During the years precceding and following the American revolution ther
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During the years precceding and following the American revolution, there was a general radical
attitude instilled in most everyone. But, there were the more radical people, mainly the poor, and the less
radical people, mainly the upper-class. So, in a sense the revolution was a radical movement in which
hardcore radicals were played as pawns while the more conservative radicals were driving the cause for
their own interests, be it economic or simply politics. The outcome was, at the base, what both sides
wanted; but once that was achieved, the two factions of radicals split into two feuding rivals.
During the years before the American revolution, the upper-class was not in such a desperate
state as those who were poor. This, therefore, meant that independence would give the rich more
power. But, if the revolution failed, the rich would still be rich and they would not feel the repracutions
of the failure. This is why they did not fight activly in the revolution, but instead inspired the poor to
do the dirty work, or be pawns and sacrifice themselves. The membership list of the Sons Of Liberty
demonstrates this point well. Each member was active in the revolution, and next to their name on the
list is their profesion.[doc j] Every member was a laborer and probably fairly poor, but they were
aggresivly active. With the poor playing the pawns, the rich still got what they wanted without
getting their hands dirty.
With the pro-American wealthy sitting at top, the poor people at the bottom were getting
restless. The patriots had very little tollerance for Tories. One Tory who refused to recant his beliefs
was "...ordered to be stripped naked, well coated with tar and feathers, and carried in a wagon publickly
round the town...."[doc b] The people did not care how respected one was, if he or she was a Tory,
they would recieve no breaks. One man, a preacher, wrote in his diary after being threatened with
death notes for being a Tory: "And for more than six months I preached...with a pair of loaded pistols
lying on the cushion...."[doc i] The revolution brought out the worst in even the best of people. In
regards to British governers and employes, the Patriots equally hated them, if not more. In one acount,
a mob protesting the stamp act broke into the house Governor Hutchinson of Boston and "...broke the
windows, beat down the doors, and destroyed part of his furniture, and continued in riot until midnight,
before they seperated...." [doc f] There were countless numbers of riots and mobs that would not
submit to anything less than complete independence, and would do anything to attain those goals. As
one soldier said, "...we always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to. They [the British]
didn't mean we should."[doc d]
The rich at this time were using the poor as pawns, but they also lived in fear that they might
revolt and attack the pro-American upper class; who were actually not on the side of the poor or the
British, but on the side of themself. One man wrote that "...the heads of the mobility [the mob] grow
dangerous to the gentry, and how to keep them down is the question."[doc a] The rich had a
respectable fear; the poor were not weak when united, and at this time they were always united. The
patriots were also very stern towards British "pilots" (ship captains)[doc g]. There were signs that were
posted warning captains that if they should step off of their ships, that they would be tarred and feathered,
and that they should turn back and warn other captains.
When the revolution was finally won by the Americans, there was the split between the ttwo
radicals. This plays an important part in American history; it is something that is known as partisan
politics. It started with the democrats and federalists and transformed into the republicans and democrats.
But, just as the two different radicals achieved a common goal during the revolution, the two different
political parties have achieved a common goal of democracy after the revolution.
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