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Q7. What is the historical significance of the American Revolution? Also discuss the consolidation of America after the revolution.


The words of the Declaration of Independence regarding the equality of all men and the ‘inalienable rights’ of man electrified the atmosphere in America and outside. Lafayette, the French general who fought on the side of American revolutionaries, was soon to become a hero of the French Revolution. Thomas Paine also participated in the French Revolution.

By its example, the American Revolution inspired many revolutionaries in Europe later in the 19th century. It encouraged Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Central and South America to rebel and gain their independence. The main achievement of the American Revolution was the establishment of a republic. This republic was, however, not truly democratic, right to vote was limited. Negroes— most of them still slaves—American Indians, and women had no vote. Election laws in states favored men of property for many years. But progress towards democracy had begun. In some states, state religion was abolished, along with religious qualifications for holding public offices.


The consolidation of America after the Revolution:-

Early in the 19th century, many new areas were added to the United States. The vast territory in the middle of the continent, known as Louisiana, was purchased from France. Florida was acquired from Spain.

By the 1850′s, after a war with Mexico, the United States had extended its boundaries to the Pacific Ocean. People had continued to move west. The westward expansion of the United States was at the expense of the American Indians who were driven out of their territories and in the course of a few decades their population was reduced to an insignificant number.

Increasing settlements in the west brought about increasing conflicts between the southern states that wanted to extend slavery to the western territories and the northern states that objected to a slave economy. A change of revolutionary significance came with the Civil War when slave-owning states of the south seceded from the Union and set up a separate government. The Civil War raged from 1861 to 1865 and ended in the defeat of the southern states. It was a victory for the capitalistic industrial states of the north over the slave-owning states of the south. The federal government abolished slavery. The abolition of slavery, however, did not end discrimination against the Black people and their struggle to make equal rights a reality continued.

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