By the end of the American Revolution all the new country’s leaders would have called themselves ‘republicans’, and concurred in supporting a ‘republican form of government’. But there were many who opposed the new ‘republican’ constitution, despite their support for republicanism in general. This Antifederalist version of republicanism accepted the importance of popular sovereignty, the search for the common good, representation (rather than democracy), elected magistrates, a senate (usually), and an independent judiciary. ‘Cato’, ‘Brutus’, the ‘Federal Farmer’, and their colleagues clung to Roman names, Ciceronian rhetoric, and the rural virtues of the old republic. But they also inherited the pessimism of Tacitus and the English ‘Cato’, as perfected in Montesquieu, who doubted the practicability of a large republic.
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