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The first American Revolution spanned from 1775 to 1783, after which the United States received recognition of independence by and from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Rhetorical or hyperbolic references to a Second American Revolution have been made on a number of occasions throughout the history of the United States.

Historical statements[]

  • A second (or third, or fourth) American revolution was conceived early on as attainable via the Article V Convention, as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Occasional conventions were envisioned by many of the country's founding generation of leaders to be a sort of institutionalized avenue toward the ideal of revolution every twenty years, often attributed to Thomas Jefferson. According to Samuel Williams of Vermont (1743-1817), it was to be the means to accomplish periodic constitutional adaptation to changing times. Born the same year as Jefferson, Williams saw the federal constitutional convention as the vehicle for what loose constructionists today term the “living, breathing constitution.”[1]
  • The War of 1812 between the United States and Britain is sometimes referred to as the second American Revolution, stemming from the second British recognition of 1781 American borders.[2] John C. Calhoun was perhaps the first to make this claim.[3]
  • Some Confederates claimed that they were fighting a second American Revolution in attempting to secede from the United States during the American Civil War. An example of this thinking is James M. McPherson's book, Battle Cry of Freedom.[4]

Fictional usage[]

  • American armed resistance to a fictional Soviet invasion in Amerika was described by its supporters as a second American Revolution.
  • Silicon Embrace, a 1996 novel by John Shirley, where aliens influence the course of a Second Civil War.
  • The Second Civil War, a 1997 made for TV movie.
  • Shattered Union, a 2005 PC game developed by 2K Games. It depicts a civil war between six factions of the former United States and the European Union, following the destruction of Washington DC in a nuclear attack.
  • Empire, a 2006 novel by Orson Scott Card.
  • Season 2 of Jericho; a Second American Civil War begins between the United States and the separatist Allied States of America.[5]
  • In The Venture Bros., Col. Hunter Gathers comedically reveals that a Second American Revolution took place. He refers to it as "the second American Revolution — the invisible one".[6]
  • A second Civil War was a theme of the purported time traveler John Titor; the war would begin in 2008 and end in 2015 that would see a short World War III destroy much of the country.
  • In the 2008 film Death Racers, a second American civil war occurs between 2030 and 2033, resulting in the destruction of much of the continental United States.
  • In the DMZ comics, a civil war is happening between two warring parties: the United States and the Free States.
  • In the 2000 video game, Deus Ex, the National Secessionist Force is said to believe that they are fighting the Second American Revolution.

References[]

  1. Samuel Williams, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 2 vols. (Burlington VT, Samuel Mills, 1809) 2:395-96. Congregational minister, Harvard professor, author of the first history of Vermont, and founder of Vermont's oldest continuously published newspaper; Rev. Williams considered a rigid, unchanging constitution to be high folly, in that "no policy would appear more puerile or contemptible to the people of America, than an attempt to bind posterity to our forms, or to confine them to our degrees of knowledge, and improvement: The aim is altogether the reverse, to make provision for the perpetual improvement and progression of the government itself….”
  2. War of 1812 - The Second War for Independence
  3. The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, pg. 498
  4. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, by James M. McPherson ISBN 019516895X
  5. As stated at the end of the final episode, "Patriots and Tyrants".
  6. As stated in the episode "Assassinanny 911".
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