The Birth Of A Nation

1857 Words8 Pages
If the signing of the declaration of independence capped an era that might be called the birth of a nation, the next decade might be an era aptly described as the definition of a nation. No other time period in the history of the United States did more to define and shape the nation than the years from 1786 to 1795. In 1786, the federal government was struggling with war debts and needed revenue from states. The NW Ordinance, adopted in July 1787, was written as a method for admitting new states to the union, but also as a revenue generating document. It was based on the Ordinance of 1784 authored by Thomas Jefferson and was perhaps the most important legislation passed by the government under the Articles of Confederation. It laid out a three-stage process to statehood that progressed from local magistrates to electing their own legislature. At a population of 60,000 they could write their own state constitution and apply for confederacy admission. The brilliance of this plan was that the territory was taxed at each of the three stages to help support the debt encumbered Union. Also saddled with debts, most states were reluctant to add tax burdens to their citizens. Massachusetts was not, however, and passed tough laws in 1786 that called for payment of taxes in hard currency. This enraged the farmers of the state who banded together and rebelled against the governor of the state, James Bowdoin in a revolt that was eventually named Shay’s Rebellion. While they were

More about The Birth Of A Nation

Get Access