By R. Palme Dutt
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26 Studies of militia, army, and civilians have revealed a long and bloody war, in which many thousands of combatants and civilians were killed or injured. Pitting father against son, wife against husband, and slave against master, the war destroyed much of the new nation’s infrastructure. It decimated ports, towns, crops, farms, and Native American communities, and made refugees of tens of thousands who had chosen one side over another. p65 30 07/12/01, 09:34 Writing History of the American Revolution educated white women – the war itself was the most traumatic and perhaps most significant event of their lives.
41 Among issues that are now urgently in need of reappraisal are changes in political systems (at both the local and new, national level), the profound and widespread changes in American society itself (which may or may not have been linked to changes in political systems), and the manner in which either or both of these forms of change were experienced by the various elements of the American population. The enduring popularity of political history is surely the result of the revolution’s creation of the American nation-state, which has enabled historians and students to construct a coherent narrative of the founding and subsequent development of the United States.
Aspirations for social equality informed political ideology during and after the Revolution. The principle that “all men are created equal” and the near-adoption for the Declaration of Independence of Locke’s prescription of “life, liberty, and property” reflected the connection between revolutionary republicanism and the hope that access to economic resources could sustain social equality.