For the Hemmings family, the American Revolution can mean different things. Betty Hemmings, along with her 13 children, were slaves from the moment they were born. They never had the chance to enjoy life and the freedom. Their lives consisted of working on Jefferson’s plantation in Monticello. Their typical job would consist of chefs, butlers, carpenters, gardeners, musicians, and seamstresses. They had very little freedom meaning they were restricted as to where they could go. They had to be back by curfew.
The American Revolution started after the passing of the Stamp Act in 1765. After the Seven Year’s War Britain fell into major debt and was unable to come up with the funds to pay off the debt. They decided to pass a law that said colonists had to pay taxes on all paper goods such as legal documents, paper, stamps, and newspapers. The colonists were furious because they did not tell Britain to go to war so they should not have to pay more in taxes to help decrease their debt.
Over the next 10 years they encountered a few battles and major events such as the passing of the Declaratory Act, the Townshend Revenue Act, the Boston Massacre, the Tea Act, and Boston Tea Party incident. However, it is believed that the military phase of the American Revolution occurred from 1775-1783. George Washington was named Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and was sent to lead the army in one of the most important wars in American history.
When discussing what a Civil War is compared to a Revolution or class war, there are a few differences we can look at. Civil War is defined as a “war of or pertaining to civilians.” Meaning it is a war fought within the same country. For example, in America a Civil War can be understood as a war between the North and the South, or a war between slaves and whites. A class war is slightly different, but also the same in some way.
A class war can be defined as a war between social classes. It is similar to a civil war because it is fought within one nation, but instead of being fought between different races or ethnicities, it is more often fought between people of different classes. For example, some groups could be upper class white men against middle or lower class men, and they are fighting for social or political changes. Most of the time class wars occurred because people have different opinions about how the government should run things so they would fight to see who wins and which way the government would handle situations.
A revolution on the other hand is much different and has a stronger definition. It affects a lot more people and can often cost a lot more money. An American Revolution is a war with the focus of having political or social change. During the time of the American Revolution, Betty Hemmings and her family would have agreed that the American Revolution was a revolutionary war because the outcome of that war would have determined the fate for America. The colonists were tired of King George III and Parliaments laws they kept passing for the colonists to follow. They lives thousands of miles away and wanted to be free. The colonists and slaves both felt that Britain did not care about them as much anymore. All they cared about was finding ways to get their money so they could get out of debt.
This war was also being fought between different nations which is another reason why the Hemmings would consider it a revolutionary war. The American Revolution was being fought everywhere. On major battlefields and even peoples homes and plantations. Many families had their houses burned down, slaves were captured and families were separated. This war was not just a war fought between America and Britain, but it was changing the government and society as a whole. We did not want to be kept in Britain’s rule any longer. We wanted to be independent and form our own government. We wanted to develop our own cultures and let the people know they were finally able to live a free life and live the life they have been waiting for.
Saving America’s Civil War Battlefields: Civil War Trust. What is a Civil War? http://www.civilwar.org. http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/what-is-a-civil-war/what-is-a-civil-war.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/. Accessed on February 20, 2017.
The Stamp Act. http://www.google.com. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=stamp+act+definition. Accessed on February 20, 2017.