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Preface to the First Edition - John Taylor, Tyranny Unmasked 
Tyranny Unmasked, ed. F.Thornton Miller (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1992).
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Preface to the First Edition
Most political writers have concluded, that a republican government, over a very large territory, cannot exist; and as this opinion is sustained by alarming proofs, and weighty authorities, it is entitled to much respect, and serious consideration. All extensive territories in past times, and all in the present age, except those of the United States, have been, or are, subject to monarchies. As the Roman territory increased, republican principles were corrupted; and an absolute monarchy was established long before the republican phraseology was abolished. Recently, the failure of a consolidated republican government in France, may probably have been accelerated or caused by the extent of her territory, and the additions she made to it. Shall we profit by so many examples and authorities, or rashly reject them? If they only furnish us with the probability, that a consolidated republic cannot long exist over a great territory, they forcibly admonish us to be very careful of our confederation of republics. By this form of government, a remedy is provided to meet the cloud of facts which have convinced political writers, that a consolidated republic over a vast country, was impracticable; by repeating, an attempt hitherto unsuccessful, we defy their weight, and deride their admonition. I believe that a loss of independent internal power by our confederated States, and an acquisition of supreme power by the Federal department, or by any branch of it, will substantially establish a consolidated republic over all the territories of the United States, though a federal phraseology might still remain; that this consolidation would introduce a monarchy, and that the monarchy, however limited, checked, or balanced, would finally become a complete tyranny. This opinion is urged as the reason for the title of the following treatise. If it is just, the title needs no apology; and a conviction that it is so, at least excuses what that conviction dictated.
From the materials for bringing into consideration this important subject, I have chiefly selected the report of a Committee of Congress upon the protecting-duty policy, for examination; as containing doctrines leading to the issue I deprecate, and likely to terminate in a tyrannical government. In justice, however, to the gentlemen who composed this Committee, and not merely from civility, it is right to say, that I do not believe they imagined their doctrines would have any such consequence. But as I differ from them in this opinion, there can be no good objection against submitting to public consideration, the reasons which have caused that difference.
In doing so, the idea of any compromise with the protecting-duty policy is renounced, because it appears to me to be contrary to the principles of our government; to those necessary for the preservation of civil liberty under any form of government; to true political economy; and to the prosperity of the United States. The evils of the protecting-duty policy, may undoubtedly be graduated by compromises, like those of every other species of tyranny; but the folly of letting in some tyranny to avoid more, has in all ages been fatal to liberty. A succession of wedges, though apparently small, finally splits the strongest timber. I have, therefore, adverted to other innovations, in order to show, that such wedges are sufficiently numerous, to induce the public to consider their effects.
The selection of the report on protecting duties for particular examination, gives to this treatise a controversial complexion, but I hope the reader will perceive, that such is only its superficial aspect; and that its true design is to examine general principles in relation to commerce, political economy, and a free government. The report contained many positions, which served as illustrations of general principles, and the application of principles to special cases, would cause them to be better understood. Many doctrines for this application are extracted from the report, because it afforded them more abundantly than any other state paper; but other political innovations are adverted to, for the purpose of exhibiting, in a connected view, the tendency of the combined assemblage.
Several objections against my undertaking this task presented themselves. The subject may be thought to have been exhausted by the admirable essays and speeches which have appeared. To avoid this objection, I have laboured to place the several questions treated of in new lights. But was not the undertaking too arduous for a head frosted over by almost seventy winters? Did it not require the animation of youth, and maturity combined, and the excitement of a hope to participate in the good it might produce? I confess that the experience of age is not a complete compensation for its coldness, but yet its independence of hope and fear, is some atonement for its want of spirit. The finest talents in the meridian of life, too often shine like the sun, upon the just and the unjust. But here the comparison fails. The rays of human genius are frequently sent forth to invigorate bad principles, that they may reflect wealth and power to those who shed them. Whereas old age, having passed beyond these temptations, is nearly independent of selfish motives, and is almost forced to be actuated by philosophical convictions. But may it not retain its prejudices? May not agricultural habits have inspired a partiality for the agricultural occupation, and obscured the importance of others? The reader must judge whether a partial preference, or an equal freedom among all occupations, is advocated in this treatise. This objection is, however, removed by recollecting, that the advocates of the protecting-duty policy, pretend that the encouragement of agriculture is their object. Both of us therefore having the same intention, it is no objection to me, that I am also its friend. The only question is, whether their arguments or mine will best advance the end, which both profess to have in view; to determine which, those on both sides ought to be considered. We are not rivals courting the same mistress; and only doctors, prescribing means for the recovery of her health, and the improvement of her beauty.
But the strongest objection remains; want of ability. Neither experience, nor integrity, nor independence of fear and hope, nor the indulgence of the reader, will remove it. Yet some extenuation of a presumption which is acknowledged, and an incapacity which is regretted, may be found in the considerations, that the treatise endeavours to suggest new views of the subjects which it contemplates, without venturing to repeat the arguments of abler writers; and that it may possibly have the effect of inducing those better qualified, to extend their inquiries. This is its chief hope, and its utmost arrogance. As to its style, it is dictated by a wish to be understood by every reader. The writer has not an ability to angle for fame with the bait of periods; nor a motive for consulting a temporary taste, by a dish of perfumes.