Constitutional Emergency

Starting this week I will be posting periodic contributions which translate the Federalist Papers into "modern" language. My goal is to stay faithful to the original message and my hope is that by doing so, more Americans will be exposed to the brilliant political philosophies of Hamilton, Madison and Jay. Awareness of the ideas and history that contributed to the original intent is crucial to our cause of reclaiming America.

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THE FEDERALIST:
ADDRESSED TO THE PEOPLE
OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

NUMBER I
INTRODUCTION

We have recently experienced a failure in how our federal government functioned. Now you, the People, will be asked to consider a new Constitution for the United States of America. The importance of the subject speaks for itself: the result could mean the end of our union and this could threaten the safety and welfare of the states and localities therein. It has been often said that the people of this country seem to have the responsibility to decide, and to show others, whether it is possible for people to establish good government by choosing amongst themselves how it will work, rather than being beholden to a government that takes control of the people through accident or force. If this is true, then this generation may be the very one called upon to resolve the issue by dealing with our present crisis. If we make the wrong decision, it could very well be viewed as not just our misfortune, but through history, as the general misfortune of humankind.

That I mention the importance of our responsibility to do what is right, surely that will encourage all patriots who care for humankind to consider this very seriously. If we make our choice based on careful thought of our true interests, without distracting ourselves with things that are not associated with the common good, the results could be very happy indeed. The current plan for the new structure of the government affects many individual interests and many different localities, and we would do well not to clutter the discussion with issues that that don't affect the main objective, or become bogged down with views, passions and prejudices that distract us from getting to the main truth: will this blueprint with which we are provided allow us to govern ourselves effectively, based on the consent of the people themselves?

One of the major problems facing us concerns certain men in every State who are resisting change based upon self-interest: they fear the loss of power or stature in the offices they hold in State government. Other men hope to further themselves by taking advantage of the confusion that they hope might ensue by a change in government. Or, these men might try to subvert progress into a stronger union because they hope to see themselves empowered more easily by a fractured and subdivided government.

I do not intend to dwell in these types of men too much, since I understand that it would be tricky for me to try to resolve the disagreement of any group of men who, just because they are in a particular position, might be inclined to be ambitious. We have to admit that even these type of men might have good intentions, and any opposition which springs from them, we should not blame and we may even respect, even if this opposition results from one's personal fears or jealousies. There are many things that have the power to bias our judgment on this issue, and many men who are good and wise can be on the wrong or right side of an issue when it's first presented. Being aware of this would encourage moderation for those who are so sure that they are right in any controversy. Another reason to be cautious comes from the knowledge that we're not always sure that those who advocate what is right are doing so because they are pursuing interests that are any purer than those of their opponents. Ambition, stinginess, ill will, political party opposition, and many other negative motives can move those who support or oppose an issue. As if this weren't enough to make us think carefully, nothing could be worse that the intolerance we are seeing coming from the political parties. Like religion, you can't convert someone to another political view by using violence or force, and persecution will not change anyone even if they are wrong.

Yet, even knowing all of this, there's every reason to believe that all these negatives will be evident in this discussion the same way that they've manifested themselves in all former great national discussions. We will see a great deal of anger and passionate feelings. From viewing those who oppose our position, we can only conclude that they are hoping to persuade people to their position by how loud and how bitter they can be. They are going to try to make our position look negative by concluding that an effective government must necessarily be despotic and hostile to liberty. They will say that the rights of the people are really not important to us, and that we only are declaring this so in order to get popular support for our plan, even if the support is at the expense of the common good. But remember, jealousy is often associated with unhealthy love, and those enthusiastic for liberty often suffer from guarded distrust. Some will forget that the main reason for government to exist is for the protection of liberty; carefully considered, government and liberty should not be separated. What might appear to be a desire for the rights of the people often proves to be a true desire for the power and ambition of men. The desire for a strong government does not tempt men quite so much to this sort of dangerous ambition. History teaches us that a concern for the strength of government offers less of a threat to liberty. History shows that most people who are responsible for undermining the liberty of republics start their careers by seducing the people. They start out as great speakers, manipulating the people with prejudice and emotion, but they end up as tyrants."

Considering all I have written so far, I have been trying to put you, my fellow citizens, on your guard against anyone who might attempt to persuade you to a position on this very important issue: you must focus on truthful, credible evidence. They might even convince you that they are not completely against this new Constitution. I myself have decided after careful consideration that it is in your best interest, my countrymen, to adopt it. I am convinced this is the best decision you can make to preserve your liberty, your dignity and your happiness. I am not just telling you this; I tell you truly what I feel and I will tell you truthfully why I believe this. I will not be ambiguous, but I won't confuse you either: my motives will remain with me. But my arguments will available to you all and you can all judge them. They will be presented to you in honor of truthfulness.

Here are the specific things I am going to discuss: (1) how the Union will enable you to be more politically empowered; (2) How our Union cannot survive under the present Confederation, (3) that we must have a government that is at least as strong as the one proposed if we are preserve the Union, (4) how our proposed Constitution is faithful to the principles of a republican (representative) government, (5) how the proposed federal government and Constitution is very like your state governments and constitutions and, (6) how adopting this proposal will add to the preservation of a government best equipped to protect your liberty and prosperity.

In these discussions I will try to respond to all objections which you might be considering.
Maybe it seems like a waste of time to present arguments to support the preservation of a union that already has the support of people in every State, and which appears at first glance to have no adversaries. But in fact we are already hearing the whispering from some corners of opponents to the new Constitution. They say that the thirteen States are too independent to be brought under one strong government and that the only way this will work will be for there to remain thirteen confederacies that are portions of a larger whole. No doubt this position will gain enough strength to where people will be openly advocating it. It might seem easier to support that position than to consider adopting a new Constitution or a break up of the Union. So first, let's explore the advantages of that Union, and how dissolution of the Union might negatively affect the States. This will be the subject of my next address.
PUBLIUS [Hamilton]
NUMBER II
CONCERNING DANGERS FROM
FOREIGN FORCE AND INFLUENCE

When the American people realize that they are being called upon to make a momentous decision, the most important to ever require their attention, they surely will take a very thorough and serious view of this.

It is evident that government is necessary. It is also true that however that government is put together, it requires people to give up some of their natural rights to that government, so that the government itself will have the powers it needs to govern. It is worth considering: Is it in the best interest of the people of America that they should become one nation, under one federal government? Or, should they divide into separate confederacies, giving to the head of the confederacies the power which they are advised to give to the head of one national government?

The accepted popular opinion right now is that Americans need to stay united if they want to protect their prosperity, and the wishes, prayers and efforts of our best citizens support this position. Yet there are politicians appearing now who contradict this, saying that instead of uniting, we should seek prosperity through separation into separate sovereign states. It's a fairly new way of thinking and yet we have those who were originally opposed to it that now support the idea. Whatever induced them to change their minds, it would be wise for the people to refrain from accepting the position unless they do so pursuant to truth and sound policy.

I have often been pleased that independent America was composed of one connected fertile and wide spread country rather than from detached and distant territories. Providence has blessed us with a land full of good soil and waters and produce to the benefit and delight of its inhabitants. A connection of navigable waters form a kind of chain around its borders, seeming to bind it together. And there are noble rivers within providing for highways for communication and transportation and trade.

I have also often been pleased to realize that Providence gave this connected land to a connected people – united people, who descended from the same ancestors, who speak the same language, profess the same religion, attach to the same principles of government, are very similar in their manners and custom, and who put together their arms and efforts to fight side by side through a long and bloody war for their liberty and independence.

It seems that Providence meant for us to have this land that is proper and convenient for a band of brothers, united by the strongest ties, who should never be split up into a number of unsocial, jealous or alien sovereignties.

These same thoughts formerly prevailed amongst us. For all practical purposes we have been one people; each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection. As a nation we have experienced peace and war; as a nation we won our struggles against our common enemy; as a nation we have formed alliances, made treaties, and entered into various contracts and business engagements with foreign nations.

A strong common recognition of the value and blessings of union encouraged the people very early on to put together a federal government to preserve and perpetuate that union. The formed it as soon as they could, even as their homes were in flames, and their neighbors were bleeding, and when the hostility and aggressiveness of our enemies prevented calm and mature inquiries and consideration that precedes a wise and balanced government that best protects a free people. It's not too surprising that a government assembled at such a troubling and disadvantageous time should after a while be found lacking in the purpose it was originally intended for.

Our intelligent population saw, understood and regretted these defects. Yet while the people still wanted the union and liberty, they also saw the danger which threatened that both. Once they were persuaded that security for both union and liberty could only be found in a more appropriately constructed national government, the people convened to to the convention in Philadelphia so that they could consider the subject.

The convention was composed of men who the people had confidence in. Many had become recognizable for their patriotism, virtue and wisdom during times that tried the hearts and minds of men. And yet they undertook this difficult task. This was during a time of peace and therefore their minds were not occupied with other issues. They passed many months in contemplation without interference or interruption, and they were driven, not by a passion for power, but by a love for their country. They concluded by presenting and recommending to the people the plan produced by their joint and unanimous councils.

Now, this plan admittedly is only recommended, not required, but it is not recommended that it be blindly accepted or blindly rejected. Considering how important this issue is, we should consider adoption using thoughtful, open and measured judgment, since this issue certainly deserves that sort of contemplation. Nevertheless, being that careful might be more wishful thinking than fact. We know from experience that we should not be so optimistically hopeful. Remember, it was fear of immediate danger that pushed Americans to form the memorable Congress of 1774. That Congress made recommendations to its constituents and history proved the wisdom of those recommendations. Yet we freshly remember how soon after they were made that the media circulated publications unfavorable to those recommendations. Not only did self-interested government officials speak against this Congress, but also others: those who were mistaken about the consequences of the recommendations; those who were beholden to former political or emotional attachments; those whose ambitions did not include the public good; and those who tirelessly worked to persuade the people to reject the advice of that patriotic Congress. Some were in fact deceived but most people were thoughtful and decided wisely, and they are happy now that they did this.

Those people believed that the 1774 Congress was composed of wise and experienced men. That, having been brought together from many different parts of the country, they brought with them a variety of useful information and they shared that with each other. During the time they spent together asking questions and discussing what the true interests of the country were, they were able to become very knowledgeable regarding their duty. They were each interested in public liberty and prosperity, and they wanted to make only such recommendations that, after careful thought, they knew were the most advisable and wise.

In light of these considerations, the people were lead to reply greatly on the judgment and integrity of Congress, despite the efforts of others to dissuade them. If the people then had reason to be confident in these men, many of whom were of unknown skill, they have an even greater reason now to respect the judgment and advice of those who sit in the Constitutional convention. Some of the most distinguished members of the Congress are now well known and trusted for their patriotism and their abilities, and they have had a long experience in learning about politics, and they are now members of this convention. They bring to this meeting their knowledge and experience.

I should note that the first Congress, every Congress thereafter, as well as the former convention, consistently share with the people the belief that the prosperity of American depends on it staying together as a Union. The great goal of the people in calling this convention was to preserve and perpetuate the Union, and this is the great goal of the plan that the convention is requesting that the people adopt. Therefore, for what good are there being made attempts by some to undermine the importance of the Union? Or why is it being suggested that three or four confederacies would be better than one? I am convinced that the people have always been right about this subject; that their common attachment to the preservation of the Union comes from profound reasoning, and I will try to explain this more in some later papers. Those who support the idea of several separate confederacies being included into the plan seem to be very aware that rejection of the current plan would surely undermine the survival of the Union. That's clearly what would happen, and I sincerely wish that that all good citizens will clearly see that when the dissolution of the Union happens, America will have to reason to proclaim, in the words of the great poet, “FAREWELL! A LONG FAREWELL TO ALL MY GREATNESS.”

Publius [Jay]
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NUMBER III
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED

It has long been known that the people of any country (if, like Americans, they are intelligent and well-informed) rarely thrive for many years when they are operating under a lack of understanding about their own interests. This realization has caused Americans to appreciate and respect the importance of remaining united under one federal government that is vested with sufficient powers for general and national duties.

The more I think about and research the reasons Americans realize this, the more sure I am the reasons are convincing and conclusive.

Wise and free people have many subjects that need their attention, but the concern that seems to be the greatest is the need for providing for their safety. But what does safety mean? It can be related to many different situations, and therefore it is a good idea to give flexibility to those who wish to define it precisely and completely.

At this point, I will talk about it as it relates to security (specifically, the preservation of peace and tranquility) as well as dangers from foreign hostilities or aggressiveness. There is also the wish to avoid similar dangers on the domestic front. Since I mention foreign issues first, then I will discuss that first. So, we will now examine whether the people are right to expect that a friendly Union that is operating under an efficient government can best protect the people from hostilities or aggressiveness directed at Americans from abroad.

The number of wars in the world, past or future, will always relate directly to the causes, real or perceived, which give rise to them. If this is true, then it makes sense to decide whether justifiable reasons for war might ensue more easily if we are one union or, on the other hand, if we do not unite. If it turns out that a united America would make it less possible for our engagement in war, then the conclusion is that the Union has a better chance of preserving peace.

Most justifiable reasons for going to war result from violations of treaties or from the commission of violence. America has already formed treaties with six nations, and all of them, except Prussia, are maritime treaties. These treaties therefore are a connection with these countries whereby they have the means to annoy or injure us. America also engages in a great deal of trade with Portugal, Spain, and Britain, and we are close enough with Spain and Britain to be be considerate of “sharing a neighborhood” with them.

It is very important for the preservation of peace that we understand and observe the international law regarding these nations, and I believe that is more easily accomplished by one national government than by thirteen different states or three or four separate confederacies. Next I will explain the various reasons as to why I believe this.

Once an efficient national government is established, the best men will not only consent to serve that government, but they will also be available to be appointed to manage it. While many men are placed in state, town or country assemblies, senates, courts of justice or executive departments, only those best qualified, through their talent and qualifications, will be asked to serve on these posts for the national government. Unlike the states, where the choice and selection of qualified men is limited, the national government will be able to choose the best men from among a much wider field of potential public servants. The result is that the administration, the political direction, and the judicial decisions will more wise, organized and enlightened than those found in individual States. They will therefore be more acceptable with respect to other nations, and they will be mores safe with respect to us.

One national government will be consistent in its policies towards international law and treaties with other nations. But with thirteen states, or three or four confederacies, this consistency will disappear, particularly when you consider that in each state or confederacy, there is going to be a variety of government officials with different local laws and interests that influence them. Therefore, the wisdom of the convention which states that it is better to submit issues of foreign policy to one national authority can't be too strongly urged.

The personal political issues which might prevent the governing politicians in one or two of the States to act in good faith or justice regarding international issues won't effect the other states and therefore won't have any influence on the national government, and good faith and justice will be protected. Consider the case of our peace treaty with Britain and you'll see that my reasoning is correct.

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.

In the year 1685, the state of Genoa offended Louis XIV of France, and then they tried to make things right with him. 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?


PUBLIUS [Jay]
Posted for Rosiegirl.............

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NUMBER IV
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED

In my last paper, I addressed several reasons as to why the safety of the people against danger would be be best secured by a national government. 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. Lawrence River. 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.
PUBLIUS [Jay]
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NUMBER V
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED

In Queen Anne's letter from the 1st of July to the Scottish parliament, she mentioned the importance of the union then forming between England and Scotland which bears mentioning here. Portions of her message follow. “An entire and perfect union will be the solid foundation of lasting peace. 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.” She also wrote, “[w]e earnestly recommend that you be calm and thoughtful regarding this decision, that we might become happily united, this being the only effective way to secure our present and future happiness while disappointing the designs of our common enemies, who will no doubt do whatever they can to prevent or delay this union.”

I said in the last letter that weaknesses and divisions at home would invite dangerous actions by those abroad against us, and that there is nothing better to secure us from that than our own union, with strength and good government. 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? Instead of being “joined in affection and free from all worry about separate interests,” envy and jealousy would soon take the place of confidence and affection, and the personal interests of each confederacy, rather than the general interests of all of America, would be the objects of their policy and pursuits. 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. Think about it: how many conquests did the Romans and others make acting as “allies,” and how many influences did they introduce into the governments that they had pretended to protect?

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.

Publius [Jay]
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NUMBER VI
CONCERNING DANGERS FROM WAR
BETWEEN THE STATES

The last three papers have concentrated on numbering the dangers from foreign nations to which we would be exposed if we were to elect not to exist as a union. 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. Men of this class, whether favorites of a king or of a people, have too often abused the confidence entrusted to them; they have no qualms about coming up with some pretext for the conflict “being for the good of the public,” while then sacrificing the national tranquility just for their own personal advantage or gratification.

Pericles [from Plutarch's “Life of Pericles” *] because of resentment by the people against his companion Aspasia, who ran a brothel, attacked and destroyed the city of Samnians at the expense of much of the blood and treasure of his people. 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 [431 BC – 404 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.

Consider the bigotry of Madame de Maintenon [second wife of King Louis XIV], the irritations over minor annoyances displayed by the Duchess of Marlborough [close friend of Queen Anne of England, died 1744], and the scheming and plotting of Madame de Pompadour [mistress of Louis XV]: each of these women had considerable influence in the conflicts and peace-making of a better part of Europe during their lifetimes. 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 1786-1787 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: is it not in the best interest of all nations to cultivate the same charitable and philosophic spirit? 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. Hannibal marched into Italy, to the gates of Rome, and then Scipio [Africanus, who fought Hannibal in the Second Punic War] overthrew Hannibal and conquered Carthage.

Venice, in later times, was involved more than once in wars of ambition, until the other Italian states took an interest in it, and Pope Julius the Second found a means to conquer Venice by orchestrating a league against it,** and this was a deadly blow to the power and pride of this notable republic.

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 --------!***

There is no common sense in agreeing with the beliefs of those who are trying to lull us away from our worries about hostilities and quarrels between the States, in the event we do not unite, and from lengthy observation of other nations we can see that it's a universally excepted truth in politics that when countries are located near one another, the environment is ripe for them to be come natural enemies. An intelligent writer expresses himself on this subject to this effect: “NEIGHBORING NATIONS [says he] are naturally ENEMIES of each other, unless their common weakness forces them to joint together in a CONFEDERATE REPUBLIC, and their constitution prevents the differences that arise from separate nations who must share a neighborhood, thereby extinguishing that secret jealousy which encourages all states to enhance their own power at the expense of their neighbors.” 1 This passage, at the same time, points out the EVIL of remaining separate, and suggests a remedy.2

Publius [Hamilton]

*Plutarch was a Greek historian, biographer, and essayist
**The League of Cambray, including the Emperor, The King of France, The King of Aragon, and most of the Italian princes and states
***In North Carolina, sentiment was against the Constitution and residents in the wealthy northeastern part of the state, who generally supported the Constitution, threatened to secede if the rest of the state did not fall into line. 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.
1Vide: Principes des Negociatians par l'Abbe' de Mably.
2Gabriel Bonnet de Mably (1709-1785) was a French historian and writer on international law.
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FEDERALIST VII
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED
AND PARTICULAR CLAUSES ENUMERATED

With an air of triumph, it is sometimes asked, what reasons would there be for war between States that have not united? 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 is well known that there has been some serious and spirited discussions concerning the rights to lands which had not been granted at the time of the Revolution, these lands which formerly were considered “crown lands.” The States who were comprised of colonial governments have claimed these lands as their property, while the other states contend that the rights of the crown were later transferred to the Union, particularly, that part of the Western territory which was either actually possessed, or those acquired through submission of the Indian owners, was subjected to the jurisdiction of the king of Great Britain until it was given up in the peace treaty. 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: this tells us that we should not be too sure about an easy resolution of disputes such as this. 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: one, there was jealousy that was leveled at our future power, and second, the interest of certain individuals in neighboring States who had the power to obtain grants of land directly from the actual government of that district. 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. The situations of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey are a good example of this. 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. Would Connecticut and New Jersey long submit to being taxed by New York exclusively for the benefit of New York? 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. Divide et imperea* must be the motto for every nation that fears or hates us.
Publius [Hamilton]

*Divide and command
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FEDERALIST VII
THE SUBJECT CONTINUED
AND PARTICULAR CLAUSES ENUMERATED

With an air of triumph, it is sometimes asked, what reasons would there be for war between States that have not united? 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 is well known that there has been some serious and spirited discussions concerning the rights to lands which had not been granted at the time of the Revolution, these lands which formerly were considered “crown lands.” The States who were comprised of colonial governments have claimed these lands as their property, while the other states contend that the rights of the crown were later transferred to the Union, particularly, that part of the Western territory which was either actually possessed, or those acquired through submission of the Indian owners, was subjected to the jurisdiction of the king of Great Britain until it was given up in the peace treaty. 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: this tells us that we should not be too sure about an easy resolution of disputes such as this. 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: one, there was jealousy that was leveled at our future power, and second, the interest of certain individuals in neighboring States who had the power to obtain grants of land directly from the actual government of that district. 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. The situations of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey are a good example of this. 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. Would Connecticut and New Jersey long submit to being taxed by New York exclusively for the benefit of New York? 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. Divide et imperea* must be the motto for every nation that fears or hates us.
Publius [Hamilton]

*Divide and command
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NUMBER VIII
THE EFFECTS OF INTERNAL WAR
IN PRODUCING STANDING ARMIES AND OTHER
INSTITUTIONS UNFRIENDLY TO LIBERTY

Assuming that it is the truth that the several States, in the case we don't unite, or what ever combination results from the wreck of the Confederacy, would be subject to alterations of peace and war, and friendship and malevolence, which is what has happened to all of neighboring nations that are not united under one government, let us discuss some of the consequences that would follow such a situation.

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.* But the argument is that standing armies are destined to result from the dissolution of the Confederacy. 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. There’s really no good reason for the countries rarely exposed to hostilities to keep available armies, when there is a good reason for vulnerable countries to have them. In countries that are rarely subject to attack, the armies are rarely called to duty to defend their territory, and therefore the people in that country aren’t as much at risk of having to subject themselves to military rule. Civil society remains intact because the laws aren’t subject to accommodating military crises, and the laws therefore remain uncorrupted and uncomplicated by the practices or principles of the other state. 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 threat of hostilities require the government to always be prepared to repel it, and it’s armies have to always have enough trained fighters that can be called for immediate defense. 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. It is possible, but not easy, that the people of that island could be enslaved from other things, but it won’t be because of a military the size of which has normally been established within the kingdom.

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.

PUBLIUS [Hamilton]

*This objection will be further explored later at the proper time, and it will be shown that the only proper precaution which could have been taken on this subject has been taken, and it’s a much better one than has been proposed in any other draft of a constitution that has been framed in American, most of which have not caution at all on this subject.
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NUMBER IX
THE UTILITY OF THE UNION
AS A SAFEGUARD AGAINST DOMESTIC
FACTION AND INSURRECTION

A solid Union will be of the utmost importance to the peace and liberty of the States as a barrier against domestic quarrels or insurrections. 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. If momentary rays of glory break forth from the gloom, while they dazzle us with a brief and fleeting brilliance, they at the same time caution us to mourn that the vices of government will twist the direction and tarnish the luster of those bright, talented individuals and celebrated efforts for which the blessed countries which produced them have been so rightly distinguished.

Advocates of despotism have drawn on the history of those republics as a basis for their arguments against not only republican government, but the principles of civil liberty as well. They condemn all free government as inconsistent with an orderly society, and they indulge in spiteful triumph over those that support that concept. Happily for mankind, there have been remarkable structures formed on the basis of liberty throughout history that provide magnificent examples that refute their gloomy reasoning. And I trust that America will be the solid influence for the growth of other structures, equally magnificent, which will also stand as permanent monuments to their incorrect assumptions.

It is true that the portraits that the detractors have sketched of republic governments were just copies of the originals. If it is true that republican government can not be developed into a more perfect model, the enlightened friends of liberty would then be required to abandon the idea of that sort of government. But the science of politics, like most other sciences, has over time improved. The effectiveness of various principles that were not known, or not well known, to the ancients are now well understood. The distribution of power into distinct departments; the principle of legislative checks and balances; the creation of courts where judges hold their positions as long as demonstrate good behavior; the representation of the people in legislatures by representatives of their own choosing; these are either wholly new discoveries or mechanisms that have been perfected more recently. They are powerful means by which the positive aspects of republican government can be made to last while the negative aspects can be avoided. To the list of instances that tend to improve popular systems of civil government I would add, even though it might seem novel, one more that stems from the objections to the new Constitution: I mean the enlargement of the orbit within which these types of systems tend to revolve, either in the context of a single State or in the context of several States operating in a Confederacy. The Confederacy is one of the immediate concerns, although it will also be useful to examine this in the context of a single State, so I will discuss that later.

The usefulness of a Confederacy as a means of suppressing rebellion and to protect internal peace is not a new idea. It’s been practiced in various countries throughout history and has received the approval of some of the most notable political writers. The opponents of the Constitution have with steadfast attention brought up the opinion of Montesquieu* regarding the necessity of having a limited territory for a republican government. But they don’t seem to know about some of the other sentiments of that great man that he expressed in different parts of his work, nor do they seem to consider the results of their own assertions that they so readily accept.

When Montesquieu recommends a small territory for republics, the standards he had in mind were of proportions far short of the limits of every one of these States. Neither Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina nor Georgia can by any means be compared with the models which he considered and described. If we therefore take his ideas on this point as the standard of truth, we’ll be forced to into either seeking shelter in the arms of monarchy or of splitting ourselves into an endless future of little, jealous, clashing, turbulent commonwealths, the wretched nurseries of unending quarrels and the miserable objects of universal pity or contempt. Some of the writers who support the other side seem to be aware of the problem, and have even been so bold as to hint that the division of the larger States is a good thing. Such an attractive policy, such a desperate opportunity, of multiplying therefore the many political offices available to men, might work for men who don’t possess enough qualifications to extend their influence more broadly, but it will never promote the greatness or happiness of the American people.

While examination of the issue itself will be reserved for a later time, as has already been mentioned, it will be good enough for now to state that, referring to the author who has been most forcefully quoted regarding this issue, it would only require a reduction of the size of the larger members of the Union, but it would not have a major effect on their all being put together under one confederate government. And this is the true question in which we are currently interested.

The suggestions that Montesquieu was opposed to a general Union of States are wrong, and in fact, he clearly treats a Confederate Republic as the means for extending the influence of popular government and reconciling the advantages of monarchy with those of republicanism.

“It is very probable” (says he**) “that mankind would have been bound for a long time to live constantly under a government ruled by a single person had mankind not worked to develop a kind of constitution that has all of the internal benefits of a republican, together with the external force of a monarchy. I mean a Confederate Republic.

“This form of government is organized where several smaller states agree to become members of a larger one, which they intend to form. It is a kind of gathering of societies that will constitute a new one, able to increase by means of new states joining, until they are strong enough to be able to provide security for the whole united body.

“A republic of this kind, that is strong enough to withstand an external threat, can support itself without any internal corruptions. The form of this society prevents all kinds of discomfort.

“If a single member should attempt to seize the supreme authority, he couldn’t be considered to have equal authority and influence in all of the other confederate states. Were he to have too much influence over one, this would alarm the rest. Were he to subdue one part, those that remain free might oppose him with forces separate from those he seized, and overpower him before he could make this power permanent.

“Should a popular uprising happen in one of the confederate states, the others will be able to subdue it. Should abuses creep into one part, they can be reconciled by the others who are not corrupted. The state may be destroyed on one side and not on the other; the confederacy may be dissolved and the confederates can still retain their sovereignty.

“As this government is composed of small republics, it enjoys the internal happiness of each, and with respect to its external situation, by means of association between the states, it has all of the advantages of large monarchies.”

I thought I was proper to quote fully these interesting passages, because they contain a clear outline of the principle arguments in favor of the Union. These passages must effectively remove the false impressions one might get about this form of government just because of failed experiences with it in other parts of the world. Quoting Montesquieu also has a more direct connection with the purpose of this paper, which is to show the tendency of the Union to prevent domestic upheaval and disagreement.

A subtle and not quite accurate distinction has been brought up regarding the difference between a confederacy and a consolidation of the States. The main characteristic of a confederacy is that power is restricted to the members collectively, without reaching to the individuals of which they are composed. It’s been argued that the national council should not have any concern with any instance of internal administration. An exact equality of political suffrage between the members has also been insisted upon as a leading characteristic of a confederate government. These positions are mainly unreasonable; they are not supported by principle or past experience. Experience shows that governments of this kind generally operate in the manner which is considered inherent in their nature; but there have been in most of these governments many exceptions to the practice, which serves to prove by example that there is no absolute rule on the subject. And in the course of this investigation it will be clearly shown that, as far as the principle argued for has survived, it has been the cause of incurable disorder and stupidity in the government.

The definition of a confederate republic seems simple to be “an assemblage of societies,” or an association of two or more states into one state. The extent, changes, or items of federal authority are only matters of choice. So long as the separate organization of the members remains intact; as long as it exists by constitutional necessity for local purposes; although it should remain completely secondary to the general power of the union, it would still be, in fact and in theory, an association of states or a confederacy. The proposed Constitution does not consider the end of the State governments, but rather makes them members of the national sovereignty by direct representation in the Senate, leaving in their possession certain singular and very important portions of sovereign power. In every rational sense, this fully conforms to the idea of a federal government.

In the Lycian confederacy, which consisted of twenty-three cities, or republics, the largest were entitled to three votes in the common council, the middle class were allowed two votes, and the lowest class one. The common council had the appointment of all of the judges and magistrates of the respective cities. This was surely the touchiest instance of interference in their internal administration, because if there is anything that should be completely given to the local jurisdictions, it should be the choosing of its own officers. Yet Montesquieu, speaking of this association, said “[w]ere I to give a model of an excellent Confederate republic, it would be that of Lycia.” So we perceive that the differences insisted upon were not within the thinking of this informed civilian, and we shall be led to conclude that they are the unique clarifications of a mistaken theory.
PUBLIUS [Hamilton]


*Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French historian and political theorist, who wrote Esprit des Lois (“Spirit of Laws”) in 1748.
**Spirit of Laws, Vol. 1, Book IX, Chapter I.
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NUMBER X
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED

Among the many benefits promised by well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more truthfully described than its tendency to resist and control the violence of rebellion. The friend of popular governments never worries about the character and fate of them so much as when he considers their tendency to the dangerous habit of rebellion. So he will consider any proposals which provide a cure for this tendency, as long as they do not breach the basic principles he believes in. The instability, injustice, and confusion that public councils have succumbed to have truthfully been the deadly sicknesses under which popular governments everywhere have perished, and this fact has been used by the opponents of liberty as a means by which they can assert their most misleading claims. One can’t admire enough the valuable improvements that have been made by the American Constitution on both the ancient and modern popular models. But it would improper favoritism to claim that these improvements have prevented the danger of rebellion, even though we wish it or expect it. Our most concerned and worthy citizen, supporters of private faith and personal liberty, complain that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is ignored by those who are lost in party rivalries. They complain that issues are too often decided by the superior force of an prejudiced and overbearing majority parties rather than pursuant to justice and consideration for the rights of the minority. We might wish these concerns to not exist, but the evidence shows that in some degree, they are true. In clearly reviewing our situation, we can see that some of the worries that we have been wrongly blamed on the way our governments work. Yet at the same time, we will see that we can’t necessarily blame our worst problems on other causes. I refer mainly to the constant and increasing distrust of public affairs while at the same time there is alarm concerning private rights and we hear these concerns echoed from one end of the continent to the other. These concerns follow directly from the lack of stability and injustice that have created the divisive atmosphere which has corrupted the current administration.

These divisions amount to a number of citizens, being a majority or minority, who band together pursuant to a common impulse or interest, and this impulse or interest conflicts with the rights of other citizens or to the permanent and combined interests of the community.

There are two ways to fixing the problems of division: first, by removing its causes, and second, by controlling its effects.

And there are two ways of stopping the causes of division: first, by destroying the liberty which is necessary to its existence, and second, by having all citizens have the same opinions, passions and interests.

It can be truly said that the first remedy is worse than the disease. Liberty is to division like air is to fire, and without liberty, division instantly ends. It would be just as wrong to abolish liberty, which is necessary for political life, just because it also encourages divisions. This would be as wrong as wishing for the abolishment of air, which is necessary for life, just because it also gives life to the occasional destructive fire.

The second remedy is not practical any more than the first remedy is wise. As long as the reasoning of men is imperfect, and yet he is at liberty to exercise it anyway, differences of opinion will happen. As long as there is a connection between his reason and his self-interest, his opinions and his passions will have a mirror effect on each other, and his reason will be an object to which his self-interest attaches. The abilities of men differ, which leads to differences in status, also leads to diversity of interests. The protection and nurturing of these abilities should be the first priority of government. When the government protects differing abilities, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results, and from this springs a dividing up of society into different interests and parties.

The hidden causes of division are therefore natural to man; and we see the differing interests manifest themselves in different activities according to the varying circumstances in the community. Men possess differing eagerness for many things: religion, government, etc, regarding both the subject and the means of practice. Men also form an attachment to different leaders who are ambitiously vying for power and prestige, or to others whose situation has caught the public eye. This in turn has divided mankind into parties, provoking them to with mutual hatred and encouraged them to irritate and oppress each other than to cooperate for the common good. The tendency of man towards mutual animosity is so strong that even when no real situation presents itself, then silly and imaginative situations will be enough to create cold relations and provoked violent conflicts. But the most common and lasting source of divisions has been the varying and unequal distribution of property. Those who have property and those that don’t, have forever formed into distinct interest groups in society. The same can be said for creditors and debtors. There are men with land, men in manufacturing, those that are wealthy and many more that are not, are a natural part of civilized societies that divide into different classes because of their differing interests. The regulation of these differing interests is one of the main jobs of modern legislation and it involves the spirit of party and division that is an ordinary part of the functions of government.

Men cannot be judges in their own cases because their self-interests would bias their judgment and probably also corrupt their character. It follows with even greater reasoning that a group of men are not fit to be both judges and parties at the same time. Even so, isn’t it true that the most important acts of legislation and the most important legal decisions really about, not just the rights of single persons, but the rights of citizenry as a whole? Aren’t different classes of legislators really advocates and parties in the same causes that they make decisions about? What if a law is proposed that deals with private debts? This is a question that has creditors on side and debtors on the other. Justice ought to hold the balance between them. Yet, the parties are and must be the judges and the most numerous and powerful faction will be expected to prevail. Shall domestic manufacturers be supportive, and just how much, of restrictions on foreign manufacturers? This is a question that would be decided upon differently between the wealthy and the manufacturing classes, and both would put self-interest above regard for justice and the public good. The dividing up of the tax burden with regards to the different descriptions of property is an act requiring the greatest degree of impartiality, and yet, there is probably no other legislative act more prone to the perversion of justice due to the opportunity and temptation of those developing the law. Every shilling that they can take from the inferior party is an extra shilling saved in their own pockets.

It is a waste of time to say that competent statesmen will be able to tame these differing interests for the better of the public good. Competent statesmen will not always be in control. Plus, in many cases adjustments can’t be made with out considering the indirect and remote circumstances that might result, although these are not likely to effect the immediate interest that one party might have in ignoring the rights of another or the good of the whole in general.

So the conclusion here is that we can’t stop the causes of division but we can try to control its effects.

If a party consists of a minority, a solution comes from the republican principle, which allows the majority to defeat the corrupt intentions of the minority by regular vote. It may impede progress in the administration and it may cause societal disruption, but with the Constitution, it will not result in violence. On the other hand, when the party is a majority, a popular form of government encourages the majority to sacrifice its selfish interests for the good of the public and the rights of other citizens. So the main concern here involves protecting the public good and private rights against the danger of such a coalition while also preserving the spirit and form of popular government. Let me add that it is by great want or need that this form of government can be rescued from the infamy under which it has labored for so long, and can be recommended to the admiration and adoption of mankind.

How can this be done? Apparently, out of two options, only one can be selected. Either the majorities’ common interest must be prevented, or if it exists, there must be a way to prevent them, by number or local means, from using this common interest for the purpose of oppression. If the desire and opportunity occur at the same time, we know that we can’t rely on the religion or morality of the majority to restrain them. Religion or morality are not enough alone to restrain any individual, and when people are combined in numbers, the need for the restraint is more necessary and yet harder to find.

From this point of view we can conclude that in a pure democracy, meaning a society comprised of a small number of citizens who participate in government personally, can find no cure for the mischief caused by factions. The majority will almost always have a common interest, and there is nothing to prevent the desire to sacrifice a weaker party or an obnoxious individual. So it is true that democracies have been forever associated with turbulence and conflict; have forever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights to property; and in general they have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theorizing politicians who are condescending towards democracy have mistakenly supposed that by making men completely equal in their political rights will also make these men completely equal and matched in their possessions, their opinions, and their interests.

A republic, being a government where there is representation, presents a different option and promises the cure that we need. Let’s examine the points by which a republic differs from pure democracy and then we can understand the nature of the cure which can be derived from the Union.

There are two major differences between a democracy and a republic. First, in a republic, you have a group of individuals who are selected by the rest of the population to represent that population. Second, a republic extends over a greater number of citizens and a great area of country.

The effect of the first difference is that the views of the public can be enlarged and refined through the efforts of a chosen group of representatives who in their wisdom might best understand the true interests of their country, and whose patriotism and love of country would not allow temporary or self-interested considerations to cloud that wisdom. Under this type of order, it may very well be that the representatives will more adequately provide a voice more in tune with the public good than if the people got together to offer their voice instead. On the other hand, you can turn this argument around. Men of divisive personality, who have local prejudices or who might be operating according to wicked plans, may use plots or corruption or some other means by which to obtain votes, and then betray the interests of the people who gave them those votes. So the question is, whether smaller or larger republics are better suited to the election of proper guardians of the public trust. It is clearly decided in favor of larger republics and there are two good reasons for this.

First, it must be said that however small the republic may be, there will have to be enough representatives to prevent control by only a very few. At the same time, however large the republic is, the number of representatives must be limited to a certain number to avoid the confusion that would come with too large a crowd. So if we have in either case a number of representatives that is not in proportion to that of the constituents, the number of good choices for representation will not be any less in the large than in the small republic. Therefore, the large republic is a greater option because there would a greater probability that competent people would be chosen as representatives.

Second, since each representative would be chosen by a greater number of people in a large republic, it would make it more difficult for candidates to engage in the corruption or trickery that are so common to elections. The votes of the people would be freer and would most liked center of me who have the best credentials and established character.

Now I must confess that there is a problem on both sides. By having too many electors, you can separate the representative from their local interests and circumstances. If you reduce the number of electors by too much, then the representative will become too attached to local concerns and will he wil then be less able to deal with national interests. The federal Constitution allows for a balance between these two issues, with the great and united interests being referred to the national level, while the local and particular issues will be handled by the State legislatures.

The other point of view has to deal with the greater number of citizens and the greater extend of territory which may within the sphere of a republican government rather than a democracy. The number of citizens and area of territory are the very things that make divisions or coalitions more dreaded in a republic and they are in a democracy. The smaller the community, the less likely it is that there will be differences in the common interests and parties that make up that community. The fewer the differing interests, the more likely a majority can be found. And the smaller the number found within the majority and the smaller the area in which they are placed, the more likely they will cooperate and successfully execute their oppressive plans. Enlarge the geographical area and you have a greater variety of parties and interests, and you make it less probable that a majority will have a common motive to invade the rights of others, or, if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for those who share the motive to use their strength to act together with each other. Besides other obstacles, I might mention that, where there is a desire to engage in unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always influenced by distrust in proportion to the number of persons whose agreement is necessary.

Therefore, it is clear that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy by controlling the effects of division and party loyalties is better in a larger rather than smaller republic, and is better for the Union over the States that make up the Union. Does this advantage require the appointment of representatives whose enlightened views and honorable opinions keep them above the influence of local prejudices and schemes of injustice? I won’t deny that representatives of the Union will no doubt exhibit these required attributes. Does it consist of the security afforded by a system where a variety of prevents any one party from rising up and oppressing the rest? Along the same lines, does the greater number of parties within the Union increase this security? Ultimately, does it provide more obstacles to the cooperation and fulfillment of the secret wishes of an unjust and prejudiced majority? Here again we see that the Union provides the best advantage.

The influence of leaders who are partial to party loyalties may spark a flame within the States they represent but they won’t be able to start a fire within the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political movement within a part of the Confederacy, but the variety of sects dispersed over the larger geographical area must protect the national councils from any danger from the danger of oppression by a prejudiced majority. A strong desire for paper money, for the cancellation of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less likely to spread through the whole body of the Union than it is to spread through any particular member of it. Likewise, such a sickness would more likely affect a particular county or district than it would an entire state.

Therefore, regarding the extent and structure of the Union, we see a republican remedy for the illness that is most likely characteristic of republican government. According to the degree of pleasure and pride we feel in being republican, this should encourage our zest for cherishing the spirit and supporting the character of federalists.

Publius [Madison]
Contributor’s note: the following consists of copyrighted material that cannot be reproduced without the permission of the contributor.

In the spirit of getting more Americans to read these works, I am looking for a publisher -- if you or someone you know might be interested in this enterprise, please email pthornhill@cox.net.


NUMBER XI
THE UTILITY OF THE UNION IN RESPECT
TO COMMERCE AND A NAVY

Looked at prudently, the importance of the Union is one of those things about which there is the least amount of room to have a difference of opinion, and which in fact has commanded the most general agreement among men who are familiar with the subject. This applies as much to our interaction with foreign countries as it does to those of us who live in America.

There are reasons to believe that some think that the adventurous spirit which sets apart American commercial interests has already created some uneasiness among several of the maritime powers of Europe. They seem to be worried about too great an interference in the trade that supports their navigation and in the foundation of their naval strength. Those of them that have colonies in America are concerned about what this country is capable of becoming. The neighborhood of States has the intention and the ability to grow their own navies, and they worry that this could threaten their American interests. This belief encourages divisions among us and can deprive us as much as is possible of engaging in an active commerce amongst ourselves. This would solve three problems among us, by preventing our interference in their navigations, by preventing the monopolization of trade, and by preventing us from growing to a dangerous strength of greatness. If prudence didn’t prevent me from disclosing the details, it wouldn’t be hard to trace the planning of this policy to the cabinets of ministers.

If we continue to stay united, we can counteract a policy like this that is so unfriendly to the growth of our wealth in a variety of ways. We can use the restraints of regulation applying through all of the States to require foreign nations to compete against one another for the privilege of using our markets. This assertion will appear reasonable to those who understand the importance to any manufacturing nation of a market containing three million people, which is increasing rapidly in population and which is almost completely invested economically in agriculture. And it’s likely that local circumstances will cause this type of economy to remain dominant. There would be a major difference regarding the trade and navigation of such a nation when you compare the direct communication among its own ships and the indirect communication of its products and the income derived from that, to and from America, in the ships of another country. Suppose for example that we had a government in America that had the right to exclude Great Britain (with which we have no treaty of commerce at present) from our ports. What would be the probable outcome of this action upon her politics? Would it not enable us to negotiate, with the greatest possibility of success, for valuable and extensive commercial privileges with that kingdom? When this question has been asked before, believable answers have been offered but they have not provided a solid or satisfactory answer. It has been said that prohibitions of trade on our part wouldn’t effect Britain, because she would just use the Dutch as a go-between regarding trade with America for the products that she desired from our markets. But wouldn’t the loss of advantage of being her own carrier be materially damaging to her commercial interests? Would not a large part of their potential profit be taken by the Dutch as compensation for their agency and risk? A considerable deduction would also result just due to the costs of freight shipment. Such circular dealings would promote the competition among other nations, by increasing the price of British commodities in our markets and by transferring to other hands the management of this particular branch of British commerce.

A complete consideration of these questions and observations will support a belief that the real disadvantage to Great Britain from this proposed state of things would encourage a mellowing in the Britain’s current trade practices which would allow us to enter into the markets of Islands like the West Indies and elsewhere. This is particularly notable when you consider how the joining of the interests in a great part of the nation are in favor of American trade and also when you consider the pressing demands of the West India islands. Our trade would benefit substantially from this arrangement. If the British were to relax trade regulations, which of course would have to be matched by our own waivers and privileges in our markets, this would very likely have a similar effect on the conduct of other nations, who be then not be prone to see themselves as completely undermined in trade.

In this respect, another resource that would shape the conduct of European nations towards us would come from the establishment of a federal navy. There is no doubt that if we continue as a Union under an effective government, we would then have the ability to create a navy in the not too distant future, and this navy could, if not equal the power of the greatest maritime powers, it could be at least respectable enough to compete with either of the two contending parties. This would be particularly applicable to the situation with the West Indies. A few ships in the fleet if intelligently sent to reinforce either side would often be enough to decide who would prevail in a campaign upon which the most serious interests would be hanging. Our position in this respect is an advantageous one. And if we also consider that we can supply useful materials for the military effort in the West Indies, one can readily understand that such a favorable situation puts us in an advantageous bargaining position regarding commercial privileges. There would be value not just in our friendship but also in our neutrality. By steady support for the existence of the Union, we can hope to eventually become the representative of Europe in American, and to be able to manage the interests regarding European competition in this part of the world as our interest might require.

Now if we look at the other side of this possible situation, we can see that the rivalries amongst all of the players in this situation would create checks between the parties and this would dissuade us from taking advantage of the temptations placed within our reach. In this kind of insignificant state our commerce would be subject to the meddling of nations at war with one another, because they would have nothing to fear from us and therefore no scruples about taking our property whenever they might. Neutrality will only be respected when it is defended by an adequate force. Nations that are despicable in their weakness give up even the privilege of being neutral.

By using the natural strength and resources of our country, under a strong national government that is concentrated towards a common interest, we would confuse all of the alliances in Europe who would seek to restrain our growth. Such a situation would even take away the motives of such alliances because it would make the success of restraining our growth impracticable to said alliances. An active commerce, an extensive navigation, and a flourishing navy would be the inevitable result of moral and physical necessity. We might be able to defy the talents of small-minded politicians who seek to control or change the inevitable course of nature.

But if we do not maintain the union, these alliances might not only exist but might operate with success. It would be possible for countries with a powerful maritime tradition to take advantage of our powerlessness and establish the conditions of our political situation. As they have a common interest in being our carriers, and in preventing us from being theirs, they would most likely work together to embarrass our navigation to the point where they will effectively destroy it and confine us to a passive commerce. We would then be forced to have to accept the first price offered for our goods and to see our profits taken from us and used to the advantage of our enemies and persecutors. That superior spirit of business which demonstrates the genius of American merchants and navigators, where we find an unlimited supply of national wealth, would be lost to us, and poverty and disgrace would take over a country which otherwise with wisdom could have made herself the admiration and envy of the world.

There are great opportunities for trade which are the rights of the Union – I speak of the fisheries, the navigation of the lakes, and the Mississippi. Dissolving the Confederacy would allow room for questions regarding the future existence of these rights, which our more powerful partners would no doubt manage to resolve to our disadvantage. Spain’s sights on the Mississippi need no comment. France and Britain look to our fisheries with an eye towards their own interests. They would not for long remain indifferent to enforcing their interests, because experience has shown us that furthering one’s interest in this valuable area of commerce prevents us from being underselling those nations in their own markets. What is more natural that they want to prevent the engagement of dangerous competitors?

This branch of trade should be considered to be more than just a partial benefit. All the navigating States may in different degrees advantageously participate in it, and with greater access to commercial capital they would be more likely to do that. Once the principles of navigation become more established in the several States, then seaman necessary to staff this enterprise will become a universal resource. It is an indispensible resource to the staffing of a navy.

To this great national aim of encouraging and supporting our commercial interests, a navy union will contribute in many ways. All institutions grow and flourish in direct proportion to the amount and the extent of the means concentrated on that institution’s formation and growth. A navy of the United States would require the resources of all of the states and it is a more supportable prospect than is the navy of any single State of partial confederacy, because they would only require the resources of a part of the Union. In fact, there are different portions of a confederated America that each have a particular contribution they can make to the essential establishment of a navy. The Southern States can offer in greater supply certain kinds of naval stores, like tar, pitch and turpentine. Their wood for the construction of ships is of a more solid and long-lasting texture. If composed of Southern wood, the ships would be more durable and this would be advantageous to naval strength and national economy. Some of the Southern States and the Middle States have a greater supply of better quality iron. Seamen must be drawn from the Northern States. There is no need to further clarify about the necessity of naval protection for external or maritime commerce, and the influence of healthy commerce to the prosperity of the navy created to protect that commerce. They are mutually beneficial and promote each other.

Open trade relations between the States themselves will advance the trade of each, not only because of the exchange of their respective resources and products, but also for the benefit of exporting products abroad. Commerce in every part of the Union will be encouraged and will gain additional motion and vigor from the free circulation of the commodities of the whole. Commercial enterprise will better flourish if nourished with the enterprises in the different states. When a staple of one fails from a bad harvest or unproductive crop, that State can call to its aid the staple of another. The value of products is important, but the variety for exportation also contributes to the growth of commerce with foreign countries. Trade can be carried out upon much better terms when there are a large number of materials of a given value than it can be with a smaller number of materials of the same value, and this is because of the rules of competition and the fluctuations of markets. Some things might be of great demand at some times and at other times you can’t sell them; but if there are a variety of articles, it lessens the chance that they will all suffer a lack of demand at the same time. As a result, the merchant will suffer less risk of any considerable problem or lack of income. Savvy traders will be aware of these facts and will realize that the combination of commerce amongst all of the United States will be more favorable than it would be amongst an uncombined thirteen States.

So one might reply that whether the States are united or not, there will still be a close exchange between them that would address the same ends. But this exchange would be restrained, interrupted and narrowed by a variety of causes, which have been amply detailed in the course of these papers. Like a unity of political interests, a unity of commercial interests can only result from a unity of government.

There are other points of view that might be offered here, of a striking and animated kind. But they lead us down a confusing path that takes us too far into future possibility, and involve issues not proper for a newspaper discussion. I will note briefly that our situation invites, and our interests prompt us, to aim highly regarding American affairs. The world may be politically and geographically divided into four parts, each having a separate set of interests. Unhappily for the other three, Europe has by arms and negotiations, by force and by fraud, has in different degrees extended her dominion over them all. Africa, Asia and America have all in time felt her domination. The superiority Europe has enjoyed tempts her to preen herself as the mistress of the world, and to consider the rest of mankind as created for her benefit. Men admired as great philosophers have directly attributed to the inhabitants of Europe a physical superiority and they have gravely asserted that animals and humans degenerate in America. They even claim that dogs cease to bark after breathing for awhile in our atmosphere.* Facts have too long supported these arrogant beliefs about the Europeans.** It has fallen to us to defend the human race and to teach those brothers who assume superiority humbleness. Union will enable us to do it. Disunion will only give them another victim to add to their triumphs. Let Americans refuse to be the instruments of European greatness! Let the thirteen States, bound together in a strong and indestructible Union, agree in building one great American system superior to the control of all of the transatlantic force or influence. Let us be able to dictate the terms of the connection between the old and new world!

Publius [Hamilton]

*”Recherches philosophiques sur les Americains.”

** “L’Abbe’ Guillaume Thomas Francois Raynal (1713-96) was the author in 1770 of Recherches Philosophiques les Americains. The original idea of physical degeneration in America is attributed to the naturalist Comete de Buffon (1707-88).

(Footnotes provided by Issac Kramnick, Editor of The Federalist Papers, Penquin Classics, 1987).

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