sent men's ambitions reeling and stirred latent longings for the feudal past.
Very few if any of these British land speculators profited from their investments in these schemes.
Conversations About The Constitution
Everyone knew that democracy-direct rule by all the people-required such spartan, sel denying virtue on the part of all the people that it was likely to survive only where poverty made upright behavior necessary for the perpetuation of the race.
It was an elevating, transforming vision: a new, fresh, vigorous, and above all morally regenerate people rising from the obscurity to defend the battlements of liberty and then in triumph standing forth, heartening and sustaining the cause of freedom everywhere.
In effect the people were present through their representatives, and were themselves, step by step and point by point, acting in the conduct of public affairs. No longer merely an ultimate check on government, they were in some sense the government.
The idea of sovereignty current in the English speaking world of the 1760's was scarcely more than a century old. It had first emerged during the English Civil War, in the early 1640's, and had been established as a canon of Whig political thought in the Revolution of 1688.
The theory of politics that emerges from the political literature of the pre-Revolutionary years rests on the belief that what lay behind every political scene, the ultimate explanation of every political controversy, was the disposition of power.
What gave transcendent importance to the aggressiveness of power was the fact that its natural prey, its necessary victim, was liberty, or law, or right.
The wielders of power did not speak for it, nor did they naturally serve it. Their interest was to use and develop power, no less natural and necessary than liberty but more dangerous.
The primary function of a constitution was to mark out the boundaries of governmental powers-hence in England, where there was no constitution, there were no limits (save for the effect of trail by jury) to what the legislature might do.
Never had Parliament or the crown, or both together, operated in actuality as theory indicated sovereign powers should.
Up and down the the still sparsely settled coast of British North America, groups of men-intellectuals and farmers, scholars and merchants, the learned and the ignorant-gathered for the purpose of constructing enlightened governments.
On the evening of October 14, 1774, the Massachusetts delegates were invited to Carpenters' Hall by a group of Philadelphians to do a little business.
In England the practice of virtual representation provided reasonably well for the actual representation of the major interests of the society, and it raised no widespread objection.