the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Political authority rendered a viable american nation

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political authority rendered a viable American nation inherently incompatible with the goals of the American Revolution. The military side of this story had its origins in the fall of 1776. The American debacle on Long Island and Manhattan prompted a conference among Washington, his staff, and a delegation from the Congress. It was now clear for all to see that the Continental Army, as currently configured, was no match for the combined force of the British army and navy. Washington insisted, and the civilian delegates agreed, that
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there needed to be a “New Establishment,” consisting of an American army three times larger than the current fifteen-thousand-man force, with enlistments to last three years or, better yet, “for the duration.” Given the overall size of the American population, Washington argued that he was asking for only a fraction of what was demographically possible, meaning that the number of American males available for military service was several times larger than what was needed to overwhelm the British army. If provided with such a large, enduringly dedicated force, Washington and his staff believed they could end the war in a year. 20 In October 1776 Congress approved all the requests. But when President John Hancock sent the troop quotas to the respective state legislatures, they were regarded as requests, and none of the states complied. What was militarily necessary was clear, but what was politically impossible was clearer. The states, after all, needed to protect their own people, best done with militia, often paid at a higher rate than soldiers in the Continental Army. As for the creation of a cadre of Continentals committed to service “for the duration,” that smelled distinctly like a “standing army” in the British mode, which the American Revolution was designed to destroy. The hard core of the Continental Army was eventually comprised of misfits—indentured servants, recently arrived immigrants, emancipated slaves, unemployed artisans. The vast majority of “the soldiery,” as Washington called them, were one-year enlistees who came and went like transients, an army of amateurs. Washington’s reports from the field became a litany of lamentations: bemoaning the lack of food, clothing, shoes, ammunition; warning that the one-year enlistments put the very survival of the army at risk on an annual basis; urging the necessity of a larger army of veteran troops who could assume the offensive instead of fighting a purely defensive war. But the unspoken and unattractive truth was that the marginal status of the Continental Army was reassuring for the vast majority of Americans, since a robust and professional army on the British model contradicted the very values it was supposedly fighting for. It had to be just strong enough to win the war, or perhaps more accurately not lose it, but not so strong as to threaten the republican goals the war was ultimately about.
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  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

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