonists.. Ultimately, we know the war’s imminent outcome. The colonies prevailed and the United States was born independent from Britain. The new philosophies of American would see the abandonment of previous British traditions and social norms. By 1800, the practices of “indentured servitude” and “apprenticeships” had nearly disappeared all together. The freedoms and equalities of white men increased. The aristocratic structure of society was dismissed and, for the first time, men of all levels and stations were represented in politics; by the 1780s the majority of white males were qualified to vote.(Foner 1-2) The founding fathers did not know what impact the philosophy of equality would have on the new nation. In truth, they believed in equality of “conditioning,” not in “opportunities.” Simply meaning, all men should be treated equally, allowing for basic courtesies, dignities, and respects; they were not necessarily referring ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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