The American Revolution was a historical event that culminated into a war by American colonies against the British. There are different historical accounts of the revolution and some of these accounts are captured by authors such as Aron (pp 233-250)
and Vine (pp 227-233), who evaluate the experiences of Daniel Boone and Estwick Evans respectively. The generation that followed the revolution embraced the ideals and principles that the revolution had stood for, including the importance of being a patriotic American who participates in political and governance issues. This essay will evaluate the experiences by Daniel Boone and Estwick Evans to underscore the American Revolution and what it meant to those who lived during the time, as well as the next generation that followed the revolution.
The generation that followed the American Civil War embraced the ideals and principles that their parents had fought for. According to Vine (p 228), “Many of the new generation became agents of change in an era of change marked by the convergence of political revolutions, commercial expansion and intellectual ferment that penetrated the most mundane aspects of life”. One of the members of the post-revolution generation was Evans, and he embraced the ideologies that had been instilled to him by his parents, who had determination that their children would not forget the events during the American Revolution. Moreover, mothers taught their children the principles that it takes to be a participatory and ideal American citizen (Vine p 228). Evans, for instance, was required to recite quotations and poems from the revolution and its leaders.
Many Americans expected the revolution to grant them new freedoms and one of the key freedoms was land ownership. Previously, only the people with vast land and many tenants and slaves to work on it, had attained personal independence. Moreover, there were expectations that people who were not wealthy would have an opportunity to own and develop land. According to Stephen (p 232), “White men of lesser means were laying claim to that coveted status. These men still labored, but they did so themselves, on land they owned and could pass to their children”. Americans expected the ‘new’ America to grant them freedom to own land so that they could cater for their large families. Moreover, some of these dreams were not realized as people such as Boone realized that people such as Indians, who were independent, did not rely on the expansionist policy of land ownership, but rather, hunting (Stephen p 234).
Additionally, Americans had been promised greater political freedoms and public participation in political processes, after the revolution. They believed that the majority in society should be consulted before nominating political candidates so that the people could support the vision of political leaders. According to Vine (p 230) a letter to the framer of the constitution of New Hampshire in 1811 argued that “the people ought to be directly consulted unless the public good required a contrary course and then the people should directly consent to such a course”. Americans had begun challenging the political systems that existed before the revolution, which allowed candidates to be nominated by proxy, since the vast majority of people may not like such a candidate.
After the American Revolution, the new role of an American citizen included participation in political governance and patriotism. According to Stephen (p 228), “His world was filled with patriotic images-flags, buntings, eagles-on an everyday basis”. This quote illustrates Evans’ world after the revolution and parents instilled patriotic ideals in children so that they would never forget the revolution. The ‘new’ American citizen was expected to stand for his country as a patriot. Moreover. the ‘new’ role entailed participating in democratic processes including nomination of candidates to run for political office. The revolution changed the political ideals of Americans and required them to participate in the selection process for politicians so that power could be consolidated into a central political party. It was argued that “It was less difficult to retain a thousand powers than to regain one lost power” (Stephen p 228).
The main similarity between the two individuals is that they both embraced the ideals of the American Revolution. Evans wrote letters that captured the republican ideals such as ‘independency’ (Vine p 228). Moreover, he lived in an era where parents taught their children not to forget the experiences of the revolution. Boone also shared similar principles of the revolution, and he moved to Kentucky to pursue personal independence. Both men are also similar since they had great dreams and expectations of the American Revolution. Boone dreamt of owning land, which was previously impossible for people who were not wealthy and could not afford servants and slaves to tend to land (Stephen p 232). Evans had dreams of holding a big political office and offered his candidature for president. According to Vine (p 229), “Addressing the nation in the tumultuous year of 1864, Evans paid for a four-page circular authored by him that volunteered his candidacy for president”.
However, the main difference between the two men is that Boone used the American Revolution to pursue his personal dreams while Evans used the revolution to advocate for political participation and changes to the political systems so that they represent the principles the revolutionaries had fought for. Boone was a simple man who embraced the ideals of the American Revolution and pursued his dream of being a hunter. He emulated the Indian lifestyle of hunting and sold his farm in Pennsylvania (Stephen p 235). Evans was however more active politically and he sought to participate in politics so that he would fight for the ideals that the revolutionaries fought for. He advocated against federal government systems that alienated the common man, and argued that political decisions should have support of the majority (Vine p 230). In my view, Boone was a typical American compatriot who opted to use the newly acquired freedoms to pursue his personal goals. However, Evans was not the typical American compatriot since he sought to go over and above the actions of an America ordinary people by advocating for political changes that would reflect the American Revolution ideals.
The American Revolution marked an important period in history where American colonies rejected the British rule. Most Americans had high expectations for the period following the revolution and they believed that they would have new freedoms such as land ownership despite of their economic class, and the power to choose political leaders who supported their will. Boone and Evans reveal how ordinary people were affected by the revolution and its impacts on their lives and dreams. However, many promises that were made to Americans during the revolution were not realized as some political leaders did not keep the promises they had made. Moreover, it is imperative that people learn the American Revolution to learn important lessons from history.
Aron Stephen. “Daniel Boone and the Struggle for Independence on the Revolutionary
Frontier” from The Human Tradition in the American Revolution. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, pp 233-250
Vine Jess. “Estwick Evans: Little Big Man of Potsmorth”, from A Mosaic of America Vol. 1.
Kendall Hunt Publishing, pp 227-233
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