The Radicalism of the American Revolution - Study Guide Part 3, Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Gordon S. Wood
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Leaders grow concerned early on that the people will not be virtuous, trusting and unselfish enough to realize the utopian goals set before them. State legislators show tendencies towards exploiting power. Expectations of better living standards breed competition and individualism rather than benevolence and selflessness. The Constitution of 1787 responds to social developments unleashed by the Revolution and attempts to mitigate the effects institutionally. No one in 1776 foresees America becoming the most egalitarian, materialistic, individualistic, and evangelical Christian society in history. However, well before 1810, most Americans are celebrating democracy. Fisher Ames sees democracy as an extension of republicanism but distant from the Revolution's aims. Some conservatives blame the influence of the French Revolution, but only if one measures radicalism by bloodshed could the American Revolution be considered conservative.

Democracy means more than broader suffrage and competitive politics. It brings an explosion of entrepreneurial energy...

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This section contains 624 words
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