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

By Richard P. McCormick | Go to book overview
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XII
Conclusion

THE "critical period" in New Jersey was not characterized by disintegration and disorder. It was, on the contrary, marked by progressive accomplishments in many fields. The immediate problems that arose out of the devastation that had been wrought by the war were met and solved. Homes, schools, churches, and business establishments were rebuilt or repaired. Educational, religious, and social organizations were rehabilitated and adapted to meet new conditions. The fabric of society, rent over the issue of independence, was mended. The vitality manifested by the people of the state in carrying out the heavy tasks of reconstruction is evidence of the fact that the postwar years were not ones of bleak despair.

Self-government, although subjected to rigorous tests, demonstrated its capacity to survive and develop. At no other period did the enfranchised citizens of the state have such power to determine the course of public affairs, for they were restrained neither by a rigid constitution nor by the external authority of a central government. From the viewpoint of conservative men of property, the unfettered rule of the ma

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