The the proposed new constitution under the pseudonym

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Last updated: May 13, 2019

The Federalist papers first appearedin the Independent Journal of New York City press on the proposed newconstitution under the pseudonym “Publius” meaning of the Public, chosen byAlexander Hamilton, the pioneer of the project, and later recruitedcollaborators John Jay and James Madison. Jointly they wrote 85 articles andessays to promote the ratification of the constitution to the newspapers in theyear between October 1787 and August 1788. Because of the limited availabilityof space in the newspapers, the articles were short, but all of them were inpurely political on the subject. Their original purpose was to mobilize thepublic opinion to defend the new constitution, which would keep the Union and thegovernment in peace and security of its citizens proposed by the federalconvention happened in the late May to mid-September, 1787 in Philadelphia.After the long and often rancorous debate in that convention, they had agreedto set up the new governmental infrastructure in the country. However, anyamendment to the articles required the consent from all thirteen stateslegislatures. So, they ordered for the consent from the states for theratification or rejection of the new constitution. Representatives from 12states signed the completed constitution on September 17, 1787.

Nevertheless,rather than abide by these rules, the convention thus proposed that theconstitution would be adopted when approved by elected conventions in 9 states.In Federalist 1, AlexanderHamilton begins his essay with a bold opening statement by stating “People ofthe State of New York” by urging his readers to consider the adaptation of anentirely new constitution after they experienced the inefficacy of the presentform of federal government. He also anticipated the criticism on the proposedconstitution from the certain dissidents who were congenitally opposed to anychange, those who feared that might cost their jobs. However, Hamilton believedin the future greatness of the United States and sees the America as a worldpower. This might not seem odd to the modern readers, but back in the days, Americawas vulnerable to foreign domination.In Federalist 9, Hamiltonexplains a firm union combined with individual republics will be used tocounteract the danger of factious outbreaks within its individual members byusing their common resources as a barrier. He also specified that the recurrentuse of the military was necessary to keep the rebellions in their place.

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Hamilton was a great supporter of the French political philosopher Montesquieu thathe chose to quote “The Science of Politics, however, like most other sciences,have received great improvement…not known at all or imperfectly known to theancients.”Federalist 10, this was thefirst contribution of James Madison to the series where he defined the term”faction” or political party. In his perspective, a faction was a group ofcitizens who gather together by some common impulse of similar interests,adverse to the rights of other citizens and promote their economic interestsand political opinions.

James Madison was also one of the Federalists whobelieved in the one-party system. In Federalist 15, Hamilton stressed the defectsof the American confederation arose because there was no general superintendenceand he argued that such superintendence should be extended beyond the stategovernments to its citizens the genuine objects of the government. At thebeginning, he does not attack the Articles of Confederation particularly butinstead, he stated that the principle of legislation for states which createsmultiple jurisdictions in the existing government is the biggest problem. BothHamilton and Madison believed that local jurisdictions had to be abolished,something which they were much open about in their private correlation than intheir public statements.From Federalist 16-20, bothHamilton and Madison overelaborate their contention that the principle of the Confederacywas the “parent of anarchy” and at the same time, it acted as the fertile soilfor civil and foreign wars.

In Federalist 15, 16 and 17, Hamilton developed thetheme that no national government could sustain unless it had jurisdiction overthe individuals in the states rather than the individuals over the states intheir corporate capacities. In Federalist 18, 19 and 20, Madison enforcedHamilton’s agreements by making an appeal to the history of the SwissConfederation, the Holy Roman Empire, United Netherlands, Amphictyonic Counciland its successor, the Achaean League. Madison on writing these three essays heonly had to turn to his research memorandum entitled, “Notes of Ancient andModern Confederacies.” With Federalist 23, Hamiltonstarted the essays on the imperatives of the national defense.

He stated thatthe principal purpose of the union is to provide for the common defense of themembers, maintaining the public peace, and conducting the foreign affairs.Union ought to be invested with full powers to raise armies, build a navy,provide for their support by raising the revenues is a common defense. He believedthat “the powers ought to exist without limitation” because it impossible toforesee the future national exigencies.


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