the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

In order to underline the presumption that the core

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ensure that you and your descendants would be folded into the United States as equal citizens. In order to underline the presumption that the core principles of the American Revolution would prevail in the steady march across the continent, Jefferson insisted that all hereditary titles and privileges would be repudiated and that slavery would end no later than 1800. Though it is mere speculation, the entire course of American history might have been different if the stipulation on slavery had won acceptance by the Congress, but it lost by one vote. 15 Jefferson attempted to provide some semblance of geographic coherence to this visionary plan by sketching the borders of fourteen prospective states. Several generations of historians have enjoyed a field day ridiculing Jefferson’s attempt to impose a geometric grid over the mountains and rivers of the early northwest, and they have made even greater fun of the names he suggested for the states—for example, Sylvania, Metropotania, Cherronerus, Polypotamia. This is not quite fair, since Jefferson was only attempting to provide the first draft of a territorial scheme that, in fact, did become quite geometric once westward expansion crossed the Mississippi. And the names he suggested, no matter how silly they
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might seem now, were driven by the desire to combine classical and Native American vocabularies, a thoughtful if, in the end, futile effort. 16 All in all, the Ordinance of 1784 benefited from Jefferson’s fortuitous presence in two enduring ways. First, he brought his impeccable revolutionary credentials to the task and insisted that the settlement of the western domain occur within a framework true to the principles on which the American republic was founded. Second, although he never traveled farther west than the Natural Bridge in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Jefferson owned the finest collection of North American maps extant at the time. When a self-proclaimed geographer named Thomas Hutchins published a pamphlet purporting to show that the Ohio Valley was a vast tract of one million square miles, Jefferson corrected him. The Ohio Valley was truly vast, Jefferson observed, but only one-quarter the size that Hutchins described. Hutchins quickly apologized for his error. In terms of maps, Jefferson was the reigning expert on all the land east of the Mississippi. 17 In one respect, however, Jefferson saw fit to modify his vision, not so much on how the new states would be configured as on how they would be settled. His original formulation gave no role to the federal government in managing westward migration, which he thought would occur naturally and freely—two primal Jeffersonian values—as individuals and families moved over the mountains, found the land they liked, and put down stakes. Initially, he even thought the land should be free. But conversations within the Congress, and especially in the Virginia delegation, convinced Jefferson that this laissez-faire approach would produce multiple problems that he had not foreseen.
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