• Federalist 9

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 9 Federalist 9 1 Alexander Hamilton If too powerful, the central government would be tyrannical. If not strong enough, the Union would not hold together. In pointing out these problems, Publius argues that a solution has been found through a "great improvement" in the "science of politics." November 21, 1787 The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection A firm Union will be of the utmost moment to the peace and liberty of the States as a barrier against domestic faction and insurrection. It is impossible to read the history of the petty republics of Greece and Italy without feeling sensations of horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were continually agitated, and at the rapid succession of ...
  • Federalist 15

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 15 Federalist 15 1 Alexander Hamilton Echoing earlier critiques of the Articles of Confederation, Publius disputes the notion that the national government must be weak in order for liberty to be secured. December 1, 1787 The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union In the course of the preceding papers I have endeavored, my fellow-citizens, to place before you in a clear and convincing light the importance of Union to your political safety and happiness. I have unfolded to you a complication of dangers to which you would be exposed, should you permit that sacred knot which binds the people of America together to be severed or dissolved by ambition or by avarice, by jealousy or by misrepresentation. In ...
  • Federalist 84

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 84 Federalist 84 1 Alexander Hamilton Although New York had ratified the Constitution by the time this essay was published, the debate it addresses lived on. The original Constitution did not include what came to be known as the Bill of Rights. Many Anti-Federalists ended up supporting the Constitution because of the concession made in some states that the first Congress would adopt a Bill of Rights. Publius here makes no such concession, arguing that a listing of rights would be potentially dangerous. In the end, Publius lost this battle, and even James Madison, despite his earlier opposition, ended up championing the Bill of Rights. August 9, 1788 Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Considered and Answered ...
  • Federalist 10

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 10 Federalist 10 1 James Madison Whereas democracy entails direct rule of the people, in a republic the people rule indirectly, through their representatives. A republic can therefore encompass a greater population and geographical area. This difference is decisive in the American experiment, Publius argues, for an expansive republic is able to control the inherent danger of majority faction. November 22, 1787 The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their ...
  • Federalist 40

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 40 Federalist 40 1 James Madison In creating the Constitution, the Constitutional Convention overstepped its mandate, which was to amend the Articles of Confederation. Publius cannot dispute this. Instead, he appeals to the principles of the Declaration of Independence to support the Convention's work. January 18, 1788 The Powers of the Convention to Form a Mixed Government Examined and Sustained The second point to be examined is whether the convention were authorized to frame and propose this mixed Constitution. The powers of the convention ought, in strictness, to be determined by an inspection of the commissions given to the members by their respective constituents. As all of these, however, had reference either to the ...
  • Federalist 47

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 47 Federalist 47 1 James Madison Anti-Federalists argued that the Constitution violated the maxim of the French political philosopher Montesquieu that the three branches of government should be "separate and distinct" in order to guard against tyranny. Using Montesquieu's own examples and the examples of American state constitutions, Publius refutes the idea that partial overlap of the branches is dangerous to liberty. January 30, 1788 The Particular Structure of the New Government and the Distribution of Power Among its Different Parts Having reviewed the general form of the proposed government and the general mass of power allotted to it, I proceed to examine the particular structure of this government, and the distribution ...
  • Federalist 48

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 48 Federalist 48 1 James Madison Taking the argument of the previous paper one step further, Publius argues that overlapping branches are essential to the maintenance of separation of powers. Unless each branch possesses "practical security" against the other two, departmental boundaries will be mere "parchment barriers" and the legislative branch will likely absorb all power to itself. February 1, 1788 These Departments Should Not Be So Far Separated as to Have No Constitutional Control Over Each Other It was shown in the last paper that the political apothegm there examined does not require that the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments should be wholly unconnected with each other. I shall undertake, in the next ...
  • Federalist 49

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 49 Federalist 49 1 James Madison Thomas Jefferson proposed a direct appeal to the people as a method of solving constitutional disputes among the branches. Publius argues that in addition to being dangerous, such a system would inherently favor the legislative branch. What is more, such appeals would give the impression that the Constitution is defective, thus depriving it of veneration. February 2, 1788 Method of Guarding Against the Encroachments of Any One Department of Government by Appealing to the People Through a Convention The author of the Notes on the State of Virginia, quoted in the last paper, has subjoined to that valuable work the draught of a constitution, which had been prepared in order to be laid before a convention ...
  • Federalist 51

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 51 Federalist 51 1 James Madison Publius argues that the Constitution will maintain separation of powers by means of its "interior structure." The "great security" against tyranny is to give the members of each department the "necessary constitutional means" combined with the requisite "personal motives" to resist encroachments on their power. The fact "that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government" is a "reflection on human nature." February 6, 1788 The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments To what expedient, then, shall we finally resort, for maintaining in practice the necessary partition of power among the several departments as ...
  • Letter Transmitting the Constitution

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Letter Transmitting the Constitution Letter Transmitting the Constitution 1 George Washington As they affixed their names to the new Constitution, the Framers understood that their work had just begun. Four months of debate and compromise paled in comparison to the challenge of convincing the states to ratify. Unanimity was not necessary for the Constitution to go into effect—only nine of thirteen states were needed—but they knew that without the approval of the largest of the states, including New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, their work would be for naught. Congress sent this letter to each state to begin the ratification process. September 17, 1787 Sir: We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in ...
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