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  Stories from the Revolution  

Image: Map of the eastern United States during the American Revolution.Consequences Of The War

The end of the Revolutionary War brought independence for 13 American states. How Americans would use their newfound freedom was not immediately certain. Between 1776 and 1780, the states wrote new constitutions or changed their old charters to become republics.

When the alliance of the states under the Articles of Confederation proved inadequate, a convention in 1787 produced the Constitution, which remains our governmental framework. The Constitution settled many issues and formed a stronger union of the states, but it also contained contradictions that would echo through our history. Flying in the face of the Declaration of Independence's statement of human equality, the Constitution protected African-American slavery.

In the English-speaking world of 1787, few even entertained the possibility that women possessed equal political or economic rights. Much of American history after 1776 represents a struggle to extend full citizenship to white males without property, to people of color, and to women.

For Indians, the formation of the United States only increased the flow of white settlers onto their lands and led to more clashes. An acknowledgement of the Revolution's deferred promises, however, should not blind us to its far-reaching effects. The republican form of government, with all its powers grounded in the consent of the people, was practiced nowhere else in 1776.

Later revolutions in France, Hispaniola (present-day Haiti), and throughout Latin America drew inspiration from the American Revolution. Once adopted by the United States, the ideals of liberty and self-government would have future effects never imagined by the original revolutionaries.

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