Log In Register

Source & Citation Info

title:“Letter to the Pennsylvania Gazette”
date written:1788-4-23

permanent link
to this version:
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:02 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Dec. 4, 2020, 2:37 a.m. UTC

"Letter to the Pennsylvania Gazette." Pennsylvania Gazette 1788-04-23 : . Rpt. in The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 17. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1995. 201. Print.

Letter to the Pennsylvania Gazette (April 23, 1788)

The men who object to the new government, says another correspondent, because the mode of altering the old confœderation was not strictly constitutional, remind us of the conduct of the loyalists in the beginning of the late war, who objected to associating, arming and fighting, in defence of our liberties, because these measures were not constitutional. A free people should always be left in a condition competent to all their wants, and with every possible power to promote their own happiness. The people, as the sovereigns of a country, are above all constitutions, and a majority of them have a right to alter, or abolish, their constitutions at any time, and in any way they may think proper. The contrary opinion is the doctrine of Hobbes, and other advocates for passive obedience, accommodated to the present state of government in the United States.1 While the royal parasites tell us that "kings give and grant liberty to their subjects," the office-holders under our state governments tell us, that we have no liberty but what is conferred upon us by our constitutions. To say that a government can be altered only in one way, or at any one time, when a majority of the people think otherwise, is to annihilate freedom, to check all improvements in government, and to prostrate unborn generations at the feet of that body of men who framed the government. Nature revolts at the idea as highly tyrannical, and the spirit of America, it is to be hoped, will reject it with abhorrence, by speedily adopting the new constitution.

Resource Metadata





  • Unknown


Annotations (1)