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by John Fiske

Category: Americas
Subcategory: History books
Author: John Fiske
ISBN: 1142396665
ISBN13: 978-1142396664
Language: English
Publisher: Nabu Press (January 2, 2010)
Pages: 396
Fb2 eBook: 1583 kb
ePub eBook: 1654 kb
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by. Fiske, John, 1842-1901.

Top. American Libraries Canadian Libraries Universal Library Community Texts Project Gutenberg Biodiversity Heritage Library Children's Library. by. Houghton, Mifflin and company.

Fiske's historical writings include The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789, The Beginnings of New England, The American Revolution, The Discovery of America, Old Virginia and Her Neighbors, Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America, The Mississippi Valley in the Civil Wa. .

Fiske's historical writings include The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789, The Beginnings of New England, The American Revolution, The Discovery of America, Old Virginia and Her Neighbors, Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America, The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War, and New France and New England. John Fiske died in 1901. Библиографические данные. The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789.

John Fiske vividly reminds us of just how fragile the United States was in the years after winning its independence . This was not even what Fiske means by the critical period in American history, for the weakness of the Articles and the injustice and instability of the state governments.

This was not even what Fiske means by the critical period in American history, for the weakness of the Articles and the injustice and instability of the state governments.

Start by marking The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789 as Want to Read . This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923

Start by marking The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789 as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read. This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.

Fiske, John, 1842-1901. Book digitized by Google from the library of Harvard University and uploaded to the Internet Archive by user tpb. "Bibliographical note": p. 351-356. You can read The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789 by Fiske, John, 1842-1901 in our library for absolutely free. Read various fiction books with us in our e-reader.

Читай онлайн книгу The Critical Period of American History на сайте или через приложение ЛитРес . To some persons it may seem as if the years 1861–65 were of more cardinal importance than the years 1783–89.

Читай онлайн книгу The Critical Period of American History на сайте или через приложение ЛитРес Читай. Our civil war was indeed an event of prodigious magnitude, as measured by any standard that history affords; and there can be little doubt as to its decisiveness.

The Critical Period of American History 1783-1789. I am uneasy and apprehensive, more so than during the war. Jay to Washington, June 27, 1786. To My Dear Classmates, Francis Lee Higginson. and Charles Cabot Jackson, I Dedicate this Book. This book contains the substance of the course of lectures given in the Old South Meeting-House in Boston in December, 1884, at the Washington University in St Louis in May, 1885, and in the theatre of the University Club in New York in march, 1886. In its present shape it may serve as a sketch of the political history of the United States from the end of the revolutionary war to the adoption of the Federal Constitution.

Home Browse Books Book details, The Critical Period of American History . The principle of illustration followed in the present work is the same that was adopted in the case of The American Revolution, to which this is in effect a third and concluding volume.

Home Browse Books Book details, The Critical Period of American History,. No illustrations have been admitted, save such as seem to possess real historical value. For help of various sorts I have especially to thank Mr. Wilberforce Eames, of the Lenox Library, in New York.

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Comments to eBook The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789
Andriodtargeted
In 1783 the prospect that the newly independent "United States" would ever amount to much seemed unlikely.

An English nobleman lamented America's disintegration: "As to the future grandeur of America, and its being a rising empire under one head, whether republican or monarchical, it is one of the idlest and most visionary notions that ever was conceived even by writers of romance. The mutual antipathies and clashing interests of the Americans, their difference of governments, habitudes, and manners, indicate that they will have no center of union and no common interests. A disunited people to the end of time, suspicious and distrustful of each other, they will be divided and subdivided into little communities or principalities, according to natural boundaries, by great bays of the sea, and by vast rivers, lakes, and ridges of mountains."

George Washington said it was yet to be known whether the American Revolution had been a blessing or a curse. No one yet knew whether Americans had replaced the stable government of the British Empire, imperfect though it might be, with something worse.

John Fiske vividly reminds us of just how fragile the United States was in the years after winning its independence:

* That the states regarded themselves as sovereignties that thumbed their noses at the Articles of Confederation and were hostile to each other, even to the extent of embargoing each other's trade and waging border wars to drive out encroaching settlers from other states.

* That the United States was surrounded by the empires of Britain, France, and Spain, then at the height of their powers, that were opportunistic in wanting to reincorporate American territories back into their empires.

* That there were local politicians driven either by anarchist ideology or selfish ambition who wanted the states to declare their independence from each other and assume the full title of sovereign nations while abandoning the trans-Appalachian territories to the foreign powers

* That only by very narrow margins did the men of broader vision such as Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison --- men who understood America's unique opportunity to secure liberty by federating as a single nation --- overcome the designs of lesser men to fragment the country into petty states.

John Fiske captures the anarchist spirit of those times better than anyone with the possible exception of Dale Van Every, whose book ARK OF EMPIRE I have also reviewed. Anyone who reads either of these books will come to a full appreciation of how fortunate we are to live in the "United" States.

If not for the greatness of our leaders in the 1780s and 1790s, and the patient wisdom of most of our people, the War Between the States would have started immediately following the American Revolution and gone on for decades. Instead of being a strong nation we would have followed the pattern of fragmentation, revolution, anarchy, and wars between petty states that held Latin America back for so long.

Lucky indeed that we made the wise choices during the infancy of our nation that preserved and prosperted the United States of America. Fiske makes it clear what a close-run process it was.
Akir
How did a population, so concerned about the concentration of power and jealous of state political prerogatives, come to pass the U.S. Constitution, which created a relatively strong national government? The Federalist's answer to this question is that American governance had reached a crisis of sorts, a crisis so obvious that even jealous Americans, almost despite themselves, could embrace the proper long-term solution to their problems. Alexander Hamilton begins the Federalist Papers famously declaring that the American experiment in self-government will determine whether a nation can found government on "reflection and choice." Hamilton concludes that "the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made."

The character of this crisis is laid out in James Madison's "Vices of the Political System," written shortly before the Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia in 1787. Madison's twelve charges reduce, in effect, to two: the state's sovereign ascendancy under the Articles of Confederation weakened the national government to the point of impotence and ineffectiveness; and the state's themselves proved to be ill-governed in part because of their of the dominance of legislative assemblies. Consider especially the matter of financing government in 1787. The national government had no authority to collect taxes; the best it could do is depend on the state's compliance with requisitions for money. These two criticisms of governance under the Articles led Madison to embrace the need for the creation of a national government with fortified powers and an independent executive.

John Fiske's turn of the century classic (published in 1897) contributes to this Federalist narrative. One cannot improve upon Washington's Circulars to the States during his stint as Revolutionary War General for complaints about the impotence of the Continental Congress as a body empowered to wage war. Fiske shows how British infighting and American impotence were the real stories of the American Revolution. The British fight to keep America within the Empire was about as popular a venture as the Vietnam War circa 1973, and British politicians from across the spectrum pulled few punches in complicating matters for Lord North and his devotees as they waged war. The Whigs even thought that the cause of English liberty was tied to the defeat of the King's forces in America, and it was the repulsive back-stabbing of the Whigs that kept North in power until Spring 1778.

Yet the weakness of the Americans made it difficult to take advantage of British infighting. Fiske demonstrates this not only by relating the complaints of Washington, Madison and those familiar with the inner-workings of the Continental Congress, but also through a discussion of the army's size. In 1778, the most critical year of the war and the high tide of the Articles' authority, the combined numbers of the army and state militia was around 70,000 from a population of roughly 435,000 men of military age (a rate of about 1 of every 5 men). Only 35,000 of these men were continentals, the most reliable American troops in the war (a one in ten ratio). In 1781, the year of Yorktown, the numbers dropped to 30,000 total of which about 13,000 were continentals. A truly pitiful number, though sufficient to defeat the distracted and divided British army. Compare these numbers to the numbers raised under a national government in the Civil War, where the average rate of enlistment in the national army was 1 out of 2 men of military age. Many recent treatments of Washington's accomplishment as Revolutionary general, including Joseph Ellis's His Excellency George Washington, are consistent with Fiske's federalist view that the United States was born despite its weak government.

This was not even what Fiske means by the critical period in American history, for the weakness of the Articles and the injustice and instability of the state governments. "The five years following the peace of 1783 was the most critical moment in all the history of the American people," Fiske writes, and this was after not only the struggles of the Revolution but also after Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, and Fredericksburg. What was so critical about this period after 1783?

This period may not have tried men's souls as the years of the Revolution, but it tried men's minds and imagination. It also called forth the greatest generation of statesmen the world has ever seen. The surface and skin-deep unity of the Revolution evaporated without the British threat. The more mundane problems of paper money, inflation, payment of debt, the encroachment of the British on American territorial rights, a weak or non-existent military, state conflicts over territories and tariffs, and countless other tasks would require a government adequate to the purposes of union.

Consider just the problem of tariffs among the states, about which Fiske fills in the blanks in the Federalist analysis. Britain was still under the influence of barbarous theories of trade, in which they assumed that there were winners and losers in national trade. America could build vessels for pennies on the dollar compared to the English, due to our abundance of resources and our cheaper labor. In response to this, the British passed their Navigation Acts in 1783, which prohibited British goods from being transported on anything but British-made and British-owned vessels. The American ship-building industry tanked, and the American ambassador, John Adams, could not budge the British from their position. American states threatened retaliation, but the British did not find these threats plausible. Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island banned British ships, but Connecticut defied them and threw open her ports. Then Connecticut placed import duties on goods originating in Massachusetts. Which side were these guys on?

Or consider another example of how the states treated one another, due in part to being taken with these backwards ideas about trade. New York City, then a bustling town of 30,000 souls, noticed that New York money was flying to Connecticut for firewood and to New Jersey for eggs. New York must be getting poorer because of this, or so they thought, so Gov. George Clinton, Jefferson's future VP, laid import duties (in the form of entrance fees and clearances at New York's customhouses) on the lumber and farm products. New Jersey and Conneccticut retaliated, New Jersey laying a tax on the use of her light houses and Connecticut formed local patriotic groups boycotting New York goods. All of this echoed the actions of 1775 and, Fiske insists, "but for the good work done by the federal convention another five years would scarcely have elapsed before shots would have been fired and seeds of perennial hatred sown on the shores that look toward Manhattan Island" (p. 147).

The Founders have taken their lumps since the works of Charles Beard and the other Progressive historians, who claim, in essence, that the Founders ginned up the "crisis" of the years 1783-1789 in order to establish a government to protect their private, monied interests. Fiske's work antedates the Progressive historians and it takes its bearings from the common sense of the matter--that the American Founders were indeed concerned with liberty (as their emancipation of slaves in many states shows) and saw how liberty required an adequate government to the task.

Herein lies one of the great lessons of the Founding. The greatest Founders, those responsible for the erection of the Constitutional order to make effective the promise of liberty, understood that liberty is threatened from two directions. Too strong and irresponsible a government poses the problem of monarchy, while too weak and too responsive of a government raises the problem of anarchy. The fact that the Founders wanted a strong government does not mean they opposed limited government; it is just that government could not be as feeble and limited as that under the Articles. Let us forever remember this lesson of principled moderation!
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