Gordon S Wood is an American Historian and a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize 1993. He is a professor at Brown University, and his book Creation of American Republic won Bancorp Prize in 1970. Wood, in His book The Radicalism of American Revolution he is contented that despite the actual rebellion against the Great Berlin seemed tamed, the results were more dramatic than they could be imagined. American society had been transformed in just a few years after the dramatic events in the 1770s, unlike any other place in the world. Wood argues that the American Revolution lacked sufficient changes in the social and economic structure to be genuinely considered a revolution.
According to Wood, unlike in other places, America lacked poverty and oppression that other places suffered. The revolutionaries did not shape the social order of America. Instead, the revolutionaries settled for conservative measures that resulted in the government being distinct from Britain. According to how Wood wrote the book, one could argue that the Americans were merely exaggerating the version of English citizens. The book’s primary focus is on how the radical changes that were brought about by revolution. It explains how the Americans organized themselves. How they interacted with one another and how the economy of the nation got to be transformed.
Wood illustrates this in three sections, the Monarchy, Republicanism, and finally, the democracy. According to Wood, the radical revolution changed the relationship in the culture of American that latter, it had an impact on the growth of economy and politics. Under the monarchy, it was a matter of a superior and an inferior case, and the hierarchy was about having a social obligation to another person. The leader in the society had to be a gentleman, as reputation was the most critical asset in that era. A leader was at all costs to ensure that his reputation is not tarnished by another person or self. If one reputation was destroyed, it could lead to them losing their social and political authority over others. The state expanded power to such men who were considered to be gentlemen. The wealthy leader were gentlemen and was given authority to lead. They held the high value of all men being equal and did not create room for corruption. The wealthy men would even join the rest of the inferior in working in the field as a sign of equality. The wealthy who were gentlemen would support those who lacked, and it led to the growth of the economy.
In Republicanism, according to Wood, it permeated colonialism. He argues that the inhabitant of the British colony was before the revolution and that the revolution speeded up the influence of Republicanism. He shows that the migration and expansion in the population destroyed the good patron-client relationship that got built during the crown. During this time, because of the population increase, it had to have a hierarchy structure. People no longer saw gentlemen as the correct order to access authority. The people wanted an equal opportunity for all people to acquire wealth. The attitude toward how the people should worked and how one was to acquire wealth had changed as the revolutionaries saw monarchial society as an unfair structure for most people. The wanted to create a nation that was led by the talent and not gentlemen as it was in the monarchial structure.
According to Wood, in the third section of democracy, it involved changing the meaning, which included changing an equal opportunity that was in Republicanism to mean social equity. In this era, it was against having gentlemen who did not have to work as it was tolerated in the Republicanism. Gentlemen got criticism because they wanted to gain wealth for themselves regardless of the wellbeing of others. Wood argues that Jackson American, who is historically known for creating United States modern democracy he only legitimized it, but the people who were genuinely responsible were the Revolution practitioners. Wood argues that during this time, every individual was allowed to access wealth, and the ideas of congress forgo salary of people like Benjamin disrespected the agreement.
Wood main focus in the book is on the elite, and only a few of the ordinary people are written about. He shows how the revolutionaries were interested in radical change, and they intended to change the society of independency with another. He explains that they lost control when they better ideas of interest, and equality did not work in their favor. As the economy continued to grow, so did the people taste of luxury change, and therefore there were no goods that were reserved entirely for the wealthy. With the presence of the banking system, it gave credit to the American people who changed their economic structure. The economics change brought changes in the lives of the American people, including religion. Despite the many changes that were taking place, the American Revolution is one of the things that still bond them together. Blood was not the tie for the American people. Revolution is the thing that made them one person because they shared the same belief and behavior.
One of the weaknesses of the Wood book is that he pays a little attention on gender. He does not include women and the role they played in the revolution. The domesticity and the labor that was provided by women is something that Wood chooses to ignore in his work. It undermines the importance of women during this period. The second weakness is that Wood also chooses to ignore the South. He barely mentions the role that the South played, and most of his example arises from the north. Scarcely does he mention the South in the radical revolution nor use the examples of things that took place there in the American Revolution.
In conclusion, Wood is critical in explaining all the three phases in the radical revolution. He describes the different beliefs in the monarchy, Republicanism, and the democratic step. He shows how, in the three distinct phases, the radical revolution took place. He illustrates the changes formed when gentlemen were considered to the best form for leadership to having a self-interest and latter having social equity for all people. He makes it easy for the reader to understand the concept of American radicalism revolution. He does not leave the reader without a clear explanation for his argument. Wood book indicates efficiently the radical evolution, which persuades the reader to agree with his agreement.
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