the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Washington hamilton and jay as well as gouverneur

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Washington, Hamilton, and Jay, as well as Gouverneur Morris and James Wilson, had their eyes on something larger than their own balance sheets. That something was the future of the United States as the world’s largest republic, poised to become an emerging nation rather than a tottering and disintegrating confederation. For six years the loose arrangement of sovereign states under the Articles had claimed to embody the core principles of the American Revolution, which were incompatible with a national government empowered to make domestic and foreign policy for all its citizens. The nationalists were making an argument that American independence had been the mere start of a political process that now had to continue if its full potential was ever to be realized. No less a figure than Washington fervently believed that the failure to create a sovereign national government would represent a repudiation of everything he had fought for. What was at stake, then, was nothing less than what the American Revolution meant, or had come to mean, and that was how all the most prominent nationalists thought about it. There were two ghosts at the banquet, though they haunted the deliberations in decidedly different ways. The first, monarchy, was an ever-present evil, a word on everyone’s lips, a specter so sinister that both nationalists and confederationists felt obliged to register their dread of its reappearance in America in even the faintest form. Any robust expression of executive power was, therefore, forced to fight a constant rearguard action against accusations of monarchy. Madison’s proposal for an executive veto over state legislation was dead on arrival at the convention because it seemed almost designed to conjure up
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the ghastly image of George III imposing his presumptive power in arbitrary and capricious fashion. Since the American Revolution had supposedly ended forever such monarchical travesties, all discussions of executive power lived under a shadow of suspicion as a species of monarchy, the rough equivalent of a Trojan horse in the republican fortress. 31 The debate over the executive took up more time and energy than any other issue at the convention, largely because the delegates could not agree on how much authority to place in the office; whether it should be a single person or a troika representing the northern, middle, and southern states; how long he should serve (a woman was unimaginable); and how he should be elected and impeached. The resolution in the Virginia Plan was elliptical on all those details, saying only that “a National Executive be instituted, to be chosen by the National Legislature for the term of ____ years.” If some form of that vague proposal had been accepted, the United States would have had a parliamentary system of government.
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  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

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