2 -- Part 6: AMERICAN CITIZENS AND POLITICAL CULTURE
The interests of the British and the colonists began to separate by the mid-1700s.
The rules of imperial politics would have made England content.
It would have taxed the colonies to pay their war debts, but it would also have continued to protect them and rule benignly from across the sea.
The rules were changed by the colonial leaders.
They established new rules after rejecting British authority.
The rest of the colonists were engaged in their rebellion and the narrative that fueled American independence was created.
They used revolution to end their ties with England.
Not everyone's life was changed for the good by political independence after the Revolution.
Slaves, free blacks, American Indians, and women were powerless after the war because voting rules became even more restrictive.
The colonies split from England due to political reasons.
The Continental Congress tried to come up with a framework for the new government.
"Constitutes" is a government.
It may be written as in Great Britain's.
Our constitution can last over two hundred years, as ours has, or it can change quite frequently, as the French constitution has.
The rules and institutions for running a government are defined by a constitution.
Those rules have consequences for how politics works in a country, who the winners are and who thelosers will be.
The kind of government the founders preferred was created by the first constitution.
The states jealously guarded their own power according to the rules set up by the Articles of Confederation.
Having just won their independence from a large national power, the last thing they wanted to do was create another.
They were wary of one another and worried that the rules of the Articles of Confederation wouldn't give any states preferential treatment.
Without a strong central government, the Articles were unable to provide the economic and political stability that the founders wanted.
The resolution of boundary disputes and the political organization of new territories were handled well under this set of rules.
In a confederation, the central government has the sole responsibility of running the business of the states.
It doesn't have an independent source of power or resources.
Because it is founded on state sovereignty, a confederation doesn't say anything about individuals.
It doesn't create rights or obligations for individual citizens, so the matter is left to state constitutions.
Its powers were limited.
Congress did not have the power to tax citizens to pay for military needs.
It was up to the states to contribute or not.
Congress did not have the ability to regulate commerce between states and foreign powers.
It couldn't establish a stable monetary system.
The Articles allowed the states to be thirteen independent units, which included printing their own currency, setting their own tariffs, and establishing their own laws with regard to financial and political matters.
National security, national economic prosperity, and the general welfare were critical to the U.S. government.
The success of the new nation depended on what happened in state legislatures.
The era of American history following the Revolution was dubbed "this critical period" by John Quincy Adams, nephew of Samuel Adams, son of John Adams, and himself a future president of the country.
The future of the United States was up in the air while the states were under the weak union of the Articles.
The lack of an effective central government made it difficult for the country to conduct business with other countries.
Domestic politics were equally difficult.
Economic conditions were poor after the war.
Many people were unable to pay their debts.
State taxes were high and the economy was depressed, offering farmers few opportunities to sell their produce, for example, and making it harder for those with commercial interests to conduct business.
The rhetoric of the Revolution about equality for all seemed unjust to those hardest hit by the radical poverty of some Americans.
New narratives can be developed if the narrative doesn't match the reality on the ground.
After using "equality" as a rallying cry during the war, the founders were faced with a population that wanted to take equality seriously and eliminate the differences that existed between men.
The Lockean narrative states that the laws were often designed to confiscate or redistribute property rather than preserving it.
The have-nots in society, and the people acting on their behalf, were using the law to correct what they saw as injustices in early American life.
They used paper money, seized property, and suspended the ordinary means for the recovery of debts to relieve postwar suffering.
In those states, people with debts could legally escape or delay paying their debts.