The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 509
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of America. Such men as Clarence Streit in his Union Now and
certain periodicals such as Readers' Digest and Saturday Review
of Literature have kept the legend alive in recent years.
Merrill Jensen, professor of history at the University of Wis-
consin, former editor of the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, and
recently Harmsworth professor of American history at Oxford
University, and an authority on the confederation years, has pub-
lished the first detailed account of America under the Articles
of Confederation. Wisely he ends his narrative before the con-
struction of the Constitution in order to concentrate on the
Jensen depicts the people of that era as a race of ambitious,
hard-working, determined people, keenly aware of their own
destiny and confident that they could solve the many problems
that faced them. The men who wrote the Articles of Confed-
eration, says Jensen, created a federal government wherein the
state governments retained sovereign power and the central gov-
ernment was their creature. They had done this in spite of the
opposition of those members of the colonial ruling classes who
had chosen independence but wanted a strongly centralized gov-
ernment with independent power and coercive authority. This
class, the Nationalists, waged a bitter and eventually successful
struggle against the Federalists. Their side of the struggle has
come down to us, but the story of the Federalists has remained
untold. Yet to understand many of the problems that followed
the birth of America, one must know the achievements and
failures of the men who governed America under the Articles
The Federalists faced great problems at the end of the revo-
lution: the question of ownership of western lands, the public
debt, the payment for the enormously powerful veteran's bloc,
the successful culmination of the social and humanitarian reforms
begun so capably by the revolutionary state governments, and
the place of the new nation in a hostile and fearful world of
empires, to mention only a few. Manfully the states tackled those
problems. Perhaps Jensen tends to overemphasize their successes,
but there is no question of the solid gains made by the states
during this so-called stagnant period. The land question was
settled, although, in his account, Jensen is inclined to give more
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951, periodical, 1951; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/m1/661/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.