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Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution$
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Jeff Broadwater

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469651019

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651019.001.0001

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All the World Is Becoming Commercial

All the World Is Becoming Commercial


(p.81) Four All the World Is Becoming Commercial
Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution

Jeff Broadwater

University of North Carolina Press

In this chapter, Jefferson succeeded Madison in Congress and later accepted a diplomatic assignment in Europe. Meanwhile, Madison returned to the Virginia assembly. Both men were frustrated by the ineffectiveness of Congress under the Articles of Confederation. They were able to negotiate Virginia’s cession of its western lands to the central government, and Congress passed an amended version of Jefferson’s Ordinance of 1784, but they were unable to secure American navigation rights on the Mississippi River. Despite Congress’s financial plight, the states rejected efforts to adopt an impost amendment empowering Congress to tax imports. Jefferson and Madison were also frustrated by British restrictions on American commerce and Congress’s inability to promote U.S. trade. Jefferson abandoned his belief that commercial treaties could be used to strengthen the Union, but the prosperity of Americans, compared to the poverty he had seen in Europe, lessened his interest in constitutional reform.

Keywords:   Ordinance of 1784, navigation rights, impost amendment, British restrictions, commercial treaties

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