Today is September 21, 1783, and it means that I became a colonist precisely 13 years ago. Great Britain admitted independence of the United States in the Treaty of Paris only a few weeks ago, and I am lucky to witness how America came to its freedom. The country significantly changed throughout these years, and I could not imagine how different America is now. The citizens’ values, and needs also changed, and the way the future will be built depends on their willingness to have an even better life. My first diary entry aims to reflect the decade of American history and highlight how wars and political implications affected different social groups.
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The eighteenth century was the time full of wars for America, even before the Revolutionary one. The Seven Years War drained the economics and social life of the Americans because of new tax policies of the British government via their Stamp, Townshend, and Tea Acts (Hattem, 2017). Many colonists and I were devastated by these acts’ conditions, and the resistance was raised to reveal the disagreement. The Intolerable Acts, established by the British government later in 1774, expanded the heat of revolution and forced the colonists to take measures. This response made by the First Continental Congress on September 5, 1774, was not sufficient, therefore, the colonists and people who felt responsible for the future decided to take aggressive steps to resist. The next year of 1775 was full of bloody fights, we lost many militiamen during the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. It affected the military representatives because of the rising feelings of pride and proud of being Americans.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, which suggested establishing separate governments for each colony, and on July 4, 1776, it was adopted by the congress. However, the Americans kept fighting for another 6 years, and making triumphs at Trenton, Saratoga kept the hope of independence alive regardless of losses, diseases, and starvation they continuously experienced. I witnessed how rapidly people changed their attitudes and values when militiamen gave lives freedom from British pressure. The inspiring speech of John Paul Jones, victories over rivals, help of the French, and the defeat of British at Yorktown in 1781 led the War to its ending by establishing peace in the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783.
The memories of the battlefields are still fresh in people’s minds; however, now it becomes clear how the Independence War affected different social groups. First, women were thrown into the conditions they have never experienced before. Most of them dedicated their lives for serving families, but while the War took their husbands and sons away, the patriotic moods raised among them. Women boycotted the British textile and refused to cook with the ingredients imported from the Empire – the approach became very harmful for the British economy. Moreover, women felt valuable as they manufactured clothes and goods for the military forces, and some of them even got to the battlefields.
Second, religious minorities were also strongly affected by the War and its outcomes. The British King was the head of the Church of England – the largest one in America. During the Revolution, Americans rejected their loyalty to this denomination and joined the minority religious groups, the rise of which lead the United States to religious pluralism (Walker, 2017). Native Americans were able to return to core beliefs, and their culture became more popular among many colonies.
Third, the Revolutionary War played a valuable role for American slaves as well. Participation in War became the way of becoming free for many slaves of the country. These men gave lives while fighting against the British at Lexington and Concord battles. It forced the Americans to value their labor more, and many landlords eased the rules for managing slaves. By the end of the War, there were several cases of the emancipation in the northern parts of the country, and many slaves gained more freedom.
The decade full of battles, deaths, and revolutionary decisions significantly changed society. Women showed their loyalty and support, religious minorities became the force that raised hope for freedom, and tight ropes of slavery eased to make this social group more valuable in the new states. The liberty we earned is the key for the United States to thrive as a nation. I cannot predict the future, but I certainly know that people of the United States became more robust and will never let their freedom be taken away.
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Hattem, M. D. (2017). “As serves our interest best”: Political economy and the logic of popular resistance in New York City, 1765–1776. New York History, 98(1), 40-70. Web.
Walker, P. W. (2017). The bishop controversy, the imperial crisis, and religious radicalism in New England, 1763-74. The New England Quarterly, 90(3), 306-343. Web.