Title

The Revolution before the Revolution.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1999

Abstract

In 1776, America became the first nation in the modern world to declare its independence from the mother country. In doing so, it also created a new political ideology that was later interwoven into the American identity. In declaring its independence, America also illustrated traces of the social, intellectual, political and religious components that were blossoming before and during the 18th century. An in-depth study of this intricate period shows the incongruous yet linked strings of thought that came together to form the ideological backbone of one of the most revolutionary periods in human history. This unique ideology was a combination of classical literature (both Greek and Roman), Enlightenment, Protestant Ethic that were linked together by the radical Whig theories of the late 17th century. Reading the classics provided the early revolutionaries the ideals and "universally respected personification" and the colorful vocabulary to appeal to the masses. The social and political criticisms of the Enlightenment aided early Americans to question their place within the British Monarchy. And finally, Whig thought fused and focused the elements that shaped the colonists' conception of their reading material and gave them the skeletal structure of their political structure and ideology. The following study will examine each of the influences and show how the American Revolution first started in the minds of a reading people. I hope to later trace the presence of these influences in the lives of Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

Advisor

R. Boesche

Department

politics

Support

Support provided by:Ford Foundation

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