George Washington explains the Constitution (1787)

Copies of the draft Constitution were forwarded to all thirteen States, accompanied by this letter from the convention chairman, George Washington:


“We have now the honour to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.

The friends of our country have long seen and desired that the power of making war, peace, and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union. But the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident, hence results the necessity of a different organisation.

It is obviously impractical in the federal government of these states to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest.

In all our deliberations on this subject, we kept steadily in our view, which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American: the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each state in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude than might have been otherwise expected… thus the Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity.

That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every state is not perhaps to be expected. But each will doubtless consider that had her interest been alone consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.”

George Washington