Extent of Territory Under Consolidated Government. Too Large to Preserve Liberty or Protect Property? George Clinton, October 25, 1787 George Clinton, Governor of New York, was an adversary of the Constitution. He composed several letters under the nome de plume "Cato." This essay is from the third letter of "Cato," The...
FOUNDERS CORNER LIBRARY, MAJOR WORKS Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, by John Dickinson, Letter 3 My dear Countrymen, I rejoice to find that my two former letters to you have been generally received with so much favor by such of you, whose sentiments I have had an opportunity of knowing. Could...
FOUNDERS CORNER LIBRARY: MAJOR WORKS James Madison's Notes: Federal Convention of 1787 May 14, 25, 1787   Monday May 14th 1787 was the day fixed for the meeting of the deputies in Convention for revising the federal system of Government. On that day a small number only had assembled. Seven States were not...
Liberty Letters, James Madison It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority...
Representation and Internal Taxation Richard Henry Lee Richard Henry Lee was arguably the best known Anti-federalist writer. His pamphlets were widely distributed and reprinted in newspapers. Anti-federalist Papers # 36/37 are excerpts from his first pamphlet. Anti-federalist Nos. 41, 42, 43, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 63, 69, 76-77 are taken...
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Volume 2, Section 2, Chapter 4, That The Americans Combat The Effects Of Individualism By Free Institutions DESPOTISM which by its nature is suspicious, sees in the separation among men the surest guarantee of its continuance, and it usually makes every effort to keep them...
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Volume 2, Section 3, Chapter 14, Some Reflections on American Manners Nothing seems at first sight less important than the outward form of human actions, yet there is nothing upon which men set more store; they grow used to everything except to living in a...
Federal Taxing Power must Be Restrained George Mason, June 4, 1788 George Mason of Virginia opposed the Constitution because it lacked a Bill of Rights, and centralized powers further than he felt it necessary. Mason delivered the following speech before the Virginia ratifying convention, June 4, 1788. Mr. Chairman, whether the Constitution...
How Will The New Government Raise Money? Cincinnatus, Nov. 29 & Dec. 6, 1787 Note: "Cincinnatus" is an Antifederalist writer. In this essay, from an Address to a Meeting of the Citizens of Philadelphia, the writer responds to James Wilson's statements about Congress' powers to tax under the Constitution. It appeared...
Will the Constitution Promote the Interests of Favorite Classes? John F. Mercer, 1788 John F. Mercer of Maryland was the author of this essay, taken from his testimony to members of the ratifying conventions of New York and Virginia, 1788, (From the Etting Collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.) We have...
Objections to a Standing Army, Part 2 From the tenth letter of "Brutus" appearing in The New-York Journal, January 24, 1788. The liberties of a people are in danger from a large standing army, not only because the rulers may employ them for the purposes of supporting themselves in any usurpations...
By Mortimer J. Adler and Peter Wolff In the history of human liberty, Locke's essay Concerning Civil Government stands out not only as a great contribution to political theory, but also as an effective instigator of political action. It is a stirring pronouncement of the principles of the English "bloodless...
Founders Corner Library: Major Works, John Adams Edited by Charles Henry Adams 1775 and 1776 All the notes made by Mr. Adams, during these years, have been put together and set apart in the following pages, with the addition of such explanations, by the Editor, as seem necessary to make them readily...
Liberty Letters, A Federalist, Anti-Federalist No. 1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION: A DANGEROUS PLAN OF BENEFIT ONLY TO THE "ARISTOCRATICK COMBINATION" November 26, 1787. I am pleased to see a spirit of inquiry burst the band of constraint upon the subject of the NEW PLAN for consolidating the governments of the United States, as...
Liberty Letters, Montezuma, Anti-Federalist No. 9 October 17, 1787 "MONTEZUMA," regarded as a Pennsylvanian, wrote this essay which showed up in the Independent Gazetteer on October 17, 1787. We the Aristocratic party of the United States, lamenting the many inconveniences to which the late confederation subjected the well-born, the better kind of...
Founders Corner Library Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, by Joseph Story, 1833 Volume 1, Chapter 7,  CONNECTICUT § 84. CONNECTICUT was originally settled under the protection of Massachusetts; but the inhabitants in a few years afterwards (1638) felt at liberty (after the example of Massachusetts) to frame a constitution of government...
On the Mode of Electing the President William Grayson, June 18, 1788 From a speech by William Grayson given to the Virginia ratifying convention on June 18, 1788. Mr. GRAYSON. Mr. Chairman, one great objection with me is this: If we advert to..... democratical, aristocratical, or executive branch, we shall...
September 17, 1787 We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for...
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Appendix BB: The Dangers of Apathy Leading to either Anarchy or Tyranny It cannot be absolutely or generally affirmed that the greatest danger of the present age is license or tyranny, anarchy or despotism. Both are equally to be feared; and the one may...
On the Lack of a Bill of Rights Brutus By "Brutus." When a building is to be erected which is intended to stand for ages, the foundation should be firmly laid. The Constitution proposed to your acceptance is designed, not for yourselves alone, but for generations yet unborn. The principles, therefore, upon...
1777 The same continental congress which passed the Declaration of Independence, appointed a committee "to prepare and digest the form of confederation to be entered into between these colonies." On July 12, 1776, the committee reported a draft of these articles; and after many changes the congress adopted them on...
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Volume 1, Chapter 3, SOCIAL CONDITION OF THE ANGLO-AMERICANS Social condition is commonly the result of circumstances, sometimes of laws, oftener still of these two causes united; but when once established, it may justly be considered as itself the source of almost all the laws,...
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Volume 2, Section 2, Chapter 13, Why The Americans Are So Restless In The Midst Of Their Prosperity In certain remote corners of the Old World you may still sometimes stumble upon a small district that seems to have been forgotten amid the general tumult,...
Liberty Letters, Samuel Adams If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of your servitude better than the animating conflict of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly...
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Volume 2, Section 3, Chapter 8, Influence of Democracy on the Family I have just examined the changes which the equality of conditions produces in the mutual relations of the several members of the community among democratic nations, and among the Americans in particular. I...
The Use of Coercion by the New Government. (Part 1) A Farmer and Planter, April 1, 1788 "A Farmer and Planter" had his work printed in The Maryland Journal, and Baltimore Advertiser, April 1, 1788. The time is nearly at hand, when you are called upon to render up that glorious liberty...
Objections to a Standing Army. (Part I) Brutus, January 17, 1788 The first essay is taken from the ninth letter of "Brutus" which appeared in The New-York Journal, January 17, 1788. . . . . Standing armies are dangerous to the liberties of a people. . . . necessary, the truth...
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Appendix Z: The Dangers of Democracy Leading to a Centralized Government Not only is a democratic people led by its own taste to centralize its government, but the passions of all the men by whom it is governed constantly urge it in the same...
Democracy In America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831 Volume 1, Chapter 13, Government of the Democracy in the United States I AM well aware of the difficulties that attend this part of my subject; but although every expression which I am about to use may clash, upon some points, with the feelings...
Certain Powers Necessary For The Common Defense, Can And Should Be Limited Brutus, January 3 and 10, 1788 In Federalist No. 23, Alexander Hamilton spoke of the necessity for an energetic government. "Brutus" replied. Taken from the 7th and 8th essays of "Brutus" in The New-York Journal, January 3 and 10,...