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Chapter Twenty-Three. Revolution and Peace

James M. Mac Donald

Subject History » Political History

Place Americas » Northern America

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1700-1799

Key-Topics political theory

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444331035.2012.00025.x


In 1783 George Washington drafted two documents intended to serve as sets of guidelines for the United States. The first, titled “Sentiments on a Peace Establishment” provided recommendations for the armed forces of the United States in the aftermath of the war. The second, “Circular to the States” called upon the states to grant more powers to the national government. If the shortcomings in the national framework he had witnessed during the revolution could not be addressed, Washington feared that the new United States would fail to achieve unity and splinter into pieces. The American Revolution had presented a tale of frustration and impatience for Washington. Public support of the conflict had fluctuated, and the individual states continually failed to supply the army with the support it needed to stay in the field. In 1778, Washington identified a series of problems that remained themes in his letters during the remainder of the war. To Washington, the states acted selfishly, too concerned with their local interests and not cognizant of the desperate straits of the army. Several leaders in Congress who had been instrumental in rallying for independence remained home, not willing to serve in the national legislature. Washington told Benjamin Harrison that the relationship of the states to Congress “may, be compared to the mechanism of a Clock; and that our conduct should derive ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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