George Washington warns that the knee jerk reaction of citizens to problems is to seek a solution in the creation of a “new monarch”(1786)

George Washington

Found in George Washington: A Collection

In a letter to John Jay written on August 15, 1786, George Washington worries that, because the states will not grant the central government sufficient "coercive power", they will swing to the other extreme of seeking a new monarch to solve their problems:

What astonishing changes a few years are capable of producing! I am told that even respectable characters speak of a monarchical form of government without horror. From thinking proceeds speaking, thence to acting is often but a single step. But how irrevocable and tremendous! What a triumph for the advocates of despotism to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves, and that systems founded on the basis of equal liberty are merely ideal and fallacious! Would to God that wise measures may be taken in time to avert the consequences we have but too much reason to apprehend.

In a letter to John Jay in 1786 George Washington expresses dismay that the people are all too ready to call for the return of a “new monarch” (i.e. a “leader”) when difficult times arrive. It seems they clamor for an individual with “coercive powers” to solve their problems and that all the talk of equal liberty is “merely ideal and fallacious”.