The American Revolution
The American Revolution
In the summer 1776 American colonists went to streets to celebrate because they had just heard the readings of the Declaration of Independence what proclaimed the colonies freedom from Great Britain. As Thomas Jefferson said, the British did not care about the rights of American colonists, but the rights of individuals had roots deep in the History of Britain. The Magna Carta, signed in 1215, became the base of laws that protected rights of everyone in Britain. In 1689 the English Bill of Rights granted even more individual rights.
Jefferson explained, that the people have certain rights such as Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. He said that when the government fails to protect these rights, the people have responsibility to change or end government. In the case of American colonists, the change was a very great one – a revolution.
The American Revolution was inspired by thinkers of the Enlightenment. This movement focused to create the government that would protects the rights of individuals. Leaders have belived that the reason – the act of thinking things through – would lead more nearly to a perfect society. The philosophers of the Enlightenment were: Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Locke.
Jefferson's writings reflected Enlightenment ideas and made him the voice of American Revolution. But it was George Washington (he took command of American forces in 1775) who led the colonists to victory in war with Britain. The army was very poor but Washington kept their hopes in high.
After 6 years, in 1781 they won Independence but they needed to continue forming the government. But because they don't like a strong government, the United States became a Confederation (loose group of governments). Under these governments, the states did not always cooperate and they agreed that change was needed, so in 1787 Washington led the meeting that drew up a new plan for the government – the Constitution of the United States of America. This established a democratic republic in which citizens can select the people to represent them in the government. Under Constitution the states and central government shared the authority. One branch of the government will make the laws, one will interpret them, and the third one enforce them.
In 1789 was added to Constitution a Bill of Rights which protected the rights like freedom of speech and religion. In 1700 only the white male people are allowed to vote. The Constitution gave woman few rights and africans in the United States were free and enslaved. Constitution stated a very important idea – that the government belong to the people.