the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Than finessed for i am persuaded that america

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than finessed, “for I am persuaded that America possesses too much wisdom and virtue to permit her brilliant Prospects to fade away.” 10 Jay was also one of the first to recognize that America’s prospects were inextricably linked to possession of the huge landmass between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi. During his presidency of the Congress, he had the audacity to apprise the unofficial Spanish minister, Don Juan de Miralles, that he regarded Spain as a hollowed-out European power destined to be overwhelmed demographically by the wave of American settlers sweeping across the North American continent. As for the Mississippi, any discussion of Spanish control was superfluous. “The Americans, almost to a man,” he declared, “believe that God Almighty had made that river a highway for the people of the upper country to go to the sea.” The clarity of his thinking about the nonnegotiable status of the Mississippi border during the peace negotiations was a product of his long-standing conviction about the significance of the western domain for American destiny. 11 In 1779, four years before Washington declared his vision of a continental American empire, Jay had a vision of his own: “Extensive wildernesses, now scarcely known or exposed, remain yet to be cultivated, and vast lakes and rivers, whose waters have for ages rolled in silence and obscurity to the ocean, are yet to hear the din of industry, become subservient to commerce, and boast villas, gilded spires, and spacious cities rising on their banks.” Just as Morris had made a career, and a fortune, betting on the way markets would move, Jay had made a reputation predicting the future course of American history, and he shared Washington’s keen sense that all arrows pointed west. 12
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Although Jay had earned his diplomatic reputation in Europe, he shared Washington’s belief that the western lands acquired in the Treaty of Paris made Europe a sideshow. The chief task for the foreseeable future was to manage westward expansion across the North American continent. And the very act of performing that task would require the members of the confederation to abandon their provincial perspectives in favor of a common goal that bound them together as an emerging nation with prospects as unlimited as the western horizon. Such was Jay’s state of mind when he and Sarah returned to New York in July 1784. The glow of his diplomatic triumph in Paris still burned brightly, so only five days after his arrival the delegates of the Confederation Congress requested his service as secretary of foreign affairs. It is doubtful that the delegates recognized that they were courting an unalloyed nationalist with the courage of his convictions and a track record of fiercely independent behavior. On the other hand, it is also doubtful that Jay recognized the political cloud bank that he was being asked to enter. In the year since the war had ended,
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