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The Critical Period

The Articles of Confederation left the young country ill-equipped to deal with a series of problems. The period from the adoption of the Articles to the adoption of the Federal Constitution (1781-89) has been labeled the “critical period” of American history. George Washington, describing those days, lamented that the states were held together by a “rope of sand.”

Foreign and domestic challenges existed:

  • Problems with Britain. Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1783 in which American’s independence was recognized, the British had pledged to vacate all of their military posts within the boundaries of the new country. The Americans, for their part, had promised to recommend strongly to the states that they make fair settlements with the Loyalists who had lost property during the war.

    The Congress made no progress on the compensation issue and the British exhibited no haste in withdrawing from American territory.

  • Economic Chaos. Following the war's conclusion, America slipped into an era of inflation and depression. Currencies were not uniform among the states and the value of many media of exchange was plummeting. Workers previously employed in war production faced protracted unemployment. Most states experienced some degree of tension between the frontier or farming interests of the west and the wealthier shipping or manufacturing interests of the eastern cities. These feelings boiled over in Massachusetts in 1786 in Shays’ Rebellion.
The “critical period” was not a time of unmitigated disaster. Despite its shortcomings, the Articles did foster some sense of national unity by bringing together men from all parts of the country. Improvements were made to transportation and communication (improved mail delivery, for example), which also fostered the beginnings of a national identity.

Most importantly, Americans were buoyed by their victory in the war and felt a common pride in their emerging place in the world.

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The Colonial Period
Illinois History Documents: The Colonial Period 1673 - 1783 The French Regime The British Regime The American Revolution 1673-1700 1700-1763 1763-1783 1776-1783 ...
http://staff.imsa.edu/socsci/skinner/colonialtx.html

The American Colonial Period
... of the US - Very cool map...it will change/grow and show the dates when the U.S. expanded. British Colonies Map of 13 Colonies A very early map of North America Odiorne Point - also a history of the area on NH seacoast. top Go to: Home ...
http://www.rochesterschools.com/rms/colonial_life.htm

Periodicals
... DLGEducator ResourcesReference ShelfHelp Home » Media Types » Periodicals Periodicals Georgia Tech Advertisements Display of various advertisements from 1894-1948 selected from a number of Georgia Tech student publications found in the ...
http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/MediaTypes/Periodicals.html