the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Described the confederation congress as a foreign

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described the Confederation Congress as “a foreign government” and the impost an updated version of the Townshend Acts. 27 Rhode Island had a long-standing tradition of independence that sometimes verged on eccentricity. And following Howell’s lead, the legislature voted unanimously to reject the impost in November 1782. Morris was stunned, insisting that he was acting in accord with Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation, which granted Congress the authority to raise revenue from the states and thereby create “a common treasury” to pay for the war. He dispatched a three-man delegation to make this point to the Rhode Island legislature, but before the delegation could reach Providence, word arrived that Virginia had changed its mind and revoked its ratification of the impost. How this happened never found its way into the historical record, though the murky shadow of Arthur Lee hovers behind the scenes. The death of the impost marked the end of Morris’s swashbuckling phase as Financier. Despite his relentless circulars to the states, the revenue acquired by requisition remained only a small fraction of what was required. “I am so habituated to receive apologies instead of Money,” he explained to one governor, “that I am never surprised. If Complaints of Difficulties were equivalent to Cash, I should not complain. But that is not the Case.” To make matters worse, his personal fortune suffered when the British navy, in reaction to the Yorktown disaster, decided to shut down American shipping all along the Atlantic coast, in the process scooping up the lion’s share of Morris’s fleet. “What I had afloat has all been lost,” he explained to a friend requesting a loan, then adding with a touch of the Morris wit that “the amount of that loss I will forebear to mention as there might be in it an appearance of ostentation.” 28 While no treaty ending the war had yet been signed, and there was a firm consensus in the Congress as well as in the all-important mind of George Washington that one more campaign would be required to break the British will for good, out there in the countryside there was a conspicuous decline in support for a war that was all but over. And support for Morris’s fiscal policies declined as a consequence, because the driving force for national unity had always been the war for independence, not any larger sense of the collective interest. In a confidential letter, Morris even acknowledged that he harbored a secret hope that the war would not end: “But was I to confine myself to the language of a Patriot, I should tell you that a continuance of the War is Necessary until our Confederation is more strongly knit, until a sense of the obligation to support it shall be more generally diffused among all Ranks of American Citizens.” 29 This might strike us as an odd argument, but it followed naturally from the widespread conviction that the primary motive for an American union had been winning the war, and once that motive was removed from the political equation, the union ended and only a loose confederation of states remained. What then
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  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

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