CHAPTER 7 | Document 16

A [Massachusetts] Federalist

3 Dec. 1787Storing 4:119 n. 1

I would ask this writer, if civil habits are antecedent, and prior to civil institutions? Would a wise legislator who was about to form a system of government, for a nation, in a state of nature, adapt his plan to the prevailing habits of such a people? No; his object would be, to introduce a code of laws that would induce those habits of civilization and order, which must result from good government. The truth of the case is, that as a people, we are destitute of FEDERAL FEATURES, and HABITS--the several State Constitutions are local, partial, and selfish; they are not calculated in their construction, to form national views; this great object is beyond their limits--and dear bought experience proves that the unbounded sovereignty of the individual governments, is incompatible with a national system.

For want of those HABITS OF NATIONALITY, we have been brought into our present contemptible and deplorable situation. The proposed Federal Constitution is happily calculated to form us to a national spirit, and to diffuse those generous federal sentiments, without which, we never can be a happy and flourishing people.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 7, Document 16
The University of Chicago Press

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

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