WHEN the Revolution ended, the States were united, in Washington's words, by a rope of sand. Not only were the Articles of Confederation a makeshift plan of union, but the very spirit of union seemed wanting. The States had fought beside each other without any notable disharmony. But they were far from being a closely- bound, affectionate family, and in the first years of peace they were to exhibit much petty jealousy and not a little actual quarrelsomeness. Each State and section had its own interests; their political and economic differences seemed to be growing; and in 1783 the general feeling was that any hope of close union was rather sentimental than practical. The drafting of even the weak Articles of Confederation was, as Congress declared, "attended by uncommon embarrassments and delay." It stated that "to form a permanent union, accommodated to the opinions and wishes of so many States, differing in habits, produce, commerce, and internal police, was found to be a task which nothing but time and reflection, conspiring with a disposition to conciliate, could mature and produce."
There were certain general rather than particular factors making against a firm union--the memory of colonial quarrels, the sectional prejudices which have some existence in nearly all countries at nearly all times, and the influence of a political philosophy which did not believe that large confederations were practicable. The first was by no means unimportant. Till a few years before the Revolution, no real sense of American nationality existed among the colonists. They often called themselves Englishmen or British subjects; they were Carolinians, Pennsylvanians, or New Englanders; but they felt little need for a term applicable to all the colonists, and the colonists alone. The New Englanders regarded themselves as a fairly homogenous, united body, Rhode Island alone falling outside the sisterhood. A more tenuous bond of sectional feeling was man