Federal v. Consolidated Government

[Volume 1, Page 282]

CHAPTER 8 | Document 32

Luther Martin, Genuine Information

1788Storing 2.4.39--41

It was urged, that the government we were forming was not in reality a federal but a national government, not founded on the principles of the preservation, but the abolition or consolidation of all State governments--That we appeared totally to have forgot the business for which we were sent, and the situation of the country for which we were preparing our system--That we had not been sent to form a government over the inhabitants of America, considered as individuals, that as individuals they were all subject to their respective State governments, which governments would still remain, tho' the federal government should be dissolved--That the system of government we were entrusted to prepare, was a government over these thirteen States; but that in our proceedings, we adopted principles which would be right and proper, only on the supposition that there were no State governments at all, but that all the inhabitants of this extensive continent were in their individual capacity, [Volume 1, Page 283] without government, and in a state of nature--That accordingly the system proposes the legislature to consist of two branches, the one to be drawn from the people at large, immediately in their individual capacity; the other to be chose in a more select manner, as a check upon the first--It is in its very introduction declared to be a compact between the people of the United States as individuals, and it is to be ratified by the people at large in their capacity as individuals; all which it was said, would be quite right and proper, if there were no State governments, if all the people of this continent were in a state of nature, and we were forming one national government for them as individuals, and is nearly the same as was done in most of the States, when they formed their governments over the people who compose them.

Whereas it was urged, that the principles on which a federal government over States ought to be constructed and ratified are the reverse; that instead of the legislature consisting of two branches, one branch was sufficient, whether examined by the dictates of reason, or the experience of ages--That the representation instead of being drawn from the people at large as individuals, ought to be drawn from the States as States in their sovereign capacity--That in a federal government, the parties to the compact are not the people as individuals, but the States as States, and that it is by the States as States in their sovereign capacity, that the system of government ought to be ratified, and not by the people as individuals.

It was further said, that in a federal government over States equally free, sovereign, and independent, every State ought to have an equal share in making the federal laws or regulations; in deciding upon them, and in carrying them into execution, neither of which was the case in this system, but the reverse, the States not having an equal voice in the legislature, nor in the appointment of the executive, the judges, and the other officers of government: it was insisted, that in the whole system there was but one federal feature, the appointment of the senators by the States in their sovereign capacity, that is by their legislatures, and the equality of suffrage in that branch; but it was said that this feature was only federal in appearance.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 8, Document 32
The University of Chicago Press

Storing, Herbert J., ed. The Complete Anti-Federalist. 7 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

© 1987 by The University of Chicago
All rights reserved. Published 2000