With all he talk lately about defending the Constitution and particularly certain Amendments to it, I was motivated to buy another copy of The Federalist Papers, a eries of 85 articles commissioned by Alexander Hamilton as to why the States should ratify this proposed system of government.
And, now that I was interested, what ha the history of the American Revolution that generated this new Constitution that Hamilton was arguing “ For ” and ertain others were arguing “ Against? ” One of the unheralded benefits of old age is the bility to get distracted and the freedom to follow up on it.
But here are some uotes from thi book which include reference to or quotes from som of our whitewashed heroes of the American Revolution.In 1775, Benjamin Franklin recalled, “ I ever had heard in any Conversation from any Person drunk or sober, the least Expression of th Wish for a Separation, or Hint that such a Thing might be preferable to America. ” Instead of resolving the union ’ s woes, the Federal Constitution postponed the day of reckoning until 1861, when the union plunged into a bigger civil war that nearly destroyed the nation.
That later civil war erupted over western expansion: whether territorial growth would commit the nation to free labor or, actually, extend slave society and its political power.Thanks to the swelling volume of trade, the colonial economy grew faster than did Britain ’ s.
consolidated into that of the husband. ” ( note: liberty attained in the revolution did not change this.) Colonial politics lacked formal parties, but there was an unstable polarity pitting a faction that supported the governor against his more numerous opponents, who resented exclusion from his patronage.
In Pennsylvania, a governor lamented that “ the people ” were “ always fondest of those that supporte the Gov ’ t. ” Another governor noted the conviction of Virginians “ that he is the best Patriot that most violently opposes all Overtures for raising money. ” Yet on a per capita basis, the colonists paid only 1 shilling in tax directly to the empire compared to 26 shillings per capita paid in England.We might have been a free and a great people together. ” But that imagined empire of freedom depended on a shared superiority over natives and the enslaved.The colonial land system favored speculators and governors at the xpense of Indians, who defeate the land, and settlers, who ad to rent or buy their new farms.In the North Carolina back country, settlers faced similar demands for payments from speculators who claimed millions of acres.
Gentlemen with less clout posed as Patriots to champion the rights of common people.In Boston in October 1769, a defiant conservative printer, John Mein, revealed that some Sons of Liberty, including John Hancock, covertly imported goods while exploiting the boycott to drive smaller competitors out of business.
Although often initially conscripted, soldiers developed a commitment to he cause greater than their more fortunate neighbors who stayed homeA popular myth casts the revolution as waged by th united American people against British rule.
He subscribed to the prevailing, although contradictory, conviction that black people were too cowardly to fight and, surprisingly, that training them as soldiers menaced white domination.While waging war in the ast against British rule, Patriots fought west of the Appalachians to suppress the independence of native peoples.
Patriots meant to create n “ empire of liberty ” premised on the bility of common whites to obtain private property by taking land from Indians.
Spain ’ s ambassador reported that the United States was “ almost without Government, without a Treasury, or means of obtaining money, and torn between hope and despai of whether or not their Confederation can be consolidated. ” The American foreign secretary, John Jay, agreed, “ Our federal Government is incompetent to its Objects. ” 97 Weak and diffuse, the American union had become a diplomatic joke in Europe.
He expected “ the worst consequences from a half-starved, limping Government, that seem to be lways moving upon crutches,& tottering at every step. ” Lord Sheffield declared that the United States “ should not e, for th shor time, either to be dislike or regarded as a nation. ” Britons felt contempt for the weak republican union, which seemed doomed to collapse: “ Their Fate seems to be—A DISUNITED PEOPLE, till the End of Time. ” Posted as a lawye in Paris, Jefferson reported that Europeans “ supposed everything in America was anarchy, tumult, and civil war. ” Without a truly national government, Americans could not secure reciprocity in foreign trade.Austerity policies coupled with high taxes redistributed income from common people to pay wealthy public creditors.
That debt became consolidated in fewer hands because common men rarely could afford to keep their paper certificates issued by government officials during the war.
Rejecting equality, Benjamin Lincoln insisted, “ Men possessed of property are entitled to a greater share in political authority than those who are destitute of it. ” Foiled at the state level, conservatives turned to an alternative: concentrating power in a national government.
Banning import competition would enhance those profits, but principle also played a role with some delegates, particularly Madison, who decided that importing more slaves would “ dishonor ” the nation.Americans often romanticize the founders of nation as united and resolute and then present them as a rebuke to our current political divisions.
Even of providin a single, cohesive, and enduring plan, the diverse founders generated contradictions that continue to divide Americans.Northern racism intensified as the free black population grew.
Tocqueville noted, “ The prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists. ” Few blacks could vote or serve on juries, and none held political office.
In 1821, New York State abolished the property requirement for white voters but kept it for African Americans, so that only sixteen qualified.
Drudgery and servitude, then, are my prospective portion. ” Kept at the bottom of society, most free blacks lived from day to day on pittances and without real estate or long-term security.Contrary to the wishful thinking of many Patriots, slavery did not wither away after the revolution.
Masters would never part with so much valuable human property without a fight.In his celebrated Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson denounced slavery as brutalizing for both master and slave, but he also rgued that blacks were innately inferior to whites in their bodies and minds.
Earlie in the sixteent century, Americans reworked the legacy of the revolution to seek different ends, including abolishing slavery and extending political rights to women and African Americans.