In "The American Revolution" Wood is trying to prove that the revolution had as its main point independence from Great Britain (Wood 87). The people were determine to root out tyranny and to "prevent power, which they identified with the rulers or governors, from encroaching upon liberty, which they identified with the people or their representatives in the legislature" (67). He believes that the Revolution was the most important event in American history because it,
"...not only legally created the United States, but
infused into our culture almost everything we believe
that holds us together - our belief in liberty, equality, constitutionalism, the well-being of ordinary people,
all of this comes our of the Revolution. So, it is the event that makes us an American. You have to know
something about the Revolution, I think, in order to be
Wood said in an interview about the book in 2002 (Suarez, 2002).
Wood believes the American Revolution was the most important event in creating an American identity. Up until then, the term "American" had been a pejorative term used to describe the colonists. He believes the imperialist crisis and the war created Americanism. In 1760, people considered themselves loyal Englishmen, but after the Revolution, they considered themselves Americans.
The American Revolution was responsible for the social changes that occurred between 1760 and 1880, bringing about a new concept of the dignity of labor, improvements in the lot of women, the first significant antislavery movement, and the acceptance of private interest underlying the political party system. The importance of education was stressed in speeches and writing, and America's obsession with education was born of the Revolution (Wood 123). As well as formal education, scientific organizations and medical societies arose, and the country was flooded with printed matter: magazines were established, advice manu...