. 4
( 11)


Architects of Political Change

receipts from taxation, of the order of 40,000 dollars per annum. Chown™s
(1994) higher ¬gure of 84,000 dollars per annum has to be offset against
his estimates of 60,000 dollars in collection costs. Using this estimate, it
is totally implausible that the British actions were induced by the bene¬ts
obtained from taxation (once collection costs are included). Moreover, it
is known that the British were well aware of the French promises to the
Colonies.9 It is reasonable to expect that the British would rationally be-
lieve that the Americans would only acquiesce with very low probability.
Consequently, under the assumption that the gain to the British was only
T0 , they should rationally have acquiesced to American independence. In
fact, on March 9, 1778, the British Parliament enacted various Acts to
repeal all objectionable Acts involving taxation. By then, it was obvious
that r was close to 0. This also suggests that taxation was not the issue.
If we set the prize T to the British for winning the war at 25 million
dollars, the costs of carrying out and winning the war at 12 million dollars,
and the costs if the war were lost at 15 million dollars, then, assuming
r = 0, the inequality becomes
p(25 ’ 12) ’ (1 ’ p)15 > 0, or p > 0.53. (3.5)
In contrast to the calculation for the Colonies, I have assumed that
the additional cost to the British”3 million dollars, if they lost”is sub-
stantially less than for the Colonies. Given the British ability in military
affairs, it is plausible that they calculated that the probability of success,
p, against both the Colonies and the French, clearly exceeded the value
of 0.53.
Although I have assumed that the prize, T, was equal to Paine™s estimate
of the value of the Ohio Valley, it is obvious that different members of the
House of Parliament would have calculated differently. For those who
believed that the British had a constitutional obligation to defend the
rights of the Indian peoples of the Ohio Valley, T would have higher
value. For those, like Burke, who emphasized the value of trade with the
colonists, the costs of war would far exceed any possible bene¬ts.10 It
would seem possible that George III and the Cabinet put high value on
the Ohio Valley, not because of its intrinsic value, but because of a sense of

See, for example, the discussion of the effective British secret agents operating in

Paris, in van Doren (1938) and Bemis (1962: 16“39).
See, in particular, the speeches made by Edmund Burke “On American Taxation”

on April 19, 1774, and “On Moving His Resolutions for Conciliation with the
Colonies,” on March 22, 1775, in Canavan (1999: 157“220 and 221“289).

Franklin and the War of Independence

obligation to maintain the rule of law and to satisfy perceived obligations
to their Indian subjects.
We may say that the Declaration of Independence was a signal from the
Continental Congress that provided information on expected costs and
probabilities to a generic member of the population. This signal changed
the a priori subjective probabilities, leading to what I have called a belief
cascade in the Colonies, and inducing at least a good proportion of the
population to accept the rationality of the decision.
I argue in Chapter 4 that Madison and Hamilton generated a be-
lief cascade in the country during the Rati¬cation of the Constitution
from 1787 to 1789. Chapter 5 further suggests that Lincoln™s election in
1860 was the consequence of a belief cascade in the northern electorate.
Lincoln™s “House Divided” speech in Illinois in June 1858, his debates
with Stephen Douglas from August to October 1858, together with his
speeches in New York and New Haven in February and March 1860,
were focused on the assertion that the Dred Scott decision made by the
Supreme Court in 1857, could lead to the extension of slavery to the free
In all these cases, a simple expected utility calculation of the kind just
performed can give some insight into the basis of the collective calculation.

3.4 appendixes

3.4.1 The Quebec Act, October 7, 1774
14 George III, c. 83 (U.K.)
An Act for making more effectual Provision for the Government of the
Province of Quebec in North America.
I. WHEREAS, his Majesty, by his Royal Proclamation bearing Date the seventh
Day of October, in the third Year of his Reign, thought ¬t to declare the Provisions
which had been made in respect to certain Countries, Territories, and Islands in
America, ceded to his Majesty by the de¬nitive Treaty of Peace, concluded at Paris
on the tenth day of February, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three: And
whereas, by the Arrangements made by the said Royal Proclamation a very large
Extent of Country, within which there were several Colonies and Settlements of
the Subjects of France, who claimed to remain therein under the Faith of the
said Treaty, was left, without any Provision being made for the Administration
of Civil Government therein; and certain Parts of the Territory of Canada, where
sedentary Fisheries had been established and carried on by the Subjects of France,
Inhabitants of the said Province of Canada under Grants and Concessions from

Architects of Political Change

the Government thereof, were annexed to the Government of Newfoundland,
and thereby subjected to Regulations inconsistent with the Nature of such Fish-
eries: May it therefore please your most Excellent Majesty that it may be enacted;
and be it enacted by the King™s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice
and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same. That all the Territories,
Islands and Countries in North America, belonging to the Crown of Great Britain,
bounded on the South by a Line from the Bay of Chaleurs along the High Lands
which divide the Rivers that empty themselves into the River Saint Lawrence from
those which fall into the Sea, to a Point in forty-¬ve Degrees of Northern Lati-
tude, on the Eastern Bank of the River Connecticut, keeping the same Latitude
directly West, through the Lake Champlain, until, in the same Latitude, it meets
the River Saint Lawrence: from thence up the Eastern Bank of the said River to the
Lake Ontario; thence through the Lake Ontario, and the River commonly called
Niagara and thence along by the Eastern and South-eastern Bank of Lake Erie, fol-
lowing the said Bank, until the same shall be intersected by the Northern Boundary,
granted by the Charter of the Province of Pennsylvania, in case the same shall be so
intersected: and from thence along the said Northern and Western Boundaries of
the said Province, until the said Western Boundary strike the Ohio: But in case the
said Bank of the said Lake shall not be found to be so intersected, then following
the said Bank until it shall arrive at that Point of the said Bank which shall be near-
est to the North-western Angle of the said Province of Pennsylvania, and thence
by a right Line, to the said North-western Angle of the said Province; and thence
along the Western Boundary of the said Province, until it strike the River Ohio; and
along the Bank of the said River, Westward, to the Banks of the Mississippi, and
Northward to the Southern Boundary of the Territory granted to the Merchants
Adventurers of England, trading to Hudson™s Bay; and also all such Territories,
Islands, and Countries, which have, since the tenth of February, one thousand
seven hundred and sixty-three, been made Part of the Government of Newfound-
land, be, and they are hereby, during his Majesty™s Pleasure, annexed to, and made
Part and Parcel of, the Province of Quebec, as created and established by the said
Royal Proclamation of the seventh of October, one thousand seven hundred and
II. Provided always. That nothing herein contained, relative to the Boundary
of the Province of Quebec, shall in anywise affect the Boundaries of any other
III. Provided always, and be it enacted, That nothing in this Act contained
shall extend, or be construed to extend, to make void, or to vary or alter any
Right, Title, or Possession, derived under any Grant, Conveyance, or otherwise
howsoever, of or to any Lands within the said Province, or the Provinces thereto
adjoining; but that the same shall remain and be in Force, and have Effect, as if
this Act had never been made.
IV. And whereas the Provisions, made by the said Proclamation, in respect to
the Civil Government of the said Province of Quebec, and the Powers and Au-
thorities given to the Governor and other Civil Of¬cers of the said Province, by
the Grants and Commissions issued in consequence thereof, have been found,

Franklin and the War of Independence

upon Experience, to be inapplicable to the State and Circumstances of the said
Province, the Inhabitants whereof amounted, at the Conquest, to above sixty-¬ve
thousand Persons professing the Religion of the Church of Rome, and enjoying
an established Form of Constitution and System of Laws, by which their Persons
and Property had been protected, governed, and ordered, for a long Series of
Years, from the ¬rst Establishment of the said Province of Canada; be it therefore
further enacted by the Authority aforesaid. That the said Proclamation, so far
as the same relates to the said Province of Quebec, and the Commission under
the Authority where of the Government of the said Province is at present ad-
ministered, and all and every Ordinance and Ordinances made by the Governor
and Council of Quebec for the Time being, relative to the Civil Government and
Administration of Justice in the said Province, and all Commissions to Judges
and other Of¬cers thereof, be, and the same are hereby revoked, annulled, and
made void, from and after the ¬rst Day of May, one thousand seven hundred and
V. And, for the more perfect Security and Ease of the Minds of the Inhabitants of
the said Province, it is hereby declared, That his Majesty™s Subjects, professing the
Religion of the Church of Rome of and in the said Province of Quebec, may have,
hold, and enjoy, the free Exercise of the Religion of the Church of Rome, subject
to the King™s Supremacy, declared and established by an Act, made in the ¬rst Year
of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, over all the Dominions and Countries which then
did, or thereafter should belong, to the Imperial Crown of this Realm; and that
the Clergy of the said Church may hold, receive, and enjoy, their accustomed Dues
and Rights, with respect to such Persons only as shall profess the said Religion.
VI. Provided nevertheless, That it shall be lawful for his Majesty, his
Heirs or Successors, to make such Provision out of the rest of the said ac-
customed Dues and Rights, for the Encouragement of the Protestant Reli-
gion, and for the Maintenance and Support of a Protestant Clergy within the
said Province, as he or they shall, from Time to Time think necessary and
VII. Provided always and be it enacted, That no Person professing the Religion
of the Church of Rome, and residing in the said Province, shall be obliged to take
the Oath required by the said Statute passed in the ¬rst Year of the Reign of Queen
Elizabeth, or any other Oaths substituted by any other Act in the Place thereof;
but that every such Person who, by the said Statute, is required to take the Oath
therein mentioned, shall be obliged, and is hereby required, to take and subscribe
the following Oath before the Governor, or such other Person in such Court of
Record as his Majesty shall appoint, who are hereby authorized to administer the
same; videlicet,

I A.B. do sincerely promise and swear, That I will be faithful, and bear true
Allegiance to his Majesty King George, and him will defend to the utmost of my
Power, against all traitorous Conspiracies, and Attempts whatsoever, which shall
be made against his Person, Crown, and Dignity; and I will do my utmost Endeavor
to disclose and make known to his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, all Treasons,
and traitorous Conspiracies, and Attempts, which I shall know to be against him,

Architects of Political Change

or any of them; and all this I do swear without any Equivocation, mental Evasion,
or secret Reservation, and renouncing all Pardons and Dispensations from any
Power or Person whomsoever to the contrary. So help me GOD.

And every such Person, who shall neglect or refuse to take the said Oath before
mentioned, shall incur and be liable to the same Penalties, Forfeitures, Disabilities,
and Incapacities, as he would have incurred and been liable to for neglecting or
refusing to take the Oath required by the said Statute passed in the ¬rst Year of
the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.
VIII. And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all his Majesty™s
Canadian Subjects within the Province of Quebec, the religious orders and Com-
munities only excepted, may also hold and enjoy their Property and Possessions,
together with all Customs and Usages relative thereto, and all other their Civil
Rights, in as large ample, and bene¬cial Manner, If the said Proclamation, Com-
missions, Ordinances, and other Acts and Instruments had not been made, and
as may consist with their Allegiance to his Majesty, and Subjection to the Crown
and Parliament of Great Britain; and that in all Matters of Controversy, relative
to Property and Civil Rights, Resort shall be had to the Laws of Canada, as the
Rule for the Decision of the same; and all Causes that shall hereafter be instituted
in any of the Courts of Justice, to be appointed within and for the said Province
by his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, shall, with respect to such Property
and Rights, be determined agreeably to the said Laws and Customs of Canada,
until they shall be varied or altered by any Ordinances that shall, from Time to
Time, be passed in the said Province by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or
Commander in Chief, for the Time being, by and with the Advice and Consent
of the Legislative Council of the same, to be appointed in Manner herein-after
IX. Provided always, That nothing in this Act contained shall extend, or be
construed to extend, to any Lands that have been granted by his Majesty, or shall
hereafter be granted by his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, to be holden in free
and common Soccage.
X. Provided also, That it shall and may be lawful to and for every Person that
is Owner of any Lands, Goods, or Credits, in the said Province, and that has a
Right to alienate the said Lands, Goods, or Credits, in his or her Lifetime, by Deed
of Sale, Gift, or otherwise, to devise or bequeath the same at his or her Death, by
his or her last Will and Testament; any Law, Usage, or Custom, heretofore or now
prevailing in the Province, to the contrary hereof in any-wise notwithstanding;
such Will being executed either according to the Laws of Canada, or according
to the Forms prescribed by the Laws of England.
XI. And whereas the Certainty and Lenity of the Criminal Law of England, and
the Bene¬ts and Advantages resulting from the Use of it, have been sensibly felt
by the Inhabitants, from an Experience of more than nine Years, during which it
has been uniformly administered: be it therefore further enacted by the Authority
aforesaid, That the same shall continue to be administered, and shall be observed
as Law in the Province of Quebec, as well in the Description and Quality of
the Offence as in the Method of Prosecution and Trial; and the Punishments and
Forfeitures thereby in¬‚icted to the Exclusion of every other Rule of Criminal Law,

Franklin and the War of Independence

or Mode of Proceeding thereon, which did or might prevail in the said Province
before the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-four; any
Thing in this Act to the contrary thereof in any respect notwithstanding; subject
nevertheless to such Alterations and Amendments as the Governor, Lieutenant-
governor, or Commander in Chief for the Time being, by and with the Advice
and Consent of the legislative Council of the said Province, hereafter to be ap-
pointed, shall, from Time to Time, cause to be made therein, in Manner hereinafter
XII. And whereas it may be necessary to ordain many Regulations for the
future Welfare and good Government of the Province of Quebec, the Occasions
of which cannot now be foreseen, nor, without much Delay and Inconvenience,
be provided for, without intrusting that Authority, for a certain Time, and under
proper Restrictions, to Persons resident there, and whereas it is at present inex-
pedient to call an Assembly; be it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid,
That it shall and may be lawful for his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, by
Warrant under his or their Signet or Sign Manual, and with the Advice of the
Privy Council, to constitute and appoint a Council for the Affairs of the Province
of Quebec, to consist of such Persons resident there, not exceeding twenty-three,
nor less than seventeen, as his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, shall be pleased
to appoint, and, upon the Death, Removal, or Absence of any of the Members
of the said Council, in like Manner to constitute and appoint such and so many
other Person or Persons as shall be necessary to supply the Vacancy or Vacancies;
which Council, so appointed and nominated, or the major Part thereof; shall have
Power and Authority to make Ordinances for the Peace, Welfare, and good Gov-
ernment, of the said Province, with the Consent of his Majesty™s Governor, or,
in his Absence, of the Lieutenant-governor, or Commander in Chief for the Time
[This section was repealed by The Constitutional Act, 1791.]
XIII. Provided always, That nothing in this Act contained shall extend to
authorize or impower the said legislative Council to lay any Taxes or Duties
within the said Province, such Rates and Taxes only excepted as the Inhabi-
tants of any Town or District within the said Province may be authorized by
the said Council to assess, levy, and apply, within the said Town or District, for
the Purpose of making Roads, erecting and repairing publick Buildings, or for any
other Purpose respecting the local Convenience and Oeconomy of such Town or
XIV. Provided also, and be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That every
Ordinance so to be made, shall, within six Months, be transmitted by the Gover-
nor, or, in his Absence, by the Lieutenant-governor, or Commander in Chief for
the Time being, and laid before his Majesty for his Royal Approbation; and if his
Majesty shall think ¬t to disallow thereof, the same shall cease and be void from
the Time that his Majesty™s Order in Council thereupon shall be promulgated at
XV. Provided also, That no Ordinance touching Religion, or by which any
Punishment may be in¬‚icted greater than Fine or Imprisonment for three Months,
shall be of any Force or Effect, until the same shall have received his Majesty™s

Architects of Political Change

XVI. Provided also, That no Ordinance shall be passed at any Meeting of the
Council where less than a Majority of the whole Council is present, or at any Time
except between the ¬rst Day of January and the ¬rst Day of May, unless upon
some urgent Occasion, in which Case every Member thereof resident at Quebec,
or within ¬fty Miles thereof, shall be personally summoned by the Governor, or,
in his absence, by the Lieutenant-governor, or Commander in Chief for the Time
being, to attend the same.
XVII. And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That nothing herein
contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to prevent or hinder his Majesty,
his Heirs and Successors, by his or their Letters Patent under the Great Seal of
Great Britain, from erecting, constituting, and appointing, such Courts of Crim-
inal, Civil, and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction within and for the said Province of
Quebec, and appointing, from Time to Time, the Judges and Of¬cers thereof, as
his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, shall think necessary and proper for the
Circumstances of the said Province.
XVIII. Provided always, and it is hereby enacted, That nothing in this Act
contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to repeal or make void, within
the said Province of Quebec, any Act or Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain
heretofore made, for prohibiting, restraining, or regulating, the Trade or Com-
merce of his Majesty™s Colonies and Plantations in America; but that all and
every the said Acts, and also all Acts of Parliament heretofore made concern-
ing or respecting the said Colonies and Plantations, shall be, and are hereby
declared to be, in Force, within the said Province of Quebec, and every Part

3.4.2 Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental
Congress, October 14, 1774

Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament, claiming a power,
of right, to bind the people of America by statutes in all cases whatsoever, hath,
in some acts, expressly imposed taxes on them, and in others, under various
presences, but in fact for the purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates
and duties payable in these colonies, established a board of commissioners, with
unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, not
only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within
the body of a county:
And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before held only
estates at will in their of¬ces, have been made dependant on the crown alone for
their salaries, and standing armies kept in times of peace: And whereas it has lately
been resolved in parliament, that by force of a statute, made in the thirty-¬fth year
of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, colonists may be transported to England,
and tried there upon accusations for treasons and misprisions, or concealments
of treasons committed in the colonies, and by a late statute, such trials have been
directed in cases therein mentioned:

Franklin and the War of Independence

And whereas, in the last session of parliament, three statutes were made;
one entitled, “An act to discontinue, in such manner and for such time as are
therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading, or shipping of goods,
wares and merchandise, at the town, and within the harbour of Boston, in
the province of Massachusetts-Bay in New England;” another entitled, “An act
for the better regulating the government of the province of Massachusetts-Bay
in New England;” and another entitled, “An act for the impartial administra-
tion of justice, in the cases of persons questioned for any act done by them in
the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and tumults, in the
province of the Massachusetts-Bay in New England;” and another statute was
then made, “for making more effectual provision for the government of the
province of Quebec, etc.” All which statutes are impolitic, unjust, and cruel,
as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American
And whereas, assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the
rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and
their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the crown for re-
dress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt, by his Majesty™s ministers of
The good people of the several colonies of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-
Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland,
Virginia, North-Carolina and South-Carolina, justly alarmed at these arbitrary
proceedings of parliament and administration, have severally elected, consti-
tuted, and appointed deputies to meet, and sit in general Congress, in the
city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such establishment, as that their reli-
gion, laws, and liberties, may not be subverted: Whereupon the deputies so ap-
pointed being now assembled, in a full and free representation of these colonies,
taking into their most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the
ends aforesaid, do, in the ¬rst place, as Englishmen, their ancestors in like
cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their rights and liberties,
That the inhabitants of the English colonies in North-America, by the im-
mutable laws of nature, the principles of the English constitution, and the several
charters or compacts, have the following RIGHTS:
Resolved 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty and property: and they have
never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a right to dispose of either without
their consent.
Resolved 2. That our ancestors, who ¬rst settled these colonies, were at the
time of their emigration from the mother country, entitled to all the rights, lib-
erties, and immunities of free and natural-born subjects, within the realm of
Resolved 3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited, surrendered,
or lost any of those rights, but that they were, and their descendants now are,
entitled to the exercise and enjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other
circumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy.

Architects of Political Change

Resolved 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free govern-
ment, is a right in the people to participate in their legislative council: and as
the English colonists are not represented, and from their local and other circum-
stances, cannot properly be represented in the British parliament, they are entitled
to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial legislatures,
where their right of representation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxa-
tion and internal polity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such
manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed: But, from the necessity of
the case, and a regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully
consent to the operation of such acts of the British parliament, as are bona¬de,
restrained to the regulation of our external commerce, for the purpose of securing
the commercial advantages of the whole empire to the mother country, and the
commercial bene¬ts of its respective members; excluding every idea of taxation in-
ternal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects, in America, without their
Resolved 5. That the respective colonies are entitled to the common law of
England, and more especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried
by their peers of the vicinage, according to the course of that law.
Resolved 6. That they are entitled to the bene¬t of such of the English statutes,
as existed at the time of their colonization; and which they have, by experience,
respectively found to be applicable to their several local and other circumstances.
Resolved 7. That these, his Majesty™s colonies, are likewise entitled to all the
immunities and privileges granted and con¬rmed to them by royal charters, or
secured by their several codes of provincial laws.
Resolved 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, consider of their
grievances, and petition the king; and that all prosecutions, prohibitory procla-
mations, and commitments for the same, are illegal.
Resolved 9. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies, in times of
peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army
is kept, is against law.
Resolved 10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and rendered
essential by the English constitution, that the constituent branches of the leg-
islature be independent of each other; that, therefore, the exercise of legisla-
tive power in several colonies, by a council appointed, during pleasure, by the
crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous and destructive to the freedom of American
All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of themselves, and
their constituents, do claim, demand, and insist on, as their indubitable rights
and liberties, which cannot be legally taken from them, altered or abridged by
any power whatever, without their own consent, by their representatives in their
several provincial legislature.
In the course of our inquiry, we ¬nd many infringements and violations of
the foregoing rights, which, from an ardent desire, that harmony and mutual
intercourse of affection and interest may be restored, we pass over for the present,
and proceed to state such acts and measures as have been adopted since the last
war, which demonstrate a system formed to enslave America.

Franklin and the War of Independence

Resolved 11. That the following acts of parliament are infringements and vi-
olations of the rights of the colonists; and that the repeal of them is essentially
necessary, in order to restore harmony between Great Britain and the American
colonies, viz.

The several acts of George III which impose duties for the purpose of raising
a revenue in America, extend the power of the admiralty courts beyond their
ancient limits, deprive the American subject of trial by jury, authorize the judges
certi¬cate to indemnify the prosecutor from damages, that he might otherwise be
liable to, requiring oppressive security from a claimant of ships and goods seized,
before he shall be allowed to defend his property, and are subversive of American
Also George III. ch. 24, entitled, “An act for the better securing his majesty™s
dockyards, magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores,” which declares a new
offence in America, and deprives the American subject of a constitutional
trial by jury of the vicinage, by authorizing the trial of any person, charged
with the committing any offence described in the said act, out of the realm,
to be indicted and tried for the same in any shire or county within the
Also the three acts passed in the last session of parliament, for stopping the
port and blocking up the harbour of Boston, for altering the charter and gov-
ernment of Massachusetts-Bay, and that which is entitled, “An act for the better
administration of justice, etc.”
Also the act passed in the same session for establishing the Roman Catholic
religion, in the province of Quebec, abolishing the equitable system of English
laws, and erecting a tyranny there, to the great danger (from so total a dissim-
ilarity of religion, law and government) of the neighboring British colonies, by
the assistance of whose blood and treasure the said country was conquered from
Also the act passed in the same session, for the better providing suitable quar-
ters for of¬cers and soldiers in his majesty™s service, in North-America.
Also, that the keeping a standing army in several of these colonies, in time of
peace, without the consent of the legislature of that colony, in which such army
is kept, is against law.

To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot submit, but in hopes
their fellow subjects in Great Britain will, on a revision of them, restore
us to that state, in which both countries found happiness and prosperity,
we have for the present, only resolved to pursue the following peaceable
measures: 1. To enter into a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-
exportation agreement or association. 2. To prepare an address to the people of
Great-Britain, and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America: and 3. To
prepare a loyal address to his majesty, agreeable to resolutions already entered

Architects of Political Change

3.4.3 Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people
to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to
assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the
Laws of Nature and of Nature™s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions
of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these
are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. “ That to secure these rights, Gov-
ernments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of
the governed, “ That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of
these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new
Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers
in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Hap-
piness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should
not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath
shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than
to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But
when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object
evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is
their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their
future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such
is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Gov-
ernment. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history
of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment
of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to
a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the
public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing im-
portance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained;
and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large dis-
tricts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representa-
tion in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable,
and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of
fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly
¬rmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

Franklin and the War of Independence

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be
elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned
to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time
exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose
obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to
encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropria-
tions of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws
for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their of¬ces,
and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Of¬ces, and sent hither swarms of Of¬cers
to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent
of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our
constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of
pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which
they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the bene¬ts of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province,
establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so
as to render it at once an example and ¬t instrument for introducing the same
absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering
fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with
power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and
waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed
the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat
the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of
Cruelty and per¬dy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally
unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to
bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and
Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

Architects of Political Change

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to
bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose
known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most
humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.
A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may de¬ne a Tyrant,
is un¬t to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have
warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an un-
warrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances
of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice
and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred
to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections
and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of con-
sanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our
Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in
Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General
Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the
rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the
good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United
Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are
Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political con-
nection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally
dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy
War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other
Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the sup-
port of this Declaration, with a ¬rm reliance on the protection of divine Provi-
dence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat
Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John
Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Mor-
ton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll

Franklin and the War of Independence

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin
Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr.,
Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton.

Madison, Jefferson, and Condorcet

4.1 the ratification of the constitution —
A constitution is almost a living entity, but it also incorporates institu-
tional features, “the rules of the game in a society, or more formally
the humanly devised constraints that shape human interaction” (North,
1990: 3).1 Much more important than the rules themselves is the con-
ceptual basis for the acceptance of these rules. To use the terminology of
game theory, the beliefs that underpin the constitution must themselves
generally be in equilibrium.2 That is, under “normal” circumstances, the
rules of the constitution are grounded in what I have called a core belief.3
This is not to assert that the core belief remains unchanged during nor-
mal times; if change does occur it will be gradual. In extraordinary times,
however, the core belief is fractured in some fashion, typically because of
the realization that the society is faced with a deep “quandary.” Such a

This chapter uses material from Norman Scho¬eld,“The Probability of a Fit Choice:
U.S. Political History and Voting Theory,” in Justice and Democracy, Keith Dowd-
ing, Robert Goodin, and Carole Pateman, [eds]. Cambridge University Press (2004)
and from Norman Scho¬eld, “The Founding of the American Agrarian Empire and
the Con¬‚ict of Land and Capital,” Homo Oeconomicus 19 (2003): 471“505, by
permission of Cambridge University Press and Accedo Publishing.
For the role of Parliamentary institutions see North and Weingast (1989), Weingast

(1997a, b), Acemoglu and Robinson (2005) and Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson
(2000, 2005).
Calvert (1995) suggests that an “institution” is in equilibrium of behavior in an

underlying game. Implicitly, I am extending this idea by focusing not on behavior
but on the beliefs, which rationalize the behavior. (See Calvert, 1995: 57“93).
Throughout this book, I use the term core belief to indicate an analogy with the

notion of a core in a voting game. A voting core is an outcome (or set of outcomes),
unbeaten under the particular system of rules and preferences of the society. A core
belief is a belief (or set of beliefs) that is generally accepted in the society. This notion
is developed in later chapters.

Madison, Jefferson, and Condorcet

quandary may be due to an inconsistency, internal to the logical structure
of the core beliefs, or to a disjunction between the core belief and some
external aspect of social reality. When society faces a deep quandary, then
mutually incompatible beliefs may population the society; very often a
new equilibrium is attained only in the aftermath of war.4
The core belief will generally consist of a number of components, and
if one of these is called into question in a profound fashion, then the
belief in the relevance of the entire constitution may fail. For example, as
Chapter 7 observes, the events of the Depression during the 1930s cast
doubt on the belief in the compatibility of the free-market system and
democracy. By rejecting a secondary core belief in the validity of “the
strong equilibrium hypothesis of economics,” John Maynard Keynes was
able to cast a new light on this Depression quandary.5
The re-creation of the core belief during a period when the quandary
is ¬rst realized, and then resolved, is a time of great uncertainty. Be-
cause the core belief is an equilibrium, the holding of this belief by many
agents in the society means that the belief itself can provide a means by
which acts are mutually intelligible (Arrow, 1986). That is, the belief itself
can provide a basis for “common knowledge.” This feature of the belief
equilibrium means that each person may have some information about
others™ preferences, and also know that others have knowledge about the
person™s own preferences and strategies. Through such common knowl-
edge, “Hobbesian” chaos may be avoided. However, when the core belief
is no longer generally tenable, then the common knowledge foundation
of cooperation may fail, and the society may also fragment, with each
faction engaging in acts that appear incomprehensible, or threatening, to
others. It is for this reason that war, or other forms of political violence,
may occur at the onset of a quandary. Sometimes, of course, the victor
simply imposes a new core belief on the loser (though this is likely to
lead to further war). Chapter 7 suggests that the success of post “ World
War II international economic institutions gives us reason to believe that
sometimes the quandary can be resolved by an “architect of change” who

Evolutionary game theorists have formally examined the destruction of one equilib-

rium and the creation of a new one, but the tools they have used have been based
on adaptive learning. It seems to me that the more interesting, and dif¬cult, case is
when violence rather than learning resolves the quandary. See Young (1998).
See Keynes (1936: 349). The essence of Keynes™s argument is that uncertainty may de-

stroy the market equilibrium. Here, I am interested in how uncertainty may give way
to consensus. See Chapter 7 for a discussion of Keynes™s emphasis on the importance
of uncertainty.

Architects of Political Change

is able to transmute, in some fashion, the belief in question so that it is
once again tenable, and provides the common knowledge foundation for
cooperation.6 The changes in the constitution, and its institutional appa-
ratus, that accompany such a transmutation tend to occur very rapidly
indeed, and in a fashion which at the time appears entirely unpredictable.
This conception of the slow evolution of a constitution in normal times,
and rapid change or transformation at the onset of the quandary, is obvi-
ously somewhat similar to the notion of a scienti¬c revolution as suggested
by Kuhn (1962). A similar idea, that of “punctuated equilibrium,” has also
been put forward in evolutionary biology.7 However, my application, in
this book, to the evolution of the American Constitution, is essentially
an extension of an argument made by William Riker (1982). To explain
Riker™s point of view, it is necessary to make a brief digression on the
results of social choice theory obtained in the late 1970s.

4.2 the conflict over union and confederation
The so-called chaos theorem of voting has shown that majority rule equi-
libria can almost never occur; instead, voting cycles or disequilibria are
almost certain.8 Interpreting these theorems, Riker (1980) argued that “in
the long run, nearly anything can happen in politics.”
The neo-institutionalists of that time were, however, able to use the
device of ¬xed and stable institutional rules to propose the existence of
equilibria of tastes (or preferences), that bypassed the consequences of the
chaos theorems (see e.g., Shepsle, 1979).
However, Riker conceived of an institution itself as an equilibrium. As
he says,

the losers [in a constitutional system] are likely to want to change the committees
and jurisdictions in the hope of winning on another day. In the end, therefore,

See Chapter 7 for a brief interpretation of the Marshall Plan and the Bretton Woods

Institutions along these lines. In this instance, of course, Truman was the architect
of change.
Eldredge and Gould (1972). This notion has been used to account for the very rapid

evolution of the genus Homo. See Calvin (1991) and Tattersal (1998). It has also
been suggested that this rapid evolution was triggered by climatic change induced
by chaotic behavior of deep-sea currents in the Atlantic. See Fagan (1999). These
connections suggest that, in any evolutionary system, rapid transformation is a con-
sequence of chaotic, or at least, contingent causes.
An outline of these results on voting “chaos” is given by Riker (1982: 185“8),

Scho¬eld (1985a), and Austen-Smith and Banks (1999). See the discussion in Chapter
2 and Chapter 8.

Madison, Jefferson, and Condorcet

institutions are no more than rules and rules are themselves the product of social
decisions. Consequently, the rules are also not in equilibrium. One can expect that
losers on a series of decisions under a particular set of rules will attempt (often
successfully) to change institutions and hence the kind of decisions [made] under
them. (Riker, 1980: 444“5)

Riker™s concern with the possibility of changing the rules of an institu-
tion led him to the notion of heresthetic”the art of constructing choice
situations so as to be able to manipulate outcomes (Riker, 1986). The
essence of Riker™s notion of heresthetic is the claim that, in any political
context, the ¬nal outcome depends on the way choices are framed, on the
precise set of alternatives, or on the details of the rules of political decision
making. He used this idea to explain key events in the history of American
federalism: the drafting and rati¬cation of the U.S. Constitution and the
coming of the American Civil War.9
In fact, Riker™s work on “historical heresthetics” after 1980 re¬‚ected
his much earlier interest in the American Constitution, particularly in the
nature of the “federal bargain” attained by the Rati¬cation of the U.S.
Constitution from 1787 to 1789. His ¬rst two books (1953, 1957) had in-
troduced a distinction between the centralized federalism of the U.S. after
1789, and the peripheralized federalism of the Confederation from 1783
to 1789. His later book on federalism (1964: 13) argued that a necessary
cause of the federal bargain was that politicians who accept the bargain
perceive that the bargain overcomes an external military or diplomatic
threat, or provides access to an obvious military or diplomatic opportu-
nity. By a necessary cause, Riker clearly intimated that, in the absence
of a threat or opportunity, a centralized federation would not come into
being. While the book made a case for this general inductive hypothesis,
Riker also argued that the threat of the British in the Northwest, and
of the Spanish in the Southwest, circa 1787, to the Confederated States,
together constituted the necessary cause for the federal bargain of the

Various writings by Jay, Madison, Hamilton, and Washington all suggested the
primacy of the military motive in the adoption of centralized federalism. The
suggestion is, in fact, so strong that one wonders how Beard . . . could ever
have believed that the main issues at Philadelphia were domestic matters of the
distribution of income.10

This work includes Riker (1984, 1987, 1993, 1995, 1996).

Riker (1964: 19). Obviously, Riker refers here to Beard (1913).

Architects of Political Change

Much of Riker™s later work up until 1980 can be seen as an attempt
to develop the foundation of a positive political theory, capable of per-
mitting a study of the possible suf¬cient cause of dramatic constitutional
changes, such as the Rati¬cation. Riker™s later focus on the notion of
heresthetic is compatible with a perception that suf¬cient causes of such
transformations may be inherently unpredictable, or contingent.11
However, in Riker™s last book, published after his death, and edited
from his collected papers, the emphasis changed from heresthetic to
rhetoric. My interpretation of this last piece of work on the Rati¬cation is
that it was intended as a detailed study of the way in which participants to
the federal bargain became persuaded as to the rationality of the constitu-
tional change.12 In essence, it was an examination of the suf¬cient cause
of the bargain. The key to Riker™s analysis was the assumption of risk
aversion on the part of the participants. Arguments on the great costs as-
sociated with the failure of confederation to deal with outside threats were
indeed credible. For most risk-averse participants these anticipated costs
outweighed the costs of the “loss of freedom” of federation. Presented
in this fashion, it is clear that Riker™s analysis turned on the “beliefs” of
the participants to the bargain. As in Chapter 3, I use the term beliefs to
mean the “subjective probability estimates” associated with the various
anticipated and possibly undesirable consequences of their choices.
To see what I mean, consider an alternative way to model the rati¬ca-
tion decision by postulating that the “preferences” of the participants can
be embedded in a one-dimensional “policy space.” In this space, the status
quo (the Articles of Confederation) is at one end of the political dimen-
sion, and a strong federal state at the other.13 Since rati¬cation involved
voting, the standard spatial voting model would imply the existence of a
political compromise point (a voting “core”) located somewhere between
the two extremes.14 However, such an interpretation gives no indication
why Hamilton and Madison, for example, were Federalists (strongly in
favor of Federation) in 1787, who later diverged in their opinions over

For example, Riker traced the cataclysmic event of the Civil War to a heresthetic

maneuver by Lincoln in the Lincoln-Douglas debate in Freeport, Illinois, during the
Illinois Senate race. See Riker (1986: 1“9). A discussion of this theme in Riker™s
research is offered in Chapter 5.
Riker (1996). This book built on an earlier article by Riker (1991).

In fact, the rati¬cation decision was indeed studied by Fink and Riker (1989) using

this perspective.
See the classic treatment, by Hotelling (1929) and Downs (1957). Obviously, the

particular compromise, or core, depends on the institutional voting rule and the
distribution of preferred points.

Madison, Jefferson, and Condorcet

the balance of power between central government and the states. Obvi-
ously enough, preferences over a strong or weak state are determined by
inferences made about the consequences of each of the possibilities. Since
these outcomes cannot be known with certainty, preferences of the kind
just postulated are secondary to estimates of probabilities associated with
these outcomes. Such an emphasis on probabilities (or beliefs) is compati-
ble with the general model of preference under risk proposed by Leonard
Savage (1954).
In this framework, fundamental preferences are the primitive param-
eters. In choosing between lotteries of outcomes, an individual reveals
beliefs (or probability assessments) about states of the world. Given these
beliefs, the individual chooses acts that are rational vis-a-vis fundamental
preferences. In general, however, the fundamental preferences cannot be
deduced from acts, unless the beliefs can also be ascertained. Moreover,
because the choices over acts are made in the presence of risk, the risk
posture of the individuals must also be determined. It is well known that
individual choices under risk can be quite counter to traditional axiomatic
choice models (see, e.g., Kahneman and Tversky, 1979).
There is good reason to accept Riker™s argument that foreign threat was
a necessary cause for accepting Union, a system of centralized federalism,
put in place after 1789. We can use the same expected utility calculus as
in Chapter 3. To simplify, let us use A1 to denote a choice for Union and
A2 the choice for the status quo. Under A2 , there was some probability,
p, say, that Spain would implement the threat by closing the Mississippi
(at a cost T, say). Under A1 , the probability of such a threat would be
much reduced, indeed negligible. However, some participants feared that
Union would, with high probability q, say, impose a cost F , say, of loss
of freedom or autonomy. Comparing expected costs (qF ) associated with
A1 and pT with A2 leads to a choice”an act”for each participant. Riker™s
earlier argument over the federal bargain was simply that the absence of
a threat (T = 0) implies a choice for A2 . However, this analysis does not
deal with the possibility that Union would lead to pervasive factional
chaos. It is clear from Madison™s writings (in Federalist X for example)
that he considered this a real possibility. If we let r denote the probability
of factionalism, and C the cost of chaos, then the choice between A1 and
A2 turns on the values of qF + rC and pT.
While there was recognition in the period 1784 to 1787 that the ex-
pected cost, pT, of the status quo was high, the general understanding
of political theory at this time was that factional chaos under Union was
very likely. If indeed this theory was correct, then the expected costs for

Architects of Political Change

Union for most participants would necessarily exceed the expected costs
of the status quo. This decision problem has many of the elements of
a quandary, particularly for those who favor Union. While Union is an
obvious solution to the possibility of an outside threat, the likelihood
that any federation would be destroyed by factional chaos made such a
solution unacceptable. Madison™s genius, in his essays on “Vices of the
Political System of the United States” (1786) and in Federalist X (1787)
was to give a theoretical argument why factional chaos need not be feared
(see Rakove, ed., 1999: 69“80 and 160“7). The credibility of Madison™s
argument would have the effect of reducing rC, making A1 a rational
choice. The voting in the Conventions from 1787 to 1789 did result in a
majority for rati¬cation, and thus in what I have termed a core belief in
the rationality of Union. Madison™s argument can therefore be seen to be
an essential element (in the presence of the outside threat) of a suf¬cient
cause of the federal bargain. Of course, many complex compromises over
the nature of the constitutional apparatus were put in place before the
¬nal federal bargain was made. Nonetheless, a general acceptance of the
necessity of Union seems to have occurred fairly rapidly from 1787 to
I contend that the resolution of the independence quandary at the end
of the war in 1783 led almost immediately to a “security” quandary for the
new United States. Because Spain had been ceded the Louisiana territory
by France in 1763 (presumably to keep Britain out of the vast area), the
Spanish had, by 1783, come to view the entire Mississippi basin as their
own. The Spanish ¬‚ag was planted on the east bank of the Mississippi
in November, 1780, and an expedition from Spanish St. Louis later cap-
tured a British post in Michigan, and proclaimed the entire Illinois River
country as Spanish. By 1784, the Spanish had sought to close the entire
Mississippi to American shipping. In a long letter to Thomas Jefferson in
Paris (August 20, 1784), James Madison expressed his deep concerns over
this Spanish threat (Smith, ed., 1995: 337“42). Negotiations between the
Foreign Secretary, John Jay, and the Spanish minister, Gardoquin, dragged
on for two more years. As Madison™s biographer says:

John Jay proposed that the United States agree for twenty-¬ve years to
abandon claims for navigation of the river in exchange for a commercial
treaty guaranteeing American ¬shermen access to the huge Spanish market
and favoring American merchants suffering from British discrimination. This,

Throughout this book a rapid change in beliefs of this kind is called a belief cascade.

See Bikhchandani et al. (1992) and Denzau and North (1994).

Madison, Jefferson, and Condorcet

Jay argued would yield immediate advantages . . . Jay™s view re¬‚ected, ominously,
a much keener awareness of the interests of the Eastern, trading portion of the
new nation. . . . To Southerners and Westerners, of course, the Jay “ Gardoquin
project was anathema.
(Ketcham, 1971: 177)

Congress chose, by vote of seven to six, not to pursue the negotiations with
Gardoquin.16 That seven states had shown an approval of the treaty led
Madison to believe that disagreements between the States could fracture
the weak Confederation.
Madison wrote to Jefferson on March 19, 1787, expressing the opinion
that “the intended sacri¬ce [by Jay] of the Mississippi will not be made
[but] the consequences of the intention and the attempt are likely to be
very serious.”17
Even Washington expressed the opinion (to John Jay in a letter of May
18, 1786) that the Articles of Confederation needed to be amended. He
wrote, “something must be done, or the fabrick [sic] must fall! It certainly
is tottering” (Rhodehamel, ed., 1997: 600).
Thus, we can say that, by 1786, there was a core belief among the
American elite that the Union was threatened by imperial powers, Spain
particularly, probably Britain, and possibly France. An obvious solution
to this threat would be to devise a stronger Union, a federal apparatus.
The quandary that this posed, however, was how to balance the differing
interests of the states within this Union.
The essays comprising the Federalist (published between October 27,
1787, and May 28, 1788, by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James
Madison, in the New York Independent Journal) can be seen to ¬rst ex-
press the security quandary, and then to articulate a theoretical solution
to the problem of Union. The essays by Jay and Hamilton (particularly
numbers III, IV, V, VIII, and XXIV) all focus on foreign threats and the
costs of disunion. In Federalist X James Madison presented his famous
argument that heterogeneity in a Republic would make it unlikely that
factional chaos could occur.18

Unanimity was required to ratify the treaty.

Smith, ed. (1995: 473). Indeed Rakove quotes from Madison™s autobiography that

Madison™s objective in returning to Congress was to cancel Jay™s project. See Rakove
(1996: 377).
By a faction, Madison meant “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority

or a minority of the whole, who are united and activated by some common impulse
or passion, or of interests, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent
and aggregate interests of the community” (Rakove, 1999: 161).

Architects of Political Change

It was generally regarded that democracies would subject to such chaos.
As Adam Smith (1981 [1776]) had remarked, the Colonies seemed too
small to avoid chaos of this kind:
[A union with Great Britain] would, at least, deliver them from these rancorous
and virulent factions which are inseparable from small democracies, and which
have so frequently divided the affections of their people, and disturbed the tran-

quility of their governments . . . In the case of total separation from Great Britain
. . . those factions would be ten times more virulent than ever (945).

However, in Federalist X, Madison distinguished between “a pure
democracy consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and ad-
minister the government in person” and a republic where the government
is delegated “to a small number of citizens elected by the rest” (Rakove,
1999: 164). He continues in Federalist XIV,
Under the confusion of names, it has been an easy task to transfer to a republic,
observations applicable to a democracy only . . . [for example] that [a republic]
can never be established but among a small number of people, living within a
small compass of territory.
(Rakove, 1999: 169)

In Federalist X, Madison argued that:
[I]t may be concluded that a pure democracy can admit of no cure for the mis-
chiefs of faction . . . . Hence it is, that such democracies have ever been spectacles
of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal
security . . . and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been
violent in their deaths . . . A republic, by which I mean a government in which the
scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect . . .

[I]f the proportion of ¬t characters be not less in the large than in the small republic,
the former will present a greater option, and consequently a greater probability
of a ¬t choice.
(Rakove, 1999: 164“6)

Madison™s intuitions on democracy were given formal demonstration
in the so-called chaos theorems, almost two hundred years later.19 But
why should a republic differ from a democracy in the fashion proposed
by Madison? Beer suggests that: “Representation, which necessitates the
big constituencies of the big republic, would presumably restrain passion
and enhance reason in the deliberative process of popular government”
(Beer, 1993: 280).

Arrow (1951) proved that turbulence was possible, while the chaos theorem showed

that turbulence could well be expected. See the later discussion in Chapter 8.

Madison, Jefferson, and Condorcet

As Madison also says in Federalist X:
[I]t may well happen that the public voice pronounced by the representatives of
the people, will be more consonant to the public good . . . . [E]ach representative
will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small
republic. . . . The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and
extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican, than
of democratic government; and it is this . . . which renders factious combinations
less to be dreaded in the former, than in the latter. Extend the sphere, and you
take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a
majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other
citizens. . . .
Hence it clearly appears, that the same advantage, which a republic has over
a democracy . . . is enjoyed by a large over a small Republic”is enjoyed by the
union over the states composing it.
(Rakove, 1999: 165“6)

Madison™s argument is entirely consistent with the result now known as
Condorcet™s Jury theorem.20 Consider a number of individuals choosing
between two alternatives under risk. No one knows what is the correct
option (but each has some probability of making the correct guess). As-
suming that the average of the probabilities exceeds one-half, then a jury,
using majority rule, has a better chance of making the correct choice than
an average juror. Moreover, as the jury size gets large, the probability of
a correct choice approaches 1. The theorem, as presented by Condorcet
depends on “independence” of votes.21 Voter choice is, however, likely
to be “pairwise dependent.” If the population is heterogeneous, then av-
erage dependency may be suf¬ciently low for the Jury theorem still to
be valid.22 Thus, if a constituency is large, the voter population in the
constituency is likely to be heterogeneous. The representative can never
appeal to widely differing preferences. In a binary choice involving risk,
assuming that representatives do not pursue only the interests of their
constituents, and assuming further that on average they have a better
than even chance of making a wise choice, then the collective choice of
the representatives will be “wise.” Condorcet had formally presented his
work on the Jury theorem and on factional instability in voting in 1785,
in Paris, and we may distinguish between them in terms of a distinction
between belief aggregation and preference aggregation.

See Condorcet (1795) and the translated extracts of his work in McLean and Hewitt,

eds. (1994).
For versions of the result, see Rae (1969); Taylor (1969); and Scho¬eld (1972a, b)

and Chapter 8.
See the discussion in Ladha and Miller (1996).

Architects of Political Change

In many ways these very different results today separate those who
consider political choice to be rational or irrational. Whether Madison
knew of these results by Condorcet has proved to be controversial.23 What
is clear, however, is that Madison™s argument against factionalism in the
Republic was novel and credible. In fact, the most compelling argument
for its plausibility was the “correctness” of the choice of the Continental
Congress in declaring independence in 1776. Clearly, this decision was
made in a context of risk. Different members of Congress must have
formed different estimates of the probabilities and costs; however, the true
state of the world was obscured. The fact that the Revolution succeeded
suggests that Congress made, in aggregate, a wise choice. It is true that not
everyone would draw the same connection between Madison™s argument
and the declaration of 1776. Risk-averse decision makers might require
additional safeguards against factionalism. Nonetheless, Madison did give
a credible argument supporting a belief that it was possible, in principle, to
reconstruct the Constitution in such a way as to make the Union stronger
against threat, while maintaining the rights of individuals and states. My
view of the Rati¬cation process (from the rati¬cations of Delaware in
December 1787 to that of North Carolina in August 1788) is that it
was accompanied by the creation of a core belief in the possibility of
Union. Using my terminology, Madison was the architect of change who
principally constructed the theoretical framework that made this belief
During the Federal Convention in the summer of 1787, and later dur-
ing their collaboration over the Federalist, James Madison and Alexan-
der Hamilton were allies in their support of the Union. By early 1791,
Madison had come to view Hamilton™s ¬scal scheme for the Republic
with alarm. As the decade of the 1790s progressed, the two-party system
came into being. In essence, the commercial interests cohered into a Fed-
eralist party, including Washington, John Adams, and Hamilton, while
agrarian interests came together as a Republican party under Thomas
Jefferson and Madison.
This early schism among the Federalist supporters of 1787 can be inter-
preted as an illustration of the notion of “partisan realignment” (Clubb,
Flanigan and Zingale, 1980) used by writers such as Sundquist (1983) to
characterize political transformations in the late 1890s and mid 1930s.
McLean and Hewitt (1994) contend that, although Madison did receive a copy of

Condorcet™s major work, he either did not read through it or disagreed with it. See
McLean and Hewitt (65“69).

Madison, Jefferson, and Condorcet

I argue that the partisan realignment of the 1790s and the critical elec-
tion of Jefferson in 1800 created a two-party political equilibrium that
persisted until 1852.
Many historians (and economic historians) have discussed the gesta-
tion of the two-party system in the 1790s. My purpose in adding to the
discussion is to use ideas from modern social choice theory and political
economy to throw light on the social beliefs held by Hamilton, on the
one hand, and Madison and Jefferson, on the other. Although it is clearly
anachronistic to use modern technical theories to interpret the beliefs of
agents long dead, I shall argue that the theories that I describe were well
understood, though possibly in rudimentary form, by these protagonists.
Although the technical structures of these two theories are well un-
derstood today, the applicability of the theories in interpreting modern
polities is quite contentious. My purpose is to attempt to show that the
developing con¬‚ict between the Federalists and the Republicans in the
1790s grew out of differing beliefs over the signi¬cance and meaning of
these theories for the “design” of the U.S. political economy.
Modern social choice theory has a number of somewhat irrec-
oncilable subthemes. One theme can be interpreted as a version of
Montesquieu™s constitutional theory. For Montesquieu, monarchy, aris-
tocracy, and democracy all possessed different virtues that could be com-
bined to advantage in a single constitutional system. Democracy, while
dangerous because of its likely “turbulence,” was necessary to prevent
the potential tyranny of monarchy. Aristocracy was required to temper
the arrogance of monarchy with wisdom. As I suggest later, one theme of
social choice theory is that democracy is indeed turbulent, but this feature
can be controlled by the concentration of power implied by aristocracy
or, more generally, autocracy. Obviously, the Framers of the Constitution
held to a version of this theory, but varied in their emphasis on the dan-
gers of turbulence, and the costs of autocracy. Hamilton™s bold version
of a powerful U.S. commercial empire inclined him to a preference for
In contrast, Madison, in Federalist X, offered the entirely different
theory of the extended republic. Acknowledging that democracies tend
to be turbulent, Madison then proposed that a republic, “in which the
scheme of representation takes place,” provides the cure for turbulence.
The “large” republic will “present a . . . greater probability of a ¬t choice”
(Rakove, 1999: 164“5). Present day pluralist democratic theorists inter-
pret Madison™s argument to mean that “competing interests cancel one

Architects of Political Change

another out” (Williams, 1998: 39).24 I argue that Madison had an entirely
different logic in mind. Although the extended republic argument is usu-
ally traced to Hume™s “Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth,” (Adair, 1943,
2000), there is a deeper connection to Condorcet™s Essai of 1785. I offer
evidence that Madison, in late 1787, had received elements of Condorcet™s
Essai from Jefferson in Paris. Condorcet™s Essai related to the probability
of a jury, or committee, making a “true” choice. If we interpret “true” to
mean “valid” or “virtuous,” then Madison™s argument can be seen as an
application or extension of the Condorcet theorem to the election of the
chief magistrate.
I contend that this Condorcetian aspect is a key feature of the constitu-
tional thought of both Madison and Jefferson in the 1790s. In his writing
up to the Federalist, Madison obviously viewed faction, party, and interest
as inimical to the stability of the republic and likely to generate mutability
or turbulence. Madison™s view changed during the 1790s.
In 1790 and 1791, Hamilton, as Secretary of the Treasury, prepared
his Report on the Public Credit, Report on the National Bank, and A
Report on the Subject of Manufactures. All three reports made it clear
that Hamilton had in mind the creation of a commerce-based American
empire “able to dictate the terms of connection between the old and the
new world” to quote from Hamilton™s Federalist 11 (Freeman, 2001: 208).
As discussed in Chapter 2, it is well known that Hamilton™s scheme
owed much for its inspiration to the economic and ¬scal structures de-
vised in Britain during the period of Whig supremacy under Walpole™s
leadership from 1720 to 1740. What has been less examined is how,
precisely, the Walpole scheme led to the creation of Britain™s maritime
empire. I argue that Walpole™s scheme can be seen to be consistent with
a political economic theory relating to the role of the state in balancing
the economic factors of land, capital, and labor, and avoiding turbulence.
Elements of this theory are present in Hume™s Essay on Commerce where
he comments, with approval, that commercial advancement “augments
the power of the state” (Hume, 1985 [1777]: 265).
I argue that Madison and Jefferson were well aware of the probable
consequences of the success of Hamilton™s scheme. This knowledge pre-
sented them (and, in their view, the entire society) with a dilemma.

It is unclear precisely what such a phrase means. One possible interpretation is

that political competition leads to a “centrist” balance between competing interests
(Downs, 1957). This implies that all political parties become identical. The empirical
evidence implies that this is a fallacy (Scho¬eld and Sened, 2006).

Madison, Jefferson, and Condorcet

Although what I call the “Walpole Equilibrium” was crucial for
Britain™s growth to hegemony, it had deleterious consequences for that
century™s agricultural laborers. Modern research in economic history has
shown how Britain™s use of tariffs and excise protected land, drove up the
price of land, and stimulated increased agricultural productivity. How-
ever, capital substituted for labor, and consequently, real wages for both
farm and skilled labor remained ¬‚at, or even declined (Allen, 1988;
Crafts, 1994). Although the precise economic details of Britain™s growth
in the eighteenth century may not have been known to Madison and
Jefferson, its overall consequences were. For example, as Porter has re-
cently observed, the poem, The Deserted Village (1770), by Oliver Gold-
smith “damned the depopulating effects of enclosure” (Porter, 2000: 317).
Because of the differing economic structure of Britain and the United
States, Hamilton™s commercial scheme would necessarily have advantaged
capital over both the landed interests and agrarian labor. I argue that
Jefferson, during his residence in Paris in the 1780s, had been much in-
¬‚uenced by Condorcet™s theories of political economy. Condorcet™s later
Esquisse of 1794 summed up these ideas and presented an optimistic view
of economic development. This thesis was later contested by Malthus™s
Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798.
One coherent vision of the future development of the United States con-
sistent with Condorcet™s view would emphasize the growth of an agrar-
ian empire. By focusing on free trade, and by increasing total agricultural
output through expansion, both the landed interest and free agricultural
labor would be advantaged. The choice between these two development
paths”one commercial and one agrarian”was the point of the election
of 1800. To implement this vision held by both Jefferson and Madison,
it was necessary to destroy the commercial agrarian coalition that had
supported Union in 1787, and to create an agrarian Republican Party.
In so doing, I believe, Madison and Jefferson both accepted the under-
lying logic implicit in Condorcet™s Essai, and in essence, created a stable
two-party system.
What I mean by this requires some elaboration. First, the fact that in
1800 two entirely different development paths were available, one agrar-
ian and one commercial, meant that a compromise between the two was
impossible. Contrary to the pluralist notion of democracy, in which vari-
ous interests cancel one another out, the society in 1800 faced a dilemma
over which choice to pursue. From the Condorcetian perspective, only
one of the choices could be “true.” Of course, in 1800, which one of the
choices was “true” was hidden behind the veil of the future. Madison

Architects of Political Change

and Jefferson clearly believed that their agrarian vision was superior. The
more information available about the consequences of the two choices,
the better would be the decision of the society. As a result, the 1790s saw
vigorous and intense argument about the policy choices available: about
alliance with France or Britain, about the probable growth and structure
of the U.S. economy, about government debt, trade protection, and so
forth. These debates could not simply be reduced to interests, but were
based on the beliefs of the protagonists.
This distinction between interests and beliefs is implicit in Madison™s
Federalist X, but I shall offer some further clari¬cation, based on modern
social choice theory. This theory assumes individual action is based on “ra-
tional” preferences of individuals. Such preferences can be derived from
“interests,” the holding of property or the exercise of “factor” power,
such as labor or capital. As the theory suggests, and as Madison feared,
such interests can collide to induce instability. Indeed, Madison expressed
such fears later in life over the question of slavery and state™s rights
(McCoy, 1989). If interests dominate among the representatives of the
people, then the legislature will itself be turbulent.
However, when the Republic faces a dilemma, as it did in 1800, over
the choice between two competing and incompatible visions for society,
then these two visions may be represented by two presidential contenders.
In such a case, interest plays less of a role than does belief. Because no
individual can see the future with certainty, each one can only guess (with
some subjective probability) which choice is likely to be the best. While
interest may affect such a choice, it does not determine it. However, to
create a winning coalition, it is necessary to create faction, mobilize inter-
est, and indeed, bring into existence a party. Madison and Jefferson came
to understand this logic during the 1790s. Just as in jury decision making,
the selection of a president, and of a choice for the future, depends on
persuasion, rhetoric, and contest.
The division of society by 1800 into two parties, one Republican and
one Federalist, was, as Beard (1915) has argued, partly based on the
opposing interests of land and agrarian labor on the one hand, and capi-
tal and industrial labor on the other. However, this division in the United
States was very different from the division between Court and Country
Parties in Britain in the 1700s. One obvious difference was that the Repub-
lican coalition had to dampen the possible con¬‚ict between free labor and
the slave-owning land interest. The optimistic agrarian vision presented
by Madison and Jefferson was important in creating and maintaining this

Madison, Jefferson, and Condorcet

What I call the Madison“Jefferson Equilibrium, created after the elec-
tion of 1800, was remarkably stable and dominated U.S. politics until it
began to fracture in the 1840s over this issue of slavery. However, it is
even more remarkable that the U.S. polity has retained a two-party system
throughout two hundred years, even though the coalitions that comprise
the parties can be dramatically transformed at a critical election. (This is


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