THE FEDERAL CONVENTION
THERE WAS no general agreement as to the merits of the call for a convention which would revise the Articles of Confederation. All shades of opinion were represented in the contemporary correspondence of political figures and the newspapers of the day. Public criticism of affairs under the Confederation caused a Philadelphia newspaper to declare that "our situation is neither so bad as artful designing men have represented, nor is it likely to continue long so bad as it now is."1 On the other hand, the political situation so alarmed John Adams that he admitted the lack of attendance in Congress was "Proof of something so bad that I dare not name it."2 And Washington himself rebuked the suggestion that his influence might be used to good advantage in the areas, such as western Massachusetts, where matters were getting out of hand. "Influence is no Government," the General answered. "Let us have one by which our lives and liberties and properties will be secured; or let us know the worst at once."3
Significantly, in the newspaper articles and private correspondence calling for a change in government, there was no complaint about infringement on the rights of individual citizens. Criticism was directed at the existing form of government because of its inability to preserve order and protect prop____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Birth of the Bill of Rights, 1776-1791. Contributors: Robert Allen Rutland - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1955. Page number: 106.