Science and Enlightenment

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					The American Revolution

The Enlightenment and “The Shot
    Heard „Round the World”
• The Age of Enlightenment
• The Seven Years‟ War and its Impact on the
• Representation and Country Ideology
• Increased Tensions
• Capabilities and Limitations of Both Sides
• Strategies and the Importance of the Population
• The Shot Heard „Round the World
          A Changing World
• In the mid-18th Century, British colonists in
  North America seemed content with British
  rule, but in the mid-1760s things started to
  – First, new ideas about a just society began to
    circulate in the Enlightenment era
  – Second, the British imposed new taxes to
    offset the cost of the Seven Years‟ War; taxes
    which seemed to the colonists to conflict with
    the Enlightenment philosophy
              Scientific Revolution
• In 1543,Copernicus published On the
  Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres
  which argued that the sun, rather than
  the Earth, stood at the center of the
  universe and that the planets revolved
  around the sun
• Copernicus‟ work inspired astronomers
  to examine the heavens in new ways
• Increasingly, they based their theories
  on observed data and used
  mathematical reasoning to organize the
• This reliance on observation and
  mathematics ushered in the “Scientific
 Impact of the Scientific Revolution
• Suggested that rational analysis of behavior and
  institutions could have meaning in the human as
  well as the natural world
• Increasingly, thinkers challenged recognized
  authorities such as Aristotelian philosophy and
  Christian religion and sought to explain the world
  in purely rational terms
• The result was a movement known as the
• King Louis XIV (1643-1715) of France is
  credited with having said “L’etat c’est
  moi!” or “I am the state.”
• Louis‟s statement is consistent with the
  idea of absolutism– the theory that
  ultimate power in the early centuries of
  modern Europe was vested in a
  hereditary monarch who claimed a God-
  given right to rule
• Louis went so far as to call himself the
  “Sun King,” claiming that like the sun,
  everything revolved around him
• Catholicism was the national religion of
                                             Louis and his family
                                             portrayed as gods
   – “One faith, one law, one king.”
   – In 1685 Louis revoked the Edict of
      Nantes and insisted that Huguenots
      convert to Catholicism
• Enlightenment thinkers
  considered absolutism
  to be unnatural and
  they sought to discover
  natural laws that
  governed human
  society in the same
  way Newton‟s laws
  regulated the universe
• Collectively, these        Abbé Delille recites a poem in the
  thinkers were called the   salon of Madame Geoffrin, site of
  philosophes                     many gatherings of the
  (“philosophers”)              Enlightenment philosophes
 Francis-Marie Arouet (1694-1778)
• Was especially critical of the
  Roman Catholic Church which he
  held responsible for fanaticism,
  intolerance, and incalculable
  human suffering
• Wrote Candide in 1759 in which
  he analyzes the problem of evil in
  the world and depicts the woes
  heaped upon the world in the
  name of religion
• His battle cry against the Roman
  Catholic Church was ecrasez
  l’infame (“crush the damned
Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755)

• Sought to establish a
  science of politics and
  discover principles that
  would foster political
  liberty in a prosperous
  and stable state
• Instrumental in
  developing the idea of
  separation of powers
  (executive, legislative,
   Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-
• Many Enlightenment thinkers
  condemned the legal and
  social privileges enjoyed by
  aristocrats and called for a
  society in which all individuals
  were equal before the law
• In 1762, Rousseau wrote The
  Social Contract arguing that
  members of a society were
  collectively the sovereign
   – All individuals would
     participate directly in the
     formulation of policy and
     the creation of laws
       John Locke (1632-1704)
• Studied the relationship
  between the individual
  and the state
• Wrote An Essay
  Concerning Human
  Understanding in 1689
• Largely anti-authoritarian
   – Opposition is both on
     the level of the
     individual person and
     on the level of
     institutions such as
     government and
                    John Locke
• Individuals should use reason to search after truth rather
  than simply accepting the opinion of authorities or being
  subject to superstition
    – Proportion assent to propositions to the evidence for
• There must be a distinction between the legitimate and
  illegitimate functions of institutions
    – Based on those distinctions, there is a corresponding
      distinction for the uses of force by those institutions.
• By using reason to try to grasp the truth and by
  determining the legitimate functions of institutions, the
  individual and society will flourish materially and
                       John Locke
• Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) had
  described a social contract in which
  people in a state of nature ceded
  their individual rights to a strong
  sovereign in return for his protection
• Locke offered a new social contract
  theory in which people contracted
  with one another for a particular kind
  of government, and that they could
  modify or even abolish the
   – Great influence on Thomas
      Jefferson and the Declaration of
      Independence                         In Leviathan, Hobbes
                                           argued the virtues of a
                                           strong central authority
                Seven Years‟ War

• Commercial competition in
  the New World ultimately
  generated violence that
  culminated in the Seven
  Years‟ War (1756-1763)
   – In North America, the
     Seven Years‟ War
     merged with the on-
     going French and
     Indian War which pitted   George Washington fought for the
                                 British and was defeated in the
     the British and French
                                opening battle of the French and
     against each other        Indian War at Fort Necessity in the
                                          Ohio Country
                   British Victory
• The British emerged victorious
  and as a result they gained
  control of North America from
  the French
• The war helped create
  conditions that led to the
  American Revolutionary War,
  because the British colonists no
  longer needed British protection
  from the French and would
  come to resent the taxes
  imposed by Britain to pay for its
  military commitments
       American Revolution: New
• Trying to recover financial losses from the
  French and Indian War and the Seven
  Years‟ War, the British passed a series of
  new taxes on the colonies
  –   Sugar Act (1764)
  –   Stamp Act (1765)
  –   Townshend Act (1767)
  –   Tea Act (1773)
• Other offensive legislation included the
  Quartering Act of 1765 and the Intolerable Acts
• While other issues annoyed the colonists, it was
  taxation that most led to demands for independence
• Because Parliament had usually refrained from
  taxing them, many colonists assumed that it could
• One American asked, if taxes were now imposed
  “without our having a legal Representation where
  they are laid, are we not reduced from the Character
  of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary
   – The idea of “No taxation without representation”
     was consistent with Rousseau and other
     Enlightenment thinkers
   The Issue of Representation
• In England, electoral districts for Parliament
  were often based on earlier conditions
   – For example, Dunwich continued to maintain
     its right to elect a parliamentary
     representative long after the city itself had
     been washed into the North Sea
   – Manchester, however, was a rapidly growing
     city that lacked representation
• Most Englishmen accepted this condition
  because they believed in “virtual representation”
   – Representatives served the interests of the
     entire nation rather than just their home
     The Issue of Representation
• Such Englishmen assumed
  that since the colonists held
  interests in common with
  citizens back home, they
  were “virtually” represented
• Americans, on the other
  hand, had enjoyed “actual
  representation” since the
  founding of the colonies
   – They believed elected
     representatives should be
     directly responsive to local
     interests and they were used to
     instructing their legislators about   Thomas Jefferson
     how to vote on key issues             represented Albemarle
   – They were skeptical of the idea       County in the House of
     of “virtual representation”           Burgesses
            Country Ideology
• Even before the Seven Years‟ War, the British
  had borrowed heavily to fund several other wars
  and developed a large bureaucracy to collect
  taxes to pay the war debt
• In response, a “Country” or “Real Whig” ideology
  emerged that:
   – Stressed the threats to personal liberty posed
     by a large standing army and a powerful state
   – Emphasized the dangers of taxation to
     property rights and the need for property
     holders to maintain the right to consent to
            Country Ideology
• Country ideology stressed that it was the duty of
  the Parliament (particularly the House of
  Commons which represented the people as a
  whole) to check the executive power of the Crown
  – It was the House of Commons‟ control of taxation that
    controlled tyrannical leaders
  – John Locke had argued that rulers had authority to
    enforce law “only for the public good”
  – When the Crown did its job properly, the House of
    Commons appropriated the necessary funds
  – When rulers infringed on the people‟s liberties, the
    House restrained them by withholding taxes
           Country Ideology
• Because of these important
  responsibilities, Country ideology required
  representatives to be of sufficient property
  and judgment to make independent
• A representative of appropriate social
  status was generally assumed to be
  qualified to lead, but if he proved
  otherwise, his constituents should be able
  to vote him out
                Country Ideology
• Country ideology appealed to
  many Americans
   – It was consistent with the
     idea that power should
     reside at the local level
   – It emboldened those who
     feared they lacked a voice in
     decisions being made in
   – Its insistence on the
     important political role of the
     propertied elite appealed to      Patrick Henry addressing the
     the local gentry                  House of Burgesses
              The Sugar Act
• Given the philosophies of the Enlightenment
  and Country ideology, the colonists
  responded only mildly to the Sugar Act
  – The effects of the act were felt mostly in New
    England where it cut into the smuggling trade with
    the French West Indies
  – Still on principle, the act was offensive and
    eventually all the assemblies passed resolutions
    declaring that any Parliamentary tax on America,
    including the Sugar Act, was unconstitutional
                    The Stamp Act
• The Stamp Act, because its
  effects were felt equally
  throughout the colonies, elicited
  a more swift response
• One response was the
  formation of the Sons of Liberty,
  a collection of loosely organized
  protest groups, who put
  pressure on stamp distributors
  and British authorities
• The American response was
  troublesome enough that in
  March 1766, the Stamp Act was
• Still the British persisted in their
  right to impose taxes, including
  the Townshend Duties in 1767
            The Boston Massacre
• The Townshend duties continued
  to strain the relationship between
  America and Britain, and most of
  its articles were eventually
• Before that, however, on March 5,
  1770, the “Boston Massacre”
  occurred in which British troops
  fired on an unruly crowd, killing five
• A period of quiet followed this
  outbreak, but during it the colonies
  established “committees of
  correspondence” to keep each
  other informed of objectionable
  British actions
               The Boston Tea Party
• The “Quiet Period” was broken on
  December 16, 1773 with the Boston
  Tea Party
   – Partly because Americans were
     drinking smuggled and untaxed
     tea, the British East India
     Company was nearly bankrupt
   – Lord North, the British prime
     minister, tried to rescue it by the
     Tea Tax of 1773 which was a
     thinly disguised measure to get the
     Americans to pay the old
     Townshend duty on British East
     India Tea
   – A well-organized band of men,
     some disguised as Indians,
     boarded the tea ship Dartmouth
     and broke open 342 chests of tea
     and threw the contents into the
 The First Continental Congress
• The Boston Tea Party led to the
  British passing three repressive
  measures known collectively as
  the Intolerable Acts
• These acts united the colonists
  like never before and the First
  Continental Congress met in
  Philadelphia from September 5
  to October 26, 1774
    – Even now, however, it was
      but a minority who favored
      war with Britain                 Peyton Randolph presided
    – Most hoped and believed the      over the Continental
      British would change their
      policies and all would be well
           Increased Tensions
• Colonists began to separate into
  “Whigs” who advocated
  increased rights and “Tories”
  who were more loyal to the
• Both the Americans and British
  could see a crisis was looming
  and took steps to prepare
• In 1774, General Thomas Gage,
  the commander of the British
  army in America and governor of
  Massachusetts, dissolved the
  legislature which then proceeded
  to assemble anyway
                                     Thomas Gage
            Increased Tensions
• A “Provincial Congress”
  established the “Committee
  of Safety,” to be headed by
  John Hancock, in October
  1774 for the purpose of
  stockpiling weapons and
  organizing militia volunteers
   – Special companies of “minute
     men” were to be ready at “a
     minutes warning in Case of an
• In a move to quell such
  belligerence, Lord North
  ordered Gage to take
  decisive action
          Lexington and Concord
• On April 18, 1775, Gage
  assembled 700 men on the
  Boston Common and
  marched them toward
  Lexington and Concord
   – His goal was to arrest rebel
     leaders Samuel Adams and
     John Hancock in Lexington
     and destroy the military
     supplies the Committee of
     Safety had stockpiled in
• Riders like Paul Revere
  warned fellow patriots, and by
  the time the British reached
  Lexington they found 70
  armed militiamen waiting for
        Lexington and Concord
• No one knows who fired
  the first shot, but the end
  result was 18 Americans
  killed or wounded
• The British then
  marched to Concord and
  burned some supplies
• Some 4,000 militia men
  descended on the British
  and harassed their
  retreat back to Boston,
  inflicting 273 casualties
  while suffering nearly
  100 of their own
       Lexington and Concord

       Concord Hymn

By the rude bridge that
   arched the flood,

Their flag to April's breeze

Here once the embattled
  farmers stood,

And fired the shot heard
  ‘round the world.

   --Ralph Waldo Emerson
   The Declaration of Independence

• On July 4, 1776,
  the Continental
  adopted “The
  Declaration of the
  thirteen united
  States of
  America” (The
  Declaration of
 The Declaration of Independence
• “all men are created equal, that they are
  endowed by their Creator with certain
  unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,
  Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”
• Governments derive their power and authority
  from “the consent of the governed”
• When any government infringes upon
  individual‟s rights, “it is the Right of the People to
  alter or abolish it, and to institute new
• Declared the colonies to be “Free and
  Independent States”
             David vs Goliath
• However, declaring independence and actually
  winning it by war were two different things
• Victory in the Seven Years‟ War had left Britain
  as the dominant power in the world
  – It had a population of eight million with a professional
    army, large navy, and formidable wealth
• The colonists had a population of two and a half
  million (20% of which were slaves) and no army,
  navy, or significant financial resources
  British Troops: August 1776
• 24,000 soldiers
• Average soldier was 30 years old with 10 years
• Muskets, bayonets, light field guns
• Two or three ranks of infantry supported by light field
• Powerful Navy (30 warships, 400 transports)
• More experienced, better led, more thoroughly
  disciplined and trained
• General William Howe knew generals from their
  Seven Years‟ War record
      Colonial Troops: Aug 1776
• 28,000 soldiers
• Average soldier was 20 years old with less than a year of
• Muskets, bayonets, light field guns
• Two or three ranks of infantry supported by light field guns
• Used simplified British tactics (experience from Seven
  Years‟ War)
• No Navy
• Great disparity in quality between militia and Continental
• Many generals were imposed upon General George
  Washington by Congress or state governments
                    The Difference
• What gave the colonists hope was
  the opportunity to be gained by
  courage, cause, the home court
  advantage, and patriotism
• Unlike earlier European dynastic
  squabbles, the American
  Revolution was an ideological war
  that affected the population
• “Remember, officers and soldiers,
  that you are freemen, fighting for
  the blessings of liberty; that slavery
  will be your portion and that of your
  posterity if you do not acquit
  yourselves like men.”
   – George Washington
             British Challenges
• Underestimated the impact of patriotism
• Overestimated the Loyalist strength
   – Only about 20% of white Americans were Tories
• Colonial decentralization meant colonies had no
  strategic heart and the British would have to occupy vast
  expanses of territory
• Supply and communications were difficult with England
  3,000 miles away
• The British population was not united behind the war
• Britain still had enemies in Europe to worry about
• Both sides understood from the
  beginning that they were fighting
  for the allegiance of a people
  and for the destruction or
  preservation of one state and
  the creation of another
• The colonists had to defeat the
  British and control the loyalists
  without losing popular support
  or destroying the republican
  principles for which they fought
• The British argued that they
  were protecting loyalists from
  the tyranny of a few ambitious
               The British Strategy
• The British never really found a
  good solution for dealing with
  the population
• Tried various strategies with
  little success
    – Intimidating the rebels with a
        show of force
    – Combining force and
        persuasion to break the
        rebellion without alienating a
        majority of the colonists
    – Enlisting the support of
        loyalists in a gradual and
        cumulative restoration of
        royal government
            American Strategy

• Primarily defensive and
  therefore shaped by
  countering British moves
• Uncertainties about supplies
  and manpower worked
  against a consistent strategy
• However, Washington
  understood his strengths
  and weaknesses and had
  the defender‟s advantage
           American Strategy
• Maintain a principal striking force in a central
  position to block any British advance into the
• Be neither too timid or too bold in seeking battle
  for limited objectives (Partisan operations in the
• Avoid the destruction of the army at all costs
  (Greene‟s instructions to Morgan before the
• Find some means of concentrating a sufficient
  force to strike a decisive offensive blow whenever
  the British overextended themselves (Yorktown)
             The United States
• In September 1783, the British formally recognized
  American independence
• In 1787, Americans drafted the Constitution of the United
  States which created a federal government based on
  popular sovereignty
   – The Bill of Rights in particular stressed individual
     liberties such as freedom of speech, the press, and
• The success of the American Revolution and this early
  understanding of freedom, equality, and popular
  sovereignty in America would have broad implications
  throughout the world
   – Remember Emerson‟s “shot heard round the world”
French Revolution: Ancien Regime
• The Americans sought independence from
  British imperial rule, but they kept British
  law and much of the British social and
  cultural heritage
• On the other hand, French revolutionaries
  sought to replace the ancien regime (“the
  old order”) with new political, social, and
  cultural structures
      French Revolution: Estates
• In May 1789, in an
  effort to raise taxes,
  King Louis XVI
  convened the Estates
  General, an assembly
  representing the
  entire French
  population through
  three groups known
  as estates
                           King Louis XVI
       French Revolution: Estates
• The first estate was about
  100,000 Roman Catholic
• The second estate was
  about 400,000 nobles
• The third estate was
  about 24 million others
  (serfs, free peasants,
   – In spite of these
     discrepancies, each
     estate had one vote
                               ancien regime
    French Revolution: Estates
• The third estate
  demanded sweeping
  political and social
  reform, but the other
  two estates resisted
• On June 20, 1789,
  the third estate
  seceded from the
  Estates General and
  declared itself the
  National Assembly
                          Marie Antoinette
        French Revolution: National
• The National Assembly
  vowed not to disband until
  France had a written
• This assertion of popular
  sovereignty spread to Paris
  and on July 14 a crowd
  stormed the Bastille to seize
  weapons and ammunition
• The garrison surrendered in
  the wake of great bloodshed
   – The attackers severed the
     commander‟s head and
     paraded it through the streets   Storming of the Bastille
     on a pike
• Insurrections spread
  throughout France
 French Revolution: Declaration
• In Aug 1789, the National Assembly issued
  the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the
   – Obviously influenced by the American Revolution
     and the Declaration of Independence
• Proclaimed the equality of all men, declared
  that sovereignty resided in the people, and
  asserted individual rights to liberty, prosperity,
  and security
            Other Impacts
• The Enlightenment ideals and the
  American and French Revolutions also
  – The Saint Domingue slave revolt
  – Simon Bolivar in South America
  – The abolition movement
  – The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and
    the Female Citizen
  – Elizabeth Cady Stanton and women‟s rights
         Compare and Contrast
         Objective Type of   Religion   Philo-    Interna-   Immedi-
                   Warfare              sophical tional      ate and
                                        Rationale Reaction   Long-
                                        and                  term
                                        Declara-             Results
Am Rev

Fr Rev
• The American Journey: A History of the
  United States, David Goldfield et al
• American Military History, Maurice Matloff
• For the Common Defense, Allan Millett