Experiment in Independence: New Jersey in the Critical Period, 1781-1789

By Richard P. McCormick | Go to book overview
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III
Social and Cultural Reconstruction

THE Revolution was not accompanied by cataclysmic changes in the structure of society, but the familiar order was temporarily disarranged by the destruction and instability incident to the war. With the return of peace, the citizens of New Jersey faced the unspectacular task of rebuilding damaged social and cultural institutions at the same time that pressing economic and political concerns commanded a large share of public attention. Outside the sphere of governmental action, individuals in their private capacities energetically strove to reconstruct their religious, educational, fraternal, and professional organizations and to bring them into adjustment with the new conditions created by independence. As a result of their endeavors, a period of ferment and change became one of growth and accomplishment.


THE FABRIC OF SOCIETY

Reconstruction was in many ways complicated by the heterogeneity of the population of the state. The one hundred and thirty-five thousand white inhabitants in 1783 were a con

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