Politics: the Rules and the Game
WHILE social reconstruction was in progress, basic readjustments were taking place in the political life of the state. Independence had given to New Jersey -- as well as to her sister states -- complete freedom from the restraints of British authority and the opportunity to begin an experiment in self-rule in accordance with the principles of republicanism. Those citizens who were eligible to exercise the franchise now possessed virtually unlimited power within the state, and their will could not be denied by any external agency until the Federal Constitution became operative in 1789. The machinery through which the people were to manifest and effectuate their will acquired a new importance. On the character of the electoral process were to depend, in the final analysis, both the nature of the government and the direction that government would take.
The new government bore strong external resemblances to the old. But it was fundamentally different in that it vested full sovereignty in the people. The majority could rule. As