A Short History of USA by Robert V. Remini

By Robert V. Remini

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Suspension could lead to an abolition of legislative assemblies, they contended, and result in virtual enslavement of the settlers. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania spelled out the colonists’ complaints in a popular pamphlet, Letters from an American Farmer. The suspension of the New York assembly, he wrote, was a damnable “stroke aimed at the liberty of all these colonies. . ” Moreover, “Those who are taxed without their own consent are slaves,” he cried. “We are taxed without our own consent. .

The urgent call to the French for help resulted in the arrival of 7,000 men aboard a fleet of twenty warships commanded by Admiral François de Grasse. The combined Franco-American army of 16,000 under Washington’s command surrounded Cornwallis while de Grasse’s fleet blocked the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, thus preventing the British from escaping the net that had been tightly wound around them. On October 18, 1781, the British general surrendered his army of 8,000 regulars and sailors. For all intents and purposes the American colonies had won their independence.

The document went on at length in describing the powers delegated to Congress but said little about the other two branches. It obviously meant to imply that the legislature would attend to the needs of the executive and judiciary. What it did say about the other two branches was the manner in which the President would be elected (by a College of Electors chosen in each state) and the justices appointed. It awarded the chief executive veto and appointive powers, and the position of commander in chief of the armed forces.

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