Piekarski on Wood - Wood Gordon The Radicalism of the...

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Wood, Gordon. The Radicalism of the American Revolution . New York: Vintage Books, 1991. Thesis: The Revolution is the most radical and far-reaching event in American History because it changed the political and social relationships of people (8). Rationale: Previous historians have been unsuccessful in proving the American Revolution was caused by social struggle. Therefore we describe it as a conservative “intellectual affair” (4). Wood will attempt to prove that it was radical. Historiography: Progressive and Neoprogressive historians have tried to interpret the American Revolution in light of the French Revolution (internal violence, class conflict, social deprivation etc.) Becker: “Home rule and rule at home” (3 -4). Methodology: Sources: Primarily journals and letters, secondary books. Monarchy: 1. Hierarchy a. Colonial society was traditional b. Allegiance to the king was a personal matter. c. Paternal domination, a society of dependent beings (12) d. English as loving equality when compared to French (13) e. Symbols in America to show connection to crown (16) f. Religion bolsters monarchical authority (17) g. Hierarchy provides a role which provides community in a savage land (19) 2. Patricians and Plebeians a. Genteel vs. the unthinking mob b. In colonies approached 10 percent ( vs. England’s 5 percent) c. Ordinary people still accepted their lowliness (30) d. Birth and parentage (31) e. Wealth (32) f. Certain walk and talk (32) g. Gentility: the classical characteristic that being free and independent.
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