American History Prior to the American Revolution Term Paper

Pages: 3 (860 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: American History

American History

Prior to the American Revolution, the majority of immigrants were in some state of "unfreedom," Fogelman notes. As many as three-fourths of the immigrants from Europe arrived as indentured servants, creating a complex system of intricate social hierarchies in the New World. Ideals of freedom and liberty were not as prevalent prior to the war as during and after. The Revolutionary period did indeed alter the structure of American society, and reduced the instances of indentured servitude for whites gradually. For African-Americans the gradual demise of slavery occurred with less enthusiasm, especially as the South's economy became essential to the survival of the new nation following independence.

Prior to the war, trade flowed freely across the Atlantic. Immigrants propped up the colonial labor pool too, adding substantial numbers of indentured servants to the population. Throughout the colonies but especially in the central and southern colonies, indentured servitude created and solidified social strata. However, a war transformed the colonies' biggest trading partners in the Old World into temporary enemies. Old World nations were no more the dependable, viable sources of income and labor they once were. Thus, the American Revolution changed social realities in the New World for practical as well as ideological reasons.

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Moreover, the war helped to dissemble the hierarchies that had been built throughout the century preceding the Revolution. Young white male apprentices who were the source of cheap labor extricated themselves from the contracts binding them to their masters by either serving in the war or running away. The ideals of freedom and liberty that fomented the Revolution helped spur apprentices away from their social contracts. American ideals therefore reflected a burgeoning spirit, and did not echo the character of the colonies at all.

TOPIC: Term Paper on American History Prior to the American Revolution, Assignment

For both African and European immigrants, the social stratifications prior to the Revolution were similar. Both European indentured servants and African slaves were deprived of the freedoms and liberties championed by Americans after the Revolution. After independence, though, slavery proliferated profoundly in the South. In spite of the lip service paid to "liberty and justice for all," the Black populace in the newly formed union suffered social setbacks and did not enjoy the fruits of freedom.

Conditions for both African and European servants before the War were deplorable and harsh, Fogelman points out. The state of "unfreedom" persisted well into the late 18th century. Convicts, kidnapping victims, and redemptioners added to the overall pool of people at the lowest rungs of the colonial social ladder. The more immigrants flooded into the colonies in search of opportunity, the fewer actual opportunities for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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American History Prior to the American Revolution.  (2007, October 16).  Retrieved October 24, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/american-history-prior-revolution/192071

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"American History Prior to the American Revolution."  Essaytown.com.  October 16, 2007.  Accessed October 24, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/american-history-prior-revolution/192071.