Alexander Hamilton, a leader of the drive for political reform in America, persuaded New Yorkers that the Constitution was worth a try. It was not perfect, he admitted, but its basic principles were sound. Hamilton’s practical wisdom was deeply American. The important thing was to stick together and to embrace our common commitment to independence, liberty and government by consent of the governed. When the people refused to accept their assurances that the national government would respect civil liberties, they quickly drew up a Bill of Rights and added it to the Constitution. The Constitution provided separate branches of government to perform different functions, but here was a body that made rules, enforced them and settled disputes about them, all by itself. The Civil War generation abolished slavery and established that no person could be denied the right to vote on account of race.