advantages. To say that these conventions ought not to attempt, coolly and deliberately, the revision of the system, or that they cannot amend it, is very foolish or very assuming. . . .
THE FEDERAL FARMER
SOME REACTIONS TO FEDERALIST ARGUMENTS
Federalist No. 38 in large part contains an account of alleged Antifederalist inconsistencies, illogic, negativism, and unreasonable fears. In turn, the Antifederalists fired on the structure of the Federalist defense, alleging that the real danger of tyranny under the Constitution was befogged by their inapposite and astigmatic accounts of true conditions in the United States.
The essay by "BRUTUS JUNIOR" appeared in The New-York Journal, November 8, 1787; the two selections by "A COUNTRYMAN"--written by DeWitt Clinton--appeared in the same newspaper, January 10 and February 14, 1788.
I have read with a degree of attention several publications which have lately appeared in favor of the new Constitution; and as far as I am able to discern, the arguments (if they can be so termed) of most weight, which are urged in its favor, may be reduced to the two following:
1st. That the men who formed it, were wise and experienced; that they were an illustrious band of patriots, and had the happiness of their country at heart; that they were four months deliberating on the subject, and therefore, it must be a perfect system.
2nd. That if the system be not received, this country will be without any government, and of consequence, will be reduced to a state of anarchy and confusion, and involved in bloodshed and carnage; and in the end, a government will be imposed upon us, not the result of reason and reflection, but of force and usurpation.
As I do not find that either Cato or the Centinel, Brutus, or the Old Whig, or any other writer against this constitution, have undertaken a particular refutation of this new species of reasoning, I take the liberty of offering to the public, through the channel of your paper, the few following animadversions on the subject; and the rather, because I have discovered, that some of my fellow citizens have been imposed upon by it.
With respect to the first, it will be readily perceived that it precludes all investigation of the merits of the proposed constitution, and leads to an adoption of the plan without inquiring whether it be good or bad. For if we are to infer the perfection of this system from the characters and abilities of the men who formed it, we may as well determine to accept it without any inquiry as with. A number of persons in this [ New York] as well as the other states, have, upon this principle, determined to submit to it without even reading or knowing its contents.
But supposing the premises from which this conclusion is drawn to be just,