The Anti-Federalists' Toughest Challenge Paper Money, Debt Relief, and the Ratification of the Constitution G E O R G E W I L L I A M VA N C L E V E During the mid-1780s many American states actively managed their economies in the face of widespread financial and social instability following the Revolutionary War. Seven states authorized paper money emissions, and there were unsuccessful efforts to obtain them in others. Several states adopted extensive debtor-relief measures. Some historians of these state anti-recession measures conclude that such efforts to fight deflation, increase money circulation, and protect debtors were beneficial for various reasons. But despite that, the Constitution, as contemporaries understood it, abrogated state powers to issue paper money or provide debtor relief such as property tender laws in Article I, Section 10. Terry Bouton writes that Section 10 ``left a host of popular policies in ruins--all in less than fifty words. . . . [it] created a tidal shift in power that favored the interests of moneyed Americans (and European George William Van Cleve is Research Professor in Law and History, Seattle University School of Law, and recently was Visiting Professor (Hon.), History, University of Kent
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Nov 24, 2014
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