Anti-Federalists of 1787 presaged the events of January 6, 2021
WASHINGTON. The United States representatives to the 1787 convention in Philadelphia were to amend the governing Articles of Confederation to better deal with matters of interstate commerce and taxation. Instead, the delegates secretly drafted a constitution creating a central government to deal with the matters mentioned above and the foreign policy of the United States. And the anti-federalists among them became alarmed.
Samuel Bryan of Pennsylvania couldn’t be more displeased with the document conceived secretly in the same state house where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
In an open letter to his fellow citizens, using the penname Centinel, Bryan wrote:
“The evil genius of darkness presided at its birth, it came forth under the veil of mystery, its true features being carefully concealed, and every deceptive art has been and is practicing to have this spurious brat received as the genuine offspring of heaven-born liberty. So fearful are its patrons that you should discern the imposition that they have hurried on its adoption, with the greatest precipitation… Thus, despotism is already triumphant, and the genius of liberty is on the eve of her exit, is about bidding an eternal adieu to this once happy people.”
Bryan’s dismissive opinion of the US Constitution doesn’t quite match with most American’s perception of happy unanimity among the nation’s Founders. It casts a dark shadow over the bright scene depicted in Howard Chandler Christy’s 1940 painting now hanging in the US Capitol Building.
And these forgotten Founders, known as the anti-federalists, were amazingly prescient in their criticisms of the new charter. As a co-author of what became known as the “Anti-Federalist Papers,” a man writing under the pen name Cato, after the Roman stoic philosopher, noted:
“It is to be lamented that the interested and designing have availed themselves so successfully of the present crisis, and under the specious pretense of having discovered a panacea for all the ills of the people, they are about establishing a system of government, that will prove more destructive to them than the wooden horse filled with soldiers did in ancient times to the city of Troy.”
The author Cato (believed by historians to be George Clinton, future vice president and governor of New York) also expressed his suspicion there were “aspiring despots among yourselves prostituting the name of a Washington to cloak their designs upon your liberties.”
Clearly, George Washington’s noble character and soldiery achievements in securing American independence meant very little to these men when measured against the preservation of freedom.
And that’s as it should be. No man or his reputation is greater than the preservation of individual liberty.
But that’s all gone now.
The Constitutional government of so-called “enumerated powers” now dictates school curriculum, redefines the meaning of marriage, allows massive voter fraud, abets illegal immigration, spies on our private electronic communications with the aid of Big Tech, which also serves as the government’s Orwellian ministry of truth.
Recently, President Biden went so far as to mock the Bill of Rights, telling Second Amendment adherents, “If you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.”
Biden’s words recall those of an anti-federalist pamphleteer,
“The same government pervading a vast extent of territory terrifies the mind of individuals into meanness and submission. All human authority, however, organized, must have confined limits, or insolence and oppression will prove the offspring of its grandeur, and the difficulty or rather impossibility of escape prevents resistance.”
The Russian people tolerated the “insolence and oppression” of the Soviet boot pressed upon their necks for more than seventy years. Eventually, their apathetic “meanness and submission” transformed into the clenched fist of resistance.
You see, the senile Biden forgets the old Soviet Union also had fighter jets and nukes in their bristling arsenals. Yet, that totalitarian monstrosity went out – not with a bang but a whimper.
This may be hard for Americans to hear, but our Constitution has proven to be an abject failure. Its safeguards of our liberties are crumbling before our eyes. That’s because it was flawed from the beginning.
Even today, Article 1, Section 9 of the document still contains the offending clause that once permitted the…
“… importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper.”
The “persons” in question, of course, were Africans sold into slavery in America.
The US government, we’re taught in school, crushed the Confederacy following the Civil War. Thus bringing our deeply flawed Constitution into compliance with the sacred principles of the Declaration of Independence.
That lasted all of 155 years.
What Abraham Lincoln said in 1858 remains true today:
“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
As the protections of our unalienable rights dissolve, our nation will continue to step away from its founding principles to become “all the other.”
If the recent January 6 Congressional commission wants to know why average Americans were storming the US Capitol seven months ago (where hangs Christy’s painting of the US Constitution’s signing), all they need do is read the warnings of America’s wise, prognosticating anti-federalists.
About the Author:
Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area, and now resides in South Florida. A cigar and bourbon aficionado, Steven is a political staff writer for Communities Digital News and an incredibly talented artist.
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