the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Down in virginia patrick henry was already moving to

Info icon This preview shows pages 111–112. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
experiment with a large-scale republican government work. Down in Virginia, Patrick Henry was already moving to avenge his defeat in Richmond by pressuring the legislature to select for the Senate men who had opposed ratification, thereby blocking Madison’s election, though he could not prevent Madison’s election to the House. Up in New York, George Clinton was pursuing the same strategy, designed to make the New York delegation a Trojan horse within the new federal fortress, all the while pressing for a second convention as described in his “circulatory letter,” which was obviously a recipe for reversing the verdict recently reached in the ratification process. 1 Hamilton again focused most of his fire on New York, launching a campaign to oppose Clinton’s candidates for the Senate and the Electoral College. He also published fourteen essays in the Daily Advertiser under the pseudonym “H.R.,” attacking Clinton’s character, his obstructionist political motives, and his corrupt system of patronage. Beyond much doubt, Hamilton was the most skilled political polemicist in America, and he brought the same incredible energy he had displayed as Publius to the task at hand. The Constitution, he believed, was only words on parchment, outlining the framework for a new kind of American republic. Unless those words and framework were implemented by representatives devoted to its success, not men seeking to sabotage its very survival, all the work of the past two years would be for naught. 2 There was one person who was utterly indispensable, the only man in America capable of transcending the local, state, and regional divisions, the “singular figure” whom every American could agree embodied the American Revolution in all its multiple manifestations. Like everyone else, Hamilton assumed that George Washington would become the first president of the United States, and a number of delegates to the Constitutional Convention and state ratifying conventions had voted to endorse the Constitution primarily on the presumption that Washington would head the new federal government. There was, however, one man in America who did not share that presumption, and it happened to be Washington himself. Ever since the spring of 1788, when the prospects for ratification began to look likely, Washington had seen fit to apprise all who inquired that he was permanently embedded beneath his vines and fig tree at Mount Vernon and had no desire or intention to budge. “I am so wedded to a state of retirement,” he explained, “and find the occupations of a rural life so congenial with my feelings, that to be drawn into public life at this advanced age would be a sacrifice that could afford no compensation.” 3 Eloquent testimonials in the Ciceronian style to the bucolic pleasures of retirement were a familiar refrain within the planter class of Virginia. But Washington was not just posing within that rhetorical tradition. “As the great searcher of human hearts is my witness,” he insisted, “I have no wish which aspires beyond the humble and happy lot of living and dying a private citizen on my own farm.”
Image of page 111

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 112
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern