• The Farmer Refuted

     |  Natural Rights/American Revolution

    The Farmer Refuted The Farmer Refuted 1 Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) When Loyalist writings began to appear in New York newspapers in 1775, nineteen-year-old Hamilton responded with an essay defending the colonists' right of revolution. Still a student at King's College, he followed up with this second pamphlet, expanding his argument on the purpose of legitimate government. February 23, 1775 I shall, for the present, pass over to that part of your pamphlet, in which you endeavor to establish the supremacy of the British Parliament over America. After a proper eclaircissement of this point, I shall draw such inferences, as will sap the foundation of every thing you have offered. The first thing that presents itself is a wish, that "I ...
  • Federalist 1

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 1 Federalist 1 1 Alexander Hamilton By the time the members of the New York ratifying convention gathered in June 1788, ratification had succeeded in eight states—only one shy of the nine required. The pro-ratification Federalist Party in New York was weak, outnumbered at the convention by more than two to one. Hamilton, sensing the danger posed by attacks on the Constitution that had been published in newspapers across the state, suggested to James Madison and John Jay that the three of them write a series of essays defending and explaining the Constitution. Published under the pen name "Publius" in three New York City newspapers beginning in October 1787, The Federalist was called by Thomas Jefferson "the best commentary on the principles 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 23

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 23 Federalist 23 1 Alexander Hamilton Publius argues that the Constitution creates a government limited in the objects it can pursue, but largely free to choose the best means to achieve those ends. December 18, 1787 The Necessity of a Government as Energetic as the One Proposed to the Preservation of the Union The necessity of a Constitution, at least equally energetic with the one proposed, to the preservation of the Union is the point at the examination of which we are now arrived. This inquiry will naturally divide itself into three branches—the objects to be provided for by a federal government, the quantity of power necessary to the accomplishment of those objects, the persons upon whom that power ought to operate ...
  • 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 70

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 70 Federalist 70 1 Alexander Hamilton To prevent the president from becoming monarchical, Anti-Federalists recommended a plural executive, shorter terms, and a one-term limit. Publius argues for the presidency as structured in the Constitution, and explains the necessity of an energetic executive. March 14, 1788 The Executive Department Further Considered There is an idea, which is not without its advocates, that a vigorous executive is inconsistent with the genius of republican government. The enlightened well-wishers to this species of government must at least hope that the supposition is destitute of foundation; since they can never admit its truth, without at the same time admitting the condemnation of their own principles ...
  • Federalist 73

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 73 Federalist 73 1 Alexander Hamilton Although all legislation originates in Congress, the executive plays an integral role through the veto power. March 21, 1788 The Provision for the Support of the Executive, and the Veto Power The third ingredient towards constituting the vigor of the executive authority is an adequate provision for its support. It is evident that without proper attention to this article, the separation of the executive from the legislative department would be merely nominal and nugatory. The legislature, with a discretionary power over the salary and emoluments of the Chief Magistrate, could render him as obsequious to their will as they might think proper to make him. They might, in most cases, either reduce ...
  • Federalist 74

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 74 Federalist 74 1 Alexander Hamilton The president can act "with secrecy and dispatch," two qualities which the legislature and the judiciary will never possess. March 25, 1788 The Command of the Military and Naval Forces, and the Pardoning Power of the Executive The President of the United States is to be "commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States." The propriety of this provision is so evident in itself and it is at the same time so consonant to the precedents of the State constitutions in general, that little need be said to explain or enforce it. Even those of them which have in other respects coupled the ...
  • Federalist 78

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 78 Federalist 78 1 Alexander Hamilton Defending the idea of judicial review—the authority of the courts to declare a law unconstitutional—Publius denies that it leads to judicial supremacy. The courts must never substitute "will" for "judgment," as all branches of government answer to the Constitution. June 14, 1788 The Judiciary Department We proceed now to an examination of the judiciary department of the proposed government. In unfolding the defects of the existing Confederation, the utility and necessity of a federal judicature have been clearly pointed out. It is the less necessary to recapitulate the considerations there urged as the propriety of the institution in the abstract is not disputed; the only questions which ...
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