CENTRALIZATION OF POWER AND THE WHISKEY REBELLION
Lack of common traits – no common language, ethnicity, religion, etc.
During the Revolution, there were two traits: pro British or anti British.
After the American Revolution, our common identity has been our
government; associate democracy with the US. The government had
to be strong enough to adhere to our huge country.
Importance of a national government
But what type of government?
Fear of power
Articles of Confederation – the government that stood during the entirety of
the Revolution and between 1783 and 1787 (when the Constitution was
written and ratified). There were thirteen states, loosely tied together – their
common enemy was the only common trait. This government handled the
war, disputes with Indians, and disputes between states. This government
could not tax, coordinate trade, and all decisions had to be unanimous.
Everyone was trying to fight for the common good but the government had
no money (no taxes) to pay for it. Eventually, the government acquired a
printing press and printed up money, which had no backing.
“a firm league of friendship among sovereign states”
Necessity of war
After war – despite all of the issues with government, we won the war –
and things really got bad. Inflation was a huge problem, states began
to print their own money and taxed their people so it was worth
something. In this situation, foreign nations began to take advantage of
the United States. GB kept forts in the US – armed Indians against
settlers, on what was officially American land. Barred ships from going
to the West Indies to trade, something the US had been doing for
years. On the other hand, the US did not keep up their end of the
treaty. One part, any US citizens who owed money to British citizens
would pay them off (the VA gentry, George Washington, who sold and
bought from those GB merchants). We won the American Revolution
because the Europeans lent us money – but why? The king of France
(along with the Dutch, Prussia, etc) was friendly to these people
(representatives of democracy, common man) because of realpolitik
(the enemy of my enemy is my friend, everyone hated Great Britain).
These European countries wanted the war to go on for years and
years so that they could bleed both enemies – the colonies and GB.
Britain realized this too.