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Liberalism’s Impact On The American Revolution

1426 words - 6 pages

Following the French and Indian war, a great debt rested on the shoulders of Great Britain. In order to help alleviate this debt, the British Parliament imposed taxes on the colonies. This not only enraged the colonists at the time, but it also showed them the King was power-hungry. The colonists soon became aware of the fact that they were not being accurately represented. From then on, the people within the colonies knew that independence from Great Britain was necessary in order to thrive as a nation. The liberalism philosophy had the greatest impact on America’s decision to gain freedom from the mother country because it convinced individuals that the people should be able to pursue their own self-interests. Similarly, it made the colonists realize that Great Britain’s economic policies not only hurt their economy at home, but it also had a devastating impact around the world. Evidence for this can be found within the pamphlet Common Sense written by Thomas Paine. Further evidence can be found in the Declaration of Independence, the document which declared the United States an independent nation from Great Britain.
Before one can understand how the liberalism philosophy affected America’s decision to gain independence, they must first be able to understand the key concepts within the liberal philosophy. During the colonial period, the liberalism philosophy was a set of ideas that placed the individual within the forefront of all society. In other words, anything that inhibited the individual from being successful was against the philosophy. Liberalism ideologies also had a big focus on an individual’s right to own property. If an individual owned property, they could then hire workers to work on the property. This not only helped out the individuals who owned property, but it also allowed workers access to more jobs. Also, by owning land individuals generated goods which further benefited the economy overall. Another big portion of the liberalism philosophy was the fact that the government needed to stay out of the regulation of the economy. Fundamentally, it was the individual’s choice to produce what they wanted to produce and that no government could interfere with the production of goods. This also tied in with the idea of mercantilism, or the idea that the mother country (Great Britain) used their colonies in order to increase their wealth. By using this policy, Great Britain used the colonies to export their goods, while at the same time making a profit in return. Since the individual was the center of the philosophy, many saw the concept of mercantilism as taking advantage of the colinists and an abuse of power by the King of Great Britain.
In 1776, when Thomas Paine published the pamphlet titled Common Sense, he spoke of liberal ideologies to help the colonists better understand why America would be a more financially secure nation if they were independent. After describing why the British government was illegitimate, Paine went on...

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