• Brutus I

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Essay I Essay I 1 Brutus Supporters of the Constitution dubbed their opponents "Anti-Federalists." Opponents resented the label, but it stuck. The Anti-Federalist author Brutus—most likely New York lawyer Robert Yates—penned this essay, the first of sixteen, a month after the Constitution was completed. Having attended the first month of the Constitutional Convention, Yates had left, disgusted with what he perceived as a plan that would give far too much power to the central government. October 18, 1787 To the Citizens of the State of New-York: When the public is called to investigate and decide upon a question in which not only the present members of the community are deeply interested, but upon which the happiness and misery of generations ...
  • 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 39

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 39 Federalist 39 1 James Madison Responding to the Anti-Federalist charge that the Constitution will consolidate power at the national level, Publius sets up a five-prong test to demonstrate that the Constitution will establish neither a wholly national government nor one in which all the power resides with the states. A combination, he argues, creates the best chance for liberty. January 16, 1788 The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles The last paper having concluded the observations which were meant to introduce a candid survey of the plan of government reported by the convention, we now proceed to the execution of that part of our undertaking. The first question that offers itself is whether the general form ...
  • 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 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 ...
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