130 of 133 people found the following review helpful
I first read the work of Gordon Wood in graduate school a quarter century ago, especially his magnificent and massive 1972 book, "The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787." This study, "The Radicalism of the American Revolution," is essentially a continuation of that earlier work, probing the intellectual underpinnings of the era. It, too, is a magnificent work and fully deserving of the Pulitzer Prize that it received. While covering some of the same ground as Bernard Bailyn's "The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution" (Harvard University Press, 1967), this book develops a more detailed, rigorous, and compelling portrait of a society transforming itself from one of feudal relationships to one predicated on republicanism, democracy, and market-driven capitalism.
At a fundamental level, Wood argues, the American Revolution was truly a radical episode in world history. He comments that "The republican revolution was the greatest utopian movement in American history. The revolutionaries aimed at nothing less than a reconstitution of American society. They hoped to destroy the bonds holding together the older monarchical society--kinship, patriarchy, and patronage--and to put in their place new social bonds of love, respect, and consent. They sought to construct a society and governments based on virtue and disinterested public leadership and to set in motion a moral government that would eventually be felt around the globe" (p. 229). They advocated ensuring equality as the first task of society; Wood calls this "the single most powerful and radical ideological force in all of American history" (p. 234). And all Americans, he argues, embraced the idea of equality as manifested in labor and accomplishment. He notes, "Perhaps nothing separated early-nineteenth-century Americans more from Europeans than their attitude toward labor and their egalitarian sense that everyone must participate in it" (p. 286).
Wood closes "The Radicalism of the American Revolution" with this, "No doubt the cost that America paid for this democracy was high--with its vulgarity, its materialism, its rootlessness, its anti-intellectualism. But there is no denying the wonder of it and the real earthly benefits it brought to the hitherto neglected and despised masses of common laboring people. The American Revolution created this democracy, and we are living with its consequences still" (p. 269).
Above all, Wood argues that ideas and ideological issues matter in the context of American history. Self-interest is very real, but ideas and ideals serve as powerful motivations for actions. This is a stunningly significant book that must be read by all who seek to understand the origins of the United States.
84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Gordon Wood covers much the same ground as did Bernard Bailyn did in "The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution," but charts it in a more linear fashion. Wood illustrates how the American colonies emerged from a monarchical system into a Republic, and eventually into a Democratic society. The focus is on representation, beginning with the colonial assemblies. The American colonies had a legacy of representative institutions, which helped in forming the necessary consensus in order to achieve independence.
Throughout its revolutionary history, Americans felt they had a moral imperative for self-determination, dramatized by such events as the Boston Tea Party. The colonies took great pride in their assemblies, and in many ways felt they were the ultimate authority. If the Americans were anwerable to anyone it was the King, not the parliament, which increasingly exercised more control over the colonies, especially in the form of taxes to pay for the various services it provided the colonies, such as protection. Wood notes how agents, such as Benjamin Franklin, petitioned for the rights of the colonies in the parliament. When these petitions were no longer heard, the colonies chose to rebel.
What is intriguing about Wood's analysis, is the reluctance many Americans had about making a complete breach from England. Americans realized that their institutions were an outgrowth of English Republican ideas. It was a slow, evolving revolution, carrying these principles to their fullest realization. Never short of praise for themselves, the Americans thought they had succeeded where the British had failed in creating a truly representative government.
Wood offers an especially fine analysis of the events which shaped the American Revolution, and how it was a natural outgrowth of an increasingly dynamic society. The book is copiously annotated and well indexed. It is a book that you will refer to again and again.
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2005
Gordon Wood's "Radicalism of the American Revolution" is truly an eye opening and long overdue study of the true radical nature of the American Revolution. Wood shatters the myths perpetrated by the conservative "consensus" historians that the American Revolution was "conservative" and "mild".
Wood shows that America, even in colonial times, was quite different from the rest of the Western world of kings, nobles and priests. Sure, Americans were governed by a herediatary monarchy and it's sycophants and minions, but that rule was shaky at best. This shaky rule was further weakened by the lack of a nobility residing in the colonies. Yes, there was an aristocracy, but they were not nearly as powerful as in Europe.
Wood begins by laying out the foundations of the colonial governments and society. He points out that the American colonists were contentious, and sensitive to any infringments on their liberty. He also brings to light the beginnings of a market economy, which began to liberate Americans from their mercantilist and elitist economic elites.
The American Revolution literally brought ordinary people into government. This did not happen overnight, but the concept of "gentlemen" ruling a society as the masses meekly submitted gave way to the forces of classical liberalism and democracy.
The Revolution caused an upheaval in all areas of American life: religion, slavery, commerce, government, voter sufferage,
and family relationships.
Americans no longer saw themselves as living for the ideal of "virtue" and in subservience to their "betters", but saw individual freedom and economic prosperity as an end in and of itself. Private life became separated from public life and people pursuing their own interest was soon seen as an ideal that was good for society.
Wood correctly relays to the reader the radicalism of the American Revolution as extending beyond the dreams of it's Founders and an expansion of the ideals of the Revolution to all areas of society. This is what makes the American Revolution more radical than the French or Russian Revolutions. Both of those revolutions ended in despotism, while America, with all of it's flaws, ended with giving more liberty to it's citizens. The creation of private reform, and other associations and socities was unheard of in Old Europe. Groups opposing slavery, and for a wider sufferage blossomed and Americans joined private groups with an avidity unseen in despotic nations.
One reviewer, John Chuckman, seems to hate the American Revolution and believes America is a racist, and non-revolutionary nation. This is, of course a leftist view of America which unfortunately too many people buy into. Don't believe such nonsense. Instead pick up this book and see the radicalism of the American Revolution first hand. You will not be disappointed.
96 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2002
Wood's book is interesting and worth reading as social and economic history.
The question addressed is whether the American Revolution was "conservative" or "radical". Wood likes the word "radical" and says it a lot, but of course he isn't talking about Bolsheviks or anti-globalism protesters; he means old-style (Adam Smith) Liberals, or modern Libertarians.
And Wood paints an interesting and convincing picture of cultural change, from an early colonial society structured around hierarchy and personal relationships to freewheeling, atomistic culture arranging everything by contract. What he never does, unfortunately, is convincingly demonstrate that the American Revolution (the war, or the restructuring of the government under the Articles of Confederation or the Constitution) was either a) fought for the purpose of bringing about this societal change or b) a significant catalyst in accelerating the change.
1. Wood clearly exaggerates the degree to which the colonies, just prior to the Revolution, were hierarchical and conservative cultures.
Some of the evidence he adduces for hierarchy is silly: does the prevalence of Christian churches really indicate a hierarchy, even if they do preach Romans 13 (p. 18)? How about the existence of a hierarchical military (p. 20), or vagrancy legislation (p. 20)? What about the use of titles, like "Esq." (p.21)? We see all these phenomena today, of course -- so if they do indicate hierarchy and conservatism, they also indicate that we are still a hierarchical and conservative culture.
Frequently Wood presents evidence of great freedom and egalitarianism in the colonies, but then wills it away with an unsupported conclusion. On page 14, for instance, we read that "Englishmen on both sides of the Atlantic bragged of their independence." Most American farmers "owned their own land" and English farmers were viewed as outrageously independent by continentals, but, cryptically, "most colonists, like most Englishmen at home, were never as free as they made themselves out to be." Huh?
We get quotes out of context. So what if George Washington called ordinary farmers "the grazing multitude" (p. 27)? Without context, this is as meaningless as the John Adams quote that "Common Persons... have no idea [of] Learning, Eloquence and Genius" (p.27). For that matter, Washington's own career is later (p. 197) described as "incomprehensible except in terms of...new, enlightened standards of gentility." So was Washington an aristocrat or an up-and-comer in an era that did not respect blood? He wasn't both.
Some of Wood's stories are contradictory and of little evidentiary value. Old George Hewes trembles in the presence of "Squire John Hancock" because "[p]eople in lowly stations ... were apt to be filled with consternation and awe when confronted with 'what were called gentle folks... beings of a superior order'" (p. 29). But Hancock was born poor, and became rich by inheriting the mercantile empire of his uncle. On page 37, Wood tells us that merchants (even "[p]rominent merchants dealing in international trade", such as Hancock surely was) were not gentlemen: their "status" was "tainted". So Old George Hewes was no doubt awed, not because Hancock was an aristocrat, but because he was a rich and famous man. This, of course, is an indication that pre-Revolution America was ALREADY moving towards its Jacksonian destination, and NOT, as Wood would have it, evidence of the importance of status.
Wood even occasionallys slips and gives away the game, hinting at the egalitarian nature of colonial society. "Most colonial aristocrats were never able to dominate their localities to the extent that English aristocrats did" (p. 115). New Englanders were a "stern, sober people, not much given to the hierarchies and displays of monarchy" (p. 110). "The Americans did not have to invent republicanism in 1776; they only had to bring it to the surface. It was there all along" (p. 109).
And so on.
2. Wood himself indicates several times that the changes in American society were due to economics and demographics, and to processes which began before the Revolution.
In his chapter on patronage (surely one of the most interesting in the book), Wood makes it clearly that the early colonies essentially HAD to operate on a personal relationship basis. With no paper currency and a small population, everyone kept "book accounts" of the debts they owed each other. "[S]uch credits and debts... worked to tie local people together and to define and stabilize communal relationships" (p. 68).
But of course this was coming apart before the Revolution, simply as a result of population growth. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the colonists had accepted paper money (p. 141); they needed it because they had "expanded their inland trade (p. 140) -- i.e., they were no longer just dealing with their neighbors. These developments, Wood even notes, "suggest the various ways in which ordinary people ... were becoming more independent and more free of traditional patron-client relationships" (p. 142).
And societal change due to economic growth continued after the Revolution. Wood notes factors causing change, including swarms of westward-moving immigrants (p. 310), increasing urbanization and industrialization (p. 312), banks (p. 316), etc., all having "corrosive effects on what remained of the traditional patronage and hierarchical confidences between men in the society" (p. 340).
So it's hard not to conclude that the radical changes chronicles by Wood were the result of simple population growth, and neither the goal nor, principally, the outcome of the Revolution.
3. Finally, Wood notes that the Founders were shocked by the society in which they died.
"This democratic society was not the society the revolutionary leaders had wanted or expected. No wonder, then, that those of them who lived on into the early decades of the nineteenth century expressed anxiety over what they had wrought... All the major revolutionary leaders died less than happy..." (p. 365).
So even if you accept the thesis that Jacksonian America was the result of the Revolution, it was, on Wood's own evidence, not the objective.
But ignoring Wood's arguments and reading his evidence, it looks to me like the radical changes in American society were neither the goal of the Revolution nor its outcome.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2002
Gordon S. Wood - refuting earlier historiographies - argues that the American Revolution represented a truly radical movement. As previous historians had labeled the event as conservative in action and scope, Wood attempts to contest this interpretation. Over the course of his study, the author takes the reader chronologically through the events leading up to, during, and following the War for Independence in order to expose the reader to the development of intellectual thought during the time period. Following this line of intellectual thought and development, Wood contends that the American Revolution did more than facilitate the colonists' separation from the English monarchy, but also served to undermine the oppressive and outdated ancien regime characteristics of patronage, patriarchal dependence, and hierarchy. These social changes, paired with the break from the monarchial system, represented radical and empowering changes that directly affected to the unique course the young American nation would follow. In this current of intellectual thought, Wood believes that the radical nature of the American Revolution had far-reaching and amorphous consequences unforeseen by the revolutionary founding fathers.
Gordon Wood organizes his argument into three main sections: Monarchy, Republicanism, and Democracy. By beginning his treatise with an explanation of the monarchial system, Wood not only dispels common misconceptions concerning the nature of the colonists' relationship with England, but also presents the subversive intellectual and social organizations of colonial society. Before the American Revolution and the proliferation of its inherent republican ideals, the conspicuous division between the aristocracy and the common people lent colonial society to the system of privilege and patronage represented by a monarchial system. However, as Enlightenment ideas spread via pamphlets, books, and political tracts, the American colonists looked towards republican ideals and began their questioning of societal and political divisions. This republicanism manifesting itself in popular colonial society led further to the eventual dissolution of not only bonds to the monarchy, but also the paternal and dependent relationships characteristic of the antiquated system. As Wood presents the republicanism of colonial society, he argues that such ideas achieved radical status by providing a viable challenge to the monarchial system even though it took a gradual course. Though the push for independence proceeded somewhat hesitantly, it represented the culmination of a new social idealism resonating throughout the colonial populace - most importantly with the revolutionary leaders themselves. Finally, Wood introduces the section labeled as Democracy, as he suggests such political organization existed in diametrical opposition to the monarchial system - serving as the culmination of the intermediary process of republicanism. Though democracy achieved many of the ideals set forth by the founding fathers, Wood believes its final form represented a degree of equality unforeseen by the revolutionary leaders. In making this argument, Wood carefully examines the restructuring of American society that had taken place since the War for Independence. The debates over the developing role of government and the participation of common men in governmental affairs represented a radical paradigm shift, as now the egalitarian society lacked any traditional structure which had previously dictated such aspects. The possibility of social mobility led directly to American individualism according to Wood, and the growth of commerce and dissolution of traditional relationships provide the evidence to substantiate this claim. Therefore, by presenting the evolution of the early American state, Wood claims that not only did the outcome of the American Revolution represent a radical break, but perhaps gained greater precedence in the development of the radical intellectual ideas of the time.
In obtaining the data necessary to justify his conclusions, Wood employs a majority of primary source material. An intellectual historian, Wood turned to primary sources ranging from diaries, popular literature, political tracts, letter correspondence, and pamphlets, as he analyzed the development of intellectual themes throughout the material. The majority of the primary source material Wood analyzed stems directly from the upper classes of society, as they could afford the time to undertake leisurely activities such as intellectual pursuits and writing. However, this does not take into account the general thoughts and perceptions of the inarticulate members of colonial and post-colonial society. Though he employs economic and financial data, which indicate more change than continuity in the common tiers of society, he does not have the material to show that these people placed great value on the intellectual undercurrents that resulted in the American Revolution and subsequent democratic government. Wood consults a number of secondary sources in developing his argument; however, he generally backs most of his claims with original interpretation of primary sources. The immense volume of material consulted by Wood provides sufficient backing for his claims and his interpretations appear quite reasonable.
Wood provides substantial primary source material to support his interpretation throughout the work, as exemplified by the large amount of textual notes. However, to further substantiate his claim concerning the radical nature of the American Revolution, Wood perhaps could have benefited by providing more direct examples whereby his research contradicted the earlier conservative interpretations. The value of the information presented in the book serves an important purpose as it allows the reader to understand the intellectual and social undercurrents present in society before, during, and after the War for Independence, as well as the development of the resulting democratic government. Wood's source material provided a detailed account of the revolution from the top down, but seemed to neglect to present the sentiments of lower societal divisions. Though he does mention the status of women, slaves, and Native Americans, the importance he places on the equality and societal leveling engendered by the intellectual developments of the Revolution only concerned white, male property holders - not the societal majority. Wood's lucidity with prose and insightful interpretive abilities not only provide a good scholarly treatise of the radical ideology of the American Revolution, but also entertain the reader throughout the text.
61 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 1999
As a student (and now a professor) of the American Revolution and the Early Republic, I had read this book not long after it was published and, more recently, used it as the cornerstone for an upper division undergraduate course on the American Revolution.
I believe this book has both strengths and weaknesses. Wood examines pre-Revolutionary society in stunning detail, but I believe that he also stretches some of his points, particularly the before-then-after conclusions that he makes.
I used this book as the cornerstone for my course because it was highly controversial. I balanced Wood's analysis with works by scholars who did, or might, disagree with his premises. Therefore, I recommend this book, but I recommend that it be read cautiously, with skepticism, and that the reading is balanced by the words and works of other scholars of this era.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2006
Anyone who has read anything published by Gordon Wood knows that he has a knack for making history and politics unique and accessible. After initially upsetting a few of the established academics with this bold, new take on the American Revolution, this book has become a standard for many college classrooms and a new generation of historians. Wood's analysis focuses on the successes of the revolution rather than its failures and examines how, when put into historical context, the Revolution was indeed radical and extremely significant. This book is full of interesting anecdotes and facts that make the revolutionary period much more tangible than other texts, and Wood's concise style and ability to clearly connect the dots between events make it profound and easy to read. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the revolution and the period that would lay the foundation for the constitution and an entirely new system of government. All in all, an excellent read.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2005
Gordon S. Wood argues the American Revolution transformed American society more than any other event in history. Conceding that the American Revolution was not as bloody as the French, Russian, or Chinese Revolutions, it did, in fact serve as the model for those that came later. Wood argues the American Revolution was not a conservative movement as is often the popular consensus among historians. Wood's concentration is centered squarely on social change. "By the time the Revolution had run its course [writes Wood] in the early nineteenth century, American society had been radically and thoroughly transformed." "By the early years of the nineteenth century the Revolution had created a society fundamentally different from the colonial society of the eighteenth century. It was in fact a new society unlike any that had ever existed anywhere in the world." How, in Wood's view, did this social transformation occur? Wood illustrates that the transformation of early American society occurred in three distinct phrases that he later called "three cultural paradigms or ideal types." American society, argues Wood, underwent a political shift from a Monarchy, to a republic, to a democracy. These three shifts represent the outline of the book. Wood emphasizes, however, that these three phrases did not transpire in neat blocks of black and white. There were, in fact, many gray areas. Not all elements of American society felt the impact of this transformation at once. Wood's study continues some forty years after the Revolution into the early nineteenth century to illustrate the full social, political, economic, and religious change in American society. Somewhat contradicting to his timeframe, however, Wood states: "Far from remaining monarchical, hierarchy-ridden subjects on the margin of civilization, Americans had become, almost over-night the most liberal, the most democratic, the most commercially minded, and the most modern people in the world...."It was the Revolution, more than any other single event, that made America into the most liberal, democratic, and modern nation in the world." This then is the essence of Wood's study. Wood goes on to explain in intricate detail this amazing conversion to democracy. Incorporating varying methodologies of the social sciences, Wood shows how the social hierarchy and class distinctions of the American aristocracy, or landed gentry began to wither away after the Revolution under the auspices of a new egalitarian society. The masses could now own land, and run for public office. Paper money, debt, and other aspects of a modern economy as we know it today were established in the years following the American Revolution. Wood devotes a detailed discussion on the renovation of American labor. Diversity is another theme expressed by Wood, particularly in reference to religion in America. Aside from elements of the social sciences, Wood incorporates a philosophic approach as well, discussing such themes as modernity, equality, and even virtue and benevolence. Wood consults more contemporary secondary sources as well as the standard primary material. This method not only underscores the scope of Wood's scholarship, but also leads the reader to the wealth of modern historiography. Wood's prose in exceedingly conversational and although his notes are extensive, his paragraphs are not crammed with numerous citations. Wood's arguments flow evenly, however this is one book one must stay with in order to preserve continuity. It is the incorporation of the social science methodologies that enable Wood to succeed in making this a true inter-colonial study touching upon nearly all aspects of American society. Nevertheless, two exceptions are Native-Americans and African Americans who could and should have received more space. Wood does touch upon these two racial groups, yet, their voice is fragmented. In spite of these blemishes, Wood comes closest to answering the question of what makes Americans unique as a people. He accomplishes this task without harboring on exceptionalism by placing the new United States within the framework of the Atlantic World. Wood has provided a benchmark for other historians to follow. Highly recommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I am currently reading, as part of Amazon's Vine Program, a prepublication copy of Gordon S. Wood's latest work, EMPIRE OF LIBERTY: A HISTORY OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC, 1789-1815, the latest volume in the Oxford History of the United States. I believe that it will go down as perhaps the finest, most essential work covering that period of American history. Excepting the particular historical details, there is little, however, in that work that is not already contained in embryo form in THE RADICALISM OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. I have for some time believed that Wood's book on the American Revolution is one of the great historical works in scholarship, one that provides as much insight into the founding of the nation as any book ever published. If you want to understand our nation, if you want to understand what is unique in the founding of the United States, this book is not only on the shortest of short lists, it is the first book on that list.
As Wood points out, many have regarded the American Revolution as a conservative one (not in the sense, however, of political conservativism), because many of what many have assumed were essential marks of any revolution were missing, such as class conflict, drastic poverty, and violent reconstruction of society. But as he carefully notes, the American Revolution was truly radical, in that it reshaped American society in the most extreme ways imaginable. Wood lays out in profound detail all the way the world was before, during, and after the Revolution. He explains both the ideals of the Founders and the ways the nation developed in ways that the Founders not only did not anticipate but did not -- at least those who lived long enough to see the new changes -- entirely approve.
Wood's story is built around three competing views of the political construction of society: monarchism, republicanism, and democracy. The shift from monarchism to republicanism was immense, but the shift from republicanism to democracy was as huge and as radical, though it redefined the nation in ways that few of the Founders could approve. The shift from monarchism to republicanism Wood represents through spacial metaphors. In a monarchy individuals in society understood themselves in terms of vertical relationships: their roles in society were defined by those who were immediately above them and those who were immediately below them. They had a place in society that they did not, could not escape. Relationships were determined, from above, by a system of patronage. In republicanism people came to understand themselves not vertically, but horizontally, as one among equals. Nevertheless there was a strong sense of citizens being first among equals, of individuals arising to a natural elite. This is where the Founders differed from what came afterwards. Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, Adams, even Jefferson and Madison, imagined a society in which a natural elite would help lead the government. As Wood remarks, the most famous of the Republicans (not to be confused with the later Republican party -- the early Republican party later because the Democratic Republican party, and thereafter the Democratic party under the leadership of Martin Van Buren, while the Federalists died away, many of them helping to form the Whig party, which collapsed in the 1850s, with many Whigs going on to join the new liberal political party, the Republicans -- the story of how the Democratic party started off as the liberal party, became the American conservative party, and then became the more liberal party again is another story, just as the transformation of the Republicans as a liberal party under Lincoln later became a conservative party under Taft, Harding, and Coolidge), Thomas Jefferson, became increasingly despairing in his later years as uneducated, barely literate, and utterly everyday individuals came to lead the country. But the overall change in society -- from a vertical society in which paternalistic relationships dominated, to a horizontal society in which everyday individuals predominated could not have been more profound.
Gordon Wood cannot be surpassed for his knowledge of the Revolutionary generation or the early republic. All of his books are important for an understanding of that period, but along with his new entry in the Oxford History of the United States, THE RADICALISM OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION is perhaps his very best.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2006
The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon Wood is simply a magnificent thesis on the evolution of political thought, society and commerce all of which was radically altered just before, during and after the Revolutionary War. This book is about the radicalism of ideas, mainly a Republic run by elites or a true Democracy, with all its short comings. Wood's research is, as always, superb as he searched papers, sermons and letters that largely prove his central theme correct.
"This democratic society was not the society the revolutionary leaders had wanted or expected. No wonder, then, that those of them who lived on into the early decades of the nineteenth century expressed anxiety over what they had wrought. Although they tried to put on as good a face as they could on what had happened, they were bewildered, uneasy, and in many cases deeply disillusioned. Indeed, a pervasive pessimism, a fear that their revolutionary experiment in republicanism was not working out as they had expected, runs though the later writings of the founding fathers. All of the revolutionary leaders died less than happy with the results of the Revolution".
Woods clearly points out that Federalists and Republicans alike were both disappointed with at least some of the results of the Revolution. John Adams - "Where is now, the progress of the human Mind? When? Where? And How? Is the Chaos to be arranged into Order?" Of Jefferson Wood states "sanguine and optimistic as he had always been, was reduced to despair in his last years and to what seems to us today to be an embarrassing fire-eating defense of the South and states' rights".
Wood truly gives and defends a doctoral type thesis within these pages and a seismic shift in terms of how historians can and should now view the radicalism of the revolution. It was radical in thought rather than in bloodshed. It was radical in bringing the common man onto what had previously been a gentrified stage rather then beheading opposition. "A new generation of Americans was no longer interested in the revolutionaries' dream of building a classical republic of elitist virtue out of the inherited materials of the Old World. America, they said, would find its greatness not by emulating the states of classical antiquity, not by copying the fiscal-military powers of modern Europe, and not by producing a few notable geniuses and great-souled men. Instead it would discover its greatness by creating a prosperous free society . . . common people with their common interests in making money and getting ahead."
The radicalism is well delineated and is in the thought, the fabric and the soul of a new country. It is not what the founders had envisions, says Wood, but it is what we have today as we "live with its consequences".