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title:“One of the People: Antifederal Arguments”
date written:1787-12-25

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last updated:May 2, 2016, 10:15 p.m. UTC
retrieved:Feb. 27, 2021, 1:00 a.m. UTC

"One of the People: Antifederal Arguments." Maryland Journal 1787-12-25 : . Rpt. in The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 15. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1984. 92-94. Print.

One of the People: Antifederal Arguments (December 25, 1787)

It has been published to the people, that Doctor Franklin was opposed to the constitution, and consented to sign it merely as a witness.
Doctor Franklin, in his speech, assigning his reasons for agreeing to the constitution, (printed in the Maryland Gazette, &c. of December 18th) says, "I hope, therefore, that for our sakes, as a part of the people, and for the sake of our posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this constitution wherever our influence may extend."
It has been published, that Mr. Jay had changed his opinion, and affirmed the new constitution to be the most artful trap that hadever been laid to catch the liberties of mankind.
Mr. Jay, in his letter to Mr. Vaughan, of Philadelphia, (printed in the Maryland Journal, &c. of the 18th December) says, "You have my authority to deny the change of sentiment it imputes to me, and to declare that, in my opinion, it is advisable for the people of America to adopt the constitution proposed by the late convention." < What think ye of this, gentlemen, is mr. Jay federal or anti-federal-Is another better acquainted with his sentiments, than he himself is?>
It is asserted, in the Maryland Gazette, &c. of the 1 1th December, under the Baltimore head, that Mr. Ellsworth, of Connecticut, WITHDREW FROM THE CONVENTION."
Mr. Ellsworth and Mr. Sherman, in their joint letter, enclosing the constitution to their legislature, (published in the Pennsylvania Herald, of the 10th November ult.) say, "We wish it may meet the approbation of the several states, and be the means of securing their rights, and lengthening out their tranquility."
Mr. Richard Henry Lee, in a letter to the Governor of Virginia, (published "by the request of several Gentlemen," in the Maryland Journal, &c. of last Friday) says, "It has hitherto been supposed fundamental maxim, that in governments rightly balanced, the different branches of legislature should be unconnected, and that the legislative and executive powers, should be separate."
In the British constitution, which is thought to be the best balanced in the world, the legislative and executive powers are not separate. Montesquieu, speaking on this subject, says, the executive power ought to have a share in the legislature by the power of rejecting; otherwise it would soon be stripped of its prerogative.
Mr. Richard Henry Lee says, in the same publication, "the president is for four years duration, (and Virginia for example) has one vote of thirteen in the choice of him, and this thirteenth vote not of the people, but electors, two removes from the people."1
By the constitution, the president is to be chosen by ninety-one electors, each having one vote of this number, Virginia has twelve, so that instead of the thirteenth vote in the choice of president, (Virginia for example) has somewhat less than an eighth.2
The constitution also admits of the people choosing the electors, so that the electors may be only one remove from the people.
It is also said by Mr. Richard Henry Lee, that the people of this country have thought a bill of rights necessary to regulate the exercise of the great power given to their rulers, as appears by the various bills or declaration of rights, whereon the government of the greater number of the states are founded.
Only four states appear, by the book constitutions, to have a bill ofrights, which are the lesser number of states.
These, Mr. Goddard, are the arguments used to prejudice the minds of the people against the constitution, some of which, it seems, "several Gentlemen" requested you to publish. For this time, we will suppose these gentlemen to have been ignorant of the deceptions they have thus publicly countenanced, because no gentleman would knowingly propagate or countenance untruths.
December 22, 1787.

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