Federalist Papers, a valuable political and philosophical work, are a foundation of the existing American unity and cooperativeness spirit all states reveal. Although there still is a number of opponents of the ideas presented in the document, it nevertheless contains an applicable (as for the 18th century) plan for maintaining each state integrated into the large country. The present essay is designed to discuss papers #1-10 and 37-51 and evaluate Jay’s, Madison’s and Hamilton’s opinions.
Jay’s essays, #2-5 , address the importance of unity of the diverse states, first of all in order to protect the country from external influences and invaders: “Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whatever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers” (Jay, Federalist #2).
Considering Jay’s arguments from the modern perspective, one can understand how prophetic and precise were his writings, as the approaching advancements of Great Britain created an undeniable threat of losing independence obtained not so long ago. In addition, unity allowed preserving economic integrity of the United States and forming the phenomenon which is nowadays referred to as “American mentality”. The request is also consistent with American history, in particular colonization, which consisted in day-to-day cooperation between pioneers, which brought about the abilities to negotiate, compromise and developed “group consciousness”.
Therefore, “weaknesses and divisions at home would invite dangers from abroad” (Jay, Federalist #5). Interestingly, Hamilton expands the economic and political government, demonstrating perfect knowledge of ancient history. In fact, he considers the form of small states or city states like Athens and Carthage ineffective and outdated given that such division incited economic competition and war between such small territorial units.
Hamilton once again stresses the necessity of ceding or sacrificing one’s personal or current interests for future fruits; this tendency to work predominantly for the future and prospects has determined the existing success of the country. Confederation, as Hamilton writes, is particularly dangerous in terms of competition, as although it does not breed any explicit tensions, it is likely to form undermine each state government’s trust to other state, as commercial competition will remain severe unless federal authorities are appointed (Hamilton, Federalist #7).
Furthermore, Hamilton and Madison wisely put forth the issue of internal order (moreover, domestic order within each particular state, as the politicians assume), which could be maintained only when having a strong central power, given that it allows dictating or (wherever necessary) imposing the policy, beneficial to the entire country, in which each territorial unit’s interests are taken into account.
Madison further suggests republican government, or a mixture of federal and national, as a model for the central power: “It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressors by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic” (Madison, Federalist #39).
In the subsequent articles, both Hamilton and Madison argue that all branches of power will be carefully balanced in the republican government; however, Madison’s account of the proportion between the entitlements conferred to the federal and state government seems excessively authoritarian so that his model threatens to the representation of each state and might result in the usurpation of formal power by the Parliament and Administration.
To sum up, the Federalist Papers offer a predominantly applicable and time-honored view on the true unity of America and provide quite valid reasons for the establishment of federation instead of more superficial union.
However, central power’s intervention into the affairs of state governments, as stated by Madison, should be minimized or restated, particularly the executive branch of state level should gain greater independence, as Madison defines quite a broad array of central administration’s entitlements in relation to the territorial units.
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