The Great Derailment: Philadelphia Putsch of 1787 and the Coming of the American State

  • Ivan Jankovic


This chapter argues that the nationalist state-building ideology was a constant and coherent political presence throughout the revolutionary period. It had its ideological, political, and economic sources, and it had not been “transformed” in any significant way in the period 1773–1787. Those sources are best understood as an American attempt at creating a centralized, European-style nation-state with the economic apparatus of mercantilist control. What is usually understood as a “transformation” of the American revolutionary experience in the 1780s was just a change in the balance of power between the two, by and large, watertight philosophies, localist-liberal and nationalist, the latter gradually advancing and former retreating. Alexander Hamilton’s mercantilist program which was widely advertised in the 1780s and used as the strongest argument against the Articles of Confederation was widely shared among the proponents of the new Constitution and implemented in the 1790s. The significance of this process is that federalists-nationalists created the basis for modern American state in the highly hostile intellectual climate, skeptical to both economic and political parts of their agenda.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MaryBismarckUSA

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