the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

These same strategic thoughts with washington then

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these same strategic thoughts with Washington, then concluded: “The Plan is not matured; if it should be well concerted and take Effect, I am fervent in my wishes that it may conform with the Line of Life you have marked out for yourself, to favor your Country with our Counsels on such an important and single occasion. I suggest this merely as a Hint for your Consideration.” This was a diplomatic way of alerting Washington that the looming crisis might require his reappearance on the public stage. 48 There were almost surely other unrecorded conversations about reform of the Articles going on in the corridors and taverns of New York. But with all the advantages of hindsight, if one was looking for the moment when the first glimmering of a campaign to replace and not just reform the Articles enlisted the enormous prestige of America’s singular figure, this was it. Washington, for his part, agreed wholeheartedly with Jay’s analysis of the problem, but not with his solution. “I coincide perfectly in sentiment with you,” he wrote, “that there are errors in our National Government which call for correcting, loudly I will add…but my fear is that the people are not yet sufficiently misled to retract from error.” His major task in the recent war had been deciding when to engage the British army and when to defer in favor of better terrain or superior numbers. In this case, deferral was probably the wise choice, he advised, since a convention called to reform or replace the Articles at present would most probably produce an embarrassing defeat that would set back the cause indefinitely. In short, though things were bad, they had to get worse before they became better. On the matter of his own role in Jay’s prospective political campaign, Washington remained enigmatically silent. Meanwhile, things proceeded to get worse. 49
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Chapter 4 THE COURTING I have had my day. George Washington to Lafayette DECEMBER 8, 1784
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S oon after receiving Jay’s proposal, Washington summed up his sense of the political situation in a letter to Lafayette. “A General Convention is talked of by many for the purpose of revising & correcting the defects of the federal Government,” he observed, “but whilst this is the wish of some, it is the dread of others from an opinion that matters are not yet sufficiently ripe for such an event.” Left unsaid was the intractable fact that the majority of state legislators opposed any effort at political reform, not because they believed it would fail but because they feared it might succeed. Any energetic projection of power at the federal level defied their understanding of revolutionary principles, making the very weakness of the Confederation Congress its most attractive feature. Meanwhile, beyond the halls of Congress and the corridors of the state legislators, ordinary Americans were getting on with their lives, relieved that the war was over, blissfully indifferent to any political debate that ranged beyond the borders of their towns or counties.
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