Domestic Impact of the American Revolution
Another John Trumbull piece commissioned for the Capitol in 1817, this painting depicts what would be remembered as the moment the new United States became a republic. On December 23, 1783, George Washington, widely considered the hero of the Revolution, resigned his position as the most powerful man in the former thirteen colonies. Giving up his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Army insured that civilian rule would define the new nation, and that a republic would be set in place rather than a dictatorship. John Trumbull, General George Washington Resigning His Commission, c. 1817-1824. From the Architect of the Capitol.
The American Revolution had a dramatic impact on different groups of people in America and the ideas that people were thinking. Women’s rights, slavery, democracy, equality and freedom of religion were all important ideas during and after the revolution.
The Declaration of Independence stated that “all men were created equal.” What about the women? Abigail Adams, the wife of President John Adams, was a noted advocate for women in this period writing to him to "remember the ladies."
Most women of the American Revolution still did traditional domestic work. Republicanism meant that one should be a good citizen and be civic-minded. Women could fulfill this duty by being a good mother to their children.
“Republican motherhood” would thus evolve as a consequence of the Revolution. This term represents a belief that mothers were responsible for raising children to practice the principles of republicanism (a representative democratic government), thus making them perfect citizens of a new country. Women were valuable in raising good children as their civic duty.
Equality was an important concept associated with the Revolution. Colonial society disliked kings, primogeniture laws of inheritance and the aristocracy. Democracy was the buzzword.
However, slavery was still rampant in the colonies. America was not ready to take on this “peculiar institution” because it would have divided a country that just united in a war.
But the beginnings of the abolition of slavery were evident in the Revolution. The first antislavery society was begun by the Quakers in Philadelphia in 1775. Some northern colonies would abolish slavery.
Finally, the separation of church and state was another result of the Revolution. Thomas Jefferson helped to pass the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786, which allowed people to worship their own religion of choice.
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Global Impact of the American Revolution
The ideals of the American Revolution would later spread to other countries who would rebel against tyranny and authority. These revolutions took place in France, Haiti, Europe, and Latin America.
The most prominent revolution was the French Revolution in 1789. The Third Estate of France was fed up with King Louis XVI policies and the poverty he created. The Declaration of the Rights of Man were created, which was similar to the Declaration of Independence. A whole new political order based on democracy was established.
On the Caribbean island of Haiti, Haitian slaves would embrace the ideals of both the American Revolution and the French Revolution in rebelling against their French masters. The Haitians would get their freedom from France in 1804.
Other Latin American countries would soon rebel against Spain and Portugal. Revolutionaries led successful rebellions in places like Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Mexico.