The Revolution had both short- and long-term consequences.
The creation of state constitutions was the most important consequence of independence.
The Revolution unleashed powerful political, social, and economic forces that would transform the new nation's politics and society, including increased participation in politics and governance, the legal institutionalization of religious toleration, and the growth and dispersal of the population.
The Revolution made governments hostile to Native Americans' territorial claims.
The Revolution ended the mercantilist economy, opening new opportunities in trade and manufacturing.
At the time, the new states drafted constitutions, which was an innovation from the British Constitution.
The new state constitutions were based on the idea of "popular sovereignty," that is, that the power and authority of the government derived from the people.
A number of states followed the example of Virginia and included a declaration or "bill" of rights in their constitution designed to protect the rights of individuals and circumscribe the prerogative of the government.
The first state constitution of Pennsylvania was radical and democratic.
They created a unicameral legislature but no genuine executive.
Men who did not own property could vote.
Massachusetts's constitution was less democratic in structure and underwent a more popular process of ratification.
Each town sent delegates to the constitutional convention in Cambridge in the fall of 1779.
The constitution draft was debated by the town meetings.
Massachusetts established a three-branch government based on checks and balances.
The period of constitution making and state building after independence was unprecedented.
The Articles of Confederation were approved by the Continental Congress.
Each state was allowed to vote in the Continental Congress.
The articles are notable for what they did not allow.
Congress did not have the power to impose taxes, regulate foreign or interstate commerce, or establish a federal judiciary.
The postwar Congress was weak and ineffectual.
After independence, political and social life changed a lot.
More common citizens played important roles in local and state governance.
Society became more meritocratic and less deferential.
The end of mercantilism was the most important long-term economic consequence of the Revolution.
Limits on trade, settlement, and manufacturing were imposed by the British Empire.
New markets and trade relationships were opened by the Revolution.
The western territories were opened to invasion and settlement by the Americans.
Americans began to create their own manufacturers, no longer content to rely on those in Britain.
The American Revolution had its limits.
During the war, women also served the cause, following their expansion into political affairs.
The Revolution did not result in civic equality for women.
Republican societies required good citizens and mothers were responsible for raising them.
Women still remained largely on the peripheries of the new American polity, even though this opened opportunity for them regarding education.
In the thirteen colonies, boycotting women were seen as liberators.
In British prints such as this, they were derided as immoral harlots for sticking their noses in the business of men.
Sixty thousand loyalists left America to cause the Revolution.
Many Loyalists lived the rest of their lives in exile from their homeland, because they came from all ranks of American society.
The Treaty of Paris required the Americans to compensate Loyalists who lost their property because of their loyalty.
Throughout the 1780s, states continued seizing property held by Loyalists after the Americans failed to honor their promise.
They went to England because they thought of it as their mother country.
Many more settled on the peripheries of the British Empire throughout the world.
The Loyalists had come out on the losing side of a Revolution, and many lost everything they had and were forced to create new lives far from the land of their birth.
They hoped that the British government would help them establish new homes in other parts of the Empire.
George Romney painted Joseph Brandt.
Mohawk and British forces were led by Brandt.
David George, a black loyalist and Baptist preacher, eventually settled in Sierra Leone with some of his followers.
In the Lower South, freedmen were forced back into bondage after some masters revoked their offers of freedom for service.
The antislavery movement would eventually be encouraged by the Revolution's rhetoric of equality because it created a "revolutionary generation" of slaves and free black Americans.
Slave revolts incorporated claims for freedom based on revolutionary ideals.
In the long term, the Revolution failed to reconcile slavery with these new egalitarian republican societies, a tension that boiled over in the 1830s and 1840s and effectively tore the nation in two in the 1850s and 1860s.
Many Native American groups sided with the British.
They were hoping for a British victory that would keep the settlers from moving west.
The Americans' victory and Native Americans' support for the British created a pretense for justifying rapid and often brutal expansion into the western territories.
Native American peoples were pushed farther west in the 19th century.
The end of Native American independence was marked by American independence.
The American Revolution was followed by revolutions in France, Haiti, and South America.
Significant changes to the British Empire were made during the American Revolution.
The United States of America was created by the Revolution.
By September 1783, independence had been achieved.
The new nation was still up for grabs.
The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution of 1787 and 1788 were the first things the Americans would do with that nation-state in the 1780s.
Historians argue over the causes and character of the American Revolution.
Such questions are not limited to historians.
The Revolution has been at the center of American political culture from Abraham Lincoln's use of the Declaration of Independence in the Gettysburg Address to twenty-first century Tea Party members wearing knee breeches.
One's definition of what it means to be American depends on how one understands the Revolution.
The Revolution was not won by a few people.
From the commoners who protested the Stamp Act to the women who helped organize boycotts against the Townshend duties, men and women of all ranks contributed to the colonies' most unlikely victory.
In the case of Native Americans, the Revolution did not aim to end all social and civic inequalities, but to create new inequalities.
The Revolution's rhetoric of equality, as encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence, helped highlight some of those inequalities and became a shared aspiration for future social and political movements.