Alexander Hamilton Speaking About Democracy


Leading up to the Constitutional Convention, and reacting to the events of Shays' Rebellion, Hamilton (who supported the republic) made clear his distrust for democracy.

Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States, New York: Harper Collins, 2003, p. 96.

"All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well-born, the other the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct permanent share in the government....Can a democratic assembly who annually revolve in the mass of the people be supposed steadily to pursue the public good? Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy...."