Excerpt from Barnes' Popular History of the United States of America, Vol. 2
The situation was peculiar, unlike any other that the history of the world had shown. Most, if not all, the nations of the earth had grown up by degrees from small beginnings. Here was one that was to spring into existence, a first-class power almost from its birth. The material was ready at hand and far removed from the inﬂuence or control of the older nations. The event showed that, as God had prepared the work, so had He laborers compe tent to perform it. They builded, and builded even stronger than they knew. On the 23d of December, less than a month after the evacua tion of New York, Washington resigned his commission as com mander-in-chief of the army and returned to his home at Mount Vernon. He had given many proofs of his patriotism, but one of the greatest was his refusal to receive any compensation for his eight years of service at the head of the army. It detracts nothing from the quality of the sentiment involved that, being rich through his marriage with Mrs. Custis, he could afford this gift to his country. He simply asked the reimbursement of his expenses, an exact account of which he had kept, drawn up by his own hand, and now presented to the government. The situation of affairs, although peace had now come, was by no means ﬂattering to the future of the States. The Articles of Confederation, under which they had been acting during the war, were mere shadows unless sustained by a common danger or the entire willingness of all concerned. In case of any conflict of interest, they were ineffective for adjustment or control. They gave Congress authority to declare everything, but to do noth ing. They did not act at all upon the people of the country, except through the several States, and it depended entirely upon the Legislatures whether the measures adopted by Congress should be carried out. Many of them were silently disregarded; many were slowly and reluctantly obeyed; and some were openly and boldly defied. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.