the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Of the articles were making a clear statement that

Info icon This preview shows pages 17–19. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
of the Articles were making a clear statement that they did not intend the Confederation Congress to function as a national government once the war was won. The closest approximation in our own time is the European Union. 6 It was not always so . During the first fifteen months of the war, from the outbreak of hostilities at Lexington and Concord in April 1775 to the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, the Continental Congress had functioned as a provisional national government, exercising control over military strategy, diplomacy, and economic policy much in the manner of a fully empowered federal government. To be sure, these were heady times, when the all-consuming character of the political and military crisis literally forced the delegates in Congress to assume emergency powers, and to do so in a political environment so saturated with patriotism that dissent was tantamount to treason. In this exuberant moment, when all political disagreements were enveloped within the protective canopy of “The Cause,” it became possible to believe that the wartime alliance was symptomatic of something much larger and more permanent. The Philadelphia physician and revolutionary gadfly Benjamin Rush said it out loud: “We are now a new Nation…dependent on each other—not totally independent states.” The war for American independence had also become, at least in some minds, a war for American nationhood. 7 But Rush’s national vision proved to be a temporary infatuation. Until independence was officially declared on July 2, 1776, then announced to the world two days later, there was enormous pressure to sustain a united front. The cracks and fissures in that front appeared for all to see in late July and early August, when the delegates put themselves in a committee-of-the-whole format to debate the character and shape of the new government for the recently created United States. That debate proved to be a preview of coming attractions, exposing the latent sectional and ideological differences that would haunt the American experiment well into the next century. The debate focused on a document written by a committee of twelve delegates in June, prior to the vote on independence, and chaired by John Dickinson, the leader of the moderate faction in Congress. Called the Dickinson Draft, it is an elusive text that has caused several generations of historians to throw up their
Image of page 17

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
hands in frustration, because Dickinson attempted to synthesize the competing convictions of a large committee that harbored fundamentally different ideas about what the emergent American republic should look like. The Dickinson Draft is, in truth, one of the most revealing documents of the revolutionary era, not in spite of but because of its intellectual incoherence. For what Dickinson attempted to achieve was a political compromise between those who wanted a state-based confederation and those who wanted a federal government with enumerated powers over the states. In other words, Dickinson tried and failed to
Image of page 18
Image of page 19
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern