He reduced the civil list, saved money by using competitive bidding for contracts, tightened accounting procedures, and demanded the national government's full share of money and supplies from the individual states.
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Congress used four main methods to cover the cost of the war, which cost about 66 million dollars in specie gold and silver. The first issue amounted to million dollars. This paper money would supposedly be redeemed for state taxes, but the holders were eventually paid off in at the rate of one cent on the dollar. By , the paper money was "not worth a Continental", as people said. Debtors benefited by paying off their debts with depreciated paper.
The greatest burden was borne by the soldiers of the Continental Army whose wages were usually in arrears and declined in value every month, weakening their morale and adding to the hardships of their families. Beginning in , Congress repeatedly asked the states to provide money, but the states had no system of taxation and were of little help. By , Congress was making requisitions for specific supplies of corn, beef, pork, and other necessities, an inefficient system which barely kept the army alive.
The bonds were in fact redeemed in at face value, but the scheme raised little money because Americans had little specie, and many of the rich merchants were supporters of the Crown.
The French secretly supplied the Americans with money, gunpowder, and munitions in order to weaken Great Britain; the subsidies continued when France entered the war in , and the French government and Paris bankers lent large sums to the American war effort. These loans were repaid in full in the s.
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The war ended in and was followed by a period of prosperity. The national government was still operating under the Articles of Confederation and was able to settle the issue of the western territories, which the states ceded to Congress. American settlers moved rapidly into those areas, with Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee becoming states in the s. However, the national government had no money either to pay the war debts owed to European nations and the private banks, or to pay Americans who had been given millions of dollars of promissory notes for supplies during the war.
Nationalists led by Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and other veterans feared that the new nation was too fragile to withstand an international war, or even internal revolts such as the Shays' Rebellion of in Massachusetts. They convinced Congress to call the Philadelphia Convention in and named their party the Federalist party.
The national debt fell into three categories after the American Revolution.
There was general agreement to pay the foreign debts at full value. There were also other debts which consisted of promissory notes issued during the war to soldiers, merchants, and farmers who accepted these payments on the premise that the new Constitution would create a government that would pay these debts eventually. Everyone received face value for wartime certificates, so that the national honor would be sustained and the national credit established. The population of the Thirteen States was not homogeneous in political views and attitudes.
Loyalties and allegiances varied widely within regions and communities and even within families, and sometimes shifted during the course of the Revolution. The American Enlightenment was a critical precursor of the American Revolution. A growing number of American colonists embraced these views and fostered an intellectual environment which led to a new sense of political and social identity. John Locke 's — ideas on liberty influenced the political thinking behind the revolution, especially through his indirect influence on English writers such as John Trenchard , Thomas Gordon , and Benjamin Hoadly , whose political ideas in turn had a strong influence on the American Patriots.
He argued that all humans were created equally free, and governments therefore needed the "consent of the governed". The theory of the " social contract " influenced the belief among many of the Founders that the right of the people to overthrow their leaders was one of the "natural rights" of man, should those leaders betray the historic rights of Englishmen. The American ideology called "republicanism" was inspired by the Whig party in Great Britain which openly criticized the corruption within the British government.
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Men had a civic duty to be prepared and willing to fight for the rights and liberties of their countrymen. John Adams wrote to Mercy Otis Warren in , agreeing with some classical Greek and Roman thinkers: "Public Virtue cannot exist without private, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics.
There must be a positive Passion for the public good, the public Interest, Honour, Power, and Glory, established in the Minds of the People, or there can be no Republican Government, nor any real Liberty. And this public Passion must be Superior to all private Passions. Men must be ready, they must pride themselves, and be happy to sacrifice their private Pleasures, Passions, and Interests, nay their private Friendships and dearest connections, when they Stand in Competition with the Rights of society.
It was widely distributed and often read aloud in taverns, contributing significantly to spreading the ideas of republicanism and liberalism together, bolstering enthusiasm for separation from Great Britain and encouraging recruitment for the Continental Army. Protestant churches that had separated from the Church of England called "dissenters" were the "school of democracy", in the words of historian Patricia Bonomi.
Throughout the colonies, dissenting Protestant ministers Congregational, Baptist, and Presbyterian preached Revolutionary themes in their sermons, while most Church of England clergymen preached loyalty to the king, the titular head of the English state church. Most eighteenth-century Americans believed that the entire universe "nature" was God's creation  and he was "Nature's God".
Everything was part of the "universal order of things" which began with God and was directed by his providence.
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Historian Bernard Bailyn argues that the evangelicalism of the era challenged traditional notions of natural hierarchy by preaching that the Bible teaches that all men are equal, so that the true value of a man lies in his moral behavior, not in his class. Bailyn, on the other hand, denies that religion played such a critical role.
The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people…. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution. In the midth century, historian Leonard Woods Labaree identified eight characteristics of the Loyalists that made them essentially conservative, opposite to the characteristics of the Patriots.
Loyalists wanted to take a centrist position and resisted the Patriots' demand to declare their opposition to the Crown. Many Loyalists had maintained strong and long-standing relations with Britain, especially merchants in port cities such as New York and Boston. In contrast, the prevailing attitude among Patriots was a desire to seize the initiative.
Historians in the early 20th century such as J. Franklin Jameson examined the class composition of the Patriot cause, looking for evidence of a class war inside the revolution. The Patriots viewed independence as a means to gain freedom from British oppression and taxation and to reassert their basic rights. Most yeomen farmers, craftsmen, and small merchants joined the Patriot cause to demand more political equality. They were especially successful in Pennsylvania but less so in New England, where John Adams attacked Thomas Paine's Common Sense for the "absurd democratical notions" that it proposed.
The war became a personal issue for the king , fueled by his growing belief that British leniency would be taken as weakness by the Americans. He also sincerely believed that he was defending Britain's constitution against usurpers, rather than opposing patriots fighting for their natural rights. Those who fought for independence were called "Patriots", "Whigs", "Congress-men", or "Americans" during and after the war.
They included a full range of social and economic classes but were unanimous regarding the need to defend the rights of Americans and uphold the principles of republicanism in terms of rejecting monarchy and aristocracy, while emphasizing civic virtue on the part of the citizens. Newspapers were strongholds of patriotism although there were a few Loyalist papers and printed many pamphlets, announcements, patriotic letters, and pronouncements. According to historian Robert Calhoon, 40— to percent of the white population in the Thirteen Colonies supported the Patriots' cause, 15— to percent supported the Loyalists, and the remainder were neutral or kept a low profile.
He concludes that such people held a sense of rights which the British were violating, rights that stressed local autonomy, fair dealing, and government by consent. They were highly sensitive to the issue of tyranny, which they saw manifested in the British response to the Boston Tea Party. The arrival in Boston of the British Army heightened their sense of violated rights, leading to rage and demands for revenge. They had faith that God was on their side.
The consensus of scholars is that about 15— to percent of the white population remained loyal to the British Crown.
The Loyalists never controlled territory unless the British Army occupied it. They were typically older, less willing to break with old loyalties, and often connected to the Church of England; they included many established merchants with strong business connections throughout the Empire, as well as royal officials such as Thomas Hutchinson of Boston.
Most died of disease, but Britain took the survivors to Canada as free men. The revolution could divide families, such as William Franklin , son of Benjamin Franklin and royal governor of the Province of New Jersey who remained loyal to the Crown throughout the war. He and his father never spoke again. After the war, the great majority of the approximately , Loyalists remained in America and resumed normal lives.
Some became prominent American leaders, such as Samuel Seabury. Approximately 46, Loyalists relocated to Canada; others moved to Britain 7, , Florida, or the West Indies 9, The exiles represented approximately two percent of the total population of the colonies. A minority of uncertain size tried to stay neutral in the war.
Most kept a low profile, but the Quakers were the most important group to speak out for neutrality, especially in Pennsylvania. The Quakers continued to do business with the British even after the war began, and they were accused of being supporters of British rule, "contrivers and authors of seditious publications" critical of the revolutionary cause.
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