Numerous problems faced the new regime and tested it from every direction. Independence was no guarantee of survival as a single society, and the 1780s has been aptly if misleadingly labelled the ‘Critical Period’. The end of the war brought a post-war economic depression, and Congress constantly faced severe financial problems. Some difficulties probed the sectional rivalries among states possessing different or opposed interests, others posed questions concerning the distribution of authority between Congress and the states, and others raised the issue of the balance between conservative and more democratic government. Foreign relations posed more problems, especially since their resolution often impinged on domestic affairs. The one clear success was western policy which dealt, first, with the Native Indian inhabitants of the lands recently acquired under the peace treaty with Britain and, second with the treatment of white settlers in the vacated territory. Some difficulties (especially economic recession) were beyond the capacity of any government to overcome, though mistaken policies could aggravate them. One great advantage possessed by the new regime was that there was no alienated and disgruntled minority. Those who had opposed the Revolution accepted its verdict, and the few Loyalist refugees who returned to the United States after the war acquiesced in the outcome of the Revolution.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Problems of Independence
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number