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title:“The Federalist's Political Creed”
date written:1788-5-10

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:45 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Nov. 26, 2022, 8:43 a.m. UTC

"The Federalist's Political Creed." Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer 1788-05-10 : . Rpt. in The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 18. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1995. 4-6. Print.

The Federalist's Political Creed (May 10, 1788)

Mr. PRINTER, Though religious creeds have long since been deemed quite useless, or rather indeed extremely prejudicial to the interests of virtue and true piety; yet I must at the same time be of opinion, that political creeds are of a very different nature, and that no government, and least of all an arbitrary one, can be supported without some such summary of its credenda, or articles of faith. Our late C-n, sensible of the truth of this maxim, have taken care to draw up a very full and comprehensive creed for the use of their creatures and expectants, who are obliged to believe and maintain every article of it, right or wrong, on pain of political damnation. And to do those slavish expectants justice, there never was on earth a set of more firm and sincere believers; nor any who were willing to run greater risques indefence of their political dogmas.
This political creed however is no new invention: 'tis the old tory system revived by different hands. And the articles of it can be a secret to no one, who has the misfortune to converse with any of its advocates: But as such doctrines and maxims would better become the slave of a Bashaw of three tails than the subject of a free republican government, I shall just take the liberty, by way of specimen, to mention a few of these articles for the sake of your more uninformed readers. And
1. They maintain that the revolution and the declaration of independence, however important at those periods, are now to be considered as mere farces, and that nothing that was then done ought to be any bar in the way of establishing the proposed system of arbitrary power.
2. That as most of the European nations are in a state of vassalage and slavery, the Americans easily may be brought to a similar situation, and therefore ought to be reduced to the same abject condition.
3. That to compass this end, a large standing army should be kept up in time of peace, under the specious pretence of guarding us against foreign invasions and our frontiers against the savages; but in reality to overawe and enslave the people, who, if provoked at the violation of their rights, should at any time dare to murmur or complain, the military should be employed to bayonet them for their arrogance and presumption.1
4. That to say the late convention was not authorised by the people at large to form an aristocratic consolidated system of government for them, but merely to recommend alterations and amendments of the good old articles of confederation, is downright treason and rebellion.
5. That to assert that it was a shameful departure from the principles of the revolution and republicanism, and a base violation of the trust reposed in them, is a crime of the deepest dye, and never to be forgiven.
6. That if any man in the course of his writings should happen to give offence to a haughty favorite of the junto, it should be an express condition in the admission of every person into the new administration, that he concur in the prosecution of the author, or printer (or both if the name of the author can be extorted or discovered, no matter how vile and infamous the means) to the utmost rigor of the law, and even in contradistinction to all law and justice.
7. That the trial by jury, whether in civil or criminal cases, ought to be entirely abolished, and that the judges only of the new federal court, appointed by the well born in the ten-mile-square, should determine all matters of controversy between individuals.2
8. That the trial by jury ought likewise to be abolished in the case of libels, and everyone accused of writing or even publishing libel, ought to be tried by informations, attachments, interrogatories, and the other arbitrary methods practised in the court of star-chamber.3
9. That a libel is whatever may happen to give offence to any great man, or old woman; and the more true the charge, the more virulent the libel.
10. That an unrestrained liberty of the press should be granted to those who write and publish against the liberties of the people, but be absolutely denied to such as write against unconstitutional measures, and the abominable strides of arbitrary power, which have recently been attempted by any of the rump conclaves or conventions.4
11. That the people indeed have no rights and privileges but what they enjoy at the mercy of the rich lordlings, who may, of right, deprive them of any or of all their liberties whenever they think proper.
12. That the freemen of America have no right to think for themselves, nor to chuse their own officers of government, who ought to be named and appointed by the king elect, the half king and the senate; these being evidently much better judges of what is for the good of the people than the people themselves.
13. That a bill of rights and other explicit declarations in favor of the people, are old musty things, and ought to be destroyed; and that for any set of men to declare themselves in favor of a bill of rights, is a most daring insult offered to General Washington and Doctor Franklin, who, it must be allowed by the whole world, are absolutely infallible.
14. That those men are best qualified to conduct the affairs of a free people, who breathe nothing but a spirit of tyranny, and who, by their violent, illegal, and unconstitutional (consolidating energetic, as they are pleased to stile it) procedures, have well nigh reduced the good people of this great continent to the very eve of a civil war: And that as soon as nine states should accede to the new system of slavery, everyone who would presume to lisp a syllable against it, ought to be taken up, imprisoned, and punished at the discretion of the judges of the supreme federal court.5
Such are a few of the many articles of the political creed of the federal hacks, and how firmly they believe and diligently act up to them, is a matter of equal notoriety and grief to every real patriot in America.

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