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GREAT EPOCHS
IN AMERICAN

HISTORY

DESCRIBED BY FAMOUS WRITERS

FROM COLUMBUS TO ROOSEVELT

Edited, with Introductions and Explanatory Notes

By FRANCIS W. HALSEY
Associate Editor of "The World's Famous Orations; Asso-
ciate Editor of The Best of the World's Classics”;

author of "The Old New York Frontier," etc.

PATRONS' EDITION. IN TEN VOLUMES

ILLUSTRATED

Vol. IV
THE EARLY YEARS OF THE REPUBLIC

1784—1811

FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY

NEW YORK AND LONDON

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INTRODUCTION

(The Early Years of the Republic) With independence achieved and a treaty of peace duly signed, the new-born United States found themselves neither united as a confederacy, nor individually well-ordered States secure against disintegration. The four years from 1783 until 1787 have been called by John Fiske, “the critical period,” a phrase since generally accepted as accurately defining the period. As to dangers threatening the perpetuity of the Union, that period resembled closely the four years of civil war, threequarters of a century afterward. Disunion was threatened not only in the South, but in Pennsylvania and New England, and on the frontier.

The chief cause lay in the absence of a central government possest of supreme authority to govern the whole. Under the Articles of Confederation Congress had no power to act on important measures affecting all the States, except by consent of nine of them. Obliged for several years to maintain an army of 10,000 men, it could not raise the money to pay them, and at one time was

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