In his new book, "The Perils of Peace" Thomas Fleming brings up an interesting and disputed point: when did the American Revolution end? I think Fleming gives ample evidence to suggest that the Battle of Yorktown is a poor moment to conclude the Revolution (which is obvious to almost anyone). Washington's struggle to keep his army intact, the constant fighting between states, and the huge war debt were massive obstacles that concerned nearly everyone. During this time, most people were unsure if the "American experiment" would last another year, while others were suggesting a reconciliation with Great Britain.
So when should we conclude the revolution? History textbooks suggest that the Constitutional Convention is the obvious last chapter in the American revolutionary story. I, however, refuse to agree. The Constitutional Convention only established a new set of rules that still needed to be ratified and legitimized. Many colonial citizens refused to accept the new Constitution, believing it to be a carbon copy of Britain's "tyrranical" rule. Clearly the Washington presidency (which added legitimacy to the new government) was desperately needed as was the Jefferson Presidency that solidified republican principles. The Market Revolution of the early 19th century, along with the Second Great Awakening also made dramatic impacts on the infant American experiment.
So when did the Revolution end? You tell me.