Seymour Martin Lipset's Outlook At The Question Of The American RevolutionSociologist Martin Lipset believes that the American Revolution was indeed a real revolution. To prove his point, he compares it to the French Revolution, which is considered a 'real' revolution by all scholars.
Although the French Revolution, the other great
18th-century upheaval, is more generally regarded as a
'real' revolution, the American one was
revolutionary indeed... As much property was
confiscated in the United States as in France on a per capita basis.
Many more people were political emigres from America than from
Another indication of the truly revolutionary character of the American Revolution is its influ- ence on subsequent events in France...
Also pertinent is the fact that although the American leaders were not populists, an egalitarian image of the Revolution emerged over time and became part of...the American political religion and...the American creed.
It is a value system whose basic content today stems from egalitarian conceptions of the Declaration of Independence (Lipset, 11).
The roots of the American Revolution differ from any other country's. Today, the United States does not have a long history and its people are multi-cultural and multi-ethnic. At the time of the Revolution, many people came from different religious backgrounds. The basic principles of America are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, words and beliefs unique to America. The individual is the most important entity and authority is not to be followed. The founding fathers feared a dictatorship, feared that the people would fall under the rule of a few, and thus, they came up with a Constitution unlike any others. The writers' main goal was to make sure the people were represented. Very little power was appropriated to the government and the power that was given, had checks and balances attached to it in order to keep one branch from becoming too powerful and to make sure the electorate held the control. The America that exists today is a product, and a continued process, of its Revolution.
It is without a doubt that the American Revolution was a success. One distinguished scholar on this subject, John C. Miller, points to several factors that he believes contributed to the happy success of the American Revolution.
...Americans had been trained in self-government under British rule; ...they had upheld the tradition of individual liberty, representative government, and the common law...; they had already achieved a greater degree of social, political and economic equality than any other people;...they had never suffered the extreme oppression which is connotated in the twentieth century by the word 'tyranny' (Miller, xix).Miller believes that Americans has it easier than other nations which stage revolution. Part of American revolutionary thought originated from the English background of the revolutionaries and thus, the government that came out of the Revolutionary War was not as different from the one that was overthrown, as in the cases of other great Revolutions. However, it was different enough to call the American experience a revolution. The thoughts had originated under the British rule but it was the American experiences and oppression that turned those thoughts into action. The main characteristic of America that Lipset returns to over and over in his book is individualism, which is the quintessential American value, born out of the American Revolution of the 18th century.