Explain to what degree was the American revolution actually “revolutionary?”

Section I: Choose one of the following two questions for your first essay.
1. Social Contract Theory, the European Enlightenment and Deism had a profound impact on the thinking of American colonists. Thoroughly explain the theories that came out of the above movements, and describe how Americans like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson responded. What were the implications of these philosophies on American thought and society? Be sure to discuss how each expanded the colonists’ definitions of liberty and individual rights.
2. To what degree was the American Revolution actually “revolutionary?” Did the Revolution transform social, political, and economic relationships in the young United States, or did it simply preserve the colonial status quo? Be sure to include how the Revolution affected both male and female patriots, African-Americans, Loyalists, and Native Americans.
Section II: Choose one of the following two questions to answer in your second essay.
1. How is U.S. Constitution a product of the United States’ political and economic environment in the immediate aftermath of the American Revolution? What specific domestic and ideological anxieties led to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, how were these addressed by the debates of the delegates, and how did the final document attempted to limit the revolutionary “Spirit of ‘76” still active in American politics at the time.
2. Despite the Founding Fathers’ stated fears of faction, the United States saw the emergence of the first party system during the 1790s. What caused the formation of the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans as two opposing political parties? How did these two parties reflect the respective personal visions of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson? How did domestic and international events shape their early history? Was such a division inevitable and why?


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