The American Revolution Was a Failure

Historian Paul Pirie argues that the Founders fell short of their aims
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2013 11:44 AM CDT
The American Revolution Was a Failure
"The Spirit of '76" by AM Willard   (WikiMedia)

Americans adore their revolution, but former historian Paul Pirie doesn't think it was terribly successful—at least not if you judge it against countries like Canada (from whence Pirie hails) that kept their monarchies, or by its own stated goal of advancing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. "The new republic started advancing life and liberty by keeping a substantial part of its population enslaved," he points out in the Washington Post; British-controlled Canada, by contrast, began abolishing slavery in the 18th century.

Things aren't looking great today, either. On the liberty front, America has more people incarcerated per capita than any other nation. Pursuing happiness is tricky, too, when you work longer hours for fewer benefits than workers in most developed countries. And the government the Founders installed is now hopelessly deadlocked. "Perhaps it's time for Americans to accept that their revolution was a failure and renounce it," Pirie argues. "Alternatively, rather than being wedded to every practice or institution that arose from the revolution" they could "rekindle some of the boldness of the nation's Founders and create a 'more perfect' and happier union." (More Fourth of July stories.)

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