Modern writers, like the authors of The Federalist, never say really that government rests entirely on opinion, or that government is justified wholly by the opinion of its citizens. The American tradition as expressed by the Philadelphia Convention and The Federalist holds that some opinion is estimable and some is not, and that it is the function of enlightened rulers to stand against that opinion which is either erroneous or impracticable under the circumstances. The Federalist was, in its time, just such a frontal attack, and it contains perhaps one of the few genuine theories of opinion stated in modern times. Alexander Hamilton's appeal to public opinion for the protection of rights is of more than passing interest. The conservative theory of the function of opinion centers, therefore, not only upon an objective and rational theory of moral validity, but also upon the proposition that part of the theory of opinion is a statement of the patterns of political behavior.