Historians, for thousands of years, have debated the true nature of revolutions. Are revolutions defined most properly by definition (1) or by definition (2)? Certainly, the argument for the former view is compelling: the aforementioned nearly necessary entailment of (2) by (1) makes it quite possible that (2) cannot exist prior to (1). But why can it not be (1) alone? Because changes in thought are meaningless in themselves. Thought, once it has changed, will inevitably change again. Only when men can concretize these thoughts in the form of objective institutions like governments can thought persevere through the changes which inevitably happen more frequently than “fundamental changes in institution”. Thus, “revolution” must be a mixture of both definitions (1) and (2), with both definitions being mutually dependent upon one another. It is proper to say that the “American Revolution”, in its historical context, was both (1) and (2). However, to consider it a revolution in the proper usage of the word, one cannot differentiate between the intellectual—“ideological”—nature of this revolution and its “political” nature. We cannot differentiate between an “American Revolution” and an “American War of Independence”. The two must be treated as inseparable and as mutually dependent upon one another.
First, however, it may be useful to analyze the ideological roots of the American Revolution to gain a sense of what was so ideologically revolutionary which drove it to fruition.