A potential crisis that hung over the Convention, in fact, one of the reasons for the Convention itself was a pending treaty with Spain. The (John) Jay-Gardoqui Treaty would have traded commercial advantage to the Northern States in exchange for a 25 year closure of the Mississippi River, to the detriment of the South. The foreign policy of Spain v. the US was one of containment, and standing fast against agricultural interests of the South was one way to promote it.
Northern shipping by 1787 had been demoralized by war and economic depression for over ten years. American merchants not only did not have the protection of restrictive British Navigation laws and the Royal Navy, all British ports including the West Indies were closed to us. British ships, OTOH carried the agricultural exports of the South as well as those of NJ and CN. Our Confederation government did not have the power to regulate commerce nor enact Navigation Laws. Northern carrying interests by 1787 had become desperate.
Southern eyes instead turned westward. Settlers from all States were emigrating to lands that would become KY, TN, AL, MS. Their long term prosperity ultimately depended on ports to export their products. Spain had closed New Orleans to Americans only recently, in 1784, which accelerated the widespread economic depression.
The trigger that nearly dissolved the Confederation was a Congressional vote on August 30th 1786. On the vote of seven states, John Jay was instructed to give away rights to the Mississippi if he deemed it necessary to conclude the treaty. James Monroe, VA delegate to Congress, warned, Jay and his party are determined to pursue this business as far as possible, either as a means of throwing the western people and territory without the government of the US and keeping the weight of population and government here, or of dismembering the government itself for the purpose of a separate confederacy.
The economic situation was so awful that one half of the country had acquiesced to betray the other. It was in the shadow of this hostile background of distrust, our Framers sat down less than a year later to craft our Constitution. It was remarkable they met at all, and what they produced was just short of a Miracle.
A question of Treaties? — I was taught in public school-and If I was paying attention that day— I seems to recollect that “treaties” were made to allow for our Govt. to do business with foreign states—as such—Americans ought not be overly concerned as “treaties had little affect on us as citizens. It seems our government has -at some point -begun to use “treaties” to shape American Law-to make US more like those foreign States our Govt. does business with. If true how can this be reversed?
On another subject I can’t wait for the four year mark to be rid of this President that has committed so many attempt to subvert and change our Constitution he should have been denied Office. But The Senate supports their President.
And last we so agree about Mr.Morris- he does deserve more attention —and finding his legacy seems to be made more difficult by the keepers of the texts.