influence. The destruction of the power of the great Tory families, however, had of course diminished the weight of the rich landowning class as a whole; and in the country the decisive power was in the hands of the small freeholding farmers.
The State was not yet governed by an absolute democracy, because as yet no one save theorists were believers in an absolute democracy, and even manhood suffrage was not advocated by many persons; while the unenfranchised were not actively discontented. The framers of the State constitution were not mere paper-government visionaries; they were shrewd, honest, practical politicians, acquainted with men and affairs. They invented new governmental methods when necessary, but they did not try to build up an entirely new scheme of government; they simply took the old system under which the affairs of the colony had been administered and altered it to suit the altered conditions of the new State. This method was of course much the wisest; but it was naturally attended by some disadvantages. The constitution-makers kept certain provisions it would have been well to throw away; they failed to guard against certain dangers that were sure to arise under the changed circumstances; and on the other hand, they created difficulties by their endeavors to guard against certain other dangers which had really vanished with the destruction of