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Federalist No. 1

Federalist No. 1

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Federalist Essays No.1 - No.5

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Eloquently written, yet manifestly biased, Federalist No. Hamilton is quite aware of his own bias:. You will, no doubt, at the same time, have collected from the general scope of them, that [these ideas] proceed from a source not unfriendly to the new Constitution.

Yes, my countrymen, I own to you that, after having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to adopt it. Hamilton is keenly aware not only of his own bias, but also those of others. In fact, Federalist No. Happy will it be if our choice should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests, unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the public good.

But this is a thing more ardently to be wished than seriously to be expected. The investigation of particular types of bias is quite sophisticated. Hamilton identifies not only those with a venomous bias, but also the plethora of people who, while their intentions are good, exhibit an unmistakable bias. In fact, he claims even those who believe themselves to be impartial often have hidden biases:. More importantly, the discussion of bias actually introduces a key theme of the Federalist as a whole, the relation of motive and reason in politics.

Hamilton, as Publius, argues that political motives are irrelevant to the truth of arguments made in their behalf. Arguments stand or fall of their own weight and can neither be enhanced nor diminished by knowledge of the motives that gave rise to them. The irrelevance of motives to the truth of arguments is one of the main reasons why the authors of these papers choose to use a pseudonym.

Hamilton, predicting the initial Anti-Federalist response would continue, correctly foresaw the US Constitution as a polarizing issue. In reference to those who would oppose the Constitution, he claimed that "A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty.

This prediction has proven false, with hardly any discussion about the Papers and the known Anti-Federalist Papers continuing to this day. Hamilton maintained that he held a genuine duty to the citizens, in setting them on their guards against a barrage of political spin:. I have had an eye, my fellow-citizens, to putting you upon your guard against all attempts, from whatever quarter, to influence your decision in a matter of the utmost moment to your welfare.

The essay's major thrust is to impress upon citizens that the system which was in place prior to the Constitution was not worth keeping. Even if those governing a state might be able to resist the temptation to act unfairly regarding other governments, the temptation might arise nevertheless amongst other residents of that state due to circumstances that relate only to that state.

When that happens, the governing party might not be able to prevent the injustice or punish the guilty residents. But the national government will not be affected by the local issues and therefore will not be likely to commit that same wrong nor be prone to prevent or punishing the commission of the act by others.

Therefore, so far we see that, when purposeful or accidental violations of treaties and of international law can create just reasons for going to war, we also see that they are less likely to occur under one national government than they are with several smaller governments.

Therefore, a national government is more capable of protecting the safety of the people. It is also clear to me that one good national government can provide vastly more security against the dangers that result from direct and illegal violence.

These acts themselves are the causes of a justifiable war, and the national government can better deal with these threats than the alternative option of several smaller governments. This kind of violence more frequently occurs because of the passions and interests of a part of the Union, one or two of the states, than of the Union as a whole.

Not a single war with the Indians has resulted from the aggressions of the federal government, even as weak as it is; yet there have been many instances of Indian hostilities being provoked by the improper conduct of individual States.

These States have been unwilling or unable to restrain or punish these types of offenses, which have resulted in the slaughter of many innocent inhabitants.

Likewise, conflicts along the British or Spanish territories, which border on some States but not on others, are quarrels confined immediately to those borders. The States to which these borders belong are more likely to act impulsively and respond with direct violence or engage in acts of war with these nations. The national government could effectively end the conflict because the national government's wisdom and prudence will not be overshadowed by the same passions that drive the inhabitants of that border.

So, there will be fewer reasons for the national government to engage in even justifiable war. Plus, it will also be better situated to accommodate disputes and settle them quickly. The national government will be more measured and cool, and in this respect and others, will be in a better position to deal with the conflict with caution and wisdom. The States, and the men in those States, can naturally be proud, and that can lead them to justify all of their actions and it can prevent them from recognizing and correcting their errors and offenses.

The national government will not be affected by this pride, and will proceed therefore with moderation and truthfulness to decide on the best means to remove the States from difficulties like these that might threaten them.

Besides, we all know that admissions, explanations, and compensations that would be rejected by a State or confederacy as unsatisfactory would be acceptable to a national government. He demanded that Genoa send their chief magistrate and four senators to France to ask the King's pardon. The Genoans had to do this in order to keep peace. Now, would this King have demanded or caused such humiliation, to Britain, Spain or any other powerful nation? The dangers of war threatened by other countries would be more rare, and the reasons given to justify that aggression would also be more rare.

But if the dangers occurred, a national government would be better equipped than either state governments or confederacies to deal with that threat. So, the safety of the people depends upon their refraining from giving other nations a justifiable reason for threatening war. But we all know that there is a need of the people not to act in such a way as to invite hostility, since we know that some wars have just causes while others are based on pretense.

It is also too true, even though it is disgraceful to human nature, that nations generally will start a war whenever they have the possibility of gaining by it. Absolute Monarchs, in fact, will make war, not for national gain, but for personal reasons, such as a desire for military glory, revenge for personal insults, ambition, or because business deals associated with the conflict might benefit their families or associates.

These motivations will often move monarchs to engage in wars that are not backed up by justice, nor are they desired by, or in the interest of, the people. Now, most of this relates to absolute monarchs, but there are still others that affect nations as well as kings, and we will see that some of these motivations result from our situation and circumstances.

With France and Britain, we are competing in the fishing industry. We can supply their markets more cheaply than they can themselves, even when they try to prevent this by bounties on their own trade or duties imposed by those governments on foreign fish. With them and most other European nations we are rivals in ocean navigation and trade, and we'd be lying to ourselves if we think that this is going to make them happy.

The fact is, for our trade to increase, it means that theirs will to some degree decrease. Therefore, t is in their interest, and it will be their policy, to restrain our trade rather than promote it. Extending our commerce using our own ships will not make any nation possessing territory near this continent very happy. Our products are cheap and excellent, we have the advantage of being where the resources are, and our merchants and navigators are hard-working.

Therefore, we will have a better advantage by being where we are, and who we are, than what other nations would wish or would support in their policies. For example, Spain thinks it's a good idea to shut us out of the Mississippi River, and Britain tries to keep us from using the St. Neither one wants to let us use the other waters between these rivers as a means of interaction and traffic to be used by all parties.

Considering all of this, and more, it's easy to see that this jealousy and uneasiness might spread to other nations as well, and they are not likely to regard our growth into a union, and in power and resources, with indifference and disinterest.

The American people are aware that the desire for war could arise from these types of circumstances and others that might not be obvious at this time. If this desire for war arise, there will be available all kinds of explanations offered to justify that desire. Wisely, therefore, do the people consider that a union, a good national government, would be necessary to put the people in, and keep them in, a situation which would discourage war, rather than in a position of inviting war.

That depends upon on the best possible state of defense, and necessarily depends on the government and the arms and resources of that government. The safety of the whole is in the interest of the whole, and you need government to provide it. Whether it be one government, or more, or many, let's consider whether one good government is more competent than the other options to provide that safety.

In one government, you can find the most competent men, from any part of that Union, and use the talents and experience of those men.

One government can run on constant and consistent policy. One government can bring together and protect the several state components, and it can extend the benefit of its care and precautions to each.

When conducting foreign policy, a national government will take into consideration the concerns of the states and how those concerns are connected with the whole nation. If necessary, it can pool resources from the whole nation to protect one part, and it could do it more effectively than any separate parts could.

The military could operate under one order of discipline, and the officers will be answerable to the Chief Executive, who can consolidate the military into one corps, which will operate more efficiently than if they were divided amongst thirteen states or three or four confederacies.

How effectively could the militia of Great Britain operate if the English militia obeyed only the English government, and then the Scotch militia only obeyed the Scottish government, while the Welsh militia obeyed on the government of Wales? What if they were invaded by an enemy — would these three governments, even if they could agree to cooperate, operate as effectively against an enemy separately or under one government?

We hear much of the ships and fleets of Britain, and if we are wise, perhaps the time will come when an American fleet can command attention. If the British government had not regulated a navy as a means to grow a respected fleet — if the government had not organized the means and materials for growing their navy — their power and majesty would have never been realized. Let each of them — Britain, Scotland, Wales and Ireland — each have their own fleets and you can easily see how they soon would become comparatively insignificant.

So apply these facts to our case here in America. Leave American divided into thirteen or even four independent governments — what kind of military could they develop individually, what kind of fleets could they ever hope to support? What if one was attacked, would the others then put their money and blood into its defense? Isn't quite possible that fellow states would be instead flattered into neutrality by the questionable promises of others?

Might they be seduced by a desire for peace that would prevent them from engaging in the hazards necessary to safeguard their neighbor's interests?

Perhaps they might even be jealous and therefore have a desire to see the neighbor compromised. Not that that sort of conduct would be wise but it does follow from human nature. The history of the states of Greece and other countries abounds with situations like I describe, and there is no reason to believe that it wouldn't happen again. But let's just say that neighboring states might be willing to help the invaded state or confederacy.

How, when and in what proportion should aid of men and money be offered? Who would command be organized? Who would give commands, and who would receive them? How would the terms of peace be decided upon? And if there is a dispute between the allied states, what forum will be available to settle the problem? All types of variables and problems would apply to the separation of the states.

However, under one government which watches over the general and common, which combines and directs the resources and powers as a whole, would be free from embarrassing infighting and more efficiently provide for the safety of the people. Whatever our situation is, whether firmly united under one national government, or split into a number of separate sovereignties, it is certain that foreign nations are going to recognize our vulnerability and they will act accordingly.

If they see that our government is efficient and effectively administered, and that our trade is prudently regulated, our militia organized and disciplined, our resources and finances wisely managed, our credit secure and our people free, content and united, they will be more likely to want our friendship than to want to provoke us.

On the other hand, if they find us broke as a result of ineffective government, with each state conducting itself, for right or wrong, as it sees fit; or they see us split up into three or four separate confederacies, perhaps hostile to each other, while one allies with Britain, another France, and another Spain, with these other countries pitting the confederacies against one another, America is going to seem weak to all three!

America would be open to their contempt and even their outrage. It would only go to prove that when a people or a family divided, they always do so at their own expense and peril. Portions of her message follow. It will secure your religion, liberty, and property, and remove animosities between the inhabitants, and eliminate jealousies and differences that exist between the two kingdoms.

It encourages the growth of strength, riches, and trade, and the whole island will be joined in affection and free from differing interests that will enable it to more effectively resist all enemies. There is a lot to talk about regarding this subject and therefore I will take some more time to do that. We are most familiar with the history of Britain and we can learn many useful lessons from that history. We can gain knowledge from their experience without having to pay the same price for it as they did.

It might seem like common sense that the people who live on that island should be united as one nation, yet we know that they were for centuries divided into three which were almost always embroiled in conflict of some kind or another with each other.

While their true interest regarding European nations were the same, their mutual jealousies were always causing conflict, and for many years these jealousies were inconvenient and troublesome rather than helpful or useful.

If the people of America were to divide into three or four nations, wouldn't the same thing happen here? Wouldn't the same jealousies arise and be in a like manner exercised? Therefore, like most other bordering nations, they would always be either involved in disagreements or war, or there would be the constant threat of these things happening. The most enthusiastic supporters for three or four confederacies surely cannot reasonably argue that these confederacies would long remain equal in strength, even if they were at first formed as such.

But even if we were to admit that that could be accomplished, what human invention could maintain that equality? Without the local circumstances which make and increase power in one part while impeding the growth of power in another, we must recognize that superior policy and good government would cause one government to grow disproportionately at the expense of the other, and their comparable equality would no longer exist. We can't presume that these separate confederacies would continue to exercise the same degree of sound policy, prudence and foresight for a long succession of years.

Whatever causes it, and whenever it might happen — and it will happen — that one of the confederacies becomes more powerful or politically important than the neighboring confederacies, the fact is that her neighbors would then have cause to regard the more powerful confederacy with envy and fear. Both envy and fear might lead these neighboring confederacies to permit or even promote policies which will inhibit this growth of power, or, on the other hand, they might avoid measures that could advance or secure the more powerful confederacy's prosperity.

It wouldn't then take the more powerful confederacy long to figure out which neighbors were friendly and which were not, and she would soon begin to lose confidence in her neighbors while also feeling equally unfavorable to them. Distrust creates distrust and nothing more speedily damages good will and kindness than does hateful jealousies or distrustful accusations, whether they are expressed or implied. Right now, the north is a strong region, and most indications are that local influences will cause the Northern hive of the proposed confederacies to be the strongest region in the not so distant future.

As soon as this was apparent it will promote the same ideas and sensations in the southern parts of America just as it did in the southern parts of Europe. It's not crazy to think that the younger swarms in the population might be more tempted to gather honey in the fields that bloom the best and in air that is more luxurious.

Those who know well the history of similar divisions and confederacies will find plenty of reason to believe that those who support division into confederacies would not be neighbors that shared a border. They would neither love nor trust one another but rather would be subject to not getting along, with jealousy or injuries between themselves. In short, this would place us in exactly the kind of situation that some other nations doubtless would like to see us in, that is, threatening only to each other.

From these considerations it appears that those who support the idea of confederacies are mistaken if they think that offensive and defensive alliances might be formed between these confederacies. Instead what we'd see is that it would be necessary for each individual component of the confederacy to acquire the will, the arms and resources necessary to keep them in a strong state of defense against foreign enemies.

When did the independent states into which Britain and Spain were formerly divided ever form any alliance or unite their forces against a foreign enemy? The proposed confederacies will likewise be distinct nations. Each of them would have separate treaties regarding commerce with foreigners, and since their products and commodities would are suitable for different markets, then the respective treaties of each confederacy would also be different.

Differing commercial concerns would create different interests, and this will entail different degrees of political attachment with the various foreign nations. Therefore it might, actually probably would, happen that the foreign nation that might be at war with the southern confederacy would be the very same one that it would be in the northern confederacy's interest to maintain a peaceful and friendly relationship with.

An alliance between the two confederacies under these circumstances would be difficult at best to form, and even if it was formed, it would be difficult to honor it in perfect good faith. No, it is far more probable that in America, as in Europe, neighboring nations will be found frequently in opposition because they'd be pursuing opposite interests or operating under unfriendly loyalties.

Considering our distance from Europe, it makes sense that the confederacies would be more fearful of each other than they would be of more distant nations.

Therefore, it would be more natural for them to guard against each other through the development of foreign alliances, rather than have the alliance amongst themselves to guard against foreigners. Let's not forget how much easier it is to receive foreign fleets into our ports, or foreign armies into our country, than it is to persuade or compel them to leave.

Let honest men judge whether the division of America into any given number of independent sovereignties would help protect us against hostilities or the improper interference of foreign nations. I shall now proceed to enumerate the dangers of a different and perhaps more alarming kind — those which will probably result from disagreements between the states themselves and from domestic factions and upheavals.

These have already been in some to some degree anticipated, but this issue deserves a more complete and full investigation. If the States are not united, or if we are divided into partial confederacies, it would be wishful thinking to believe that the subdivisions that were formed would not end up having frequent and violent engagements with each other. There would be no lack of motives for these engagements since men are ambitious, vindictive, greedy, and predatory.

Expecting harmony between a number of independent, separate sovereignties situated in the same neighborhood would be to ignore the predictable course of human behavior and to ignore what we learned about this throughout history. The causes of hostilities among nations are infinite. There are some causes which have a constant place among societies. For example, the love of power or the desire to be superior or to dominate, or the jealousy of power, or the desire for equality or safety.

Other causes for hostilities between nations are more confined to a particular situation but they are still equally as important in the context of that particular situation.

For example, commercial rivalries that might arise between competing nations. There are other reasons for conflict that are no less numerous than either that has been mentioned, but these reasons are attributable specifically to the private issues of the leaders of communities involved in the conflict. So attachments, ill will, interests, hopes, and fears of leaders can all lead to conflict between nations.

Pericles also had a private disagreement against the Megarensians; he was threatened with prosecution for conniving with his associate Phidias to steal public gold that was to be spent on a statute of Minerva [the Roman name for Athena, the Greek god of warriors, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, crafts and musicians]; and he was accused of dissipating public funds for the purchase of popularity. In response to any one or any combination of these issues, he orchestrated the famous and fatal Peleponnesian war [ BC — BC , which after a series of phases, intermissions and renewals, ended in the ruin of the commonwealth of Athens.

Henry VIII's ambitious cardinal Wolsey vainly aspired to wear the triple crown [worn by popes] and hoped to succeed to that honored position by virtue of the influence of Emperor Charles V. In order to secure the favor of this powerful monarch, the cardinal managed to push England into a war with France, despite the fact that this was contrary to the plainest interpretations of policy, not to mention that he put into jeopardy the safety and independence of England.

If there ever was a sovereign who was supportive of universal monarchy, that would be Emperor Charles V, and it was in pursuit of his support that Wolsey was at once his instrument and the dupe. Their influence on politics is discussed often enough to be commonly known. To mention further examples of how personal issues can affect national events either foreign or domestic would be a waste of time. Those who have just a passable knowledge with other similar instances will no doubt be able to remember some of them on their own, and those who enjoy a decent understanding of human nature won't need further examples to help them form an opinion regarding either the reality or extent of the human influence into national affairs.

Nevertheless, one more example from a recent situation might help illustrate the general principle to which I refer. If Daniel Shay [of Shay's Rebellion, an armed uprising in Massachusetts from by small farmers angered by crushing taxes and debt] had not been a desperate debtor, then it is doubtful that Massachusetts would have been plunged into a civil war.

Despite what we have learned from what we have experienced, there still exists in this situation visionary and designing men, who are ready to support the absurd notion of perpetual peace between the states, even if they are separated and alienated from each other.

They say that the genius of republics is peace; the spirit of commerce tends to soften the manners of men which works to extinguish the flames that often kindle into wars. Commercial republics like ours will never be disposed to waste so much in ruinous conflict with each other.

The parties will be governed by mutual interests and this will encourage a spirit of mutual friendship and harmony. I ask of those who engage in politics: If this is truly their interest, have these nations in fact pursued it? On the other hand, hasn't it been found always to be true that momentary passions and immediate interests have a more active and domineering control over human conduct than does general or calm considerations of policy, economics, or justice?

Have republics in practice been less addicted to war than monarchies? Are not republics administered by men just as monarchies are? Are there not aversions, preferences, rivalries and greed that affect nations as well as kings? Are not popular assemblies frequently also subject to the impulses of rage, resentment, jealousy, greed and other irregular and violent propensities? Is it not well known that republics are often governed by a few individuals in whom the people place their confidence, and that these individuals are just as liable to be influenced by their own respective passions?

Has commerce ever done any thing other than change the objects of war? Is not greed just as dominant and influential an emotion as the desire for power or glory? Has not the spirit of commerce, in many instances, encouraged the appetite for greed or the desire for power? Let experience be the guide for answers to these questions, since experience is the most reliable guide regarding human influence on the human existence. Sparta, Athens, Rome, and Carthage were all republics; two of them, Athens and Carthage, were commercial republics.

And yet, they were engaged in war as often as the monarchies that surrounded them. Sparta was little better than a well-regulated camp, and Rome was never satisfied in its need for carnage or conquest. Carthage, though a commercial republic, was the aggressor in the very war that destroyed her.

The provinces of Holland, until they were overwhelmed in debt and taxes, took a leading and conspicuous part in European wars. They had furious contests with England over the domination of the sea.

They also were among the most persevering and relentless of the enemies of Louis XV. In the government of Britain the representatives of the people compose one branch of the national legislature. Commerce has for ages been the primary pursuit of the country. However, few nations have been more frequently engaged in war, and the wars that the government engages in, in many instances, had proceeded from the people. There have been, if I may say so, almost as many popular wars as there have been royal wars.

The cries of a nation and the interests and opportunities of their representatives have on many occasions dragged a monarch into war, or encouraged them to continue on with it, contrary to their inclinations and sometimes contrary to the interests of the state. It is well known that in the struggle for superiority between the houses of Austria and Bourbon, it was the hatred of the English against the French, supported by the ambition or rather the greed of [the Duke of Marlborough], rather than the leadership, that kept that conflict alive for as long as it did, causing the war to last much longer than it should have in light of sound policy or the views of the court.

The wars of England and France have to a large extent been driven by commercial interests. There is the desire to prevail or the fear of another prevailing, either in certain lanes of traffic or in the general advantages of trade and navigation. Sometimes there is the desire to share in the commerce of other nations without their consent. Recent war between Britain and Spain arose from English attempts to engage in illegal trade with the subjects of Spain.

Spain's response was to engage in unjustifiable acts against British subjects which produced hardships that exceeded the bounds of a just retaliation and were inhumane and cruel. Many of the English taken by the Spanish were sent to dig in the mines of Potosi on the Spanish coast, and due to the spirit of resentment that existed, the innocent were mixed in with the guilty and they suffered indiscriminate punishment.

The complaints of the British merchants kindled a violent flame throughout Britain, and the sentiment traveled to the House of Commons, and from that body was communicated to the ministry. Letters of reprisal were granted and a war ensued, which ruined twenty years of alliances formed between the countries, alliances that were initially expected by countries to bear the most beneficial fruits.

From this summary of what has taken place in other countries whose situations were very similar to ours, what reason do we have to be confident in those speeches would seduce us to believe that there would be peace and good relations between the members of the current confederacies, which exist in a state of separation? Have we not already had enough of the deceptions and waste of those aimless theories which have amused us with promises that we would be exempt from the imperfections, the weaknesses or the evils incident to society in any shape?

Isn't it time we wake from the deceitful dream of a golden age and adopt as a practical sentiment to direct our political conduct that we, as well as other inhabitants of the globe, have not yet reached the happy empire of perfect wisdom and perfect virtue? Let the inconveniences we experience everywhere from a lax and ineffective government, let the revolt from North Carolina, the recent disturbances in Pennsylvania, and the insurrections and rebellion in Massachusetts declare !

An intelligent writer expresses himself on this subject to this effect: In Pennsylvania, structure with state constitution resulted in a lack of checks and balances which lead to a weak and unstable state government.

In Massachusetts Shays' Rebellion had taken place when angry farmers became overwhelmed by taxes and debts, forcing many into foreclosure. Principes des Negociatians par l'Abbe' de Mably. It would fully answer the question to respond, the same reasons that have dragged all of the nations of the world into conflicts deluged with blood. But, unfortunately for us, the question requires a more particular answer.

These are issues that cause problems that apply directly to us, and, even under the restraints of a federal constitution, we have had enough experience with these problems to enable us to form a judgment of what we might expect if those restraints are removed. Territorial disputes between nations have always been one of the most fertile sources for conflicts between nations. Perhaps the greatest number of wars that have devastated the earth have arisen because of this.

This same cause would apply to us in full force. We have a vast tract of unsettled territory within the boundaries of the United States. There are still conflicting and undecided claims between several of them, and the dissolution of the Union would lay the foundation for similar claims for this unsettled territory. It has been said all along that this property was acquired through a contract with a foreign nation. It has been the wise policy of Congress to deal with this controversy by requesting that the States make allowances to the United States for the benefit of the whole.

Under the continuation of the Union, this has been accomplished in order to provide a better chance of a friendly end to the dispute.

Breaking up the Confederacy, however, would revive the dispute, and would create others on the same subject.

At present a large part of the vacant Western territory is, by concession at least if not by a right, the common property of the Union. The States made these concessions based upon the principle of federal compromise, and if the Union ceased, it's probable they will claim that the territories should revert back to the custody of States.

The other States would no doubt claim a right of their portion based upon a right of representation. They would argue that a grant once made can not be revoked, and that their efforts in participating in acquiring the territory as participants in the Confederacy should justly remain recognized.

And though it's improbable that it would happen, even if the States agreed that each had a right to share the territory, there would still be the problem as to how to divide the territory. Different states would assert different reasons for their claims, and since division would have differing effects on the respective States' interests, it's unlikely that there could be a peaceful reconciliation of the matter.

In the vastness of Western territory there is ample room for disagreements without any common umpire or judge there to settle the issue. So to take this reasoning from the past to the future, we would have good reason to believe that the sword would sometimes end up being used to deal with the matter.

Take for example the dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania regarding the lands at Wyoming: Under the Articles of Confederation the parties were required to submit the issue to a federal court, and the judge ruled for Pennsylvania. But Connecticut was apparently very dissatisfied with the decision and did not appear to be entirely resigned to it, either, until through negotiations and management, she was satisfied by being offered something of the equivalent that she felt that she had lost.

Nothing here is meant as a censure against Connecticut. She no doubt sincerely believed that she was injured by that decision, and States, like individuals, give in with great reluctance regarding rulings that are disadvantageous to them.

Those who had the opportunity to be familiar with what transpired in the controversy between this State and the district of Vermont can vouch for the opposition we experienced, from States both interested and not interested in the claim, and they can attest that keeping the peace in the Confederacy would have been risked had this State attempted to assert its rights by force.

Two motives prevailed in opposing the use of force: Even States which brought in claims that were contrary to our own claims seemed more desirous to dismember this State than to establish their own claims.

These were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. New Jersey and Rhode Island in all instances discovered a warm enthusiasm for the independence of Vermont; and Maryland, until alarmed by what appeared to be a connection between Canada and Vermont, was of the same mind. Being small states, these saw with an unfriendly eye the possibility of our growing greatness. In reviewing these transactions we are considering some of the similar causes that might be likely to cause the States to become involved in conflict, if it should become their unfortunate destiny to separate.

Competitions regarding commerce would be another fruitful source for conflicts. The States less favorably situated would want to be able to escape from the disadvantages of their local situation, and would want to share in the advantages of their more fortunate neighbors.

Each State, or separate confederacy, would pursue their own individual system of commerce. This would cause distinctions, preferences and exclusions which would cause discontent. Our commercial habits, to which we have been familiar with since our earliest settlement and which are based upon equal privileges, would be more prone to cause discontent under these circumstances. We should be ready to recognize injustices which in reality were the justifiable acts of independent sovereignties negotiating according to their own interests.

The spirit of enterprise, which is what defines the commercial part of America, has always shown itself in an improved state. It is improbable that this unleashed spirit would be restrained by the regulations of trade that particular States might use to try and secure benefits that are exclusive to their own citizens.

The disregard of these regulations, on the one hand, and efforts to sabotage them, on the other, would naturally lead to outrages that would then lead to revenge or war. The opportunities that some States would have of using commercial regulations to make other States dependent or subordinate to them would no doubt be submitted to impatiently by the dependent States.

New York, for the purpose of securing revenue, must apply duties on her imports. A great part of these duties must be paid by the inhabitants of the other two States as the consumers of the imports. New York would not be willing or able to give up this advantage. Her citizens would not consent that duties paid by them should be canceled in favor the citizens of her neighbors; and it wouldn't be workable, if the obstacle of paying the duty didn't exist, to determine who the customers are in our own markets.

Should we for long be allowed to enjoy living in a city from which we derive an advantage that is repulsive and oppressive to our neighbor? Should we be able to keep that situation with a lack of cooperation from Connecticut on one side and the cooperation of New Jersey on the other? These are questions can only be answered affirmatively if they are answered recklessly.

The public debt of the Union would offer another reason for conflict between the States of confederacies. In the first place, determining who would pay what portion, and how it would be applied to extinguish the debt, would both cause bad feelings and hostility. How could we possibly decide on a manner of apportionment that would satisfy everyone? There is scarcely any proposal that can be offered which is entirely free from legitimate objections, and these, as usual, would be distorted by those opposed to them according to their particular interests.

In fact, there are even differing views among the States as to the general principle of discharging the public debt. Some of them, either because they are less concerned about the public debt, or because their citizens have little debt, have any real immediate interest in the issue. These States would most likely make the difficulties of distribution of debt even worse.

Other States, whose citizens are creditors disproportionately according to the actual amount of the public debt, would want a solution that is just and effective. The procrastinations of those who owe little debt would incite the resentment of those who owe more. Any settlement would be delayed because of real differences of opinion and deliberate delays. The citizens of interested States would press for solutions and foreign power would be impatient for satisfaction of their just demands, and the peace of the States would be compromised by the threat from external invasion or internal contention.

Let's say the difficulties of agreeing upon a rule about paying the debt were overcome and the apportionment happened. There is still a lot of room to suppose that the rule agreed upon would be an experiment that put more pressure on some states than others.

Those who suffered most would naturally seek relief from that burden. The other States would be reluctant to revise the rule because that would bring an end to their good situation. Their refusal would be a good reason for the complaining States to withhold their contributions, and the noncompliance of these States would be grounds for dissension and fighting.

Even if the adopted rule provided equality in it's application, there will still be some States who are going to be delinquent in paying due to a variety of reasons, such as a lack of resources, mismanagement of their finances, accidental disorders in State government, and the reluctance people have in parting with their money once the reason for the bill to be paid becomes distant in their memory and they have more pressing concerns in front of them.

For whatever their reason, delinquencies would produce complaints, recriminations, and arguments. There is perhaps nothing else that is more likely to upset the peace among nations than their owing to a common burden, the benefit of which is not equal. For there is the observation, as true as it is trite, that there is nothing men so readily differ on than about the payment of money.

When some states have laws that aggressively infringe upon private contracts, and this hurts the citizens in other States, then you have another source of hostility.

Some uncharitable codes grace many States laws on this subject now, and we shouldn't expect that a more liberal or equitable spirit will influence the laws of the individual States from here on out, if they are unrestrained by any additional checks than we have seen. We've already seen how Connecticut was driven to retaliate against some of the outrageous legislation that we've seen coming from the Rhode Island legislature; and it's reasonable to infer that in similar cases under other circumstances, a war, not of parchment, but of the sword, would correct such horrible breaches of moral obligation and social justice.

In the preceding papers, I have explained at length about the probability of incompatible alliances between the States, or confederacies, and different foreign nations, and the effects of this upon the peace of the whole. The conclusion has to be drawn that if America is not connected at all, or bound only by the feeble ties of a simple league, offensiveness and defensiveness would become entangled by virtue of the disruption of alliances within that will be akin to the problems we've seen in European politics that have lead to European wars; and because of the destructive contentions of the parts into which she were divided, the system would likely become prey to the deceptions and schemes of powers that are equally the enemy of all of the States.

Any war between the States, soon after they were to separate, would involve many more problems than you normally see in countries that have an established military. The disciplined armies that are kept at the ready in Europe, though they can be perceived as a threat to the concepts of liberty and economy, are nonetheless advantageous in discouraging sudden conquests by others and of preventing the quick desolation caused by war that might have occurred had the troops not been present.

The art of fortification has the same effect. The nations of Europe are guarded by fortifications which block invasion.

Military campaigns are squandered just from attempts to penetrate one of two frontier garrisons. Similar impediments occur regularly to exhaust the strength of and delay the progress of the enemy.

It used to be that an invading army could penetrate into the heart of a neighboring country as quickly as it would take for that country to learn that the invasion was occurring. Now, however, a comparatively small force of disciplined troops, acting defensively, using assigned positions, is able to slow and even end the attempts of a more considerable force.

The history of war in Europe is not a history of nations subdued or empires overturned, but of towns taken and retaken, of battles that decide nothing, of retreats that were more beneficial than victories, of much effort and little gain. In this country, however, the opposite would occur.

The distrust of military establishments would postpone their development. The lack of fortifications, leaving the frontiers of one State vulnerable to another, would facilitate invasion. The more heavily populated States would defeat the less populated States with very little difficulty. Conquests would be as easy to create and difficult to keep. Therefore, war would become haphazard and predatory. Plunder and devastation always follow this sort of chaos.

The disasters suffered by individuals would become the focus that would define our military exploits. The situation I describe is not too dreadfully constructed, although I confess, it would not long remain a fitting description. Safety from the dangers posed by others is the most powerful influence on national behavior. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to what liberty requires. The destruction of life and property that comes with war, the constant effort and alarm that come with being in a state of continual danger, will compel the nations that most value liberty to turn to, for peace and security, organizations that have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights.

To be safer, they are willing to run the risk of being less free. The organizations that I mainly refer to are standing armies and the corresponding extensions of military establishments. Standing armies are not prohibited by the new Constitution and it is therefore said that they may exist under it.

This inference is at best questionable and uncertain. Frequent war or constant worry about war will require a constant state of preparation which will naturally result in the existence of standing armies. The weaker States, or confederacies, would first have standing armies to equal themselves with more formidable neighbors. They would try to make up for a smaller population and fewer resources with a organized system of defense, by disciplined troops and by fortifications. The weaker States or confederacies would also have to strengthen the executive branch of government and in doing so they encourage development of an eventual monarchy.

It is the nature of war to increase the power of the executive branch at the expense of the legislative branch. The opportunities that I have mentioned would give the States or confederacies that use them an advantage over their neighbors. When they have a stronger government and a disciplined army, smaller States or those less fortified have often prevailed over stronger states which have not had the same advantages.

The pride and safety of larger States would not permit them to submit to the humiliation of the natural superiority of the smaller State. Rather, they larger States would quickly try to attain the same status so they could regain their own predominant status.

We would quickly see established in every part of this country the same scourge of tyranny that we saw in Europe. This is the very least that could happen, and we should adjust our assumptions according to this line of reasoning.

These are not vague conclusions drawn from supposed or speculative defects in a Constitution, the whole power of which is lodged in a people or their representatives or delegates. They are solid conclusions, drawn as a natural result regarding the progress of human affairs. As a way of objecting to what I have said, we might ask, why did standing armies not spring up out of the conflicts that so preoccupied the ancient Greek republics? There are different but equally satisfactory answers to this question.

The habits of busy modern people that keep them engaged in pursuits of gain, including improvements to agriculture and commerce, are inconsistent with the habits of a nation of soldiers like the Greek republics. Because of modernization, wealth has increased due to increase in gold and silver and due to improvements in the arts of industry and the science of finance.

This has changed the nature of the issue of war, which makes disciplined armies, separate from the citizenry, a constant companion of frequent conflicts. There is a huge difference between militaries in countries hardly ever exposed to the constant threat of internal invasions and those which are often subject to them and therefore always worried about them. The small size of the army means that the community will naturally be a stronger force, and the citizenry is therefore not forced to depend on the military for protection nor submit to their tyranny.

It follows from this that the citizenry neither love not fear their military, but rather view the military with suspicious compliance as a necessary evil, one as a power they stand ready to resist should military do anything which might threaten their individual rights. An army when necessary may usefully aid public officials in putting down a riot or occasional mob or uprising, but it will be unable to stop the united efforts of the great body of people.

In a country that is frequently threatened with aggression from another, the contrary of all of this happens. The constant need for their protection elevates the importance of the soldier, and coincidentally degrades the importance of the citizen.

The military state becomes elevated above the civil state. The inhabitants in these countries are consequently subject to frequent infringements of their rights, which cause them to be less aware or conscientious about their rights, and by degrees the people come to believe that the soldiers are not only their protectors but also their superiors. This transition to considering the military as the master is possible and not difficult; but it will be difficult to convince the people who are suffering under these impressions to make a bold and effective resistance to infringements upon them by the government that is supported by the military.

The kingdom of Great Britain falls within this description. They are in an isolated situation, with a powerful navy, guarding them against foreign invasion, replacing the need for a large army within the kingdom itself.

A sufficient force to have ready against a sudden attack, until the militia have time to rally and organize, is all that is considered necessary. No foreign policy issue has required, and public opinion would not tolerate, a larger number of domestic troops. There has been for a long time little room for the other causes I have mentioned that often lead to internal war. This strangely happy situation has greatly contributed to preserving the liberty which that country enjoys today, in spite of the regular propensity towards bribery and corruption.

If Britain had been located on the European continent, rather than an island, she would have been forced to build her military up comparably with the other European countries, and that would probably have lead her to be the victim of the power of a single man. This is not a superficial or impossible idea, but rather trustworthy and important. It deserves the most serious and mature consideration of every prudent and honest man of any party. If such men will take a firm and solemn pause and think calmly about the importance of this interesting idea; if they will consider this issue in all of its approaches, and logically consider all of the possible consequences of these situations, they will easily part with trivial objections to the Constitution, the rejection of which will in all probability put a final end to the Union.

The airy phantoms which flit before the afflicted imaginations of the opponents to the Constitution would give way instead to the more probable prospects of dangers, real, certain and terrible.

It is impossible to read the history of the small republics of Greece and Italy without feeling sensations of horror and disgust at the disturbances with which they were constantly rocked, and at the rapid succession of revolutions by which they were kept in a constant state of instability between the extremes of tyranny and anarchy. If there were occasional calms, they were short in duration before being interrupted by the next furious storm of upheaval.

If now and then periods of peace occurred, they are viewed with a mixture of regret, knowing that soon that peace will be upset by yet more violent waves of treason and party rage.


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The Federalist Papers (Modern Language Interpretation) Marshall Overstedt Summarizing arguments in support of the United States Constitution of , put forward in a series of newspaper essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay.

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A summary of Federalist Essays No.1 - No.5 in The Founding Fathers's The Federalist Papers (). Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Federalist Papers () and what it means. The Federalist Papers (In Modern Language) 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.