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Posted: 9/17/2002 5:58:10 AM EDT
This almost happened at least once in American history. Anyone remember when?
Link Posted: 9/17/2002 6:29:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/17/2002 6:32:46 AM EDT by mr_wilson]
Are you referring to the "[b]Bonus Marchers[/b]" (former WW1 veterans attempting to collect on their promised pay) in July 28, 1932? Mike sorry had wrong date...
Link Posted: 9/17/2002 10:13:03 AM EDT
btt, for others to guess so maybe Grin will give us the answer. MIke
Link Posted: 9/17/2002 12:51:07 PM EDT
Very similar circumstances but earlier
Link Posted: 9/19/2002 10:37:51 AM EDT
Newburgh Conspiracy With the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, the war in America was over. The bulk of the Continental Army would find their way to their final encampment at Newburgh New York, to await news about the peace talks taking place in Paris. Common soldier and officer alike wondered if these commitments would ever be honored by Congress. Many soldiers had considerable back pay due them, up to six years worth in some cases. They had not been paid at all in months. Some officers recalled that in 1780, a wartime Congress worried over the loss of the army through desertions and resignations [u]had offered a lifetime pension of half-pay to all officers and a bonus of eighty dollars to enlisted men who would stay with the cause to the end of the war.[/u] These promises had been made prior to ratification of the Articles of Confederation. The officers now feared they would be repudiated or repealed, so loud was the public clamor against them, and wondered how an impoverished, ineffectual Congress could live up to those promises. Col. Louis Nicola of Pennsylvania, cogently stating the troubles of the times in a letter to Gen Washington, and urging Washington to step forward as the savior of a disorganized civil society and accept the crown from the hand of his faithful soldiers. Nicola was likely acting as a spokesman for a clique consisting of an unknown number of officers. Washington indignantly refused. Officers' apprehensions were further strengthened by the announcement of a reduction in the allowance for meals, and by discussions in statehouses around the country proposing the abolition of the Continental army, with the implication that such an action would void the necessity of paying the men. Congress was unwilling to commit itself to issue promissory notes for amounts owed or to reaffirm the promise of a pension. Many officers had let their personal affairs during the war fall into great disarray, and unless they soon received a bonus or substantial payment of back wages, had nothing to look forward to upon returning home except imprisonment for failing to pay their accumulated debts. Washington worried that a failure to pay the troops would set loose " a train of evils." Talk of the officer corps resigning as a body was rampant. In November of 1782, a group of officers headed by Major Gen. Henry Knox, with Washington's encouragement, drafted a letter of grievances to present to the Congress. It read, in part, " We have borne all that men can bear -- our property is expended -- our private resources are at an end, and our friends are wearied out and disgusted with our incessant applications." The petition also agreed to exchange the promised half-pay pension for a lump sum payment upon severance, or full pay for a fixed number of years, but insisted that the enlisted men receive the eighty dollars bonus money. The petitioners also sought at least some of the back pay due, with a commitment for the rest. The petition concluded with allusions to the folly of trying to dupe the army and that " any further experiments on [ the officers' ] patience may have fatal effects" if the demands were not met. To insure that Congress would receive and give prompt attention to their petition, the officers selected a committee of three, headed by Major Gen. Alexander McDougall, to carry it to Philadelphia in December 1782. Congressional delegates were told that the emotions of the officers were overcoming reason, causing them to look favorably on the performance of "extreme actions" to secure their demands. The nation could expect "at least a mutiny" if the officers' petition was ignored. A small group of Federalists also encouraged McDougall to alert all the officers at Newburgh to begin preparing for action beyond petitioning. Thus, "the terror of a mutinying army" was used to attempt to influence important members of Congress.
Link Posted: 9/19/2002 10:54:23 AM EDT
At first, the lobbying effort seemed to be succeeding. By the end of January, a majority of Congress concurred that the army's plight must be relieved promptly. They directed Morris to resolve the salary problems, including back pay. Delegates also promised to push for the passage of a package to give Congress taxation authority. However, certain unfortunate snags also began to occur: the lump sum payment to many still savored too much of a pension, and a large number of delegates had instructions from their states to adamantly resist any pension plan. It was argued that the states could not pay their own debts and resistance by states with small debts was strong to Congress assuming the debts of all states. Thus, a large incentive to adopt a taxation measure was stymied. Also, Knox failed to produce requested evidence of deterioration of morale, and some legislators began to suspect the army was being used to twist arms. Then, too, the news from the peace commission was good, the official state of war would end soon, the army could be released, and Congress could step down its activity. In fact, as in times past, some delegates had already departed for home and it was becoming difficult to even keep a quorum together. Given this state of affairs, the conspirators now proceeded to try to get the officers to overtly refuse to disband. Well aware that Washington would have no part in this attempt to intimidate the Congress, the plotters decided to approach Henry Knox, Washington's chief of artillery who was in sympathy with Federalist aims, had openly complained about Congress, and enjoyed Washington's trust. In early February urgent missives were carried to Gen. Knox in an attempt to enlist him in the effort. However, Knox saw clearly that this amounted to nothing less than mutiny, and refused to help. As he said, " I consider the reputation of the American army as one of the most immaculate things on earth. " In his estimation, the officers should suffer almost any wrong rather than bring discredit upon the Army in any form. As luck would have it, a high-ranking weak link did exist - Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates. One of his former aides, Col. Walter Stewart, and some hotheaded young officers met with Gates at his official residence, scathingly critical of both Congress and Washington. These zealots longed for a sympathetic senior officer to come forward and lead the army in an open rebellion. Gates, still smarting from his failure to discredit and oust Washington, saw a potential opportunity to even the score. Thus were laid plans aimed at the removal of Washington as well as for a military takeover of the Congress and the country. Gates, along with several others, was being deceived and used. The devious Federalist faction in Philadelphia was fanning the fire of rebellion with one hand and trying to douse it with water with the other. What they wanted was an unsuccessful uprising of the army, enough to secure their will in Congress over ability to tax, but stopping well short of complete anarchy or military dictatorship. They were playing a dangerous chess game in which Gates, Washington, Congress and the army were to be the pawns. Hamilton wrote Washington a carefully worded letter in which he discussed the severe crisis then existing in congressional finances and alluded to the general state of affairs within the army and the desirability of continued pressure for the redress of grievances. This letter, along with a second from one of Washington's friends in Congress, Joseph Jones, warning of "dangerous combinations" and "sinister practices" in the army, convinced Washington to conduct his own investigation of the alleged state of affairs. What he discovered alarmed him greatly. Washington found himself in a dilemma. Should he support his officers and the army and guide this nascent movement to correct obvious wrongs? Or was his first duty to Congress? Like Knox, Washington made a momentous decision: He would not lead what he considered an improper and irregular attempt to rectify those egregious wrongs. Washington ended up meeting with the group of officers in Newburgh NY & influenced them not to take over the government. News of Washington's success stopped Congress from declaring war on the Army, which they were considering as a response. The Newburgh incident did scare the Congress into adopting such actions as giving officers who were eligible for half-pay for life five years of full pay and enlisted men four months' pay upon separation. This in turn led to the confirmation of a taxation measure to be administered by the central government. However, it was a watered-down version of needed taxation powers and authority, asking the states for permission to levy a twenty-five year impost. Further, as it turned out, the army was given furloughs instead of being discharged, without immediately thereon receiving any pay, although eventually they did get most of what was due them.
Link Posted: 9/20/2002 7:03:40 AM EDT
Thanks for the history lesson, Grin, I did not know that, very interesting. Mike
Link Posted: 9/24/2002 6:18:07 AM EDT
I remember that history lesson,it was in middle school,I was in love with little sarann that sat 3 seats away,those were the days.[eek]I used to throw rocks at her to get her attention.[whacko]but that all aside its just the government,in its early developmental stages,it's the same today.What did I hear lately?,they have stopped accepting vetrans at the VA hospitals.[kill]
Link Posted: 9/30/2002 9:05:40 PM EDT
I looked all over trying to figure that one out. Good question and answer.
Link Posted: 10/1/2002 7:59:38 AM EDT
I came across it in a audio book, What If?: Watersheds, Revolutions and Rebellions Robert Cowley (Editor), Murphy Guyer (Narrator) There are some interesting ideas presented, here's a list of the essays. * The Repulse of the English Fireships: The Spanish Armada Triumphs by Geoffrey Parker * Unlikely Victory: Thirteen Ways the Americans Could Have Lost the Revolution by Thomas Fleming * What the Fog Wrought: The Revolution's Dunkirk by David McCullough * Ruler of the World: Napoleon's Missed Opportunities by Alistair Horne * If the Lost Order Hadn't Been Lost: Robert E. Lee Humbles the Union by James M. McPherson * A Confederate Cannae and Other Scenarios: How the Civil War Might Have Turned Out Differently by Stephen W. Sears
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