will afford you against the insults or rapacity of a continental officer, when he will have it in his power to appeal to the seat of congress perhaps at several hundred miles distance, and by this means oblige you to expend hundreds of pounds in obtaining redress for twenty shillings unjustly extorted? Thus will you be necessarily compelled either to make a bold effort to extricate yourselves from these grievous and oppressive extortions, or you will be fatigued by fruitless attempts into the quiet and peaceable surrender of those rights, for which the blood of your fellow citizens has been shed in vain. But the latter will, no doubt, be the melancholy fate of a people once inspired with the love of liberty, as the power vested in congress of sending troops for suppressing insurrections will always enable them to stifle the first struggles of freedom.
A FEDERAL REPUBLICAN
A CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT IS A TYRANNY
Irony in 1787-88 was heavy-handed rather than subtle, but it suited the crude humor of young America. "MONTEZUMA," probably a Pennsylvanian, contributed the following essay to the [ Philadelphia] Independent Gazetteer, October 17, 1787. Not only does it specify numerous Antifederalist objections to the Constitution, but it most certainly reveals the spirit of their animosity towards Federalists.
We the Aristocratic party of the United States, lamenting the many inconveniencies to which the late confederation subjected the well-born, the better kind of people, bringing them down to the level of the rabble--and holding in utter detestation that frontispiece to every bill of rights, "that all men are born equal"--beg leave (for the purpose of drawing a line between such as we think were ordained to govern, and such as were made to bear the weight of government without having any share in its administration) to submit to our friends in the first class for their inspection, the following defense of our monarchical, aristocratical democracy.
1st. As a majority of all societies consist of men who (though totally incapable of thinking or acting in governmental matters) are more readily led than driven, we have thought meet to indulge them in something like a democracy in the new constitution, which part we have designated by the popular name of the House of Representatives. But to guard against every possible danger from this lower house, we have subjected every bill they bring forward, to the double negative of our upper house and president. Nor have we allowed the populace the right to elect their representatives annually . . . lest this body should be too much under the influence and control of their constituents, and thereby prove the "weatherboard of our grand edifice, to show the shiftings of every fashionable gale,"--for we have not yet to learn that little else is wanting to aristocratize the most democratical representative than to make him somewhat independent of his political creators.