Zachary Turner Dr. Melissane Schrems HIST 333: Age of the American Revolution 9/15/08 A Précis of "Interpreting the American Revolution" in Major problems in the Era of the American Revolution, 1760-1791 The historiography surrounding the American Revolution is constantly changing. There is no agreement between historians on how best to interpret the Revolution. Barbara Clark Smith argues against the idea the Revolution was not a single radical movement, but instead that American independence had “roots deep in colonial past and came to fruition in the experience of subsequent generations.” She also argues that women and slaves played crucial and necessary roles in the “assault on dependency,” where many historians often neglect and under acknowledge the contributions women and slaves made during the revolution. Gordon Wood is one of the main historians that debate Smiths perspectives. In his essay he tries to defend his works as a way to “press beyond the issues of contemporary scholarship” including the oppressions of women and slaves, on which Smith makes here arguments. Wood argues that oppression was not only limited to women and slaves but white males as well. The 1776 radical idea that “all men are created equal” meant that all white men were equal. Once white males were seen as equals then other claims to equality could follow. T. H. Breen uses his essay to discuss how colonists came to imagine themselves as a free nation in a trade empire. Consumer goods were the primary way which colonists sorted themselves in society. A negligence to sacrifice commodities that made people seem wealthy was a main reason that the political situation failed.