From September 17, 1787 through January 12, 1788 there was much debate in the American newspapers concerning the idea of a stronger federal government that the new constitution would provide for over the existing, and financially bankrupt, Confederation of States.
There were the conservatives with their roots buried deep within the traditions of their European ancestors…and the liberals, led by a radical group of young men named Jefferson, Adams, and others who had a new and untested idea.
These articles, along with many letters that were also published in these papers, were compiled into a two volume set of books that I like to spend winter afternoons reading. Been doing it for years.
Today, I was astounded to read from a letter that George Washington wrote to his nephew, Bushrod Washington, who would someday become a U.S. Supreme Court justice. In this letter, he described what we know today as the FOX News channel.
I don’t expect those who value this station as their news source to agree with me, but I am sure that others who obtain their news and world views from more than one source will immediately recognize the similarities.
Washington, of course, was in favor of the new constitution that was supported by his liberal friends.
Read his letter…and think about recent subjects like …oh…health care reform, for instance.
“The oppponents I expected, (for it ever has been that the adversaries to a measure are more active than its Friends) would endeavor to stamp it with unfavorable impressions, in order to bias the Judgment that is ultimately to decide on it, this is evidently the case with the writers in opposition, whose objections are better calculated to alarm the fears, than to convince the Judgment, of their readers. They build their objections upon principles that do not exist, which the Constitution does not support them in, and the existence of which has been, by appeal to the Constitution itself flatly denied; and then, as if they were unanswerable, draw all the dreadful consequences that are necessary to alarm the apprehensions of the ignorant or unthinking.”
The writing style is colonial and outdated…but the message is as clear and as relevant as anything being presented today.