An explanation of the major problems the United States faced in 1789, how they were overcome by 1800, and at what cost.

Essay by sweetld215High School, 12th grade October 2003

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In 1789 our first President, George Washington, faced many problems. It seemed as though the Westerners might abandon this new government, and the United States were afraid that their western territory might be taken away by the foreign powers. There was a possibility that the United States would break up into several small republics. Three main problems that might cause this are: export restrictions, fighting on the frontier, and the national debt.

In 1789 the United States had to deal with many serious problems. First, the French and British placed export restrictions which caused problems for many farmers, sailors, and merchants. Southern planters were frustrated because their principal crops, tobacco and rice, failed. In 1790 less than half of the nation's exports were produced in the South. In an attempt to generate more business many of the Chesapeake tobacco growers switched to wheat and others expanded to hemp, but this had little effect on the entire region.

In the mid-Atlantic there was a high demand for food items, and by 1788 had mostly "...recovered from the Revolution's ravages." (pg210) Famine fell upon Europe, but American farmers were benefiting from the climbing prices of exports. However, people of New England had poor soil and a short season for growing which barely produced enough grain for local consumption.

Another main problem was fighting on the frontier, especially with the Indians, British, and Spanish. The Southwest had many problems with Indian fighting, especially the Cherokee and Creek Indians. While fighting the Indians the casualty rates were twice as high as when fighting the British. In 1786 the tribes in the Ohio Valley formed a defensive confederacy that refused to acknowledge American rule. Great Britain backed up the Northwestern tribes while Spain backed up the southeastern tribes. In 1786 Indian war tribes began killing,