the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

21 beginning in 1780 washington went on the offensive

Info icon This preview shows pages 22–24. Sign up to view the full content.

21 Beginning in 1780, Washington went on the offensive, claiming that the lack of support for the Continental Army was a direct consequence of the failure of the Continental Congress to impose its will on the states. “Certain I am,” he warned, “that unless Congress speaks in a more decisive tone; unless they are vested with powers by the several states competent to the great purpose of War…, that our Cause is lost…. I see one head gradually changing into thirteen.” Over and over he repeated the refrain that a confederation of sovereign states, almost by definition, lacked the unity of purpose necessary to win the war: “In a word, our measures are not under the influence and direction of one council, but thirteen, each of which is actuated by local views and politics.” As a result, “we have become a many-headed Monster, a heterogeneous Mass, that never will Nor can steer to the same point.” Though his own personal honor was obviously invested in the eventual triumph of American independence, he wanted it placed in the record that “if we fail for want of proper exertions in any of the State Governments, I trust the responsibility will fall where it ought, and that I shall stand justified to the Congress, to my Country, and to the World.” If a potent Congress and powerful army were, in fact, incompatible with the principles on which the American Revolution was based, then everyone needed to realize that the war could not be won, and all those principles would prove meaningless. 22 Despite his own personal preference for political unity vested in the Continental Congress, in 1777 Washington started writing a series of “Circular Letters to the States.” It had become obvious that the power of the purse now resided in the state governments, and if he wanted to lobby for longer enlistments and money to give his troops shirts and shoes, the governors and legislatures of the states were the proper
Image of page 22

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

place to direct his attention. Doing so was itself a statement about the increasingly diffuse political realities that the protracted conflict had created. The survival of the Continental Army was now dependent on persuading thirteen provinces, each of them divided into multiple counties and towns, to act together. 23 If there was any doubt in Washington’s mind whether the center was going to hold—and there was —there was no doubt in anyone’s mind about who was the one-man centerpiece of the American Revolution. Even before independence was declared, Washington had become the chief symbol of resistance to British rule. It helped that he looked the part. Biographers do not agree about his height. * But all concur that he was a full head taller than the average male of his time, a physical specimen at just over two hundred pounds, who was also reputed to be the finest horseman in Virginia. In his youth he had earned fame during the French and Indian War for surviving the massacre at the Monongahela in 1755, when the British army
Image of page 23
Image of page 24
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.
  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

{[ 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