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A Short History of USA by Robert V. Remini

By Robert V. Remini

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On August 27 he challenged the British on Long Island. Following an inevitable defeat, he moved his army under cover of a thick fog across the East River to Manhattan. Howe pursued him up the Hudson River valley, and Washington retreated to New Jersey. New York remained in British hands for the remainder of the war. Washington crossed the Delaware River at Trenton and tried to keep his army together. But his soldiers shivered in the December cold and began to desert, since the situation looked hopeless.

Gates’s appointment was a mistake. He suffered the worst American defeat of the war at Camden, South Carolina, when his troops fled the field in disarray. Gates ran too. The British then came to a very wrong conclusion—that untrained, undisciplined American soldiers would drop their weapons and flee when confronted by professional British troops. Another disaster occurred on September 25, when Benedict Arnold, a splendid general who had participated in the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, turned traitor and deserted to the British.

To support its operation and pay for carrying on the war, it had to rely on contributions from each state as set forth by the national legislature. But few states paid what they owed. If hard-pressed for cash, they would pay less, and there was nothing the central government could do about it. Two other problems were present in the Articles. First, the unanimous agreement of all the states was required before the document could go into effect. Maryland withheld its consent until all the states ceded their western lands to the central government.

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