"It takes such a long train of abuses to persuade the mass of people to throw off their habitual customs and loyalties and to make revolution; hence the absurdity of singling out the American Revolution as 'conservative' in that sense. Indeed, this very breakthrough against existing habits, the very act of revolution, is therefore ipso facto an extraordinarily radical act.(...)
But the deep-seated radicalism of the American Revolution goes far beyond this. It was inextricably linked both to the radical revolutions that went before and to the ones, particularly the French, that succeeded it. From the researches of Caroline Robbins and Bernard Bailyn, we have come to see the indispensable linkage of radical ideology in a straight line from the English republican revolutionaries of the seventeenth century through the commonwealthmen of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the French and to the American revolutionaries. And this ideology of natural rights and individual liberty was to its very marrow revolutionary. As Lord Acton stressed of radical liberalism, in setting up 'what ought to be' as a rigorous guidepost for judging 'what is', it virtually raised thereby a standard of revolution.
The Americans had always been intractable, rebellious, impatient of oppression, as witness the numerous rebellions of the late seventeenth century; they also had their own individualist and libertarian heritage, their Ann Hutchinsons and Rhode Island quasi anarchists, some directly linked with the left wing of the English revolution. Now, strenghtened and guided by the developed libertarian natural rights ideology of the eighteenth century, and reacting to aggrandizement of the British imperial state in the economic, constitutional, and religious spheres, the Americans, in escalated and radicalized confrontations with Great Britain, had made and won their Revolution. By doing so, this revolution, based on the growing libertarian idea pervading enlightened opinion in Europe, and gave immeasurable impetus to the liberal revolutionary movement throughout the Old World; for here was a living example of a liberal revolution that had taken its daring chance, against all odds and against the mightiest state in the world, and had actually succeeded. Here, indeed, was a beacon light to all oppressed peoples in the world!
The American Revolution was radical in many other ways as well. It was the first successful war of national liberation against western imperialism. A people's war, waged by the majority of Americans having the courage and the zeal to rise up against constituted 'legitimate' government, actually threw off their 'sovereign'. A revolutionary war led by 'fanatics' and zealots rejected the siren calls of compromise and easy adjustment to the existing system. As a people's war, it was victorious to the extent the guerilla strategy and tactics were employed against the far more heavily armed and better trained British army - a strategy and tactics of protracted conflict resting precisely on mass support. (...)
Also, as in any people's war, the American Revolution did inevitably rend society in two. The Revolution was not a peaceful emanation of an American 'consensus'; on the contrary, as we have seen, it was a civil war resulting in permanent expulsion of 100,000 Tories from the United States. Tories were hunted, persecuted, their property confiscated, and themselves sometimes killed, what could be more radical than that? Thus, the French Revolution was, as in so many other things, foreshadowed by the American. The inner contradiction of the goal of liberty and the struggle against the Tories during the Revolution showed that revolutions will be tempted to betray their own principles in the heat of battle. The American Revolution also prefigured the misguided use of paper money inflation, and of severe price and wage controls which proved equally unworkable in America and in France. And, as constituted government was either ignored or overthrown, Americans found recourse in new quasi-anarchistic forms of government: spontaneous local committees. Indeed, the new state and eventual federal governments often emerged out of federations and alliances of local and county committees. Here again, 'committees of inspection,' 'committees of public safety,' etc., prefigured the French and other revolutionary paths. What this meant, as was most clearly illustrated in Pennsylvania, was the revolutionary innovation of parallel institutions, of dual power, that challenged and eventually simply replaced old and established governmental forms. Nothing in all of the picture of the American Revolution could have been more radical, more truly revolutionary."
Auszüge aus Murray N. Rothbard, Conceived in Liberty. Volume IV: The Revolutionary War 1775-1784, S.442-444.