TheMeaning of the Revolution
Inmost instances, when the term revolution is mentioned, focus is onthe founding fathers like Washigton, Adams, Jefferson, and others.Notably, most historical readings focus on them for a good reason asthey were leaders of the revolutionary movement and they help framethe new national government that came up from the movement.Additionally, most individuals under focus were the elite white men.Even though focus was more on the elite class, revolutionary movementaffected all the individuals who were living in British colonies.
Comprehensionof the manner in which non-elites experienced revolution has beenquite a challenge given the few records that are in place compared tothe prominent leaders. However, it is critical to understand the roleof the non-elites when understanding the American Revolution. Thesignificance of the non-elites in the movement is evident indifferent ways. First, several primary sources documents deal withrevolution experiences of African American and women. This paperseeks to analyze the meaning of revolution with focus on the colonialnon-elites. The colonial non-elites included African Americans,women, and the poor white men. The paper will characterize theirinvolvement in the revolution and address the lasting significance intheir lives.
Thenon-elites shaped the revolution in their own way. The poor whoformed the humble class made revolution a success. This is evidentthrough the story of Hewes as told by Thatcher. Hewes represents thelower trades of the cities and participated in most of the politicalevents and the war as historians document (Henretta,Edwards, and Self, 127).The poor participated in the Boston Tea party protests as evident byactions of Hewes. The struggles of the poor and their role inrevolutionary in the society are evident through stories of Hewes.Hewes joined the poor in Patriot movement that commenced in March 5,1770. This movement was made up of fellow Boston apprentices andartisans. This movement would later be referred to as BostonMassacre. Hewes was part of the crowd that was supporting anapprentice who was trying to collect a debt from British Captain JohnGoldfinch. During the struggles, Hewes was injured when he was shotby a rifle on the shoulder. It is noted in the paper: “Hewes sawthe civilians as defensive. On the said evening, Hewes joined them atcivilians at the King Street as he was attracted by the clamor overthe apprentice (Young, 587).”
Partof participation of the individuals of low cadre in the revolutionwas evident when there was protest regarding the Tea Act. Part of theprotests included the dumping of tea in Boston Harbor. The event waswidely known and referred to as the Boston Tea Party. Thedetermination and the organization of the individuals while in theprotests were evident. They divided themselves into three sections.Each of the group went on board of the three tea ships. Given therole that Hewes played in the protests, he was appointed as theboatswain. The determination to see the protests succeed was evidentwhen Hewes went to the captain of the ship and demanded the key tothe tea chests.
Heweswould also not tolerate individuals who would go against the requestsand the demands revolution. A case in point is noted that CaptainO`Connor, who was a fellow protestor, tried to take some tea withhim. Hewes, who decided to take action on him, did not take thisaction slightly. Hewes could not support the smuggling of teaoverboard. This is a pointer of his honesty in the struggle as wellas that of his like-minded protesters in the movement. Hewes recallsthat one Captain that he knew well went on a board filled his pocketsand the lining of the coat. Hewes would inform the captain of whatO’Connor was doing. Later they would be ordered to take him tocustody, an action which, they tried but O’Connor escaped amid thescuffle (Young, 592).
Thestruggles of the common man in the revolution come out during thetarring and feathering of John Malcolm. It is noted that “Mr.Malcolm I hope you are not going to strike this boy with that stickin this incident (Young, 593).” Hewes was stroke by a cane when hetried protecting a gentleman whom Malcolm had threated to strike withhis cane. In making efforts to intervene, the two individuals argued,and this led Hewes to suffer victim as he was hit by the cane andfell unconscious. On the same night, the crowd that is made up of thecommon people, the poor, women, and individuals of African-Americanorigin descended on Malcolm at his house and dragged him to KingStreet to punish him for attacking the boy and gentleman. This isevident of unity in the struggles of the society. Even though theywere to punish Malcolm, some of the patriot leaders strongly believedthat the move would hurt their noble cause. The honesty in thestruggle is evident when the leaders vouch for a justice system todeal with the matter. Notably, Hewes after recovering also protestedagainst the attack on Malcolm. Notably, the crowd would not forgiveMalcolm as they cited that other individuals had enjoyed royal pardonpreviously.
Duringthe revolution, the African-Americans had to seek for their freedom.A case in point is the story of Boston King, who was born enslaved inWaring plantation in South Carolina (King, 105). Being among the lowcadre individuals in the society, King was trained a house servantbefore being a carpenter. The struggles of individuals ofAfrican-American origin are vividly captured by the story of King.Upon occupying Charleston during the American Revolution, King fledto the garrison to gain his freedom (King, 108). Revolution marked apoint when the individuals who were oppressed could gain theirfreedom.
Moreover,in the story of Francis Jacob, the struggles, as well as, the role ofAfrican Americans is captured. It is noted that the regiment ofFrancis was instrumental in driving the British from Boston duringthe Revolution (Skelton, 772). Freedom of the blacks was not a walkin the path. At one point, Francis had to purchase the freedom of thewife.
Theexperiences of women during the revolution are evident from the storyof Sarah Osborn. Women were part of the revolution in different ways.One such way is that women traveled with the Patriot army (MicklosJr, 8). Travelling was critical as it offered the army the necessarysupport including moral support. For instance, Sarah Osborn wasmarried to Aaron Osborn, a war veteran, and revolutionist, whom heoffered support. Sarah would offer her help as a cook and washerwomanto the continental army in the southern colonies (Micklos Jr, 9).
Henretta,James A., Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self. Documentsfor America`s History, Combined Volume.New York. Macmillan, 2011.
King,Boston. Memoirsof the Life of Boston King: A Black Preacher, Written by HimselfDuring His Residence at Kingswood School.Eds. Ruth Holmes Whitehead, and Carmelita AM Robertson. 2001.
MicklosJr, John. TheBrave Women and Children of the American Revolution.Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2008.
Skelton,William B. "The Confederation`s Regulars: A Social Profile ofEnlisted Service in America`s First Standing Army." TheWilliam and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American Historyand (1989):770-785.
Young,Alfred F. "George Robert Twelves Hewes (1742-1840): A BostonShoemaker and the Memory of the American Revolution." TheWilliam and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History(1981): 562-623.