The Federalist Papers (In Modern Language)

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The Federalist Papers in Modern Language

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The Federalist Papers (In Modern Language)

  1. 1. FEDERALIST NO. 1 General Introduction Hamilton To the People of the State of New York: It is obvious that the Articles of Confederation have will be allowed, acknowledging that they will release failed to establish a viable government. Now you, as angry, malignant passions as opposing factions try to citizens, are challenged to establish a new system. At “sell” their opinions and recruit converts. Enlightened stake is nothing less than the Union’s existence, its government energy and efficiency will be stigmatized as citizens’ safety and its stature in the world. Many say that “jealous” offspring of despotic forces. Vigilance against Americans, by their conduct and example, must decide dangers to the people’s rights will be represented as stale whether societies are able to establish good bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. But governments. If this is true, the decision must be made jealousy, usually a component of love, and government now. vigor, essential to the security of liberty, can never, in —––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––— considering important public actions, be separated. —— Moreover, dangerous ambition more often lurks behind zeal for our rights than for firm, efficient government. But To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the history teaches that the former is a more certain road to undersigned Delegates of the States who affixed to our Names send greeting. despotism than to good administration. Of those tyrants Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between who have overturned the liberties of republics, most have the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode begun their careers courting “the people.” Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, These thoughts are intended to alert you to dishonest New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. objections – while frankly admitting that I am “friendly” to Preamble to the Articles of Confederation the new Constitution: I believe ratification is the best way We, the people of the United States, in order to form a to achieve liberty and assure dignity and happiness. more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic I plan a series of papers, to discuss: tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the • the Union’s importance to your political prosperity; general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this • the Confederation’s inability to preserve it; Constitution of the United States of America. • the importance to these goals of a government as Preamble to the United States Constitution energetic as the one proposed; • the proposal’s conformity to republican principle; –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– • its similarity to your own State constitution; and —–– • the security to your liberty and to your property that This “project” will call for altruism and patriotism, and (I ratification will bring. hope, but do not expect) discipline to serve, without In the course of this discussion I will try to answer all distraction, our true interests. But the plan you will the known objections to ratification. consider affects too many local interests and institutions You may consider it unnecessary to defend the Union. not to be diverted into extraneous issues and passions. But we already hear whispers that one system cannot The obstacles against the new Constitution are the govern the thirteen States; that we must have separate resistance of certain men in every State to change that confederacies. But those able to see the whole picture could diminish their power, income and social status, and can see the dangers in Union dismemberment. others who hope to elevate themselves by abolishing the Publius. Union and dividing the country into several confederacies. I know it is insincere and unwise to automatically discredit political opposition as “self-interested.” And so, as always in great national discussions, these sentiments FEDERALIST NO. 2 Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence Jay To the People of the State of New York: The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt • Page 1 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  2. 2. AMERICANS must now decide one of history’s most This country and this people seem to have been made important questions. We must also consider it thoroughly for each other; they should never be split into a number of and seriously. unsocial, jealous, alien sovereignties. Government is indispensable to civil society; to assure As citizens, we enjoy the same national rights, its success, we must all give up some of our rights. privileges, and protection. As a nation we have made Therefore, we must consider whether it would be in our peace and war, defeated enemies, formed alliances and best interests to be one nation, with one federal made agreements with foreign states. government, or divide into individual, sovereign States or This sense of Union inspired us – the minute we had a separate confederacies, each with “national” powers. political existence, while the Revolution still raged – to ———————————————————————— form a federal government to preserve and perpetuate it. At that time, there was little room for calm, mature inquiry Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and and thought required to form a wise, well-balanced independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to government for a free people. We should not be surprised the United States, in Congress assembled. to find, through experience, that a government instituted Article II of the Articles of Confederation in those times is inadequate to its intended purpose. [The Congress shall have the power] to make all laws An intelligent people, we recognized and regretted which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the …powers [delegated to it by the these defects. Still attached to Union and liberty, we saw Constitution], and all other powers vested by this the immediate danger to the former and the more remote Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in risk to the latter. Persuaded that only a wisely framed any department or officer thereof. national government could protect both. we convened the Article I, Section 8(18) of the United States Constitution No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or late convention at Philadelphia, to consider that subject. confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin This convention included men who had the people’s money; emit bills of credit, make anything but gold and confidence, many distinguished by their patriotism, virtue silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of and wisdom in trying times. In a time of peace, attainder, ex post facto law or law impairing the obligation unoccupied by other subjects, they consulted for many of contracts, or grant any title of nobility. Article I, Section 10(1) of the United States Constitution months and finally – unawed by power and uninfluenced No State shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay by any passion except love of country – they presented any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what and recommended their joint, unanimously-approved plan may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection to the people. laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by Remember: this plan is only recommended, not any State on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be imposed; it is recommended for sedate, candid subject to the revision and control of the Congress. consideration the subject demands. Article I, Section 10(2) of the United States Constitution But this is more wished than expected. No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any Experience teaches us not to be too optimistic. duty on tonnage, keep troops and ships of war in time of peace, enter any agreement or compact with another Imminent danger induced the people of America to form State or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless the memorable Congress of 1774, which recommended actually invaded or in such imminent danger a swell not certain wise measures – which were soon attacked by the admit of delay. press. Then many government officers, acting in their Article I, Section 10(3) of the United States Constitution own interests, and mistaken and over-ambitious others, ———————————————————————— worked to persuade the people to reject that Congress’ Until recently, we all agreed that our prosperity advice. depended on our continuing united, and our best, wisest But the majority acknowledged the wisdom, citizens were focused on that goal. Now some politicians experience and patriotism in Congress; that their insist that we would be more secure and prosperous in Representatives would not recommend imprudent or separate “confederacies” or “sovereignties.” We should unwise measures. Relying on Congress’ judgment and not adopt these radical political ideas unless convinced integrity, they took its advice – ignoring the grand efforts that they are correct. to steer them from it. America, rather than detached, distant territories, is If we had reason to rely on that inexperienced, little- one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country. We are known Congress, we have greater reason to respect the blessed with many soils and crops, watered with many convention’s judgment and advice because its most streams, surrounded by navigable waters, with noble distinguished members – now seasoned and recognized rivers forming highways for communication and for their abilities – were members of both. transportation for our various commodities. Every Congress, like the convention, has agreed with This one connected country belongs to one united the people that America’s prosperity depends on its people, descended from one heritage, speaking one Union. To preserve and perpetuate it was the reason to language, professing one religion, attached to one set of form the convention, and it is also the purpose of the government principles. We are very similar in our proposed plan. Why, then, are some men depreciating its manners and customs. Together, fighting through a long importance? Why do some suggest that several and bloody war, we have established liberty and confederacies would be better than one? I believe the independence. people have always been correct on this subject, and that their universal, uniform attachment to the Union rests on substantial reason that I will try to explain in later papers. The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt •Page 2 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  3. 3. Publius. The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt •Page 3 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  4. 4. FEDERALIST NO. 3 Foreign Dangers – #2 Jay To the People of the State of New York: Intelligent people generally adopt ideas and practices The number of wars in the world is in proportion to the that serve their interests. We have long acknowledged number and weight of real and perceived causes that the need for unity under one federal government, with provoke them. If true, will more or fewer war causes enough power to fill all national purposes. confront a United America than a disunited America? That government’s first requirement is an ability to Generally, wars are caused by treaty violations and protect the people. Public safety relates to many direct attacks. America already has treaties with at least situations and problems, which gives great latitude to six foreign nations, all except Prussia are maritime, and those trying to define it precisely and thoroughly. therefore able to harm us. We also have extensive For the moment, let’s confine the discussion to our commerce with Portugal, Spain, and Britain – and the safety from foreign arms and influence. Is, in fact, an latter two have major colonies in our “neighborhood.” efficient national government our best protection against To preserve the peace, America must observe hostilities from abroad? international laws relating to all these powers, and one ———————————————————————— national government can do this more effectively than thirteen separate States or three or four confederacies. No State shall engage in any war without the consent of Once established, a good national government can – the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have more easily than a town or State – draw on the time and received certain advice of a resolution being formed by talents of the best men in the country to serve and man- some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the age it. This will benefit other nations, as well as our own. danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till the Moreover, under the national government, treaties and United States in Congress assembled can be consulted; nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or international laws will always be established and observed vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it in the same way, based on unified, national policies. be after a declaration of war by the United States in Otherwise, our partners would be forced to deal with as Congress assembled, and then only against the Kingdom many as 13 different points of view. or State and the subjects thereof, against which war has The convention was also wise enough to commit these been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the United States in Congress assembled questions to courts appointed by and responsible to only … one national government. Article VI of the Articles of Confederation As a result, deliberate and accidental insults will have All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be far less impact on a single, national government than on incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall several lesser ones. be defrayed out of a common treasury, … One good national government can also protect best Article VIII of the Articles of Confederation against direct, violent attacks. Not one Indian war has The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, been caused by aggression by the present federal duties, imposts and excises, to … provide for the common government, feeble as it is; but several bloody Indian defense … [of] the United States; Article I Section 8(1) of the United States Constitution attacks have been provoked by improper conduct of To declare war … individual States. Article I Section 8(11) of the United States Constitution Quarrels between States and adjacent Spanish and To raise and support armies … British territories would be limited to those border areas. A Article I Section 8(12) of the United States Constitution To provide and maintain a navy; border State alone might become irritated enough to fight Article I Section 8(13) of the United States Constitution with a foreign power. In that case, nothing can prevent To make rules for the government and regulation of the hostilities more effectively than intervention by a unified land and naval forces; national government, whose wisdom and prudence would Article I Section 8(14) of the United States Constitution To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of not be weakened by the combatants’ passions. the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions; Indeed, the national government will not only eliminate Article I Section 8(15) of the United States Constitution just causes of war; it will have the power to settle disputes To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the amicably. It will also act with less passion than pride-filled militia, and for governing such part of them as may be local and State authorities and will not need to justify all employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of officers, and the actions or acknowledge, correct or repair errors and authority of training the militia according to the discipline offenses. And it can use moderation and candor to prescribed by Congress; consider and decide on proper means to extricate the Article I Section 8(16) of the United States Constitution beleaguered State from foreign challenges. Besides, a strong, united nation will more likely accept ––——————————————————— acknowledgments, explanations, and compensations than one of the thirteen States. The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt •Page 4 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  5. 5. Publius. The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt •Page 5 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  6. 6. FEDERALIST NO. 4 Foreign Dangers – #3 Jay To the People of the State of New York: Our safety from foreign force depends on both not Apply these facts to our case. Leave America divided giving or taking offense that can lead to hostilities. under multiple independent governments: what armies Nations generally make war whenever they believe and fleets could we raise and pay? If one was attacked, they can gain from it. Absolute rulers attack for the sake would the others spend their blood and money in its of military glory, revenge, ambition or commitments to defense? relatives, cronies or partisans. ———————————————————————— As for just causes, consider these opportunities for international “friction”: Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, With France and Britain we compete in fisheries, and which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to can supply their markets cheaper than they. the United States, in Congress assembled. They and other European nations would celebrate our Article II of the Articles of Confederation failure in navigation and shipping, because our success, if The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect any, will be at their expense. As might China and India, each of them against invasion, and on application of the who once sold us goods that we now supply ourselves. legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot Operating our own commerce in our own ships irritates be convened), against domestic violence. European nations with nearby territories because the low Article IV Section 4 of the United States Constitution cost and high quality of our goods, closeness to sources and markets, and our merchants’ and sailors’ skill give us ———————————————————————— important advantages over them. The history of the Greek states abounds with such In response, Spain shuts us out of the Mississippi and instances and, under similar circumstances, we would Britain out of the Saint Lawrence, and both bar us from probably do the same. the other waters between them and us. This is why other Even if, say, New York would be willing to help an nations are jealous and uneasy. invaded State or confederacy: How much manpower and Americans know these “discomforts” can lead to war at money would it contribute? Who would command the any time. This is why they also consider Union and a allied armies and who would issue the orders? Who good national government necessary to peace. would negotiate or arbitrate the peace? One government can call talented, able people With one government watching over our general and wherever in the Union they might be. It can move on common interests, combining and directing the powers uniform principles of policy. It can harmonize, assimilate, and resources of the whole, these problems would not and – together or separately – protect the States. In arise. forming treaties, it can act for the whole, and the United under one national government or split, foreign particular interests of the States. nations will treat us accordingly. In sum, to defend any part, it can apply the resources They will be much more ready to cultivate our and power of the whole more easily and quickly than friendship than provoke our resentment if they see a well- State governments or separate confederacies. It can, as managed national government; prudently-regulated trade; the States could not, place the militia in one corps under a properly organized and disciplined militia; discreetly one chain of command, connected to the President. managed resources and finances; re-established credit; What would British militia be if the English, Scottish and a free, contented, united people. and Welsh recruits only obeyed their own governments? If, on the other hand, they see States or confederacies Against an invasion, could those three governments fight going their own way, one leaning to Britain, another to the enemy as effectively as the single government of France, and a third to Spain and perhaps played against Great Britain? each other by the three, what a poor, pitiful figure America We have heard much of the fleets of Britain, and the will make in their eyes! time may come when the American fleets will be as Experience has always taught that when a people or respected. But if one national government had not made family so divide, it never fails to be against itself. British navigation a nursery for seamen – if it had not Publius. organized all national resources for forming fleets – they would not exist. The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt •Page 6 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  7. 7. FEDERALIST NO. 5 Foreign Dangers – #4 Jay To the People of the State of New York: QUEEN ANNE once wrote to the Scottish Parliament conditions which tend to create and increase power in on the importance of the UNION then forming between one place and impede it in others, we must acknowledge England and Scotland. She said, in part: that superior policy and good management always An entire and perfect union will be the solid separate governments from each other. And we cannot foundation of lasting peace: It will secure your presume that all confederacies would be managed religion, liberty, and property; remove the animosities equally well. amongst yourselves, and the jealousies and When one of those nations or confederacies rises, as differences betwixt our two kingdoms. It must it certainly will, to political importance, the others will slip increase your strength, riches, and trade; and by this to “second-class” status, driven by envy and fear, and union the whole island, being joined in affection and then the real conflict will begin. free from all apprehensions of different interest, will The North, for example, is generally the region of be enabled to resist all its enemies. … We most strength, and we can expect that the most Northern of the earnestly recommend to you calmness and proposed confederacies would become the strongest. unanimity in this great and weighty affair, that the Soon, the Northerners’ success and the Southerners’ union may be brought to a happy conclusion, being want would ignite the kinds of conflict that afflict northern the only effectual way to secure our present and and southern Europe. future happiness, and disappoint the designs of our Anyone who understands history knows that American and your enemies, who will doubtless, on this confederacies would neither love nor trust each other, occasion, use their utmost endeavors to prevent this which, in other nations’ eyes, would make them union. dangerous only to each other because they could never I remarked in my previous paper that weakness and form defensive alliances against outsiders. Example: divisions at home would invite dangers from abroad; and When did the independent British states unite their forces that nothing would do more to protect us than union, against a foreign enemy? strength, and good government. British history gives us The proposed confederacies would be distinct nations, many lessons to follow without paying the price they paid. each having commerce and treaties with foreigners, built Although it seems obvious that people sharing an around the products and commodities they could offer for island should be one nation, for ages they were divided trade. Different commerce creates different interests, and into three – which almost constantly quarreled and fought. different political attachments to different foreign nations. Though their interests respecting European nations were Hence, a nation at war with the Southern confederacy the same, their mutual jealousies were always inflamed, might be the Northerners’ best ally and trading partner. and they were far more trouble than help to each other. In fact, as in Europe, our bordering confederacies Should we divide into three or four nations, would not acting in opposite interests would often take different the same thing happen? Would not similar long-cherished sides. And it would be more natural for them to fear one jealousies arise? Instead of being “joined in affection,” another than faroff European nations. And therefore they free from fear, envy and jealousy of each other, the would more likely use foreign alliances to guard against States’ and confederacies’ conflicting interests would be neighbors than neighbors against foreign attack. But the only objects of their policy and pursuits. And, like most remember – it is easier to welcome than repel foreign bordering nations, we would always be at odds or at war, fleets and armies. or living in suspicion and fear of each other. Publius. The most confident supporters of separation cannot suppose that they would begin or remain equally strong because no plan can ever assure equality. Beyond local FEDERALIST NO. 6 Dangers from Conflict Between States Hamilton To the People of the State of New York: The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt •Page 7 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  8. 8. THERE IS no doubt that, disunited, the confederations In fact, republics are no less addicted to war than the 13 States might join would often fight each other. Men monarchies, and legislatures just as subject to irregular, are, after all, ambitious, vindictive and rapacious. To violent biases. They often place their trust in “imperfect” expect harmony between unconnected sovereignties in leaders, who taint them with their selfish passions and the same neighborhood is to forget and defy history. views. Causes of international hostility are many. Some afflict Moreover, commerce has done little to abolish war, governments almost constantly. These include the hunger because love of wealth is as corrupting a passion as for power, as against people’s desire for equality and power or glory. Witness that there have been as many safety; and commercial rivalry and competition. wars fought for commercial gain as for territory or Still others arise from private passions of community dominion. leaders who abuse the people’s confidence by sacrificing Sparta, Athens, Rome, and Carthage were republics. public tranquillity to personal benefit. Pericles, wooing a Yet they were as often at war as monarchies in those resentful prostitute, at his country’s expense, destroyed times. the city of the Samnians then, in anger, to avoid Sparta was little more than a well-regulated camp; and prosecution, to avert political accusations, or from several Rome never tired of conquest. causes, launched the Peloponnesian war, which ruined Carthage, a commercial republic, was the aggressor in Athens. the war that destroyed her. Henry VIII’s ambitious prime minister, aspiring to the Venice, in later years, more than once fought wars of crown, precipitated war between England and France. ambition until Pope Julius II gave a deadly blow to this And an example among ourselves: Shays’s haughty republic. indebtedness, which helped plunge Massachusetts into The provinces of Holland, until overwhelmed by debt civil war. and taxes, were conspicuous in European wars. Even today, there are no doubt men who believe there Few nations have engaged in more wars than Britain – can be “perpetual peace between the States,” though many instigated by the people and their representatives – separate and alienated from each other. The genius of often for commercial advantage, against the monarch’s republics (they say) is pacific; the spirit of commerce instincts and the State’s real interests. tends to soften men’s manners and quench tempers These are experiences of countries with interests which have so often kindled wars. Commercial republics similar to our own. How, then, can we expect interstate like ours (they say) would never waste themselves in peace and cordiality after the present Confederacy is ruinous conflicts with each other. They will be governed dissolved? It is time to awake from the dream of a golden (they say) by mutual interest and cultivate amity and age and map a practical direction for our political conduct. concord. The notion that harmony can accompany disunion is Is it not, we may ask, in all nations’ interest to cultivate far from the general sense of mankind. A longstanding such benevolent spirits? If so, have they pursued it? On political axiom has it that nearness and likeness create the contrary, momentary passions and interests have natural enemies, not friends. greater control over conduct than policy, utility or justice. Publius. FEDERALIST NO. 7 Dangers from Conflict Between States Hamilton To the People of the State of New York: SOME PEOPLE ask, why would the States, if The States that contain those lands have claimed them disunited, make war on each other? I answer: For the as their property. Others contend that the crown’s rights same reasons all nations have, at different times, been passed on to the Union – especially that part of the deluged in blood. Western territory which, by possession or submission of Territorial disputes have caused most wars that have Indian proprietors, fell under the king’s jurisdiction until desolated the earth – and would be a real threat for us. relinquished in the peace treaty. This, they say, was an We have vast unsettled territories. There are acquisition to America by compact with a foreign power. dissonant, undecided claims between several of them; Congress has prudently appeased this controversy by dissolution of the Union would cause similar claims asking the States to make cessions to the United States between them all. They have had serious discussions for the benefit of the whole. Under resulting agreements, concerning rights which were ungranted at the time of the a large part of the vacant Western territory is, if only by Revolution, on tracts which were usually deemed “crown cession, the common property of the Union. But if the lands.” Union were to end, the ceding States would be apt to reclaim the lands. The other States would insist on a The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt •Page 8 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  9. 9. proportion, by right of representation. Their argument The opportunities some States would have to exploit would be that a grant, once made, cannot be revoked, others through commercial regulations would be resisted and that land rights acquired or secured by the by the exploitees. The relationship between New York, Confederacy’s joint efforts remain undiminished. Connecticut and New Jersey gives an example. New If, surprisingly, the States should agree that all share York’s revenue needs require her to lay duties on her ownership in the public lands, there would remain the importations, paid by citizen-consumers of the two other difficult question of apportionment. Some worry that States. New York could not give up this advantage, different States would set up different principles: self- because her citizens would not willingly pay a duty in favor interested principles that could lead to conflict, with no of their neighbors; nor could visitors in our markets be umpire or common judge to separate the contenders. separated from citizens. In a land dispute between Connecticut and How long would our oppressed neighbors, forced to Pennsylvania, the Articles of Confederation required support our happiness, let us live in peace? appeal to a federal court, which decided for Pennsylvania. The national debt could also cause collisions between But Connecticut was unsatisfied until compensated with the States or confederacies. The way the debt is an equivalent tract: she no doubt believed herself injured apportioned and paid would certainly produce ill-humor by the decision. and animosity. How could we agree on an apportionment The lesson is that States, like people, accept defeat rule satisfactory to all? Scarcely any we can propose is reluctantly. Those who witnessed the behind-the-scenes free from real objections, and these would be action in the controversy between New York State and exaggerated by “offended” parties. Vermont remember the opposition we faced from States Not even the States agree on a general principle for with real and pretended interests in the outcome. They discharging the debt. Some are unimpressed with the can attest that, had New York tried to claim its rights by need for national credit, others indifferent or opposed to force, the peace of the Confederacy would have been in any payment at any rate. Still other States, many of real danger. The threat grew from two motives: jealousy whose citizens are public creditors, would demand some of New York’s future power and the interests of influential equitable, effective provision. Their resentment would New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut citizens lengthen the former's procrastinations. In short, expect a who had gained land grants from the government of long delayed settlement. Citizens of the interested States Vermont. Even States with claims clashing with ours would clamor, while foreign powers demand satisfaction seemed more ready to dismember New York than admit of their claims, and peace between the States would be their own pretensions. New Jersey, Rhode Island and threatened by both external invasion and internal Maryland affected zealous support of Vermont’s contention. independence, hoping to deter our growing greatness. Even should the apportionment be made, there is Should we become disunited, these kinds of passions room to suppose that the rule agreed upon would, in would likely embroil all States. Commercial competitions practice bear harder upon some States than others. also generate tension. Smaller, less favorably located Naturally, the “sufferers” would seek relief from the States would want to gain advantage. Every State or burden while the others would dismiss a revision which separate confederacy would set its own peculiar would likely increase their own misery. Their refusal would commercial policy. All of this would create distinctions, encourage the complaining States to withhold preferences and exclusions, which would breed contributions, and this non-compliance would lead to discontent. more wrangling. If all the States agree, some would defer The relationships, based on equal privileges that we payments due to lack of funds, financial mismanagement have enjoyed since the first settlers arrived, would or “mistakes,” and the natural reluctance to support sharpen the causes of discontent. We should be ready to yesterday’s causes. And those delinquencies would recognize some perceived offenses as justifiable acts of generate complaints, recriminations, and quarrels sovereignties serving their own interests. because no one cares to contribute equally to efforts with Still, it is improbable that enterprising Americans would unequal benefit. It is an old but valid truth that nothing respect trade regulations certain States might use to causes friction more quickly than the payment of money. benefit their own citizens. Violations of those regulations Laws that violate private contracts and, thereby, on one side and efforts on the other to prevent and punish citizens’ rights, also cause enmity. We cannot expect that them would naturally lead to outrages, reprisals and wars. the separate States would legislate more liberally toward —————————————–—————— the others after ratification than before, unless we enact was to insure fairness. We witnessed, when the Rhode No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any Island legislature offended Connecticut – the retaliatory State. spirit that can result. In such future “arguments,” real war Article I Section 9 (5) of the U.S. Constitution No preference shall be given by any regulation of is not out of the question. commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those Previous papers have warned of the dangers to peace of another; nor shall vessels bound to or from one State be of “incompatible” alliances between States or obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another. confederacies and foreign nations. If America is not Article I Section 9 (6) of the U.S. Constitution united, or only tied into some weak league, we would certainly entangle ourselves in Europe’s deadly intrigues, ———————————————————————— and become prey to its power-grabbing artifices and The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt • Page 9 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  10. 10. machinations. We must make “Divide and Command” the motto of every nation that hates or fears us. Publius. FEDERALIST NO. 8 Consequences of Hostilities Between States Hamilton To the People of the State of New York: LET US assume that, if disunited, the States or any small, underendowed states have often defeated large, alliances they might form would undergo the rigors of rich enemies. But very quickly, pride and self-preservation mutual friendship and enmity that affect all neighboring would force potential victim states to arm and organize. nations. Then let us examine what that would mean. Then America would see the same engines of despotism First, we would see war between the States, and much that scourged the Old World. This would be the natural more painful war than befalls countries with longstanding course of events and our policies will more likely succeed military traditions. The disciplined armies of Europe, in maintaining freedom if they fit these realities. though indifferent to liberty and economy, have made These are not vague inferences from supposed sudden conquest impracticable and prevented rapid, defects in a Constitution that puts power in the hands of widespread desolation. The European art of fortification the people, their representatives or delegates. They are has also helped keep the peace: all European nations are solid conclusions, drawn from human history. encircled with battlements. Campaigns to defeat frontier You may ask why standing armies did not spring from garrisons by invasion are wastes of time, money and the dissension that often distracted the Greek republics? manpower. Previously, invaders penetrated to the enemy There is no one answer. Today’s industrious people, nation’s heart before the invadees knew they were under absorbed in gainful pursuits, are unlikely to build “soldier attack. Now a relatively small, disciplined defensive force, nations” like the Greeks produced. Modern revenue aided by listening posts and watchtowers, can stop large sources, multiplied by the growth of gold and silver, the armies in their tracks. Europe’s military history tells not of industrial arts, and financial sciences, have revolutionized nations subdued and empires overturned, but of battles war, making disciplined armies and hostilities inseparable. that decide nothing. There is also a wide difference between military In America, events would be reversed. Jealous of the establishments in countries rarely threatened and those in resources military establishments always consume, the constant fear of invasion. Safe countries may keep States would postpone building them, opening highways armies as large as any. But their citizens would be in no for enemies to travel. Big States would easily overrun danger of military subjugation, laws would not be written their small, weak neighbors. But once conquered, the to protect central authority, and civil government would newly-won territory would come under attack by someone maintain vigor. When they have no need for protection or larger and stronger. We would see random wars, one to submit to its oppression, citizens view the soldiery as a after another, typified by plunder and devastation necessary evil, and readily resist government attacks on expected from untrained, undisciplined, demoralized their rights. The army may help suppress a mob or irregulars. insurrection, but cannot encroach against the people’s Defense against invasion is the most powerful dictator united efforts. of national policy. Liberty cannot stand against it. Violent In a country constantly threatened, the opposite death and destruction and ongoing danger compel even happens. The government is obliged to always prepare to freedom-loving countries to resort to institutions that tend repel invasion. Its armies must be big enough for instant to destroy civil and political rights. defense. The continual need for their services increases These institutions include standing armies, which are the soldier’s importance and degrades the citizen’s. The not prohibited by the new Constitution; therefore some military rises above the civil. The rights of inhabitants of infer they may exist (though with great expense and threatened territories are unavoidably infringed. This difficulty) under it. Dissolution of the Union, however, weakens their sense of those rights and causes them to would guarantee standing armies, produced by frequent see the army as not only their protectors but their war and constant tension. Weaker States or superiors – eventually, as masters. And it is very difficult confederacies would arm first, to match more potent to motivate people to boldly or effectively resist the neighbors. They would also, by necessity, strengthen their military’s power. executive arms, while weakening the legislatures, and Britain falls in the “safe” category. Her geography and thereby begin a steady march toward monarchy. powerful marine guard her against invasion and eliminate This military strength would make the States or a need for a large army. All she needs is enough force to confederacies that use them superior to their neighbors. meet a sudden attack until the militia could form and rally. Under strong governments with disciplined military forces, National policy does not demand, and public opinion The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt • Page 10 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  11. 11. would bar, a large regular army. For a long time, there Nearby colonies will likely continue too weak to threaten has been little room for the operation of the other causes us. Therefore we should not need an extensive military. of internal war. All these elements serve to preserve But if we should disunite, or should the States join in liberty in spite of Britain’s prevalent venality and two or three confederacies, we would soon look and act corruption. But if Britain were located on the continent, like European powers and our liberties would fall prey to she would be forced to build military establishments the need to defend ourselves against each other. competitive with the rest of Europe’s huge standing This question deserves the most serious and mature regular armies, and probably be victim to a single man’s consideration of all prudent, honest men of all parties. If absolute power. It is possible, though not likely, that the they will make a firm, solemn pause and meditate British may be enslaved from other causes, but not by its dispassionately on its importance in all its aspects, they inconsiderable army. will quickly part with trivial objections to a Constitution, If we are wise enough to preserve the Union we may rejection of which would probably end the Union. enjoy advantages similar to Britain’s. Europe is far away. Publius. FEDERALIST NO. 9 The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection Hamilton To the People of the State of New York: A FIRM Union will be vital to the States’ peace and during good behavior, establishing legislatures to which liberty, as a bar against faction and insurrection. You the people elect their own representatives – these are cannot read the history of the Greek and Italian new, or newly perfected, ideas. Republican governments confederacies without feeling horror and disgust at the use them to strengthen themselves and remove or reduce many revolutions that kept them continually swinging their imperfections. between tyranny and anarchy. Those were violent times, To these strengths, I add republicanism's ability to when creativity was often shattered by governmental serve large and small constituencies: single states as well vices. as continental confederacies, such as ours. In those disorders, modern despots find arguments Confederacies’ ability to suppress faction and to keep against republicanism. They label free government the domestic peace has been used in many countries and inconsistent with order and deride its supporters. Ages- times, and is sanctioned by the most distinguished old free institutions refute these fallacies. And I believe political writers. The Constitution’s opponents have America will create equally magnificent, permanent quoted Montesquieu on a republican government’s need monuments to liberty. to limit its territory. But they neglect some of that great The images of republican government they draw are man’s other opinions. distorted. But political science has improved greatly and, When Montesquieu recommends small republics, his though unknown to the ancients, is now well understood. standard was far smaller than almost all of our States. ———————————————————————– Neither Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina or Georgia can be compared with his All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a models. If we accept his idea, we must resort to Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. monarchy or split into infinite little, jealous, clashing, Article I Section 1 of the United States Constitution stormy commonwealths breeding endless discord and The executive power shall be vested in a President of the earning universal contempt. Some writers on the other United States. He shall hold his office during the term of side seem aware of the dilemma, and have even four years, and together with the Vice-President, chosen for the same term, be elected as follows: suggested division of the larger States. That policy, Article II Section 1 of the United States Constitution creating countless offices, would serve petty politicians The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in who could never promote the greatness or happiness of one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the the American people. Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Moreover, while it would force us to shrink our largest judges, both of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated States, it would not prevent them from joining in one times, receive for their services a compensation which confederate government – and this is the real issue here. shall not be diminished during their continuance in office Not only does Montesquieu not oppose a general .Article III Section 1 of the United States Constitution Union of States, he views a confederate republic as a way to strengthen popular government. He says: ———————————————————————— Dividing power into distinct departments, legislating balances and checks, staffing courts with judges serving The Federalist Papers: An Update • Edited by Marshall Overstedt • Page 11 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  12. 12. It is very probable that mankind would have These passages summarize the principal arguments been obliged at length to live constantly under the for the Union, and remove the false impressions intended government of a single person, had they not by misapplying other parts of the work. They are also contrived a kind of constitution that has all the connected with the subject of this paper: the Union’s internal advantages of a republican, together with ability to repress domestic faction and insurrection. the external force of a monarchical government. I A subtle distinction has been raised between a mean a confederate republic. confederacy and a consolidation of States. The essence This form of government is a convention by of the first, it is said, is that its authority is restricted to the which several smaller states agree to become members’ collective capacities, excluding the individuals members of a larger one, which they intend to that compose them. Some contend that the national form. It is a kind of assemblage of societies that government should be uninvolved in internal constitute a new one, capable of increasing, by administration. Others insist that a confederacy’s member means of new associations, till they arrive to such States must have exactly equal suffrage. These arbitrary a degree of power as to be able to provide for the positions are unsupported by principle and precedent. security of the united body. Indeed, there is no absolute rule on these subjects. This A republic of this kind, able to withstand an investigation will show such equality has caused incurable external force, may support itself without any disorder and imbecility. internal corruptions. The form of this society The definition of a confederate republic seems simply prevents all manner of inconveniences. to be “an assemblage of societies,” or two or more States If a single member should attempt to usurp the joined in one State. The extent and specifics of federal supreme authority, he could not be supposed to authority are discretionary. So long as the States’ have an equal authority and credit in all the separate governments stay in power serving local confederate states. Were he to have too great purposes but subordinate to the Union’s general authority, influence over one, this would alarm the rest. it would still be an association of States, or a confederacy. Were he to subdue a part, that which would still The proposed Constitution, far from abolishing the remain free might oppose him with forces State governments, makes them integral to national independent of those which he had usurped and sovereignty, by allowing them direct representation in the overpower him before he could be settled in his Senate and certain exclusive, important portions of usurpation. sovereign power. This conforms to the definition of a Should a popular insurrection happen in one of federal government. the confederate states the others are able to quell In the Lycian confederacy, consisting of 23 cities or it. Should abuses creep into one part, they are republics, the largest were entitled to three votes in the reformed by those that remain sound. The state common council, those in the middle to two, and the may be destroyed on one side, and not on the smallest to one. The common council appointed all the other; the confederacy may be dissolved, and the cities’ judges and magistrates. This, obviously, interfered confederates preserve their sovereignty. with the local jurisdictions’ natural powers, which include As this government is composed of small appointing their own officers. Yet Montesquieu said of this republics, it enjoys the internal happiness of association: “Were I to give a model of an excellent each; and with respect to its external situation, it Confederate Republic, it would be that of Lycia.” is possessed, by means of the association, of all From this it is apparent that he never contemplated the the advantages of large monarchies. distinctions the objectors insist upon. Publius. FEDERALIST NO. 10 The Union vs. Faction and Insurrection – #2 Madison To the People of the State of New York: IN POPULAR governments, faction is a dangerous governments are too unstable; that the public good is vice. The Union’s key advantage is its ability to break and disregarded in factional rivalries and decisions are too control it. often based on the majority’s overbearing interest. Faction generates instability, injustice and chaos that These complaints are in some degree true, and some have destroyed many elected governments – arming of the blame we lay to government is mistaken. Still, liberty’s enemies. Our State constitutions have introduced many serious problems derive from distrust of public improvements on democracy, but faction remains a actions and fear for private rights. These largely result danger. Some prominent citizens complain our The Federalist Papers: An Update • Edited by Marshall Overstedt • Page 12 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  13. 13. from factious spirits reflected in unsteady, unjust Elected government must protect against it in order to administration. win popular support, either by preventing a bad idea from By a faction, I mean a minority or majority united and gaining a majority or an “infected” majority from taking motivated by an interest conflicting with others’ rights or malevolent action. the community’s interests. From this, you may conclude that a democracy, where There are two cures for faction: (1) remove its causes, citizens govern in person, cannot cure the ills of faction. (2) control its effects. And there are two ways to remove Common passions or interests almost always affect the causes: (1) destroy liberty and (2) give everyone the majorities of the whole; there is nothing to stop them from same opinions, passions and the interests. sacrificing the minority to its own cause. This is why The first remedy is worse than the disease. To abolish democracies are typically turbulent and contentious, liberty because it nourishes faction makes as much sense incompatible with personal security or property rights and as abolishing air because it supports fire. As to the typified by short lives ending in violent deaths. Theoretic second, as long as reason isn’t perfect, and we are free politicians who promote pure democracy suppose that to exercise it, opinions will differ. As reason is linked to perfect equality will equalize everyone’s possessions, ego, opinions and passions influence each other. Men’s opinions and passions; history shows this is mistaken. varied faculties – the source of property rights – also ———————————————————————— prevent uniform interests. Protecting these faculties is government’s first duty. Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of Electors, equal to the Protecting different, unequal property-acquiring faculties whole number of Senators and Representatives to which creates different sizes and kinds of property, and their the State may be entitled in the Congress; but no Senator influence on the emotions and views of respective owners or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or divides society into factions. profit under the United States shall be appointed an Elector. Faction is human nature, and it works everywhere at Article II Section 2 of the United States Constitution different levels. Different religions, political ideas, The Electors shall meet in their respective States and vote attachment to different candidates … These are some by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be things that divide us into factions. Sometimes faction an inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they inflames animosity and drives us to fight each other. This shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and “drive” is so strong, that when there is no major cause at certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government work, minor distractions can ignite violence. of the United States, directed to the President of the But the most common, durable cause of faction is Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence unequal property distribution. Those with and those of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The without property have always taken political sides. person having the greatest number of votes shall be the Regulating these conflicting interests (an essential President, if such number be a majority of the whole legislative mission) involves partisanship and faction in number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than government’s necessary, ordinary operations. one who have such majority, and have an equal number of No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; because his interest would bias his judgment and and if no person have a majority, then from the five probably corrupt his integrity. Wisely, bodies of men are highest on the list the said House shall in like manner barred from both judgment and advocacy of a given choose the President. But in choosing the President the cause. But most legislation is judicial as it concerns votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each State having one vote … citizens’ rights. And legislators are advocates and parties Article II Section 3 of the United States Constitution to political causes on which they decide and vote. To a Note: The Articles of Confederation do not contain the words proposed law concerning private debts, creditors are “President” or “election.” parties on one side and debtors on the other. Justice should hold the balance between them, yet the parties ———————————————————————— themselves are the judges and the largest, most powerful A republic where people act through elected will win. representatives offers the cure. Examine its differences Shall we encourage domestic manufacturing by from pure democracy, and you will see how it benefits the restricting foreign goods? This question would be decided Union. The two great differences between a democracy very differently by the landed versus the manufacturing and a republic are: classes. It is pointless to say that enlightened statesmen 1. The small number of delegates elected to can adjust these clashing interests and subject them to government by the rest. the public good. In fact, they will not always be in charge. 2. The greater number of citizens, and greater territory, In short, causes of faction cannot be removed but only over which the republic may extend. (hopefully) controlled to optimize or minimize its effects. The first difference refines and enlarges public views But in a republic, if an evil faction has less than a by passing them through a chosen body, whose wisdom majority, the republican principle allows the majority to can best discern the country’s true interest, and is least vote against and defeat it. The offenders may clog likely to sacrifice that interest to expediency. This way, the government and convulse society, but the Constitution will people’s voices, amplified by their representatives, are prevent their violence. more in harmony with the public good than if pronounced But when a faction holds a majority, nothing can stop it by the people themselves in a meeting for the purpose. from sacrificing the public good for its own benefit. The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt t • Page 13 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  14. 14. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Corrupt learn their interests. Too few voters tied to them limit their men may use intrigue, bribery or other means to win ability to understand and deal with national questions. election and then betray the people’s interests. This The federal Constitution refers the great, aggregate raises the question whether small or large republics can interests to the national Congress and local, particular elect better guardians of the public good. Larger republics questions to the State legislatures. are the best choice, because: Another difference: A republic can govern a larger A. However small, the republic must have enough population and territory than a democracy, because it is representatives to guard against the malicious few. most able to control faction. B. However large, delegates must be few enough to The smaller the society and the fewer the interests prevent the chaos of over-representation. within it, the more often a majority concentrates in one Note that the number of representatives in each case party and fewer individuals are needed to form a majority is not in proportion to its constituency, and the small – which operates over a short, narrow range of issues. republic has a greater proportion. It follows that if the ratio This makes it easy for oppressors to organize, plot and of fit candidates in the large republic equals that in the operate. small, the large republic will offer more choices a better But when you widen the fields of interest, including chance to elect a qualified representative body. more people, more parties and diverse interests, you ———————————————————————— make it more difficult for a majority to violate the For the most convenient management of the general minority’s rights. That limits a faction’s opportunity and interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually ability to function. For one reason, it takes many more appointed in such manner as the legislatures of each State people to gather critical mass and soon distrust and shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in dissension begin to erode effectiveness. November, in every year, with a power reserved to each In controlling faction, a large republic like the proposed State to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead for the United States has the same advantage over a small remainder of the year. No State shall be represented in republic that any republic holds over a pure democracy: Congress by less than two, nor more than seven members the ability to place many strong obstacles against unjust … self-interested majorities. Article V of the Articles of Confederation Factious leaders may kindle fires within their own Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned States, but they could not spread general conflagration among the several States which may b e included within through the others. A religious sect may degenerate into a this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free political faction in a corner of the nation, but the number persons, including those bound to service for a term of and variety of denominations spread across it will shield years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all the country from that kind of danger. A rage for paper other persons. money, an abolition of debts, an equal division of property Article II Section 3 of the United States Constitution or any other improper or wicked project will be unlikely to ——————————————————————— pervade the Union. Moreover, as each representative will be elected by In the Union’s size and proper organization, I see a more voters in the large than in the small republic, it will republican cure for the diseases that most often afflict be more difficult for unworthy men to win election; and republican governments. In the pride we feel in being since voters are more free, they will likely gravitate to republicans should be our zeal in cherishing the spirit and worthy candidates. supporting the character of Federalists. Yet there is a middle ground, surrounded by concerns. Publius. Too many voters make it difficult for representatives to The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt t • Page 14 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt
  15. 15. FEDERALIST NO. 11 Need for the Union and a Navy to Advance Commerce Hamilton To the People of the State of New York: THERE IS little disagreement on the Union’s ability to build a navy able to challenge the Europeans. commercial importance to foreign trade. This would be especially valuable to our operations in the European maritime powers are uneasy about our West Indies. A few American ships, sent to reinforce adventurous commercial spirit and its possible threat to either the British or the Spaniards could be enough to their shipping – the basis of their navigation strength. make either a winner or loser. Those with American colonies foresee dangers from In the West Indies, we can command great respect. bordering States able to build powerful marines. And if we offer useful American military equipment, we ———————————————————————— can negotiate commercial privileges and set attractive prices on our friendship and neutrality. No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any Indeed, by keeping the Union we can “referee” State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, Europe’s American conflicts, and turn them to our for the defense of such State, or its trade … advantage. But by separating, we would allow rivalries Article VI of the Articles of Confederation [The Congress shall have the power) To provide and between the States to destroy all of our advantages in maintain a navy … [and] To make rules for the government international politics and trade. European nations at war and regulation of the … naval forces … with each other would not fear us, and could raid our Article I, Section 8 (13) & (14) of the United States Constitution No State shall, without the consent of Congress … keep resources to fill their needs. troops and ships of war in time of peace … Neutrality rights are respected only when defended. A Article I, Section 10 (3) & of the United States Constitution weak nation gives up even the privilege to be neutral. Under a vigorous national government, our natural ———————————————————————— strength and resources, directed to a common purpose, In defense, they will likely try to divide us and keep us would impede European efforts to limit our growth. Active from carrying our goods in our own ships. This would commerce, extensive navigation and a thriving maritime prevent us from competing with them, gaining the profits industry are, in short, morally and physically necessary. from our own goods and realizing our potential greatness. But disunited, even little schemes by little politicians By remaining united, we can counter this threat in could defeat us. Powerful maritime nations, capitalizing many ways. By enacting regulations, nationwide, we can on our impotence, could set the conditions for our political force foreigners to bid against each other for access to existence. Moreover, as they have a common interest in our markets. This is a real concern to those who see the carrying our goods and preventing us from shipping importance of our rapidly growing, essentially agricultural theirs, they would likely unite to destroy, or at least markets to all manufacturing nations. By not acting neutralize, our shipping. We would then be forced to against us, they risk huge losses in trade and shipping. accept any price for our commodities, and hand our trade Suppose we had a government strong enough to bar profits to our enemies. The unequaled spirit of enterprise, Great Britain (with whom we have no commercial treaty). which signifies the genius of American merchants and This would enable us to negotiate vast, valuable navigators, and is an inexhaustible mine of national commercial privileges in the British colonies. wealth, would be stifled and lost. Then poverty and In the past, Britain might have responded by simply disgrace would spread across a country that, with shipping her goods to America through the Dutch. But wisdom, could win the world’s admiration and envy. the loss of revenue from not using her own ships would Some rights of importance to American trade are also be heavy. And the Dutch, not they, would pocket the rights of the Union. I mean the fisheries, navigation of the principal profits. This round-about, expensive trade Western lakes and access to the Mississippi. Dissolving arrangement would also make British goods higher priced the Union would bring the nation’s whole waterborne and less competitive against the rest of Europe – another mercantile future into question. Our enemies would serious financial threat. certainly exploit our disunity. I believe that these disadvantages would force Britain Spain stands between us and the Mississippi. France to grant us market privileges in her island colonies in the and Britain compete with us for fisheries – and see them West Indies. To gain these benefits, we would need to as critical to their navigation. They would not neglect this grant some exemptions and immunities in our own, and valuable weapon that prevents us from underselling them this would affect relations with other nations hoping to in their own markets. What could be more natural than share in our trade. preventing their success? Another way to influence European nations’ conduct We should not consider our maritime strength a partial toward us would be to establish a federal navy. One of an benefit. All the navigating States could – probably would – effective Union government would be the strength and The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt • Page 15
  16. 16. benefit from it. As a nursery of seamen, it is a universal On the other hand, whether the States are united or resource. To the launching of a navy, it is indispensable. not, there would be intimate intercourse between them. To the navy, the Union is important in various ways. In But this commerce would be obstructed by many causes, fact, every federal institution will grow and flourish in which have been amply detailed in these papers. Unity, proportion to the size and weight of united support we put whether commercial or political, can only result from behind it. A United States Navy, which would tap all the government unity. States’ resources, would be easier for the Union to build There are other striking, animated points of view on than any single State or partial confederacy. this subject, but they lead too far into the future for Indeed, different parts of united America have peculiar discussion in a newspaper article. Still, I say our situation advantages to put behind this enterprise. The southern invites and our interests prompt us to plan for on-going States have certain kinds of naval stores – wood for hulls, improvement in American government. The world may tar, pitch, and turpentine – in abundance. Some Southern politically and geographically be divided into four parts and Middle States have ample, high-quality iron. Seamen (Europe, Africa, Asia and America), with four sets of must come chiefly from the North. interests. Unhappily for the other three, Europe – through Unrestrained commerce between the States will force, negotiations and fraud – dominates them all. Her assure success of their products, both at home and, success tempts her to believe the rest of mankind exists through access to ports, overseas. Also, the different for her benefit. Philosophers have credited Europeans States’ varied products will help commercial enterprise with physical superiority, and have asserted that all grow ever larger. When one State’s staple fails from a animals, including humans, degenerate in America. It is bad harvest, another State can replace it. our responsibility to vindicate the honor of the human Wide varieties, as well as high values, of exportable race and to teach the arrogant Europeans humility. products permit market competition and fluctuations that Union will let us do that. Disunion will defeat us. Let allow us to operate on better terms. Some items may be Americans refuse to become instruments of European in demand at one time and unsalable at another, but a greatness! Let the thirteen States, bound together in a range of articles could not all suffer down markets at strict and indissoluble Union, erect one great American once. Shrewd traders will readily recognize these system, superior to transatlantic force or influence, and opportunities and will acknowledge that the aggregate able to dictate terms of connection between the old and balance of United States commerce would be much more new world! favorable than that of thirteen separate or partially-united Publius. States. FEDERALIST NO. 12 The Union’s Value to Revenue Creation Hamilton To the People of the State of New York: A flourishing commerce is the nation’s most productive defeated repeatedly by government gluttony and source of wealth. Accordingly, it deserves intense inefficiency, and the economy’s inability to create wealth. discussion. By rewarding investment and hard work and This surprises no one acquainted with other countries. promoting circulation of currency, it energizes industry In Britain, where direct taxes on huge wealth should be and keeps it flowing abundantly. Every businessman more tolerable and government is vigorous in collecting aspires and expects to profit from his effort. Indeed, we them, most national revenue comes from indirect taxes: now know the shared interests of agriculture and domestic imposts and import duties. commerce have erased their old rivalries. History shows, ———————————————————————— as commerce prospers, land values rise because, when businessmen add value to earth products, farming The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the creates new wealth. Nothing works harder than enterprise several States within the time agreed upon by the United to optimize the value of labor and industry. Still, some States in Congress assembled. men argue against this obvious truth. Article VIII of the Articles of Confederation Tax rates should conform to the volume and circulation The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide velocity of wealth in the economy. Commerce contributes for the common defense and general welfare of the United to both volume and velocity, making taxation easier. States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform The Emperor of Germany controls Europe’s best gold throughout the United States. and silver mines. Yet, with weak commerce, he collects Article I Section 8 (1) of the United States Constitution small revenues and must borrow from other nations. In America under the Articles of Confederation, direct ———————————————————————— national and State taxation is impracticable. It has been America obviously must depend on them as well. But with difficulty. Excises must come from a short, narrow list The Federalist Papers … In Other Words • Paraphrased by Marshall Overstedt • Page 16 © 1999 Marshall R. Overstedt

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