The New Nation: A History of the United States during the Confederation, 1781-1789

By Merrill Jensen | Go to book overview

2
The Politics of War and Finance

THE PROBLEMS of the peace were many. Some had long-range consequences that lasted far beyond the years of the Confederation. Others had immediate impact. Of this latter kind, the two most important were the demobilization of the army, and the payment of the war debt. Both had widespread political implications and were the subject of sharply differing opinions. Both were rooted in the years of war and continued into the years of peace, but the coming of peace itself brought them to a sharp and sudden crisis which threatened a political revolution before they could be solved, or at least evaded by the passage of time.


The Army at the End of the War1

The story of the battles, marches, and counter-marches of the revolutionary armies is a simple one compared with other problems which plagued the country before and after the war and

____________________
1
Various problems of the army are treated in the following: Louis C. Hatch: The Administration of the American Revolutionary Army (Harvard Historical Studies, X, New York, 1904); Charles K. Bolton: The Private Soldier Under Washington ( New York, 1902), gives much detail concerning the life of the ordinary soldier. The only recent study of the problems of supply is Victor L. Johnson : The Administration of the American Commissariat During the Revolutionary War ( Philadelphia, 1941). The kind of life the officers led is detailed in some length by Harry E. Wildes: Anthony Wayne: Trouble Shooter of the American Revolution ( New York, 1941). Infinite detail is to be found in many of the biographies of Washington, and above all, in his writings. The most unusual account, and one worthy of careful study, is that of Bernhard Knollenberg: Washington and the Revolution: A Reappraisal ( New York, 1941).

-28-

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