A View to the Right Side…Republicans
Modern Americans tend to take for granted the acceptance of the Constitution. Its merits seem self-evident largely because it has survived for over two centuries. But in the early 1780s no one could have predicted the Constitution as we know it would have been written, much less ratified. It is equally possible the Americans would have supported a weak confederation, or perhaps, allowed the various states and regions to go their separate ways.
Before simply accepting the above statement, we have a point that we believe is more than equally important as to how much of this pre-Constitution attitude may have come about – and supported by many.
For the sake of good history – let us recall some certain influential dates. Way, way down south in Virginia there is a remarkable monument right on the ocean front that calls attention to those glorious and like-minded British subjects who originally pulled up as their first port on that very spot from England. It was inscribed 1609 A.D.
Then of course we know of a few more overwhelmingly significant dates that occurred over the next 180 years and I would be remiss if I did not make mention of even a small list of some dates. For it was within a decade 1620 A.D. that a group organized upon a ship named the Mayflower that only after entering into their first Compact settled into what is New England. In time, the Pilgrims and those remotely involved with “Separatism” without leadership or any other form of civil government these people were of the right mind to admonish that and developed a government including their ways of life meaning of course, religion.
In this uncertain political atmosphere, Americans divided sharply over the relative importance of liberty and order. The revolutionary experience had called into question the legitimacy of any form of special privilege. Interestingly enough it is through this saying that many of the Republican Party members as one Republican informed an aristocratic colleague in the South Carolina assembly, “the day is Arrived when goodness, and not Wealth, are the only Criterions of Greatness.”
We believe that these issues are not only mentioned in the US Constitution primarily the “no-title clauses” for the President and other members of Congress. Furthermore, the man in the Pennsylvania legislature who put the issue of special privilege into context very passionately defended social equality for those of varying economic status, however, may still have resisted the extension of civil rights to women or blacks.
Nevertheless, liberty was contagious, and Americans of all backgrounds began to make new demands on society and government. For them, the Revolution had suggested new and radical alternatives – especially to those who were in the elected assemblies – who insisted on being heard.
Some Americans – often the very men who had resisted British tyranny – worried the citizens of the new nation were caught up in a wild, destructive scramble for material wealth. Democratic excesses seemed to threaten order, even to endanger the rights of property. One thing became certain – that a Republic could not long survive unless its citizens showed greater self-control. Actually, this attitude ran so high in early America that the most suspect were indeed the state assemblies.
Working out the tensions between order and liberty, between property and equality, generated an outpouring of political genius. At other times in American history, persons of extraordinary talents have been drawn to theology, commerce, or science, but during the 1780s the country’s intellectual leaders – Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams, among others – focused their creative energies on the problem of how republicans ought to govern themselves.