the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

What he called the nauseus business of amendments was

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Jefferson on several occasions, he really did not think the Constitution needed a bill of rights. What he called “the nauseus business of amendments” was primarily intended to win over those disaffected and reluctant Americans by identifying in specific ways the constitutional constraints on federal power. He was always very clear about that: “It is to be wished that the discontented part of our fellow Citizens could be reconciled to the Government they have opposed, and by means as little unacceptable to those who approve the Constitution in its present form. The amendments proposed in the H. of Rep. had this two-fold object in view.” 40 He did not regard himself as a political philosopher but rather as a political strategist attempting to secure the success of a quite daring project that he, Hamilton, Jay, and Washington had launched against great odds three years earlier. Over the ensuing decades and centuries, to be sure, the Bill of Rights has ascended to an elevated region in the American imagination. But in its own time, and in Madison’s mind, it was only an essential epilogue that concluded a brilliant campaign to adjust the meaning of the American Revolution to a national scale. It makes sense to end the story in the summer of 1789. By then the Constitution had been ratified, Washington was ensconced as the first president, the Bill of Rights was on the way to ratification, and the framework for a truly national government was in place. Only a few years earlier, no one could have predicted this outcome or the chain of events that led to it. But there it was. The American Revolution now meant not just independence but nationhood. And though a majority of the American populace was either opposed or indifferent to this remarkable transition, the institutions necessary to make it happen were now established, and the American citizenry were beginning to grow into the nation-size house constructed for them. It would take at least a full generation before they felt comfortable living there and had arranged the political furniture to their satisfaction. 41 All the men who had led the movement toward nationhood, with one major exception, were centrally involved in the effort to implement and institutionalize that vision in the following decade. Washington’s role was paramount, for he made the American presidency a powerful office that combined the symbolic authority of an elected monarch with the substantive role of prime minister responsible for overseeing domestic and foreign policy. No one other than Washington could have done this so seamlessly and successfully, although he would spend both presidential terms wishing he was back at Mount Vernon. Hamilton became the first secretary of the treasury. Washington had initially offered the job to Robert Morris, who declined in order to serve in the Senate. Hamilton proceeded to implement a comprehensive financial plan closely modeled on what Morris had attempted as the superintendent of finance: namely, a national bank, federal assumption of all state debts, and a long-range plan to retire the national debt and restore American credit internationally. In part because he came at the start, he is generally regarded as
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