Part One: How and why did we have a Revolution in America in 1776?
Basically, the cause was, I propose, a divergence of ideas and culture from the mother country to the colonies coupled with the arrogance of the mother country toward its colonies. This was exasperated by the distance in terms of travel and communication and the proliferation of royal officers who descended on the colonies like locusts.
The rise of one Samuel Adams as thought leader and of Thomas Paine and his incendiary “Common Sense” gave focus to the colonists’ unspoken grievances. This focused organization was necessary for the Revolution.
But despite all that, the American Revolution was a most reluctant revolution.
The first battle occurs on April 19, 1775 and is a total bungle by the British. They send a troop inland from Boston to seize the arms of local miliitias, militias which had been legally set up under British auspices because of a potential threat from Indians and the French.
So these troops come and the colonists, still not “Americans” and still loyal British subjects who just don’t want to have lower status than British subjects in the home country, accidently resist. What I mean is nobody knows who fired first, but it is believed nobody gave an order and that it was accidental.
The British fire in force and angry colonists harrass them all the way back to Boston.
Thus begins the Revolution.
But it took over a year later, until July 4, 1776, for a Declaration of Independence!
Prior to that, most people wanted only to force the British to treat them as equals. As the battles raged and the British showed that no compromise was forthcoming, the voice of men like Samuel Adams, who had been talking “Independency” since around 1758, became stronger.
But, by the by, around 30% of the colonists supported the Revolution, around 10% to 20% supported the British. Most of the others were indifferent.
The Revolution didn’t just sever ties with the British Empire, it also overthrew the colonial system within the colonies: many offices were eliminated and/or former officials of the Crown were forcibly removed. There was a Revolution within the Colonies, which became states.
For instance, in 1776, Pennsylvania got a radically new Constitution, elements of which survive until this day.
The “republican form of government” was officially and completely installed and all vestiges of the Crown were removed. For instance, as an American if I wanted to be elected to public office, I could NOT take on a title of nobility from a foreign power, this is illegal here. We quite literally made using ranks and titles of nobility and royalty illegal for anyone holding a public office:
“No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
The Revolution was total. And it was radical.
It started America down a path of freedom and introduced ideals that were at odds with things like chattel slavery of blacks and indentured servitude of whites, as well as women being second-class citizens. But it came nowhere close to fulfilling those radical freedom ideals; the great achievement of these radical Founders was simply codifying these ideals and creating a system and structure which would eventually lead to their fulfillment.
So the Founders started the ball rolling and yet are often criticized for not having taken the logical conclusion of their ideas to heart.
Regardless, many sincerely believed that the uplifting of all persons within the land was the inevitable destination of their ideas. Not all did. Perhaps not even Washington, he was not one to opine on theory much and so we cannot definitely say, although at his death he freed his own slaves.
In other words, the more radical Founders like Samuel Adams did not believe that within the limits of the realpolitik of their day they could liberate the slaves and indentured servants or elevate women, but they saw in the very architecture of the Constitution and Bill of Rights that these things were being made inevitable!
Unlike modern politicians, these radical idealists took a long view. They realized their limits and yet set in motion a structure and system that they were convinced would make their radical ideals the inevitable conclusion!
The Revolution wasn’t fought for these ideals, at least not on the part of the majority of people who supported it.
But men like James Madison and Samuel Adams, men like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, were inspired by these radical ideals and embedded these radical freedom ideals within the structure of the government.
We can state these ideals, even though nobody ever stated them before, and the core philosophy of our more radical freedom-loving Founders.
These ideals can be described as Unity in diversity, Popular sovereignty, Democratic equality, and Rule of law. And it is from the initials UPDR we derive the name of the philosophy and radical ideals of our more radical freedom-loving Founders: UPDRism or upadarianism. This is a radical freedom ideology, although up until now it has not been named.
This is what I propose describes these ideals and this name is the best and most handy name to describe their true philosophy and ideology.
In future parts we will explore how America Unfulfilled has become the genesis point for a new “experiment in freedom” and “empire of liberty” that is more of an heir to the radical freedom-loving idealists of the American Revolution than the current American sociopolitical system.
So, in short, the radical freedom ideals that inspired some of the top people in the Revolution were not inspirational to most people at the time.
But the radicals were succesful at harnessing the actual grievances of their fellow Colonists to move the 13 colonies toward Revolution.
Many of our Founders were both radical idealists who were ahead of their time AND very intelligent political operators with one foot firmly planted in understanding the political possibilities and necessities of the hour and of their actual limits.
Their dream has not yet been fulfilled. For America to be fulfilled it would have to adopt these ideals from then individual to the federal level. In short, we would become a UPDR Commonwealth of free sovereignties with freedom for all people without favor or prejudice.
This remains a dream and, since the 1950s, America has begun to turn away from these ideals of radical freedom for all.
In conclusion, the American Revolution was largely fought over more mundain parochial reasons and issues, such as a divergence of culture and interests from the Crown. But its leading lights, men like Samuel Adams, were indeed inspired by ideals which remain unfulfilled by America today and which, since the 1950s especially, have been unceasingly betrayed.