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democracy."* Mr. Randolph observed that “the general object was to provide a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that, in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy; that some check, therefore, was to be sought for against this tendency of our government.” + Other distinguished members said as much; no one contradicted them, and the convention evidently took it for granted that their chief mission was to guard against excessive democracy, and without introducing the hereditary elements which the constitution excluded. It is also clear, from the same authority, as well as from other sources, that the convention did not provide as strong checks against democracy as they wished, or believed to be necessary, for fear, if they did, they would be unable to get their amendments adopted by the people.
It is well known that General Washington, the father of his country, and at least one of the soundest heads and purest patriots the country has ever produced, apprehended from the first that too much liberty was allowed to democracy; and so did Adams, Hamilton, and all the distinguished men of the old Federal party,--men who, though decried by Mr. Jefferson and the French Jacobins, were the great men of their times, and whose practical political views contrast favorably with the brilliant and fanciful theories of their opponents. The Federalists have passed away; their party is among the things that were; they may have had their faults, and have erred in particulars; but the stability of the government and its constitutional purity depend on a speedy return to their general principles. We may well say this, for we were reared in the doctrine that they were traitors to their country and the bitter enemies of liberty. But we have lived long enough to find that Liberty's best friends are seldom those who make the loudest professions of friendship and drink the deepest toasts in her honor. Mr. Jefferson was regarded as a great friend of liberty, but he, when president, knowingly, deliberately, as he himself confesses, violated the constitution of his country, which he had sworn "to preserve, protect, and defend."
As the weak point in our constitution is the too great strength of democracy, or the feebleness of the checks provided by the convention of 1787 against it, the American statesman, in order to be faithful to the constitution, must study to strengthen these checks as far as he can constitutionally, and to repress the tendency of democracy to become exclusive. This was, as is well known, the policy pursued by General Washington, in his administration, and also by his immediate successor, the elder Adams. Let politicians say what they will, it is due to the constitutional administrations of Washington and Adams, to the hightoned conservative principles on which they were conducted, and to the little deference that under them was paid to demagogues and radicals, that our government has not now to be numbered among the things that were. Washington and Adams identified the people with civil society, not civil society with the people; recognized the popularity in the civility, not the civility in the popularity; and placed the government on a legal and conservative basis, from which it required the iron will and immense energy of General Jackson to remove it, and from which even he could not entirely remove it. The effects of the wise and profoundly conservative policy of the administrations of Washington and Adams are still felt, and have given to the administrations which have succeeded them all that they have had worthy of commendation. It is only by a sincere and hearty return to that policy that we can hope to save the country from the curse of lawless and shameless democracy,-a deinocracy which can, if left to itself, develop only in anarchy, which must be the precursor of military despotism.
* The Madison Papers, p. 753.
| Ibid, p. 758.
A favorable opportunity offers itself now for this return. General Cass—an able, in many respects a worthy, man, but the representative of the expansive or progressive democracy, of "the manifest destiny”, principle—has been defeated, and the American people have elected to the chief inagistracy, in opposition to him, a man of great force of character, of firm will, a practical cast of mind, free from the rage of theorizing, brought up in the camp, and therefore accustomed both to obey and to be obeyed, unpledged to systems or parties, and of immense popularity. If he coinprehends his position, and is equal to it, he has a glorious opportunity of proving himself a second father of his country, and of rivalling Washington in his civic wisdom and virtue, as he has already approached him in his brilliant military achievements. Never since Washington had a president of these United States so fine a chance to distinguish himself by rendering important services to his country and to the world. Now is the TIME; we hope General Taylor is the man. If the present time is not improved, it is all but in vain to hope for another. With the false doctrines of our popular politicians, with the strong democratic tendency of our people, with the fearful progress radicalism has already inade, with these democratic and socialistic revolutions hourly occurring abroad, shaking the Old World to its centre, and reacting on us with a tremendous force, it is to be feared, that, if we do not now take measures to strengthen the barriers against the popular movement, and to secure the supremacy of the constitution and the majesty of the state, it will henceforth be for ever too late. We hope in a good Providence that the new American administration will duly consider this matter, place the government once more, after so many years, on the conservative basis, and study to consolidate order and liberty within the state, rather than to extend our territories, and captivate us with the false glow of a delusive external splendor.
RECENT EUROPEAN EVENTS.
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for July, 1848.]
Our views of revolutions in general are well known, and we have at present no occasion to repeat them. We have seen nothing in the recent events in Europe that seems to us to call for any modification of the doctrines which we have uniformly contended for, however unpalatable they may be to the visionary politicians of the day. Of course, we, in common with every man worthy of the name of man, abhor despotism ; but we abhor the despotism of mobs more than that of kings. The king may be licentious, wicked, and delight to oppress his subjects; but nature ordinarily sets some limits to his power, and the principal weight of his oppression falls upon the higher classes rather than upon the lower. There is for the great body of the people in general such a thing as living under his government. There are nooks and corners where his eye cannot penetrate and his arm cannot reach. But under the mob, unless you join it, and urge it on to harrass and oppress, there is no living for yon. It is resistless and remorseless. Its eyes penetrate every cranny, and its power finds out and uncovers every hiding-place. It leaves a covert for none,-shelter for neither soul nor body,—and is well termed, in our strong old Anglo-Saxon phrase, “ Hell broke loose."
We confess, therefore, that we have a lively horror of mobs, and not even a polite Parisian mob, courteously and with inimitable grace and delicacy begging us just to perinit it to fusilade us or to cut our throats, is able to inspire us with confidence in them. If we must die under the operation of drugs administered to restore us to health, let them be prescribed by the mediciner with a diploma in his pocket, and a gold-headed cane to his nose, --not by the unauthorized quack. If the regular practitioner kills us it is his affair and he must answer for it; but if the quack kills us, our death is a sort of suicide, for which we are ourselves responsible. So, if we must be stripped of our rights, robbed of our manhood, and reduced to abject slavery, let it be by the crowned head and the sceptred hand, not by the untitled multitude.
As inobs at best are despots, and as kings can be only despots at worst, we are not prepared to raise the shout of joy merely because a mob in its wrath has deposed a king, burnt a throne, put an end to a dynasty, and resolved the state into its original elements. We judge it prudent to wait a little and see what is likely to follow --whether any thing for real political and social well-being is likely to be gained. We are no apologists for kings in general, and certainly not for the late king of the French in particular. We have never admired Louis Philippe as a man; we have never admitted his right to the throne he occupied, and we have seen much in his policy to censure, and but little to approve. A mob made him king, and it was not unfitting that a mob should unmake him. Nevertheless, France did exist under his reign,-in some respects even prospered, and began to show symptoms of returning sanity, common sense, faith, and piety: If she could have loyally accepted the Orleans dynasty, and cordially coöperated with it in correcting and approving the administration, instead of exerting herself to einbarrass the government, or collecting and concentrating her energies for one bold and vigorous effort to change its constitution, it seems to us that she might have found her condition tolerable, have gradually recovered from the disastrous effects of her previous revolutions, and resumed her place at the head of modern civilization. The very worst way in the world to improve the temper or to facilitate the beneficial operations of a government is to keep it in constant apprehension for its own safety. Assuredly, we have little sympathy with Louis Philippe; but worse kings have been borne with, and we sincerely hope that France, who in a moment of delirium made him king, may never have cause to regret that in another moment of delirium she has unmade him.
We may be told that the abolition of royalty is in itself a great gain, and that, as friends of liberty, we ought to rejoice in the triumphs of democracy. We trust that it is not necessary for us at this late day to proclaim our love of liberty, or our devotion to the cause of the people. Let those of our countrymen who have more steadily devoted themselves to that cause than we have, or at a greater sacrifice claimed and exercised the highest of all freedoms, reproach us if they will. We are stanch republicans,-for our own country. Not, indeed, because we believe the American people, in civilization, intelligence, morals, religion, to be in advance of the European nations, but because republicanism is the form of government which Almighty God in his providence has established for us; because it is here the legal and the only legal forin; and because it has its roots in our national life, and is the only government to which our national habits, manners, and usages are adapted. It is coeval with our national existence, has grown up with us, and is a part of our concrete selves. We are, so to speak, natural-born republicans, and instinctively, without deliberation, adopt republican modes, and act to republican ends. But while these are good and sufficient reasons for maintaining republicanism at home, they are not good and sufficient reasons for asserting its superiority over all other forms for other nations, whose training has been different from ours. The French people, for instance, may even surpass us in religion, morals, intelligence, and retined civilization ; but, trained as they have been under the centralized monarchical system of modern Europe, they are necessarily destitute of those forms of interior life essential to republicanism, and without which it must be something foreign and unnatural
. There is a wide difference between their case and ours. We, in order to support and carry on our government, have little else to do but to fall into the established routine; we are not required to make any effort, to change or do violence