A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Borrow a Book, Peruse It, and Learn Some NJ History

Most of us don't have much time to read, yet we want to learn -- just not in heavy doses. If you're interested in sampling some bits and pieces of New Jersey history, the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library has a book that can introduce you to some of the important issues of New Jersey during the era of the Articles of Confederation.

"Experiment in Independence: New Jersey in the Critical Period 1781 - 1789", by Richard P McCormick (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1950) talks about some of the major issues that faced New Jersey residents and politicians after declaring independence from Britain. Here are a few examples of what you'll find in the book (and where you'll find it discussed)
  • Was the state overly hasty at the outset of the Revolutionary War to call for the sale of all lands and personal property forfeited by loyalists? While £ 567,334 in much needed revenue was raised by the sale of Tory real estate and personal property in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties alone -- over forty percent of the total revenue from forfeitures in the state -- this happened during a period of serious deflation, prompting some to suggest it might have been better for the state to hold the properties until the economy stabilized. Read about the problems of reigning in national debt caused by the huge, unexpected costs of a major war -- sound familiar? (pp 25-39)
  • Could elections be conducted and legislation formulated and approved so as to expose those secretly loyal to the Crown so their initiatives could be quashed before harming the state? Read about an era of mistrust and anger as the balance of power shifted in the state, within towns, and among neighbors. (pp 69-102)
  • Was it wrong for the state government to shortchange those who equipped and fed the Continental Army when the troops were billeted in their area by devaluing the notes of obligation issued to pay those expenses? One Monmouth group "resolved unanimously that we use our utmost endeavours  to support the credit of the paper currency of this state, and to execute the law strictly against every person who shall, to our knowledge, attempt to depreciate it." Read about how the state was divided because northerners held most of these notes of obligation while southerners held little if any scrip. Find out who won the struggle over devaluation. (pp 158-185)
  • Why did New Jersey support a strong centralized federal government? Read about New Jersey's position on the confederation of states. (pp 218-251)
The library now has Encyclopedia Brittanica. Click here and type in your card number to access this new resource.


Post a Comment