ment. To this I shall only observe, that this is very humiliating language, and can, I trust, never suit a manly people who have contended nobly for liberty, and declared to the world they will be free.
THE FEDERAL FARMER
So many Antifederalists objected to the Constitutional provision prescribing congressional elections (see Antifederalist No. 52) that Alexander Hamilton felt it necessary to devote an entire Federalist paper (No. 59) in explanation and defense. In brief, the Antifederalists detected a loophole in the words: ". . . but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such [State] regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators." The following essay detailed the possible consequences of this power. Hamilton, in rebuttal, reasoned that the clause was indispensable for the preservation of the national government; for if the "exclusive power of regulating elections" was left "in the hands of the State legislatures, [it] would leave the existence of the Union entirely at their mercy."
Written by the anonymous "VOX POPULI," the following appeared in The Massachusetts Gazette, October 30, 1787.
. . . . I beg leave to lay before the candid public the first clause in the fourth section of the first article of the proposed Constitution:
"The times, places and manner of holding elections, for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may, at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations-- except as to the places of choosing senators."
By this clause, the time, place and manner of choosing representatives is wholly at the disposal of Congress.
Why the Convention who formed the proposed Constitution wished to invest Congress with such a power, I am by no means capable of saying; or why the good people of this commonwealth [ Massachusetts] should delegate such a power to them, is no less hard to determine. But as the subject is open for discussion, I shall make a little free inquiry into the matter.
And, first. What national advantage is there to be acquired by giving them such a power?
The only advantage which I have heard proposed by it is, to prevent a partial representation of the several states in Congress; "for if the time, manner and place were left wholly in the hands of the state legislatures, it is probable they would not make provision by appointing time, manner and place for an election; in which case there could be no election, and consequently the federal government weakened."
But this provision is by no means sufficient to prevent an evil of that nature. For will any reasonable man suppose--that when the legislature of any state, who are annually chosen, are so corrupt as to break thro' that government which they have formed, and refuse to appoint time, place and