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Collection Reference Number GLC02437.09410
From Archive Folder The Henry Knox Papers [0079] January-March 1787 
Title George Washington to Henry Knox discussing the constitutional rights of Massachusetts and Shays' Rebellion
Date 3 February 1787
Author Washington, George (1732-1799)  
Recipient Knox, Henry  
Document Type Correspondence; Government document
Content Description Refers to the constitutional rights of Massachusetts. Also discusses insurgents in that state (Shays' Rebellion was losing momentum). Relates in confidence that he does not want to go to the Constitutional Convention (to be held in Philadelphia) but that convention organizers have included him and implored him not to make a final decision regarding whether or not he will attend. Admits that "powers are wanting" in government, but takes a pessimistic view, wondering how such powers shall be derived. Comments that Knox's opinion, to build a central national government, is energetic and favorable compared to the existing system, which he calls "slow - debilitated - and liable to be thwarted by every breath." Warns that those in favor of strong state governments will oppose a powerful national system of government. Admits that his opinions might be sheltered, as he never leaves his farms. Reflects that he would never have previously predicted a rebellion "against the laws & constitutions of our own making." Sends his and Martha's love to Knox and his wife Lucy.
Subjects President  Government and Civics  Articles of Confederation  US Constitution  US Constitutional Convention  Politics  Mount Vernon  Rebellion  Shays' Rebellion  Mobs and Riots  First Lady  
People Knox, Henry (1750-1806)  Washington, George (1732-1799)  Washington, Martha (1731-1802)  Knox, Lucy Flucker (1756-1824)  
Place written Mount Vernon, Virginia
Theme The Presidency; Women in American History; Children & Family; Government & Politics; Agriculture; Creating a New Government
Sub-collection The Henry Knox Papers
Additional Information Signer of the U.S. Constitution.
Copyright The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Module Settlement, Commerce, Revolution and Reform: 1493-1859
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