Many by the lower class. The poor had
Many people believe that the American Revolution’s military was full of strong willed people that were willing to risk their lives for their freedom, but Howard Zinn’s article makes sure to show the reality. The revolution was driven by the middle class of the colonies, but was mainly carried out by the lower class. The poor had more of a reason to join the army, because it would give them the opportunity to attain higher social status as well as possible wealth; given that their captain/squad leader died in battle(this would allow them to obtain a promotion). In John Shy’s studies, he found that the wealthy colonists only briefly served in the military during the American Revolution. The people that fought for the freedom of the colonies were mainly doing it for themselves and not for the cause. (Zinn, par.6). During the creation of the Constitution in 1787, it was commonly believed that it was done by the work of a genius with help from a group of wise and humanely natured men. Howard Zinn explains the view that Charles Beard held: fifty five men were the influencers of the nature of the constitution. Their economic status was greatly referenced during the process. “Beard found that a majority of them were lawyers by profession, that most of them were men of wealth, in land slaves, manufacturing, or shipping, that half of them had money loaned out at interest, and the forty of the fifty-five held government bonds, according to the records of the Treasury Department (Zinn, par. 51).” These roles greatly benefited after the ratification of the Constitution. Beard examined the pocketbooks and ledgers of the Founding Fathers to confirm his conclusion. He believes that they were writing the Constitution with their econonomic interests in mind. Many people, today and years after the Constitution, believed that the Constitution was written with the Founding Father’s beliefs and ideas. Charles Beard went against the popular opinion and gave some insight on the possible ill intentions of these men. Regardless, the result was a document with power to shape societal laws and views that we still use today. The Constitution was widely thought to have brought strong fundamentals that would immediately fix and shape a better society for Americans. Many did not know of its rough beginnings. The poor were faced with horrible conditions and working opportunities/standings. This erupted a rebellion, one known as the Shays’ Rebellion. This began when an injured soldier, Daniel Shays, resigned from his service to the army and ” . . . found himself in court for nonpayment of debts” (Zinn, par. 65). He, as well as many others, were victims of such a predicament. During this time, he witnessed an ill woman have her bed taken away by officials because she was unable to pay off her debts. This rebellion was run by farmers that opposed enforced tax collections. This rebellion brought a lot of attention to politicians that would have otherwise been overlooked.These politicians saw this and decided that the Constitution needed to be adjusted. The American Revolution is often seen as an effort and accomplishment of the citizens, but another side is often overlooked. Aside from unreasonably high tax rates, harsh tax enforcement, restricted trade, etc. there was also problems within the military. Many soldiers, after the war, were going on strike because they were not getting paid. Unlike common folk, the soldiers had much less people to join in their strikes. And in these strikes they were sometimes hit with overwhelming force. In once instance, drunk soldiers had killed their commanders and marched to Parliament to demand for changes. This was met by a negotiation as well as George Washington’s preparation and caution against these kinds of situations. Later on, two hundred soldiers had went on strike for the same reasons but were met with six hundred soldiers under Washington that were waiting to apprehend them. Howard Zinn explains that “What soldiers in the Revolution could do only rarely, rebel against their authorities, civilians could do much more easily.”(Zinn, par. 23).