Indeed, if we look at the effects of the Revolution (or lack thereof) on large components of American society, including women, black slaves in the South, and the Indians of the frontier, the Revolution could be characterized as a fundamentally conservative movement, in the sense that pre-Revolutionary social roles, economic structures, and political privileges largely persisted in the immediate post-Revolutionary era.When discussing the idea of equality as part of the American Revolution, we should begin by noting the origins of this idea, and identifying the groups that were meant to be encapsulated by this idea.
Indeed, if we look at the effects of the Revolution (or lack thereof) on large components of American society, including women, black slaves in the South, and the Indians of the frontier, the Revolution could be characterized as a fundamentally conservative movement, in the sense that pre-Revolutionary social roles, economic structures, and political privileges largely persisted in the immediate post-Revolutionary era.When discussing the idea of equality as part of the American Revolution, we should begin by noting the origins of this idea, and identifying the groups that were meant to be encapsulated by this idea.For instance, the number of slaves in Pennsylvania fell from about 10,000 in 1775 to just 795 in 1810; likewise, the number in Connecticut fell from about 5,000 to 310 over the same time period, and in Rhode Island the numbers fell from 4,373 to just 108.Tags: Statics Homework SolutionsHinduism And Buddhism ThesisBlack To The Future EssayEssay On AttitudeBook Guest ProthesisBest Business Plan Template Free DownloadTerm Paper Writing Services ReviewsTopics For Research Paper In EconomicsEssay On FacebookBest Essays On The Web
By allowing every society of Christians to enjoy “full, equal, and impartial liberty,” as advocated by the anonymous author of The Freeman’s Remonstrance against an Ecclesiastical Establishment, the young American republic could guarantee its stability and avoid internal “war, bloodshed, and slaughter.”  Following Virginia’s formal abolition of state religion in 1786, other states soon followed suit, so that by the early 19th century most of America was secularized.
Virginia played a pioneering role not only in the movement to abolish ecclesiastical establishments and equalize religions, but also in the advocacy of equality in general.
 Naturally, it is much easier to eliminate slavery in a “society with slaves” when compared to a “slave society,” because the elimination of slavery in the former would not have the fundamental transformative effect as it would have on the latter.
In this sense, it is questionable if we can even use the term “revolutionary” when describing the gradual decline of Northern slavery following the American Revolution.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the number of slaves in the North were quite small to begin with when compared to the South, and nowhere in the North did slaves play an essential economic role comparable to their role in the Southern plantation economy.
This fundamental difference between North and South can be summarized as a difference between a “slave society” and a “society with slaves.” A region with a “slave society” (such as South Carolina, Jamaica, or Haiti) is a region where slavery is fundamental to the functioning of the economy, where the social and political elite are usually slaveholders, where a primary purpose of government is the control and regulation of slaves, and where slaves were viewed more as possessions or belongings than as people; in contrast, a “society with slaves” is one where slaves exist, but are marginal to the society as a whole, as was the case in Northern states.This realization can be seen in Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, one of the pivotal publications leading up to the American Declaration of Independence, where Paine characterizes America as a child of “Europe” as a whole rather than of Britain in particular, thus laying the foundation for a new American self-conception that diverges from the old conception of America being a mere derivative of Britain.Weir compares this American self-realization of uniqueness to the coming-of-age of a child, and the subsequent conflict between adolescent and parent as the adolescent (in this case, America) seeks to forge his own path separate from the parent (in this case, Britain).This apparent contradiction can be resolved if we look a bit closer at the Democratic-Republican conception of equality in the context of the American South, and what exactly it implied for southern society.Unlike in the North, where social divisions were almost entirely predicated on class distinctions, society in the South also had the added element of race; a black person in the South was almost invariably a slave, and thus almost invariably a social inferior of even the lowest white man.This racialized social reality enabled the emergence of a horizontal concept of “white solidarity,” where all white men were seen as equals in relation to non-whites (particularly blacks).In contradistinction, the elitist Federalist ideal of a non-egalitarian, vertical society held more currency in the north. The direct implication of such a situation was that American men were objectively inferior (i.e. This, according to Weir, led to the development of what may be called an “inferiority complex” among Americans, and made them initially hesitant to push for outright secession from the British Empire.The decisive turning point, however, came when American elites underwent a paradigm shift whereby they came to regard themselves as a unique nation, and not merely an offshoot of a larger (and superior) British nation.Paradoxically, it was precisely the overt racism of men like Jefferson, who proclaimed in his Notes on Virginia that blacks were innately (i.e.biologically) inferior to whites, that made the ideology of (white) social egalitarianism possible and acceptable.