Explain How the British Were Revolutionaries and the Colonists Conservatives

The British were certainly not revolutionaries, but their society and economy were both evolving rapidly. By 1780 the Industrial Revolution was in its earliest phase, and developing. By contrast, the Americans had a backward-looking and static society dependent on agriculture and little besides. Their exports were predominantly sugar, rice and cotton. Again, the Colonies depended heavily on slave labour at a time when opinion in metropolitan Britain was beginning to swing against it.

Summing up: the American colonies had a provincial and retarded lifestyle compared with the dynamic one in the UK. The movement for independence did not, in fact, have a wide base: it was born among a narrow section of enlghtenment-influenced prosperous bourgeois in New England. The outcome entrenched,not the attitudes of the colonists at large, but the narrow, whiggish self-interest of an urban trading elite. In the countryside older attitudes prevailed. One case in point: in the towns (which held a tiny minority of the population they were beginning to shake off the tyranny of Puritan Calvinism: the ministers still largely ruled the people of the farming districts.

It is noteworthy that, even after independence was conceded, the agricultural and maritime people of the seaboard still tended to look to London as a metropolitan centre, even though it had ceased to be their capital (bourgeois intellectuals looked on the whole to Paris). In the Republican/Napoleonic wars US merchant ships routinely sailed in convoys protected by the RN, even though they liked having their sailors pressed just as little as British shipowners did. In the war of 1812 the New England farmers freely supplied the RN with fresh provisions when the USN had to send a patrol in force before being allowed to buy them - and the information given by these people was not available to US forces at all.

In a word, it took quite a while for the people apart from the wealthy townsfolk to shake off their...