SAT Reading - Khan Diagnostic Quiz level 2 - reading 15

Questions 1-11 are based on the following passage.

Passage 1 is excerpted from a published letter written by an author known only as the Federal Farmer. Passage 2 is excerpted from a published letter by Agrippa, the pseudonym of James Winthrop. Winthrop was part of the anti-federalist movement. Both passages were written in 1787.

Passage 1

Our object has been all along, to reform our federal
system, and to strengthen our governments, but a new
object now presents. The plan of government now proposed
is evidently calculated totally to change, in time, our
5 condition as a people. Instead of being thirteen republics,
under a federal head, it is clearly designed to make us one
consolidated government. Whether such a change can ever
be effected in any manner; whether it can be effected
without convulsions and civil wars; whether such a change
10 will not totally destroy the liberties of this country--time
only can determine.
The confederation was formed when great confidence
was placed in the voluntary exertions of individuals, and of
the respective states; and the framers of it, to guard
15 against usurpation, so limited and checked the powers. We
find, therefore, members of congress urging alterations in
the federal system almost as soon as it was adopted. The
first interesting question is how far the states can be
consolidated into one entire government on free principles.
20 The happiness of the people at large must be the great
object with every honest statesman, and he will direct
every movement to this point. If we are so situated as a
people, as not to be able to enjoy equal happiness and
advantages under one government, the consolidation of the
25 states cannot be admitted.
Touching the federal plan, I do not think much can be
said in its favor: The sovereignty of the nation, without
coercive and efficient powers to collect the strength of it,
cannot always be depended on to answer the purposes of
30 government; and in a congress of representatives of
sovereign states, there must necessarily be an unreasonable
mixture of powers in the same hands.
Independent of the opinions of many great authors, that
a free elective government cannot be extended over large
35 territories, a few reflections must evince, that one
government and general legislation alone, never can extend
equal benefits to all parts of the United States: Different
laws, customs, and opinions exist in the different states,
which by a uniform system of laws would be unreasonably
40 invaded. The United States contain about a million of
square miles, and in half a century will, probably, contain
ten millions of people.
End of reading passage.

Passage 2

Let us now consider how far [the new system] is
consistent with the happiness of the people and their
freedom. It is the opinion of the ablest writers on the
subject, that no extensive empire can be governed upon
47 republican principles, and that such a government will
degenerate to a despotism, unless it be made up of a
confederacy of smaller states, each having the full powers
of internal regulation. This is precisely the principle which
has hitherto preserved our freedom. No instance can be
52 found of any free government of considerable extent which
has been supported upon any other plan. Large and
consolidated empires may indeed dazzle the eyes of a
distant spectator with their splendour, but if examined
more nearly are always found to be full of misery. The
57 reason is obvious. In large states the same principles of
legislation will not apply to all the parts. The laws not
being made by the people, who felt the inconveniences, did
not suit their circumstances. It is under such tyranny that
the Spanish provinces languish, and such would be our
62 misfortune and degradation, if we should submit to have
the concerns of the whole empire managed by one
legislature. To promote the happiness of the people it is
necessary that there should be local laws; and it is
necessary that those laws should be made by the
67 representatives of those who are immediately subject to the
want of them.
It is impossible for one code of laws to suit Georgia and
Massachusetts. They must, therefore, legislate for
themselves. The laws of Congress are in all cases to be the
72 supreme law of the land, and paramount to the
constitutions of the individual states. This new system is,
therefore, a consolidation of all the states into one large
mass, however diverse the parts may be of which it is to be
composed. The idea of an uncompounded republick, on an
77 average, one thousand miles in length, and eight hundred
in breadth, and containing six millions of inhabitants all
reduced to the same standard of morals, or habits, and of
laws, is in itself an absurdity, and contrary to the whole
experience of mankind. All that part, therefore, of the new
82 system, which relates to the internal government of the
states, ought at once to be rejected.

 
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