1783 - 1788 Republican Experimentation Era

1783 - 1788 Republican Experimentation Era -...

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Post-revolutionary conflict between “public morality and private freedom” Republican ” came to mean an entire political culture Maintaining popular virtue was critical to success Almost utopian vision of country’s future arises – God had promised progress and prosperity Americans divided sharply over the relative importance of liberty and order Some worried that citizens were caught up in a wild scramble for material wealth that threatened rights of property Revolution changed American society Denounced any traces of aristocratic pretense – fear of privilege Appearance of equality more important that actual achievement Distribution of wealth unequal Intolerable that a revolution waged against a monarchy should produce a class distinguished from fellow citizens Abolished laws of primogeniture and entail (to pass estate to son or declare it should never be divided/sold) Western migration led to most important changes in voting patterns Re-examined the relationship between church and state Insisted that rulers had no right to interfere with free expression of individual’s religious beliefs Most still seldom favored philosophies that radically challenged Christian values Most appalling contradiction was slavery John Woolman (1720-72) – reminded people of the evils Abolitionist sentiment spread during revolutionary period African-Americans kept issue alive through writing and petitioning – demanded freedom; “natural right” Benjamin Banneker (1731 – 1806) – scientific accomplishments in astronomy and math Phillis Wheatley (1753 – 1784) – Boston’s “African muse” Northern states had no economic justification for slavery and white laborers resented competing in workplace w/ slaves Combined w/ acknowledgment of double standard represented by slavery establishment of antislavery societies Abolition took many forms – Vermont’s 1777 constitution; Penn’s 1780 law for gradual emancipation Christian evangelicals put slaveholders on the intellectual defense for the first time In the states that outlawed slavery, African-Americans faced systematic discrimination Excluded from voting, juries, militia duty Rare access to education Lived in segregated wards/neighborhoods Denied equal standing with white worshipers in churches formation of their own churches No southern leader during the era of republican experimentation defended slavery as a positive good Described family in terms of “affection” rather than “duty” as evident in popular novels – Pamela , Clarissa Women began making new demands on husbands and institutions Justified assertiveness largely on basis of political ideology – if survival of republics depended on the virtue of their citizens, then it
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1783 - 1788 Republican Experimentation Era -...

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