In his book, The Birth of the Republic, Edmund S. Morgan puts forth an account of the quarter century span, from 1763-1789, in which the American Republic was born. This work provides a detailed description of what historians call “The Revolutionary Era” in American history. Morgan seems to be making the argument that while the revolution may have begun for economic reasons, and that the founding fathers may have stood to gain financially from it, it eventually became about more than just money and economics. The revolution became about the fight for equality of all men.
The first major point of his book is to put forth an analysis of the relationship between English Parliament and the new American colonies. Morgan goes into detail about how most of the new settlers in America were of English decent. He speaks of how many of them had pride in being English and felt a certain loyalty to their government back home. Because of their loyalty to Great Brittan, there was a very comfortable relationship between British Parliament and the new colonies at first. Morgan then point out how this comfortable relationship quickly dissolved due to excessive taxation on the American colonies.
This excessive taxation was hard enough for the colonist to bear, but once they were denied equal representation in government the relationship between the homeland and new land quickly became agitated. Morgan puts for the details of specific laws and acts that were put into place to tax the colonies. He goes into great detail about a number of taxes and legislations that were put into place by English Parliament to tax the colonists and which were the catalyst for such early revolutionary groups like the Sons of Liberty.
During the sixteenth-century in the English Colonies, in this time there was a process where the people that owned some of these colonies were going through a time where immigrants were migrating to the new world. Forty-five thousand Puritans left England between 1620 and 1640 and created religious societies in another part of the world also known as the New World. The English people wanted their ...
Morgan discusses the specifics and impacts of: The Sugar Act, The Stamp Act, The Declaratory Act, The Quartering Act, Townshend Act, The Boston Massacre, and the Coercive Act. Through analyzing these acts and events Morgan shows how with each there was an increasing disdain between Parliament and the colonies and that each was a step closer towards revolution. Morgan does not spend a great deal of time discussing the Revolution from a military perspective.
Instead, he chronicles the revolution from a view of economic and socio-political freedom perspective. Morgan seems to be more interested in giving the history of the relations and differences in ideology that caused military action, and how they a shaped the US constitution in the after math of the revolution. Morgan spends a great deal of time discussing the Articles of Confederation and how these articles were the “pre-constitution”. He chronicles the process of how the Articles of Confederation came to be, and how they ultimately failed.
He goes into much detail about how the battle over the Articles of Confederation was really a battle over power at the state level and power at the central government level. Morgan discusses how there if often a misconception of the 8 year span in which the United States was governed under the Articles of Confederation. He states that although many people and historians consider this period to be a “dark and doubtful time”, a re-examiniation of all that was accomplished during this time shows that it was not always so dark.
Morgan claims that before the Articles of Confederation were adopted the country was ‘at war for its existence’ and that over the 8 year span the ‘war had been won, peace had been concluded on favorable terms, a post war depression had been weathered successfully, and both population and national income were increasing’. And that it was mainly out of a few failures (i. e. the threat to property rights) that a call for a more centralized government was made. The last blow to the Articles of Confederation as a successful solution came with such acts as Shay’s Rebellion in 1786.
Intro in American Government Comparing the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution Hello my name is and I have come today to tell you about the similarities and the differences of the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution. Just a little background information about myself, I am a Government major at California Polytechnic University of Pomona. I was asked here today ...
Morgan then goes into an analysis of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and of Charles Beard’s analysis of it in his 1913 book titled An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. It is here that Morgan discusses how the economic interests of those involved in the convention shaped the United States Constitution. However, Morgan takes issue with the idea that the framers of the constitution had selfish personal interests as Beard would have us believe.
Morgan instead believes perhaps it was patriotism and public interest that was the main motive. This idea is expressed in his quote that “it is all but impossible to differentiate private selfishness from public spirit”. Morgan believed that the framers of the constitution were “certainly human, which is to say they were complex, unpredictable, paradoxical, compounded of rationality and irrationality, moved by selfishness and by altruism, by love and by hate and by anger – and by principle. ”.
Morgan concludes his book with chronicling some of the struggles and compromises that happened along the way toward adopting and ratifying a universal United States Constitution. The struggle over ratification came from the idea that it was not just a fixing or strengthening of the Articles of Confederation, but rather a whole new form of government. This whole new form of government allowed a much greater power to a centralized government. Morgan points out that even though there were differences in opinion between anti-federalists and federalists, these differences were not fundamental differences in principle.
And this, the idea that both sides wanted an effective national government that would guard against tyranny, was ultimately the reason compromises were able to be made and the Constitution ultimately ratified. Edmund S. Morgan put together a very clear and concise history of the major events that lead toward the American Revolution. Morgan took great pains to explain and discuss every major event that took place in this 25 year period. I find most of the evidence that Morgan puts forth to be very convincing. It’s obvious this man did his research and had a great deal of knowledge on the subject.
There are numerous reasons for introducing a common currency. For most EU countries today, the majority of international trade is with other EU members. The euro-zone will become an area of monetary stability in Europe. The new currency removes exchange rate risks from the internal market, cuts the costs of transactions and encourages firms to trade across national borders. It also forces EU ...
If his main goal was to provide a simple yet detailed analysis of how and why the American Revolution happened, then he certainly achieved that goal. The only part of his work that I take issue with is his opinions on the economic interests of the founding fathers. Morgan seems to be of the belief that personal economic interest was not the central force behind the creation of the US constitution. Morgan claims that although there was certainly some personal economic interest involved for the founding fathers, this was not the main aspect. I tend to disagree with this opinion.
Having read other works that deal with the creation the US constitution, such as A Disquisition on Government by John Calhoun, An Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution by Charles Beard, and A Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn, I’ve become rather convinced that the United States Constitution was primarily an economic document and allows for considerable advantages to certain social and political classes. Much like Calhoun, I believe that man, although certainly a social animal with social feelings and interests, will always choose his own interests over social interests if given the power to do so.
I believe the founding fathers were in a position and were give much power to create a Constitution that was in their personal best interests and I believe they did do this, and that in many cases the public interests were sacrificed to do so. Through his analysis of the economic background of each of the framers of the constitution, Beard showed us that every member of the constitutional committee stood to gain economically from the development of the United States Constitution. Again, with my assumptions about human nature, I find it hard to believe that men who stood so much to gain personally would have put their personal interests aside.
In a socialist society the means of production are owned by the workers rather than by a rich minority of capitalists or functionaries. Such a system of ownership is both collective and individual in nature. It is collective because society can control production unlike the economic anarchy of capitalism and because production is for the common good rather than for individual profit. At the same ...
I am not trying to claim that I know Morgan is wrong in his claim. All I am claiming is that I am of a different opinion than he. And the truth is, we will never know for sure what the interests were. All we can do is look at the body of evidence and form our own opinions on the motivating forces behind the creation and adoption of the United States Constitution. This debate aside, I think The Birth of the Republic is a remarkable work and provided a clear and concise history and analysis of the most critical period on American History. This book was enjoyable to read and should be a staple for any student of American History.