infallible guides; neither yet that a man must necessarily incur guilt to himself merely by dissenting from them in opinion.
We cannot think the noble general has the same ideas with ourselves, with regard to the rules of right and wrong. We cannot think he acts a very consistent part, or did through the whole of the contest with Great Britain. Notwithstanding he wielded the sword in defense of American liberty, yet at the same time was, and is to this day, living upon the labors of several hundreds of miserable Africans, as free born as himself; and some of them very likely, descended from parents who, in point of property and dignity in their own country, might cope with any man in America. We do not conceive we are to be overborne by the weight of any names, however revered. "ALL MEN ARE BORN FREE AND EQUAL;" . . . .
THE YEOMANRY OF MASSACHUSETTS
"THE QUANTITY OF POWER THE UNION MUST POSSESS IS ONE THING; THE MODE OF EXERCISING THE POWERS GIVEN IS QUITE A DIFFERENT CONSIDERATION"
Richard Henry Lee's political mentality was somewhat ambivalent. He feared unrestrained governmental power, and yet he voted against Thomas Burke's famous proposal to make the central government under the Articles strictly subordinate to the sovereign states. "There seems to be no evidence," comments Merrill Jensen, "to explain why Richard Henry Lee took a stand so at variance with his prevailing political philosophy." (Articles of Confederation, Madison, 1940, p. 175n.) In 1787-88 Lee's fluid pen continued to pour out an extraordinary number of warnings to the American people against the Constitution, on much the same grounds--that individual liberty was endangered by a strong central government. The following selection is typical. Yet, shortly after 1788 (like many other Antifederalists), Lee became an advocate of the Hamiltonian system.
The excerpt is taken from "THE FEDERAL FARMER," Additional Letters, pp. 153-66.
. . . . A federal republic in itself supposes state or local governments to exist, as the body or props, on which the federal head rests, and that it cannot remain a moment after they cease. In erecting the federal government, and always in its councils, each state must be known as a sovereign body. But in erecting this government, I conceive, the legislature of the state, by the expressed or implied assent of the people, or the people of the state, under the direction of the government of it, may accede to the federal compact. Nor do I conceive it to be necessarily a part of a confederacy of states, that each have an equal voice in the general councils. A confederated republic being organized, each state must retain powers for managing its internal police, and all delegate to the union power to manage general
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Publication information: Book title: The Antifederalist Papers. Contributors: Morton Borden - Editor. Publisher: Michigan State University Press. Place of publication: East Lansing, MI. Publication year: 1965. Page number: 112.