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

By Richard P. McCormick | Go to book overview
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VIII
Money: the Familiar Remedy

ECONOMIC depression, coupled with the deflationary financial policies that were adopted after 1780, produced widespread popular discontent and created an irresistible demand in the mid-eighties for an "increase in the circulating medium." The controversy that ensued exceeded in virulence any that were carried on during the stormy postwar decade, for basic political as well as economic issues were involved. In essence, there was raised the question of whether minority rights, and particularly property rights, could be transgressed at the will of the majority. Could the debtor use the power of his ballot to better his condition at the expense of his creditor? The answer was that under the form of government established by the Constitution of 1776 he could. "Democratical license," it would seem, recognized no bounds. To the discerning man of substance, this was an alarming situation, which must be corrected by the imposition of restraints upon the vox populi. Otherwise mob rule would bring about the destruction of all vestiges of honor, morality, and virtue.

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