POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

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thelivyjr
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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:40 p

A Landholder IX

Connecticut Courant

December 31, 1787

To the Hon. GENTLEMEN chosen to serve in the STATE CONVENTION.

GENTLEMEN, When the deputies of a free people are met to deliberate on a Constitution for their country, they must find themselves in a solemn situation.

Few persons realize the greatness of this business, and none can certainly determine how it will terminate.

A love of liberty in which we have all been educated, and which your country expects on you to preserve sacred, will doubtless make you careful not to lay such foundations as will terminate in despotism.

Oppression and a loss of liberty arises from very different causes, and which at first blush appear totally different from another.

If you had only to guard against vesting an undue power in certain great officers of state your work would be comparatively easy.

This some times occasions a loss of liberty, but the history of nations teacheth us that for one instance from this cause, there are ten from the contrary; a want of necessary power in some public department to protect and to preserve the true interests of the people.

America is at this moment in tenfold greater danger of slavery than ever she was from the councils of a British monarchy, or the triumph of British arms.

She is in danger from herself and her own citizens, not from giving too much, but from denying all power to her rulers — not from a constitution on despotic principles, but from having no constitution at all.


Should this great effort to organize the empire prove abortive, heaven only knows the situation in which we shall find ourselves; but there is reason to fear it will be troublesome enough.

It is awful to meet the passions of a people who not only believe but feel themselves uncontrouled — who not finding from government, the expected protection of their interests, tho’ otherwise honest, become desperate, each man determining to share by the spoils of anarchy, what he would wish to acquire by industry under an efficient national protection.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

thelivyjr
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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:40 p

A Landholder IX, continued ...

Connecticut Courant

December 31, 1787

It becomes the deputies of the people to consider what will be the consequence of a miscarriage in this business.

Ardent expectation is waiting for its issue — all allow something is necessary — thousands of sufferers have stifled their sighs in reverence to the public effort — the industrious classes of men are waiting with patience for better times, and should that be rejected on which they make dependance, will not the public convulsion be great.

Or if the civil state should survive the first effects of disappointment, what will be the consequences of slower operations?

The men who have done their best to give relief, will despair of success, and gloomily determine that greater sufferings must open the eyes of the deluded — the men who oppose, tho’ they may claim a temporary triumph will find themselves totally unable to propose, and much less to adopt a better system — the narrowness of policy that they have pursued will instantly appear more ridiculous than at present, and the triumph will spoil that importance, which nature designed them to receive not by succeeding, but by impeding national councils.

These men cannot therefore be the saviours of their country.

While those who have been foremost in the political contention disappear either thro’ despondence or neglect, every man will do what is right in his own eyes and his hand will be against his neighbor — industry will cease — the states will be filled with jealousy — some opposing and others endeavouring to retaliate — a thousand existing factions, and acts of public injustice, thro’ the temporary influence of parties, will prepare the way for chance to erect a government, which might now be established by deliberate wisdom.

When government thus arises it carries an iron hand.

Should the states reject a union upon solid and efficient principles, there needs but some daring genious to step forth, and impose an authority which future deliberation never can correct.

Anarchy, or a want of such government as can protect the interests of the subjects, against foreign and domestic injustice, is the worst of all conditions.

It is a condition which mankind will not long endure.

To avoid its distress they will resort to any standard which is erected, and bless the ambitious usurper as a messenger sent by heaven to save a miserable people.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:40 p

A Landholder IX, concluded ...

Connecticut Courant

December 31, 1787

We must not depend too much on the enlightened state of the country, in deliberation this may preserve us; but when deliberation proves abortive, we are immediately to calculate on other principles, and enquire to what may the passions of men lead them, when they have deliberated to the utmost extent of patience, and been foiled in every measure, by a set of men who think their own emoluments more safe upon a partial system, than upon one which regards the national good.

Politics ought to be free from passion — we ought to have patience for a certain time with those who oppose a federal system.

But have they not been indulged until the state is on the brink of ruin and they appear stubborn in error?

Have they not been our scourge and the perplexers of our councils for many years?

Is it not thro’ their policy that the state of New—York draws an annual tribute of forty thousand pounds from the citizens of Connecticut?

Is it not by their means that our foreign trade is ruined, and the farmer unable to command a just price for his commodities?

The enlightened part of the people have long seen their measures to be destructive, and it is only the ignorant and jealous who give them support.

The men who oppose this constitution are the same who have been unfederal from the beginning.

They were as unfriendly to the old confederation, as to the system now proposed, but bore it with more patience because it was wholly inefficacious.

They talk of amendments — of dangerous articles which must be corrected — that they will heartily join in a safe plan of federal government; but when we look on their past conduct can we think them sincere — doubtless their design is to procrastinate, and by this carry their own measures; but the artifice must not succeed.

The people are now ripe for a government which will do justice to their interests, and if the honourable Convention deny them, they will despair of help.

They have shown a noble spirit in appointing their first citizens for this business — when convened you will constitute the most august assembly that were ever collected in the State, and your duty is the greatest that can be expected from men, the salvation of your country.

If coolness and magnanimity of mind attend your deliberations, all little objections will vanish, and the world will be more astonished by your political wisdom than they were by the victory of our arms.

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/libr ... holder-ix/

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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:40 p

America Essay

Noah Webster

Daily Advertiser, New York

December 31, 1787

To the DISSENTING MEMBERS of the late Convention of Pennsylvania:

Gentlemen, Your long and elaborate publication, assigning the reasons for your refusing to subscribe the ratification of the NEW FEDERAL CONSTITUTION, has made its appearance in the public papers, and, I flatter myself, will be read throughout the United States.

It will feed the flame of opposition among the weak, the wicked, the designing, and the factious; but it will make many new converts to the proposed Government, and furnish the old friends of it with new weapons of defence.


The very attempt to excite uneasiness and disturbance in a State, about a measure legally and constitutionally adopted, for a long and ample discussion in a Convention of the people’s Delegates, marks a disposition, beyond all conception, obstinate, base, and politically wicked.

But obstinacy is the leading trait in your public characters, and, as it serves to give consistency to your actions, even in error, it cannot fail to procure you that share of respect which is paid to the firmness of Satan and his fellow apostates, who, after their expulsion from Heaven, had too much pride to repent and ask for a re-admission.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

thelivyjr
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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:40 p

America Essay, continued ...

Noah Webster

Daily Advertiser, New York

December 31, 1787

My address to you will not be so lengthy as your publication; your arguments are few, although’ your harangue is long and insidious.

You begin with telling the world, that no defect was discovered in the present confederation, till after the war.

Why did you not publish the truth?

You know, Gentlemen, that during six years of the war, we had no Confederation at all.

You know that the war commenced in April, 1775, and that we had no Confederation till March, 1781.

You know (for some of you are men of abilities and reading) or ought to know, a principle of fear, in time of war, operates more powerfully in binding together the States which have a common interest, than all the parchment compacts on earth.

Could we, then, discover the defects of our present Confederation, with two years’ experience only, and an enemy in our country?

You know we could not.

I will not undertake to detect the falsehood of every assertion, or the fallacy of all your reasoning on each article.

In the most of them the public will anticipate any thing I could say, and confute your arguments as fast as they read them.

But I must tell you, Gentlemen, that your reasoning against the New Constitution resembles that of Mr. Hume on miracles.

You begin with some gratis dicta, which are denied; you assume premises which are totally false, and then reason on them with great address.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

thelivyjr
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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:40 p

America Essay, continued ...

Noah Webster

Daily Advertiser, New York

December 31, 1787

Your whole reasoning, and that of all the opposers of the Federal Government, is built on this false principle, that the Federal Legislature will be a body distinct from and independent of the people.

Unless your opposition is grounded on that principle, it stands on nothing; and on any other supposition, your arguments are but declamatory nonsense.


But the principle is false.

The Congress, under the proposed Constitution, will have the same interest as the people — they are a part of the people — their interest is inseparable from that of the people; and this union of interest will eternally remain, while the right of election shall continue in the people.

Over this right Congress will have no control: the time and manner of exercising that right are very wisely vested in Congress, otherwise a delinquent State might embarrass the measures of the Union.

The safety of the public requires that the Federal body should prevent any particular delinquency; but the right of election is above their control: it must remain in the people, and be exercised once in two, four or six years.

A body thus organized, with thirteen Legislatures watching their measures, and several millions of jealous eyes inspecting their conduct, would not be apt to betray their constituents.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:40 p

America Essay, continued ...

Noah Webster

Daily Advertiser, New York

December 31, 1787

Yet this is not the best ground of safety.

The first and almost only principle that governs men, is interest.

Love of our country is a powerful auxiliary motive to patriotic actions; but rarely or never operates against interest.

The only requisite to secure liberty, is to connect the interest of the Governors with that of the governed.


Blend these interests — make them inseparable — and both are safe from voluntary invasion.

How shall this union be formed?

This question is answered.

The union is formed by the equal principles on which the people of these States hold their property and their rights.


But how shall this union of interests be perpetuated?

The answer is easy — bar all perpetuities of estates — prevent any exclusive rights — preserve all preferment dependent on the choice of the people — suffer no power to exist independent of the people or their Representatives.

While there exists no power in a State, which is independent on the will of the electors, the rights of the people are secure.

The only barrier against tyranny, that is necessary in any State, is the election of Legislators by the yeomanry of that State.

Preserve that, and every privilege is safe.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

thelivyjr
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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:40 p

America Essay, continued ...

Noah Webster

Daily Advertiser, New York

December 31, 1787

The Legislators thus chosen to represent the people, should have all the power that the people would have, were they assembled in one body to deliberate upon public measures.

The distinction between the powers of the people and of their Representatives in the Legislature, is as absurd in theory, as it proved pernicious in practice.

A distinction, which has already countenanced and supported one rebellion in America; has prevented many good measures; had produced many bad; has created animosities in many States, and embarrassments in all.

It has taught the people a lesson, which, if they continue to practice, will bring laws into contempt, and frequently mark our country with blood.

You object, Gentlemen, to the powers bested in Congress.

Permit me, to ask you, where will you limit their powers?

What bounds will you prescribe?

You will reply, we will reserve certain rights which we deem invaluable, and restrain our rulers from abridging them.

But, Gentlemen, let me ask you, how will you define these rights?

Would you say, the liberty of the Press shall not be restrained?

Well, what is this liberty of the Press?

Is it an unlimited licence to publish any thing and every thing with impunity?

If so, the Author, and Printer of any treatise, however obscene and blasphemous, will be screened from punishment.

You know, Gentlemen, that there are books extant, so shockingly and infamously obscene and so daringly blasphemous, that no society on earth, would be vindicable in suffering the publishers to pass unpunished.

You certainly know that such cases have happened, and may happen again — nay, you know that they are probable.

Would not that indefinite expression, the liberty of the Press, extend to the justification of every possible publication?

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:40 p

America Essay, continued ...

Noah Webster

Daily Advertiser, New York

December 31, 1787

Yes, Gentlemen, you know, that under such a general licence, a man who should publish a treatise to prove his maker a knave, must be screened from legal punishment.

I shudder at the thought!

But the truth must not be concealed.

The Constitutions of several States guarantee that very licence.

But if you attempt to define the liberty of the Press, and ascertain what cases shall fall within that privilege, during the course of centuries, where will you begin?

Or rather, where will you end?


Here, Gentlemen, you will be puzzled.

Some publications certainly may be a breach of civil law: You will not have the effrontery to deny a truth so obvious and intuitively evident.

Admit that principle; and unless you can define precisely the cases, which are, and are not a breach of law, you have no right to say, the liberty of the Press shall not be restrained; for such a license would warrant any breach of law.


Rather than hazard such an abuse of privilege, is it not better to leave the right altogether with your rulers and your posterity?

No attempts have ever been made by a Legislative body in America, to abridge that privilege; and in this free enlightened country, no attempts could succeed, unless the public should be convinced that an abuse of it would warrant the restriction.

Should this ever be the case, you have no right to say, that a future Legislature, or that posterity shall not abridge the privilege, or punish its abuses.

TO BE CONTINUED ...

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Re: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN AMERICA

Post by thelivyjr » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:40 p

America Essay, continued ...

Noah Webster

Daily Advertiser, New York

December 31, 1787

The very attempt to establish a permanent, unalterable Constitution, is an act of consummate arrogance.

It is a presumption that we have all possible wisdom — that we can foresee all possible circumstances — and judge for future generations, better than they can for themselves.


But you will say, that trial by jury, is an unalienable right, that ought not to be trusted with our rulers.

Why not?

If it is such a darling privilege, will not Congress be as fond of it, as their constituents?

An elevation into that Council, does not render a man insensible to his privileges, nor place him beyond the necessity of securing them.

A member of Congress is liable to all the operations of law, except during his attendance on public business; and should he consent to a law, annihilating any right whatever, he deprives himself, his family and estate, of the benefit resulting from that right, as well as his constituents.

This circumstance alone, is a sufficient security.

But, why this outcry about juries?

If the people esteem them so highly, why do they ever neglect them, and suffer the trial by them to go into disuse?

In some States, Courts of Admiralty have no juries — nor Courts of Chancery at all.

In the City-Courts of some States, juries are rarely or never called, although the parties may demand them; and one State, at least, has lately passed an act, empowering the parties to submit both law and fact to the Court.

It is found, that the judgment of a Court, gives as much satisfaction, as the verdict of a jury, as the Court are as good judges of fact, as juries, and much better judges of law.

I have no desire to abolish trials by jury, although the original design and excellence of them, is in many cases superseded.

While the people remain attached to this mode of deciding causes, I am confident, that no Congress can wrest the privilege from them.

TO BE CONSIDERED ...

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