The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 510
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
credit to New York than to Maryland-a new idea that will prob-
ably be attacked by the Chesapeake historians. The great Land
Ordinance of 1785 and the still greater Northwest Ordinance of
1787 were certainly solid achievements of the Confederation.
The separation of church and state was settled largely during
this period. Thomas Jefferson's bill in Virginia, to that effect
was regarded by Jefferson as one of his three greatest achieve-
ments. Abolition of slavery was begun in the North although
there was considerable opposition to it from many Northerners
who claimed that an influx of newly-freed slaves would make it
impossible for the poorer whites to make a living in Boston and
other cities. Penal codes and punishments were softened consid-
erably. Prison reforms were initiated; societies were formed to
aid debtors. Hospital reforms and encouragement of the medical
profession were begun. A society was actually organized to pre-
vent persons from being buried alive. This group published the
initial set of first aid instructions in the country. Schools and
colleges sadly depleted by the revolution were restored and others
were founded. Literature was encouraged; newspapers sprang up
but theaters seem to have lagged. Although commercial ventures
were begun, the trade with the West Indies was handicapped by
vengeful Britain's desire to punish her rebellious colonies. British
North America, the West Indies, and the new American merchant
class all collaborated in a gigantic smuggling partnership that
had Britain at her wit's end. The future Lord Horatio Nelson,
then a humble captain, was outwitted thoroughly by the Ameri-
can seamen, and when he did capture a few, the local courts in
the West Indies freed them.
Of particular interest today was the successful beginning of the
China trade in 1784 when the Empress of China sailed on a year-
long voyage that brought Americans into contact with the Chi-
nese for the first time. In the Mediterranean the Americans en-
countered the dread Barbary pirates, and America disagreed on
the question of appeasement or resistance to the demands for
tribute levied upon them. Obviously this was no nation of idle
ships, stagnant commerce, and bankrupt merchants as has been
Domestically, a fierce struggle was waged for the control of
state governments for, then as now, pressure groups and special
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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/m1/662/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.