Page:Federalist, Dawson edition, 1863.djvu/402

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258
The Fœderalist.
For the Independent Journal.

THE FŒDERALIST. No. XXXVIII.



To the People of the State of New York:

THE last paper having concluded the observations, which were meant to introduce a candid survey of the plan of Government reported by the Convention, we now proceed to the execution of that part of our undertaking.

The first question that offers itself is, whether the general form and aspect of the Government be strictly republican. It is evident that no other form would be reconcilable with the genius of the People of America; with the fundamental principles of the Revolution; or with that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government. If the plan of the Convention, therefore, be found to depart from the republican character, its advocates must abandon it as no longer defensible.

What then are the distinctive characters of the republican form? Were an answer to this question to be sought, not by recurring to principles, but in the application of the term by political writers, to the Constitutions of different States, no satisfactory one would ever be found. Holland, in which no particle of the supreme authority is derived from the People, has passed almost universally under the denomination of a republic. The same title has been bestowed on Venice, where absolute power over the great body of the People is exercised, in the most absolute manner, by a small body of hereditary nobles. Poland, which is a mixture of aristocracy and of monarchy in their worst forms, has been dignified