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American Revolution

2006-05-28 23:11

  The American Revolution was not a sudden and violent overturning of the political and social framework, such as later occurred in France and Russia, when both were already independent nations. Significant changes were ushered in, but they were not breathtaking. What happened was accelerated evolution rather than outright revolution. During the conflict itself people went on working and praying, marrying and playing. Most of them were not seriously disturbed by the actual fighting, and many of the more isolated communities scarcely knew that a war was on.

  America's War of Independence heralded the birth of three modern nations. One was Canada, which received its first large influx of English-speaking population from the thousands of loyalists who fled there from the United States. Another was Australia, which became a penal colony now that America was no longer available for prisoners and debtors. The third newcomer-the United States-based itself squarely on republican principles.

  Yet even the political overturn was not so revolutionary as one might suppose. In some states, notably Connecticut and Rhode Island, the war largely ratified a colonial self-rule already existing. British officials, everywhere ousted, were replaced by a home-grown governing class, which promptly sought a local substitute for king and Parliament.

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