Rhetoric And Reality In The American Revolution By Gordon S. Wood

1087 Words5 Pages

What if the cause of the American Revolution was so much deeper than you originally thought? What if, instead of just the result of a rebellion against a relentless government, it was something more complex, something uncontrollable? In his article “Rhetoric and Reality in the American Revolution”, author Gordon S. Wood provides us with the facts of how unique this American Revolution was compared to other Western revolutions. He shows us the different beliefs of the Idealists and Behaviorists and the opposite views of the neo-Whig historians versus the Whig historians. Wood helps us decipher the true motives of the revolution while surrounded by so much conflict.
Wood begins his article by explaining how the American Revolution was unique …show more content…

Wood says that the neo-Whig historians describe the Revolution as a just defense of American Freedom against the oppressive English government. Basically the Whig historians believe it to be the rebellion of children against their parent because they didn’t like the “strict house rules.”
Gordon Wood goes on to explain the mistake all of the discussed types of historians share. Their flaw is their close-mindedness, or their “tunnel vision.” None of these historians can find the truth behind all of their bias because they only look for the facts that satisfy their beliefs. In order to find the truth in the midst of so much opinion, we must follow the example of historian Bernard …show more content…

13) He originally believed the Revolution marked the time when the Americans suddenly opened their eyes and, with a new light, saw their society with all of its changes and differences. Bailyn thought much like a Behaviorist. In his understanding, the colonists decided to use their “idea tool” to analyze their current and future situations. After more research, he came to the conclusion that the American Revolution was more than just a controversy between social groups, but “was above all else an ideological-Constitutional struggle.” (Wood, 1966, p. 13) “It was the Americans’ worldview, the peculiar bundle of notions and beliefs they put together during the imperial debate,” (Wood, 1966, p. 14) that was the catalyst of the Revolution. Professor Bailyn noticed the common mistake among so many historians when investigating history. He decided to avoid this mistake and investigated all of the angles involved, even addressing phrases about slavery, corruption, and conspiracy, which were previously neglected by so many historians. In doing so, Bailyn came to a new conclusion. His new belief that ideas were not only important but ideas even took over the people. These ideas were and are uncontrollable and thus no motive can be assigned to any of the individuals involved in the rebellion against England. By examining the beliefs of

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