Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

VIII
UNPARTISAN FOUNDERS OF NATION 1789-1793

Adoption of Constitution non-partisan--The old and the new-- Class and mass--The press in evolution--Its use in England and America--Constitution of federal government--Congress still nonpartisan--Differences of opinion emerge--Influence of French Revolution--Divergences eclipsed by necessity--Sympathy as a line of division.

IT is not correct, however, to speak of parties in regard to the adoption of the Constitution. They may have been incipient, but they were not formed --not until some years later, when the wheels of government were moving. The convictions of men were very mixed, and many voted with what does not deserve that name--in a sort of dazed appeal to blind luck. Some despaired of anything better and grudgingly accepted this; some revered the great men who urged the adoption and followed their lead; some were favorable with the concealed expectation, amounting almost to certainty, that in time they could amend the original out of existence. Loyalty to persons, like loyalty to habit, plays an enormous rôle in popular institutions; nothing is so hard to move in rejecting or overthrowing accomplished things as a great mass of voters. Passion alone can reverse policies once formed, and to passion all agitators appeal. The Constitution was made and was to be put on trial; but that was all; if the

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