Sunday Morning Quotation – Thoughts on the New Constitution from a Maryland Farmer (1788)

One of the critics of the Constitution was a “Maryland Farmer” – likely John Francis Mercer – who worried about the dangers of creating a government that would cut “a figure in history”: 

Whether any form of national government is preferable for the Americans, to a league or confederacy, is a previous question we must first make up our minds upon….

That a national government will add to the dignity and increase the splendor of the United States abroad, can admit of no doubt: it is essentially requisite for both. That it will render government, and officers of government, more dignified at home is equally certain. That these objects are more suited to the manners, if not [the] genius and disposition of our people is, I fear, also true. That it is requisite in order to keep us at peace among ourselves, is doubtful. That it is necessary, to prevent foreigners from dividing us, or interfering in our government, I deny positively; and, after all, I have strong doubts whether all its advantages are not more specious than solid. We are vain, like other nations. We wish to make a noise in the world; and feel hurt that Europeans are not so attentive to America in peace, as they were to America in war. We are also, no doubt, desirous of cutting a figure in history. Should we not reflect, that quiet is happiness? That content and pomp are incompatible? I have either read or heard this truth, which the Americans should never forget: That the silence of historians is the surest record of the happiness of a people. The Swiss have been four hundred years the envy of mankind, and there is yet scarcely an history of their nation. What is history, but a disgusting and painful detail of the butcheries of conquerors, and the woeful calamities of the conquered?

2 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Quotation – Thoughts on the New Constitution from a Maryland Farmer (1788)

  1. Frankly… I cannot believe you would not know for sure who is the one giving you these words of wisdom.

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