Page:Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.djvu/19

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Introduction. 3

increase of the prerogative of the executive. While the other party in each instance adopts an opposite course. The natural bent of the one party is tow- ards a strong and highly centralized government, of the other towards a pure democracy. The one finds its dangerous extreme in absolute mon- archy with all the attendant theories of divine right, non-resistance, and so forth, while the latter finds its corresponding extreme in anarchy. In one form or another these opposing theories are always present in the state. Immediately after the Revolutionary war had left this country free but ex- hausted, they began to show themselves in various forms and different degrees of intensity in every part of the land. The general prostration and the natural weight of vis inertia told heavily on the feeble Federation, and the majority of thinking men watched with regret the slow, insidious work of disintegration. The essential weakness of the Federation was more and more widely recognized, till at last the tide set strongly towards a more efficient government, and by constant, almost heroic, efforts the dead weight of opposition was at length raised, and the country fairly made a na- tion. All but the most uncompromising foes of a strong central government joined in one way or another in the movement. The only notable ex- ceptions were to be found among the citizens of those States which hoped to gain by oppressing their weaker neighbors and monopolizing com- merce when the long impending ruin of the effete central government should become an accomplished