ConclusionsIt is when one examines the period in which the progressive historians wrote that the most sense is made of their work. Historiography is nought if it is not a reflection of the times that spawned it. Just as the Progressives were involved in a movement to improve the lot of the common man in a time of technological change, so did the progressive historians see the fighters of the Revolution as fighters for the lot of the common man. And in just the same way, as the new country was first forging its nationalistic unity, did George Bancroft see the war as a virtuous, nationalistic struggle. And likewise did Charles Beard, the erstwhile firebrand, see the Constitution in a different light in 1944, when democratic governments were only just beginning to win the first round in a deadly fight for their lives, than he did in 1913, the last year in which Civilization was spelled with a capital "C." Could Beard have seen the war and its resulting constitution in any other light than the light in which the horrors of World War I were viewed in the 1920s and 1930s, that economic "special interests" held all the cards and manipulated the rest of us like so many puppets, making us fight and slaughter one another on a whim designed to make them still more money?
Historical literature is a reflection of the contemporary events of its writers. When one strips away the influence of the times that colored the views of the writers discussed in this essay, one must conclude by looking at the results that the war was one for independence, not a true revolution.
Voltaire was right on target when he said that there are truths that are not for all men, nor for all times.