In the mid-1970's, historians often debated the motives of the American Revolutionaries. For Neo-Progressive scholars, the Revolution was an intensely human process rooted in the experience of social inequity and in a democratic striving against privilege. These scholars focused less frequently on the great men of the Revolution than on ordinary people – farmers, artisans, laborers – and dispossessed or marginalized groups. Conversely, Neo-Whig scholars believed that republican political ideas determined the allegiance and the actions of the Revolutionary generation. Their Revolution followed from the shared belief that powerful men had always sought, and would always seek, to deprive their fellow citizens of liberty and property. Ironically, in the conservative act of defending their own liberties and estates, the decidedly elitist gentlemen who articulated revolution's ideals also liberated egalitarian impulses that would produce a democratic society.