FREDRIKA J. TEUTE AND D AV I D S . S H I E L D S In 1787, Noah Webster, brooding on the state of the nation, observed, ``Instead of general tranquility, one State has been involved in a civil war, and most of them are torn with factions, which weaken or destroy the energy of government. Instead of a free commerce with all the world, our trade is every where fettered with restraints and impositions, dictated by foreign interest. . . . Instead of a union of States and measures, essential to the welfare of a great nation, each State is jealous of its neighbor, and struggling for the superiority in wealth and importance, at hazard even of our federal existence.''1 The civil and political disarray under the Confederation set Webster searching for causes and projecting remedies. He did not find the cause in the defective charters of government. Rather he saw the problem as arising from the total dependency of the United States upon Europe for manners. Americans seemed to Webster smitten with the allure of European modes and intent on luxury. ``The present ambition of Americans is, to introduce as fast as possible, the
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Apr 29, 2015
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