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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
3 (1978)

V. Commentaries on the Constitution, 13 November 1787-7 January 1788,   pp. 456-534

Page 532

upon our liberties without their consent; they will withstand every
encroachment; therefore, they will afford full security for our liberties.
The President of the United States is to be appointed in a manner
which is wisely adapted to concentrate the general voice of the peo-
ple. He is an officer appointed by the people. If he wishes to be ap-
pointed again, he depends upon the people. He therefore will be the
guardian of the liberties of the people. The President, the Senate,
the Representatives are all chosen by the people. They form a triple
wall around our liberties. In short, the Constitution breathes the
spirit of liberty. The people breathe the spirit of liberty. The state
legislatures will still possess extensive powers; they will have great
influence upon the general government; we ought to presume they
will be faithful to the people; their influence will therefore be in
favor of liberty. We possess advantages superior to those of any other
people to maintain our liberty. Therefore, if we adopt the new Con-
stitution, if we will act like rational freemen, and choose men of
abilities and integrity to carry this plan of government into execution,
we may with reason expect that our liberties and privileges will en-
dure as long as is consistent with the instability of all human affairs.
But if we reject this Constitution, it must be upon the principle that
those who are chosen by the people are not fit to be trusted with the
necessary powers of government. If this be a just principle, all our
republican governments are but snares to enslave the people; a free
government is impracticable; and we must adopt the gloomy idea that
anarchy or tyranny is the only alternative for men.
But, my fellow citizens, the prospect of human affairs is not so
gloomy. Act out your native good sense; be not afraid to entrust men
appointed by yourselves with the powers necessary for promoting your
interest; learn the characters of those whom you appoint to places
of trust and power; choose men who know what the public good re-
quires; and have virtue to act accordingly; act rationally upon the
great political subjects which are submitted to your consideration.
Our national hopes are fast approaching to their grand crisis. The
friends of liberty throughout the world have their eyes fixed upon
us; if we have not wisdom and virtue enough to unite government and
liberty, the cause of liberty must be given up for lost. We are a
young, virtuous, and growing people; we have the good wishes of
all mankind; nature has bountifully bestowed upon us the blessings
of climate and soil; the extent of our country affords room for our
rapid increase for ages to come; a wise system of government we
want; a wise system of government is offered for our acceptance; re-
ceive the offered good; put it in practice with wisdom, moderation, and
virtue; and you may become a great, flourishing, and happy nation.

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