“For Britain, the American revolution brought more severe loss than simply the loss of thirteen colonies.” Discuss in the light of consequences of American Revolution.
The American Revolution was totally devastating for Britain because it gave a great blow to her world-wide prestige and dominance. The Sun had started to set on the British Empire. Her international prestige was at stake, particularly after the surrender of armies to the American forces at Saratoga in 1777 and at Yorktown in 1781. The British used to regard themselves as invincible; and the revolution pricked the bubble of that myth. The loss of American colonies came also as a blow to the power and position of the king, at home. The British King, George III came to lose the trust of his own people. Even his admirers now became his critics. Before the American war of independence the people of the thirteen colonies were regarded as “a race of convicts” who “ought to be thankful for anything we allow them, short of hanging“. Now the public opinion had changed in Britain. Thus, the personality and policy of George III came in for severe criticism.
Further, during the latter portion of the revolution, France took the stand to isolate Britain in international politics. While its volunteers under Lafayette had joined the forces of George Washington, France came to sign a treaty with Spain (1778) directed against Britain. France also took the lead in Europe to influence other countries against Britain. Britain stood frustrated, lonely and humiliated.
American Revolution also successfully challenged the system of colonialism. All anti-colonial liberation movement that followed in the next 200 years throughout the world drew their inspiration from the American model. The American Revolution inaugurated an era of democracy and popular governments. All nationalist movements owed their ideals of democracy and equality to the American Revolution. Even, it became one of the immediate causes of the French Revolution. The French soldiers who acted as ‘volunteers’ with the American freedom-fighters, returned home and spoke in praise of the better nature of the government and living conditions of the people there. Ironically, France used Montesqieu’s and Rousseau’s philosophy after the Americans had done so. These two great philosophers belonged to France. In this regard it can be said that the ideals and ideas of the American revolution influenced those of the French revolution. The American revolution was a national affair while the French revolution was an event that influenced every nook and corner of Europe and the world. Both were, thus, events of monumental significance for mankind.