In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of a good government, namely a democratic government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will bring them together into a social order, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labor out of the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time would urge him from his work, and every different want call him a different way. Disease or even misfortune would lead to death, for though neither might be mortal, either would disable him from living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die.
Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supersede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty, and attachment to each other; and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.
Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, by means of freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darkens our understanding, the simple voice of nature and of reason will say, it is right.
I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, namely, that the more simple something is, the less liable it is to be disordered and that it will be easier to repair if it becomes disordered. With this maxim in view, it is not difficult to see the ills of a more expanded and bureaucratic government neglecting its citizens, where waste and corruption abound. Such governments are only noble in so far as the dark and slavish times from which they were erected. When the world was overrun with tyranny, there was no hope of a glorious rescue. The fact that governments that ignore this maxim of simplicity are subject to endless convulsions and ultimately incapable of producing what it seems to promise.
Absolute governments (though the disgrace of human nature) have the sole advantage that they are simple; if the people suffer, they know the head from which their suffering springs, and they know likewise the remedy and are not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures. But in a democratic government that does not heed the principle of simplicity, becomes so exceedingly complex, that the nation may suffer for years together without being able to discover in which part the fault lies; some will say in one and some in another, and every political physician will advise a different medicine. For a government to succeed, especially a democratic one, which is the highest form of government, it must be simple.
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