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Formation of the Union By Albert Bushnell Hart Characters: 1761

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


[Sidenote: Boundary questions.]

What were the physical, social, and political conditions under which the new government was to be established? In 1789 the exterior boundaries of the country were loosely defined by treaty (§ 46), but were not yet marked out, and there were several serious controversies. From the mouth of the St, Croix River to the head of the Connecticut the boundary was in confusion, and no progress had been made towards settling it. The water- line through the St. Lawrence and the Lakes was still unadjusted. It was found that the headwaters of the Mississippi lay to the south of the Lake of the Woods, so that there was a gap on the northwest. On the south Spain disputed the right of Great Britain to establish the boundary, insisted that her own undoubted settlements lay within the territory claimed by the United States, and declined to grant the f

ree navigation of the lower Mississippi to the sea. Still more humiliating was the presence of British garrisons at Fort Niagara, Detroit, and other points within the undisputed boundaries of the United States.

[Sidenote: Interior boundaries.]

The interior boundaries of the country were in a like unsettled condition. Neither North Carolina nor Georgia had yielded up their western claims (§ 52). Vermont had not yet been recognized by New York as outside of her jurisdiction, and the Western Reserve lay along the southern shore of Lake Erie as an outlying part of Connecticut. No territorial government had been established for the Northwest territory, although settlement had begun to pour in. The southern territory was in complete confusion: Kentucky and the Tennessee valley were practically independent communities; and Georgia claimed the whole region south of them.

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