American Revolution's Emphasis on Individual Research Paper

Pages: 4 (1324 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: American History

Nonetheless, they bought into the notion of religious liberty whole-heartedly.

Thomas Jefferson's Statute of Religious Liberty (1786) ordered "that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship" (Murphy, 2008, p. 146), which became the backbone of the Constitution. The First Amendment guarantees that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." It is the official stance of Congress that it should turn a blind eye to the objective pursuit of truth. Its concern is, ironically, one of self-preservation. The question remains: how far can a nation preserve itself that refuses to acknowledge that religious and/or philosophical truth must be just as objectively judged as any other truth?

Nonetheless, as truth became subjective, it was left up to the individual define his or her own truth: essentially, the American political thought was built on the contradictory notion that the truth is there is no truth.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Paper on American Revolution's Emphasis on Individual Assignment

Individual rights were further asserted in the Constitution, largely credited to James Madison. Not everyone was for it, of course. Alexander Hamilton wanted a strong central government because he feared that a lack of unity and control would pit the thirteen colony-states against one another perpetually. But the die-hard revolutionaries like Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams saw the Constitution (and the confederation of states which passed it) as a "bastion for the hard-won liberties achieved through Revolution" (Liberty!, 2004). Hamilton on the other hand criticized the loose confederation of states and their insistence upon individual rights as presented in the Bill of Rights, which "guaranteed" freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, the right to a speedy trial (gone the way of the dodo), and the freedom from cruel and unusual punishments (also allegedly gone today). Such individual rights and freedoms, Hamilton asserted, would keep the country from rising up: he argued that with so much emphasis on individual rights, "the new republic would never achieve greatness -- let alone function as a united country -- if it continued to be governed by the parochial concerns of 13 independent republics" (Liberty!, 2004).

But independence was what the majority wanted -- still, other critics saw the Constitution as a particularly bad guarantee of such independence: Mercy Otis Warren argued that "the whole constitution is a declaration of rights, but mankind must think for themselves, and to many very judicious and discerning characters, the whole constitution with very few exceptions appears a perversion of the rights of particular states, and of private citizens" (Liberty!, 2004). What Warren had hit upon was the perverted ethos that governed the Revolution -- what he failed to see was the fact that the majority of citizens do not want to think for themselves. At the end of the day, as Aristotle said, the best form of government is a monarchy, and the worst a democracy. No nation as large as ours can ever be filled with citizens who put the governing of their nation at the top of their priorities -- which is why today we are governed by oligarchy.


In conclusion, the American Revolutionary spirit was governed by the revolutionary dogma of the new world -- formed by the Romantic/Enlightenment doctrine of the age, by men like Rousseau who wanted to throw off the "shackles" of the old world order and ring in the new. That new order, however, had already largely been established through the Peace of Westphalia, which set the stage of religious liberty and the individual rights that the American experience would try to uphold -- to some degree.

Reference List

Declaration of the Rights of Man. (1789). The Avalon Project. Retrieved from

Liberty! The American Revolution. (2004). PBS. Retrieved from

Murphy, D. (2008). The Everything American Revolution Book. Avon, MA: Adams


Rousseau, J. (2008). The Social Contract. (G. DH Cole, Trans.). New York, NY:

Cosimo. (Original work published 1762). [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

American Revolution's Emphasis on Individual.  (2011, June 28).  Retrieved November 27, 2020, from

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"American Revolution's Emphasis on Individual."  28 June 2011.  Web.  27 November 2020. <>.

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"American Revolution's Emphasis on Individual."  June 28, 2011.  Accessed November 27, 2020.