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The Radicalism of the American Revolution Summary
Gordon S. Wood

Everything you need to understand or teach The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood.

  • The Radicalism of the American Revolution Summary & Study Guide
  • 30 The Radicalism of the American Revolution Lessons
  • 20 Activities
  • 180 Multiple Choice Questions
  • 60 Short Essay Questions
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The Radicalism of the American Revolution Summary

Plot Summary

The Radicalism of the American Revolution examines why, within the three-quarters of a century, American colonists threw off millennia-old social patterns and became the most democratic people in the world.

In the 18th-century English-speaking world, monarchy links everyone upwardly and downwardly in gradations of freedom and servility. Hierarchical inequality assigns everyone a place and connects them vertically, superior to some and subservient to others. All men are not created equal. Poverty is virtuous for common folk, because it keeps them industrious, while aristocrats live on "unearned income," accept the obligation of public service, and treat inferiors and subordinates like children. Diffuse and delicate webs of paternalistic obligation link people reciprocally and complementarily. Subjects are expected both to look upward for benefits and to please superiors. Royal patronage is still powerful enough in America to cause exasperation and anxiety in the colonies, but "corruption" enters the political lexicon, and...

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