Page:Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.djvu/18

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they have been discussed, and many as are the theories that have been promulgated concerning them, no attempt has as yet been made to write their history in a full and connected form. Certainly it may justly be assigned a place among those departments of American history esteemed worthy of separate treatment; and now that the mists of passion and prejudice that so long forbade any attempt at a candid discussion are nearly dissipated, it may not be too much to hope that the day is at last come when a fair-minded and dispassionate narrative may be written, the general uncertainty that clings to the whole subject be dispelled, and some of the errors that have crept into the most weighty accounts be corrected.

A clear knowledge of the causes that led to the Resolutions of 1798-9 is indispensable to the understanding of the problems connected with them. They had the primary cause of their existence not in any temporary condition of affairs, but in the great natural diversity of sentiment common to all men. The trend of human thought constantly leads men, according to their natural temperaments, to separate themselves into two great parties. By whatever names they may be known at different times and places, the one may be roughly designated as Conservative, and the other as Progressive. According to the condition of public affairs the efforts of the one party are directed towards the preservation intact of the existing government and the resistance of all change, or towards the steady strengthening of the hands of authority, and an