Experience was the highest authority honored in their discourse of prudential things.  And by experience I mean, first of all, recorded  history, both written and remembered.  In Philadelphia, and then more frequently in the state ratification conventions, the Framers of the United States Constitution (Federalists and Antifederalists) argued from circumstance–from settled attachments, closed questions, prescriptive values, and the record–not from definition.  And, as we should learn to recognize, they reasoned thus with consequences that affected the final results of their exchange and the subsequent unfolding of our political history as a people. ~M.E. Bradford, Remembering Who We Are