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

By Richard P. McCormick | Go to book overview
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IX
New Jersey and the Confederation

NEW JERSEY was seriously divided on most questions of internal policy, but it was firmly united in its attitude toward the Confederation. From the first it took an advanced position in demanding that the central government should be strengthened in important respects. It was particularly concerned that the Continental Congress should have full control over western lands and power to regulate trade and levy imposts. These views arose largely out of financial considerations. It was obvious that if Congress was granted revenues from land sales and from tariff duties, it would not have to rely so heavily upon requisitions, which New Jersey -- lacking western lands or foreign commerce -- could meet only through the imposition of oppressive taxes. Too, a prosperous Confederation would be able to pay its debts, and New Jersey was a public-creditor state. Moreover, as a small state, New Jersey, through confederation, would assume political equality with her powerful neighbors.

The most comprehensive statement of New Jersey's views on the Confederation was made in a "Representation"

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