Analyze the extent to which the American Revolution represented a radial alternation in American political ideas and institutions.

Essay by elina April 2004

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The American Revolution began in earnest at Lexington on April 19, 1775, and was formalized with the passing of the motion for independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. We, Americans of the 21st century tend to take our freedom and constitutional protections for granted, but they were hard won, and the result which was achieved was never a foregone conclusion. Surely the United States would eventually have broken out of the British Empire, but the path might well have been similar to that of Canada, without a revolutionary war. Throughout the time of hard struggles and confusion, American people changed many of their views and tactics. A lot of political ideas and institutions were improved and fought for.

On May 5, 1775 the Second Continental Congress met. There were mixed feelings about what should be done about the continued hostile acts of the British Parliament. Some delegates wanted immediate independence no matter what the cost was.

Others were still loyal to King George III and even though they did not like the British taxation without representation, they wanted to avoid an all-out war with England. Finally, they decided to go slowly and to not make any drastic moves that might start a major war. However, on the other hand, they also felt they needed to protect themselves, so they established the Continental Army and named George Washington as Commander-in-Chief. They also passed a "Declaration of Causes of Taking up Arms," which named England as an aggressor and gave the Colonists the right to take up arms against the British.

After King George III officially called the Colonies in rebellion, which was after Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" was circulated and read, the Patriots realized there was no way to solve the problems peacefully. They decided to declare...