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America's Depression of 1784–1787 and the Advent of Nationalism
Bruner, Robert F.; Miller, Scott Case F-1778 / Published July 11, 2018 / 37 pages.
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Product Overview

In June 1788, James Madison prepared to attend a convention in Virginia to consider ratification of the proposed Constitution for the United States. The recent depression (1784-87) had triggered a major civic reaction over the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and inflamed differences among various groups in the country. As an architect of the new Constitution, Madison needed to prepare to defend it in the ratification convention. Vigorous opponents sought to prevent ratification and the loss of states' power to a central government. How should Madison make his case? Madison's dilemma occurs in the midst of a dramatic regime shift in American politics. The social reaction to the depression had inflamed divisions throughout the country: urban versus rural, farmers versus merchants, wealthy versus poor, and so on. Outbreaks of civil unrest mark 1784-87 as a historic pivot point. It is useful to consider how the depression of those years contributed to that pivot and how the subsequent civic reaction responded to the depression conditions.


Learning Objectives

This case is a vehicle for achieving some or all of the following objectives: ? Illuminating the dynamics of financial crises, particularly Irving Fisher's theory of the debt-deflation cycle, ? Comparing constitutional structures as a basis for national rule, especially regimes based on principles as opposed to rules, ? Exploring the dynamics of government policy-making in the context of a regime shift in political sentiment, and ? Evaluating critically economic determinism as an explanation for the Constitution.

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  • Overview

    In June 1788, James Madison prepared to attend a convention in Virginia to consider ratification of the proposed Constitution for the United States. The recent depression (1784-87) had triggered a major civic reaction over the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and inflamed differences among various groups in the country. As an architect of the new Constitution, Madison needed to prepare to defend it in the ratification convention. Vigorous opponents sought to prevent ratification and the loss of states' power to a central government. How should Madison make his case? Madison's dilemma occurs in the midst of a dramatic regime shift in American politics. The social reaction to the depression had inflamed divisions throughout the country: urban versus rural, farmers versus merchants, wealthy versus poor, and so on. Outbreaks of civil unrest mark 1784-87 as a historic pivot point. It is useful to consider how the depression of those years contributed to that pivot and how the subsequent civic reaction responded to the depression conditions.

  • Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    This case is a vehicle for achieving some or all of the following objectives: ? Illuminating the dynamics of financial crises, particularly Irving Fisher's theory of the debt-deflation cycle, ? Comparing constitutional structures as a basis for national rule, especially regimes based on principles as opposed to rules, ? Exploring the dynamics of government policy-making in the context of a regime shift in political sentiment, and ? Evaluating critically economic determinism as an explanation for the Constitution.