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The Letters of Centinel: Attacks on the U.S. Constitution 1787-1788

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A conspiracy of the wealthy and well-born hatched the Constitution as a way of tricking the people of the United States out of the liberties they had gained through the expenditure of blood and treasure during the Revolution. The raving of a right-wing zany? The ranting of the last Maoist in Albania? No. It was the opinion of Samuel Bryan of Philadelphia, a patriot who too A conspiracy of the wealthy and well-born hatched the Constitution as a way of tricking the people of the United States out of the liberties they had gained through the expenditure of blood and treasure during the Revolution. The raving of a right-wing zany? The ranting of the last Maoist in Albania? No. It was the opinion of Samuel Bryan of Philadelphia, a patriot who took an active part in the public debate over the Constitution of the United States by writing and publishing twenty-four letters under the pen name "Centinel." Why are the letters important? As historian Charles Beard pointed out, The Letters of Centinel demand comparison with The Federalist Papers. They turn many of our revered assumptions on their ear. The letters contain one of the earliest and most outspoken calls for a Bill of Rights. We tend to forget the Constitution was first proposed without those first ten amendments that are so important to us now. It is unlikely the Bill of Rights would exist without the public alarm sounded by Centinel and others like him. The letters publicly lament the Constitution's provision for the continuing importation of slaves, an element of the document most of us now would rather forget. The letters make a case for what are now called "term limits," an early attempt to prevent the formation of a political class in the U.S. The letters cause us to rethink some of our received opinions on the "Founding Fathers." Washington and Franklin are seen as well-meaning but misled tools of an aristocratic junto. Hamilton is described as a New York writer with a "deranged brain." In short, The Letters of Centinel make what is now mere history breathe the impassioned air of a contemporary debate and should be widely read and discussed for the very good reason Centinel himself provides-- "...of all possible evils, that of despotism is the worst and the most to be dreaded." Edited and introduced by Warren Hope, Ph.D., an author and a professor of graduate English and publishing at Rosemont College, this book will prove of interest to general readers, journalists, politicians, lawyers, and students and teachers of American history


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A conspiracy of the wealthy and well-born hatched the Constitution as a way of tricking the people of the United States out of the liberties they had gained through the expenditure of blood and treasure during the Revolution. The raving of a right-wing zany? The ranting of the last Maoist in Albania? No. It was the opinion of Samuel Bryan of Philadelphia, a patriot who too A conspiracy of the wealthy and well-born hatched the Constitution as a way of tricking the people of the United States out of the liberties they had gained through the expenditure of blood and treasure during the Revolution. The raving of a right-wing zany? The ranting of the last Maoist in Albania? No. It was the opinion of Samuel Bryan of Philadelphia, a patriot who took an active part in the public debate over the Constitution of the United States by writing and publishing twenty-four letters under the pen name "Centinel." Why are the letters important? As historian Charles Beard pointed out, The Letters of Centinel demand comparison with The Federalist Papers. They turn many of our revered assumptions on their ear. The letters contain one of the earliest and most outspoken calls for a Bill of Rights. We tend to forget the Constitution was first proposed without those first ten amendments that are so important to us now. It is unlikely the Bill of Rights would exist without the public alarm sounded by Centinel and others like him. The letters publicly lament the Constitution's provision for the continuing importation of slaves, an element of the document most of us now would rather forget. The letters make a case for what are now called "term limits," an early attempt to prevent the formation of a political class in the U.S. The letters cause us to rethink some of our received opinions on the "Founding Fathers." Washington and Franklin are seen as well-meaning but misled tools of an aristocratic junto. Hamilton is described as a New York writer with a "deranged brain." In short, The Letters of Centinel make what is now mere history breathe the impassioned air of a contemporary debate and should be widely read and discussed for the very good reason Centinel himself provides-- "...of all possible evils, that of despotism is the worst and the most to be dreaded." Edited and introduced by Warren Hope, Ph.D., an author and a professor of graduate English and publishing at Rosemont College, this book will prove of interest to general readers, journalists, politicians, lawyers, and students and teachers of American history

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