An Anti-Demoscratic Convention?
The well-known quotations from Randolph, his "Our chief danger arises from the democratic parts of our constitutions" and his "evils" found in the "turbulence and follies of democracy" ( 1:26, 51), coupled with Gerry's "excess of democracy" and his "danger of the levilling spirit" ( 1:48), to say nothing of Hamilton ( 1:288-89), have been accepted as expressions of a dominant attitude among the delegates. It is also accepted that the desire to restrain the states was motivated in part by the belief that the state governments were too responsive to the desires of the people. Yet it is easy to oversimplify these anti-democratic currents of thought, and thereby to miss the sophistication with which they influenced the Constitution. It was not only a matter of indirect election of presidents and senators, nor yet of review by permanent, nonelected judges, nor of the amending article. It was, in brief, a matter of delicately balancing the illusion of popular control against the reality of unresponsive power, because the people's sense of justice could not be trusted.