Second American Revolution

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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 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.


  • 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 the United Kingdom 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]
  • The Confederates believed that they were fighting a second American Revolution by attempting to secede from the United States during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

In popular culture[edit]

  • American armed resistance to a fictional Soviet invasion in Amerika was described by its supporters as a Second American Revolution.
  • In the 2006 novel Empire by Orson Scott Card, a second revolution ocuurs following the assassination of both the president and the vice president.
  • The National Secessional Forces in the 2000 video game Deus Ex are stated to believe that they are fighting the Second American Revolution.
  • In The Venture Bros. universe the OSI (Office of Secret Intelligence) was created during or after the Second American Revolution (the "invisible one").
  • In the novel Power Games (Operation Enduring Unity I), 14 western states take advantage of the political chaos in the country and form their own “legitimate” Federal Government, sparking a US civil war.

See also[edit]


  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