Triumph of the American Revolution was improbable, therefore it is a remarkable event in history. No one expected that Britain, the strongest country in the world, would be defeated by the colonies. Furthermore,America's republic, a government that was uncommon in the days of dogmatic monarchy's, would survive.
In retrospect, the American Revolution seemed inevitable. To the participants, it seemed to be a search for light in a darkened cave. They were not expecting victory, always fearing treason. The British could have easily won if they had been more forceful in the earlier stages of the revolution.
In the beginning, one of the problems of the American republic, was the lack of a centralized government. A national government is what America's fore-fathers had escaped from. They predicted that without a unified entity the country would not be able to reach its full potential.
Thefounding brothers hoped that America would live to its potential. The minority wanted a unified national government; they organized the constitutional convention in 1787 to draft a national scale Constitution. The Constitutional Convention is often scrutinized for its extra-legality, secrecy, and the fact that it was attended by only the elite upper class. This was hardly a good representation of “the people.” However, Others, called it “the Miracle of Philadelphia” because it appeared to meet the goal of “forming a more perfect union” between the states.
A few compromises were made during this convention: interest of small states versus large states, federal versus state jurisdiction, and sectional slavery. Nevertheless, still a “work in progress” in 1789; the U.S. had several good ideas. The United States was youthful, expansive, and the first president, George Washington, had been unanimously chosen.The next decade would be the most important in the country's history.
Inchapter two, Jefferson invited Madison and Hamilton to a dinner party at his house. Jefferson was secretary of state and Hamilton was secretary of treasury under George Washington. Hamilton's financial plan for recovery of public credit was trapped in congressional gridlock. Congressman James Madison managed to block its approval based on the key point of assumption. Assumption occurs whenstate debts are consumedby the federal government. After opening the subject to the two, they chatted andcame to a compromise. Madison decided that when it is brought up for debate again, he will not vote for it nor withdraw his opposition, yet he would not lead the opposition, either.They both decided that to pacify the southern states, the permanent residence of the national capital would be on the Potomac river.
Hamilton and Madison's fiscal goals were very similar. Hamilton calculated the total U.S. debt as 77.1 million; 25 million of that was state debt. Madison began to be terrified of the way Hamilton proposed to reach the goal of the recovery of public credit. Hamilton suggested that the government should reimburse securities it owned to citizens; those who fought in the war at full price. When speculators heard of this, they bought the securities from the fighters in the revolution at a fraction of their cost, hoping to make a good profit. Madison saw this and was outraged that the money would not go to its rightful owners and that they would be cheated.
Madison suggested to make a composition between the principal owners and the end owners, but was defeated in the House. Soon after, assumption came to the agenda. Madison argued that it would be unfair to the southern states that had already done their duty to pay all their debts back. Madison did not think the southern states pay for the debts of other states. Madison also did not want the federal government to gain much more power. He thought the assumption was a covert way for the federal government to gain control. People were reminded of the British taxes and began to feel afraid. Because ofthe compromise, president Washington named the central street Pennsylvania Avenue as a good gesture to the originally promised capital Pennsylvania.
The compromise of 1790 is famous for averting a political crisis. Securing the revolution has proven to be much more daunting than winning one. The resultof the dinner agreement shows the divide between two sections of the government.
Two compromises show the slavery debate best. The first, regarded slavery in the west and was decided during the confederation Congress. The northwest ordinance, passed in July of 1787, forbade slavery in the territory north of Ohio river. The second is the sectional compromise, which extended slave trade for 20years, made regulation of commerce a majority vote instead of a supermajority of two-thirds.
The main prohibiting factor of the abolition of slavery was cost. If $100-$200 was paid for every slave, it would cost the country about $140 million. Becausethe federal budget in 1790 was $7 million, that option was not feasible. What may have been possible was to spread the emancipation and thereby minimize the debt produced over a century. This would raise the debt from $77.1 million to about $125 million, a number that was still palatable. Because of this and increased debates, Congresspassed a bill that Congresswould have no power to interfere in the emancipation of slaves or their treatment at any time.