The Distribution of Congressional Spending During the American Revolution, 1775-1780: The Problem of Geographic Balance
Resources to fight the War for Independence from Great Britain (1775-1783) were to be provided to the U.S. Congress by the individual states based on each state's population share in the united colonies. Congressional spending, however, largely flowed to where the theater of war was located. Thus a geographic imbalance in revenue and spending arose. Because much of the spending was through issuing paper money, geographic variation in inflation as well as in general economic activity resulted. This in turn affected the relative strength of each state's attachment to the union with ramifications on maintaining political unity.
The author thanks Stephen Douglas and Zachary Rose for research assistance and Tracy McQueen for editorial assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
“The Distribution of Congressional Spending During the American Revolution, 1775-1780: The Problem of Geographic Balance, ” in Stephen Conway and Rafael Torres Sánchez, eds.,The Spending of the States—Military Expenditure During the Long Eighteenth Century: Patterns, Organisations, and Consequences, 1650-1815, pp. 257-284. Saabrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller GmbH & Co. KG, 2011. [ISBN: 978-3-639-36623-5]