1. After going through the reviews of the books Almost a Miracle by John Ferling and American Creation by Joseph Ellis, I have realized that there are a number of questions concerning the American Revolution that are most important to modern historians. A notable question is: what should historians make of the men who fought during the Revolution? Other questions include: were American founding fathers perfect and principled individuals or were they flawed and imperfect? Was the Revolution victory well deserved or was it something of a fluke or a result of luck? Were all of the men who participated in the Revolution real patriots or were some of them what would be considered traitors?
Causes of the American Revolution Essay
2. Considering the contents of their books, Joseph Ellis and John Ferling do not agree on how unique the patriot victory was. The two historians have completely different views about the nature of the American Revolution, how it was planned and executed, the character traits of the people who took part in it, and what happened after victory was achieved. According to Ellis, the Revolutionaries may have done something that was considered honorable by fighting for the rights and freedom of the people of America. However, they were neither perfect nor saints. This can be in the fact that many of them participated in slavery, having kept thousands of black people as slaves. They were also cruel to Indians who happened to be the real Native Americans. It is surprising that people who seemed to be working towards securing freedom for their people were also denying this freedom to so many people under their command. On the other hand, Ferling has misgivings on the nature of the Revolution’s victory, arguing that it was achieved more through lucky breaks than through brilliant planning and execution. According to him, a victory by the Americans at times seemed hopeless. This was due to strategic errors made by Generals, soldiers fleeing in the course of combat and numerous battles being lost in the conflict. Americans may have been led by brave and daring generals who guided and motivated thousands of stubborn, headstrong soldiers. However, victory was largely as a result of countless miscalculations and errors made by the British who often underestimated the continental army. Another difference between the two historians is their respective accounts of the Revolution. Ferling’s book gives a detailed account of the military part of the uprising. It is all about battle plans, how troops came together, how they executed guerrilla warfares, and so on. Ellis’ book on the other hand seems to concentrate more on the home front. It is mostly about how the American Revolutionaries handles minorities by highlighting the issues of slavery and interaction with the native Indians.
3. After going through Ellis’ and Ferling’s accounts of the war, more questions arise about the American Revolution. For instance, would the Revolution have been easier, stronger and more coordinated if blacks and native Indians had been included? Also, would victory have been possible had the British not underestimated American troops and dismissed them as disorganized?
Ellis, J. J. (2007). American creation: triumphs and tragedies at the founding of the republic. Random House Large Print Publishing.
Ferling, J. (2007). Almost a miracle: the American victory in the War of Independence. Oxford University Press.
Goldstein, E. (2015). To Drive Through Cap and Skull of a British Dragoon: Signed American Cavalry Swords of the Revolutionary War. The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc., 68(3), 83.
Thomas, D. W. (2014). Money And Intrigue: The Nature Of The Secret Aid Prior To The Formal Alliance In 1778 During The American Revolutionary War.
Daniel Shay and Luke Day in American Revolution
Three years after the revolutionary war in America, the state of Massachusetts was faced with another rebellion. Daniel Shay and Luke Day were the leaders of the rebellion as they revolt against the local government. Many have always dismissed the revolution that took place for one year as insignificant due to the reason that it was an uprising rabble by poor farmers who had debts. However, according to the book by Leonard Richards, the argument is different. He believes that Shays rebellion was purely a tax revolt that was driven by men of all classes and not only poor farmers. The revolution also comprised of former revolutionary heroes that felt that tax system by the new government was deemed to enrich a few people in the society at the expense of many. This paper, therefore, intends to investigate if indeed the rebellion instigated by Shay was the final battle of American Revolution.
Was Daniel Shay rebellion the Final Battle of American Revolution?
It is evident that courts are tasked with giving directions to the people with neither fear nor favour of anybody in irrespective of their status in the society. However, looking at the book by Leonard Richards things are different. People of Massachusetts are having trouble with the court as they feel that their pleas are being ignored by the tribunal. For instance, a good number of individuals of Massachusetts decided to surround the state house in Exeter due to the reason that their pleas were not put into consideration. To disperse the crowd, the governor John Sullivan promised to consider their complaints immediately. Surprisingly, the governor breaks his promise and orders forces to go after the civilians and seize them (Richards 13).
Similarly, authorities will tend to thwart and discourage any person that is intending to go against their will. In Shays Rebellion, this is what took place as those who rebels will always face the wrath of government forces and most will, in turn, lose their lives. The government will also come up with some strategies such as expanding the forces and allocating more funds for the security department. A good example is when Henry Knox who was Secretary of War and other officials decided to expand the continental army. Henry Knox, in turn, delegated the task to Henry Jackson who was to do it as fast as possible and under strict restrictions. For instance, he was not to recruit any individual below the age of 16 and over 45 years as a soldier. Again, he was not to hire any black or Indian as a service member. All the efforts were geared towards combating the rebellion that was initiated by Shay who was merely a humble farmer and saw the bigger picture (Richards 16).
How the insurgents were punished
After a series of squabbles by both the government forces and the insurgent groups, the groups were subdued, and most of them were taken to courts and charged. The judges responsible for the hearings seem to be under direct influence from other top government officials. Most members of the rebelling sides were sentenced to death as the judges decided to go from state to state to execute that task (Richards 38).
In conclusion, it is clear that Shay Rebellion was not the final battle of the American Revolution depending on a series of events that have taken place since then and in recent years. Most government officials will always pass policies that favor them without much consideration of the ordinary citizen. The approach was present during the Shay Rebellion, and it is still present in the contemporary society. Due to that approach, American society has witnessed several rebellions since the time of Shay in different calibers. Officials should, therefore, consider the grievances of ordinary citizens to ensure that they are put into consideration during the process of policy making to avoid revolutions hence maintaining peaceful coexistence in America.
Richards, Leonard L. Shays’s Rebellion: The American Revolution’s Final Battle. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003