The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789

By John Fiske | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE THIRTEEN COMMONWEALTHS

"THE times that tried men's souls are over," said Thomas Paine in the last number of the "Crisis," which he published after hearing that the negotiations for a treaty of peace had been concluded. The preliminary articles had been signed at Paris on the 20th of January, 1783. The news arrived in America on the 23d of March, in a letter to the president of Congress from Lafayette, who had returned to France soon after the victory at Yorktown. A few days later Sir Guy Carleton received his orders from the ministry to proclaim a cessation of hostilities by land and sea. A similar proclamation made by Congress was formally communicated to the army by Washington on the 19th of April, the eighth anniversary of the first bloodshed on Lexington green. Since Wayne had driven the British from Georgia, early in the preceding year, there had been no military operations between the regular armies. Guerrilla warfare between Whig and Tory had been kept up in parts of South Carolina and on the frontier of New York, where Thayendanegea was still alert and defiant; while beyond the mountains the tomahawk and scalping-knife had been busy, and Washington's old friend and comrade, Colonel Crawford, had been scorched to death by the firebrands of the red demons; but the armies had sat still, awaiting the peace which every one felt sure must speedily come. After Cornwallis's surrender, Washington marched his army back to the Hudson, and established his headquarters at Newburgh. Rochambeau followed somewhat later, and in September joined the Americans on the Hudson; but in December the French army marched to Boston, and there embarked for France. After

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The Critical Period of American History, 1783-1789
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Preface to the First Edition viii
  • Contents xi
  • Notes on the Illustrations. xxi
  • Chapter I Results of Yorktown 1
  • Chapter II - The Thirteen Commonwealths 50
  • Chapter III - The League of Friendship 92
  • Chapter IV - Drifting Toward Anarchy 139
  • Chapter V - Germs of National Sovereignty 203
  • Chapter VI - The Federal Convention 249
  • Chapter VII - Crowning the Work 327
  • Bibliographical Note 377
  • Members of the Federal Convention 383
  • Presidents of the Continental Congress 386
  • Index 387
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