The Best Constitution, Saving America From Anarchy


George Washington to Patrick Henry, 24 Sept. 1787

Dear Sir: In the first moment after my return I take the liberty of sending you a copy of the Constitution which the Federal Convention has submitted to the People of these States. I accompany it with no observations; your own Judgment will at once discover the good, and the exceptionable parts of it. and your experience of the difficulties, which have ever arisen when attempts have been made to reconcile such variety of Interests and local prejudices as pervade the several States will render explanation unnecessary. I wish the Constitution which is offered had been made more perfect, but I sincerely believe it is the best that could be obtained at this time; and, as a Constitutional door is opened for amendment hereafter, the adoption of it under the present circumstances of the Union is in my opinion desirable.

From a variety of concurring accounts it appears to me that the political concerns of this Country are, in a manner, suspended by a thread. That the Convention has been looked up to by the reflecting part of the community with a solicitude which is hardly to be conceived, and that if nothing had been agreed on by that body, anarchy would soon have ensued, the seeds being richly sown in every soil. I am &c.

Source: The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources: 1745-1799, Volume 29, Edited by John C. Fitzpatrick (1931-44).

Founders Corner: Speeches, Letters, Pamphlets, Quotes are researched, compiled, and edited (with occasional explanatory notes and commentary) by Steve Farrell. Spelling was modernized in this selection.

Copyright © 2013 Steve Farrell.

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