Assess How the American Revolution Reshape American Society

Assess How the American Revolution Reshape American Society


Your assignment is a 1000-word essay (with a thesis!) that integrates the following documents with an answer to the following question:

Assess how much the American Revolution reshaped American society. (In your answer, be sure to address the political, intellectual, social, and economic effects of the Revolution in the period from 1775

 to 1800.)

Your essay must answer the question, and should demonstrate your research and knowledge of the topic. It must also cite key pieces of the documents as examples and/or evidence. Try not to leave any documents out of your paper.


Document 1


Source: Molly Wallace, valedictory address, Young Ladies’ Academy of Philadelphia, 1792.

What then must my situation be, when my sex, my youth and inexperience all conspire to make me tremble at the task which I have undertaken? But the friendly encouragement, which I behold in almost every countenance, enables me to overcome difficulties that would otherwise be insurmountable. With some, however, it has been made a question, whether we ought ever to appear in so public a manner. Our natural timidity, the domestic situation to which, by nature and custom we seem destined, are urged as arguments against what I now have undertaken:


Many sarcastically observations have been handed out against female oratory: But to what do they amount? Do they not plainly inform us, that, because we are females, we ought therefore to be deprived of what is perhaps the most effectual means of acquiring a just, natural and graceful delivery? No one will pretend to deny, that we should be taught to read in the best manner. And if to read, why not to speak?


Document 2


Source: Message to Congress from the Chickasaw Chiefs, July 1783.

When our great father the King of England called away his warriors, he told us to take your People by the hand as friends and brothers. It makes our hearts rejoice to find that our great father, and his children the Americans have at length made peace, which we wish may continue as long as the Sun and Moon. And to find that our brothers the Americans are inclined to take us by the hand, and smoke with us at the great fire, which we hope will never be extinguished.


Document 3


Source: Statutes at Large of Virginia, 1786.

Be it enacted by the general Assembly, that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever . . . but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion.


Document 4


Source: Woodcut of Patriot woman, Marblehead, MA, 1779 (New York Historical Society).


Document 5


Source: Pennsylvania Packet, 1779.


Awake, Americans, to a sense of your danger. No time to be lost. Instantly banish every Tory from among you. Let America be sacred alone to freemen.

Drive far from you every baneful wretch who wishes to see you fettered with the chains of tyranny. Send them where they may enjoy their beloved slavery to perfection— send them to the island of Britain; there let them drink the cup of slavery and eat the bread of bitterness all the days of their existence — there let them drag out a painful life, despised and accursed by those very men whose because they have had the wickedness to espouse. Never let them return to this happy land— never let them taste the sweets of that independence which they strove to prevent. Banishment, perpetual banishment, should be their lot.


Document 6


Source: United Indian Nations, Speech at the Confederate Council, 1786.

Brethren of the United States of America: It is now more than three years since peace was made between the King of Great Britain and you, but we, the Indians, were disappointed, finding ourselves not included in that peace . . . for we thought that its conclusion would have promoted a friendship between the United States and the Indians. You kindled your council fires were you thought proper, without consulting us, at which you held separate treaties and have entirely neglected our plan of having a general conference with the different nations of the confederacy.


Document 7


Source: James Madison in The Federalist, number 51, 1788.

Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.


Document 8


Source: Letter from Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 1787.

With regard to the tumults in my native state, which you inquire about, I wish I could say that report had exaggerated them. It is too true Sir, that they have been carried to so alarming a height as to stop the courts of justice in several counties. Ignorant, restless desperados, without conscience or principles, have led a deluded multitude to follow their standard, under pretense of grievances which have no existence but in their imaginations. Some of them were crying out for a paper currency, some for an equal distribution of property.


Document 9


Source: An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio, 1787.

Article 6th: There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided, always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.


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