Module4 - MODULE 4 REVOLUTION BY CHOICE There is certainly...

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MODULE 4: REVOLUTION BY CHOICE There is certainly an air of inevitability about the American Revolution, isn’t there? After all, the colonists were thousands of miles away from Mother England, nourishing their own political and cultural values for generations, out from under the watchful eye of the Hanoverian kings, ticked off by an unexpected spate of new taxes. ..there’s every reason to believe that, at some point, the colonists would assert what they believed to be their right to live free from British rule, and perhaps, in that sense, the revolution was an inevitable phenomenon. It probably would have happened in some form, some day. The fact that it erupted in 1775, however, was less a product of some ominous inevitability than it was of choices made by the British crown to solve problems through the application of force rather than through negotiation and compromise. The colonists themselves found leaving the empire with which they had a political, economic, and cultural history an intimidating task—not to mention the fact that, in taking up arms against Britain, the colonists challenged the most powerful empire in the world. In order to muster the courage to do it, then, the colonists required not only the necessary provocations, but also the psychological underpinnings that convinced them that revolt against England was not only necessary, but proper.
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A MIND TO REVOLT However physically prepared the colonists were on the eve of the revolution, their efforts would likely have proven fruitless had they not been convinced of the righteousness of their cause. That conviction was even more necessary in light of the overwhelming loyalist sentiment that prevailed throughout most of the middle and southern colonies. In other words, those who took up the revolutionary cause found themselves opposed not only to Britain and its withering might, but also to a majority of their fellow colonists. Should the revolution succeed, moreover, the colonists had to be prepared to quickly implement alternative forms of government with institutions that were already considered legitimate in the colonists’ minds. Let’s consider the events that laid the psychological foundation for the colonial rebellion against Britain in 1775. Bacon’s Rebellion (1676-1677) Bacon arrived in Virginia in 1674 at the ripe age of twenty-seven. He left England in disgrace for marrying illicitly and attempting to cheat a man out of his land. Despite his “issues,” he was possessed of considerable charisma, and the governor of Virginia, William Berkeley, recognized instantly that Bacon could be a useful asset. Berkeley offered Bacon a seat in his government, but Bacon refused, allying himself with Berkeley’s enemies. The so-called rebellion emerged from what was a relatively minor economic dispute between a band of Doeg Indians and a local planter that regrettably escalated to the point of violence, and the planter’s overseer was
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killed. Local militiamen retaliated by murdering ten Doegs and, by mistake,
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Module4 - MODULE 4 REVOLUTION BY CHOICE There is certainly...

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