Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

V
BASIS OF THE CONSTITUTION

Apparent anomalies in the struggle for independence--The Confederation--Fourteen years of separation--The gloomy conditions resulting therefrom--Clashes of commercial interest--Effort at arbitration--The Nationalists' address to the States--The convention and differences of opinion--Appearance of party lines-- Parties and the compromises of the Constitution--Devices to check democratic license--The Constitution eclectic and evolutionary.

THIS central fact of allegiance to a principle and to institutions explains all the queer anomalies of the American Revolution. The Whigs both sides of the ocean were an ancient party; Toryism in either the British or the American form identified the King and the monarchy, was justly styled "new," having little in common with the old, and was a parvenu. The colonists took up arms against the men on the throne and in Parliament, who were usurpers and tyrants, and hence could honestly express their loyalty both in beginning and continuing the war. The leaders and their followers throughout the preliminaries and early duration of the conflict were loyal, as they understood the word, until the man on the throne became a tyrant and no longer wore the British crown, having hired foreign troops to coerce British subjects. There could be only one retort by the colonist Whigs: independence and the alliance with France, two things equally abhorrent to thou-

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