Essay about Revoluton: Democracy and Hierarchical Colonial Society

Submitted By mikad
Words: 337
Pages: 2

From one perspective the American Revolution was a conservative movement based on the defense of American rights against the encroachment of the British government intent on exploiting the colonies for economic gain. The American people, according to this argument, rebelled against English authority to preserve rather than change the existing structures of society.
Peter Cooper painting of Philadelphia zoom From another perspective, however, the American Revolution was as radical as any revolution in modern history, for it replaced monarchical authority with representative government and created a society that was far more democratic than even the founding fathers had anticipated.
Nowhere were the effects of this radical revolution more evident than in Pennsylvania, which underwent its own "internal revolution." Here, Pennsylvanians transformed a hierarchical colonial society entrenched in the proprietary rule of the Penn family with its ties to British monarchy into a much freer, more egalitarian one in which they vested political authority in the people themselves.

On the eve of the American Revolution, Pennsylvania was a multi-ethnic colony of about 250,000 inhabitants, with the English, Germans, and Scots-Irish each constituting approximately a third of the total population. The religious tolerance of founder William Penn had attracted people who followed a broad range of religious practices. The highest concentration of people lived in Philadelphia, whose nearly 30,000 residents made it the largest city in British North America. European immigrants continued to flock to