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.

Views: 7740

Replies to This Discussion

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 XII
THE UTILITY OF THE UNION IN RESPECT
TO REVENUE

The effects of the Union on the commercial prosperity of the States have been adequately described. The subject to be considered here concerns the tendency of the Union to promote the growth of revenue.
The promotion and growth of commerce has been accepted by all knowledgeable statesmen to be the most useful and productive way of contributing to national wealth. This subject therefore has become a primary political issue amongst these statesmen. By increasing the means of success, by encouraging the discovery and trade of precious metals, those darling objects of human greed and business, serves to enliven and energize the channels of industry and to make them flow with greater activity and abundance. The busy merchant, the labored farmer, the active mechanic, and the hardworking manufacturer – all types of men are looking forward with eager expectation and growing cheerfulness to this pleasing reward of their labor. The conflict between agriculture and commerce has from real experience come to a conclusion that has stopped the rivalry that once existed between them and has proved to everyone’s satisfaction that their interests are closely blended and interwoven. We have seen in other countries that the value of land increases in proportion to the growth of commerce. How could it have otherwise happened? That which encourages a freer market for harvesting the goods of the earth; which produces new reasons to cultivate the land; which is the great means of producing wealth in a state – in short, the faithful servants of labor and industry enhance the value of land which is the fruitful parent of by far the greatest resources upon which wealth is created? It is amazing that such a simple truth should have ever been thought to have detractors, and it proves how the ill-informed and jealous, or those too preoccupied or proud, will lead men astray from these plainest paths of reason and conviction.
The ability of a country to pay taxes must always be proportionate in great part to the quantity of money that is in circulation and the speed at which it circulates. Because it contributes to both of these aims, commerce must necessarily make the payment of taxes easier and help the required supplies get to the treasury. The lands that were inherited by the Emperor of Germany contain a great expanse of fertile, cultivated and well-populated lands, much of which lies in mild and lush climates. You can find in some of this territory the best gold and silver mines in Europe. But because commerce there has not been encouraged, that monarch can boast of only slender revenues. He has been required to owe obligations to the financial support of other nations for the preservation of his necessary interests, and is unable, relying on his own resources, to sustain a long or continued war.
But it is not on this subject alone that the Union will be seen to contribute to the expectation of revenue. There are other points of view on which the influence of revenue will appear more immediate and decisive. It is clear from the state of the country, from the habits of its people, and from the experiences we have had that it will not be practical to raise any major amount of revenue by direct taxation. Tax laws have been ineffectively multiplied, and new methods of collection have been tried and have failed. Public expectations regarding the raising of revenue have not been met, and the State treasuries remain empty. The popular system of administration that comes with popular government, coupled with the real scarcity of money that comes with a lazy and mangled state of trade, has before now thwarted any experiment for broad revenue collections. The different State legislatures have learned therefore the folly of trying to attempt trying to do so.
No one who is aware of what happens in other countries will be surprised by this. In such a wealthy country as Great Britain, where direct taxes from those of superior wealth is more practical than it is in America, and where the vigor of the British government makes that sort of collection also more practical, still the greater part of the national revenue comes from indirect taxes, like tariffs and excises. A large portion of these taxes come from duties on imported goods.
It is evident in America we must for some time chiefly depend upon such duties for revenue. Most excises must necessarily be confined within a narrow definition. The genius of the people will not allow them to tolerate the intrusive and intolerant nature of excise laws. On the other hand, the pockets of the farmers will reluctantly yield only meager supplies in the unwelcome intrusion on their houses and lands. And personal property is too uncertain and its value too difficult to ascertain for the government to be able to gain revenue from other than by virtue of a tax on consumption.
For these remarks to have any clout, then the things that most enable us to improve and extend so valuable a resource as revenue should be adapted to the best advantage of our political welfare. And no one could seriously doubt that the best way is to maintain the general Union. As the Union would be conducive to commerce, so it would also encourage the growth of revenue to be drawn from commerce. This is so as long as the regulations for collecting duties is simple and serviceable; so far is it must serve to make equal rates of duties more productive; and so long as the power of government to increase rates is without prejudice to trade.
There are many circumstances that would encourage illicit trade between the separate States and insure that they frequently avoid the commercial regulations imposed by the others. These include: the different situations of these States; the number of rivers which connect them and the bays that wash their shores; the ease of communication in all directions; the compatibility of language and manners; and the familiar habits of commerce. The separate States or confederacies would be required by mutual jealousies to avoid trade that carried with it unfriendly duties. For a long time to come, the climate of interaction of our governments would not allow the same precise precautions by which the European countries, by land and water, guard the avenues of commerce into their respective countries. Even when these kinds of precautions are taken, it still is not enough to prevent the creative endeavors of greed.
In France there is an army of patrols constantly employed to enforce the financial regulations against those the dealers of contraband who seek to weaken them. Mr. Necker* computes the number of these patrols at upwards of twenty thousand. This just proves how enormously difficult it is to prevent that kind of traffic where there are internal prejudices. It also clearly shows, if the Union is rejected and we are thrust into a situation similar to France with respect to trade with her neighbors, the difficulties we would experience in collecting these duties. The arbitrary and tormenting powers with which the patrols would have to be armed would be intolerable in a free country.
On the other hand, if there is but one government connecting all the States, there would be as major part of our commerce, only one side to our commerce – the Atlantic Coast. Ships coming directly from foreign countries, laden with valuable cargoes, would rarely choose to subject themselves to hazardous perils which would result from any attempt to unload their cargo prior to coming into port. They would have to worry about both the dangers of landing outside of a port and also of detection, both before and after they arrive at their official destination. A regular degree of vigilance would be enough to prevent any major breaches upon the laws of revenue. A few armed vessels carefully stationed at the entrances to our ports could enforce the law with little expense. And since the government would have the same interest to prevent violations everywhere, the consistency of its operations in each of the States would make these measures more effective. Here we should therefore also preserve the advantage which nature extends to us and which would be lost if we remain separate. The United States is a great distance away from Europe and a considerable distance away from all other countries with which we might engage in trade. We don’t enjoy passages of a few hours or of overnight like they do in moving between, for example, France and Britain. So there is plenty of security against contraband trade from foreign nations, but such a trade in contraband between one State and another would be both easy and safe. Any discerning man surely can see that there is a great difference between direct importation from abroad and an indirect importation, with the aid of inland communication, through the channel of a neighboring State.
It is therefore clear that one national government would be able, at much less expense, to more effectively regulate duties on imports than would the separate States or confederacies. I think it’s safe to say that on average these duties have not in any State exceeded three percent. In France they are estimated to be about fifteen percent, and in Britain the proportion is even greater. There seems to be nothing in this country to prevent their being raised to at least three times their present amount. Under federal regulation, the single commodity of liquor might be made to furnish considerable revenue. Calculated upon a ratio to the importation into this State, the entire quantity imported into the United States, on the low end could be estimated to be four million gallons. At a shilling per gallon, this alone would produce two hundred thousand pounds. That commodity would well bear this rate of duty, and even if it did tend to reduce the consumption of it, that would also be equally favorable to agriculture, to the economy, to the morals and to the health of the society. There is probably nothing else that is the subject of such national extravagance as liquor.
What will be the result if we can’t use any resource in question to its full extent? A nation cannot long exist without revenue. Without this essential support, it would have to resign its independence and sink into the humiliated condition of a province. This is an extreme situation into which no government would enter into by choice. Therefore, revenue absolutely must be accumulated. In this country, if the principle part of the revenue does not come from commerce, it must fall with oppressive weight upon land. It has already been implied that collective excise taxes combined with a lack of support by the people render them an ineffective mode of taxation. It has also been suggested that in the States where almost the sole means of employment is agriculture, there are not enough objects for taxation to allow that system to provide sufficient revenues. It has been remarked that personal property is difficult to trace and the only way to really effectively use that as a tax base has been through the use of a consumption tax. In the more populated cities there is a lot of speculation that the collection of revenues could be used to oppress the people without being of much benefit to the State, while those outside of the cities would more easily avoid the eye and hand of the tax collector. The requirements of the State must necessarily be supplied from some source or another, and if other sources are ignored for this purpose, then the major weight of the tax burden will fall upon the landowners. And since the demands of government can never be met, unless all sources of revenue are subject to those demands, the finances of the community, with much embarrassment, would be contrary to its respectability or it security. Thus we wouldn’t even have the consolation of a full treasury to make up for the oppression of that valuable class of citizens who are employed in the cultivation of the soil. But public and private distress will keep pace with each other in gloomy partnership and will stay united in deploring the infatuation of those whose advice led to disunion.
PUBLIUS [Hamilton]

*Jacques Necker (1732-1804). Director-General of Finances in France 1776-81 and 1788-90. (Footnote: The Federalist Papers, Edited by Isaac Kramnick.
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 XII
THE UTILITY OF THE UNION IN RESPECT
TO REVENUE

The effects of the Union on the commercial prosperity of the States have been adequately described. The subject to be considered here concerns the tendency of the Union to promote the growth of revenue.

The promotion and growth of commerce has been accepted by all knowledgeable statesmen to be the most useful and productive way of contributing to national wealth. This subject therefore has become a primary political issue amongst these statesmen. By increasing the means of success, by encouraging the discovery and trade of precious metals, those darling objects of human greed and business, serves to enliven and energize the channels of industry and to make them flow with greater activity and abundance. The busy merchant, the labored farmer, the active mechanic, and the hardworking manufacturer – all types of men are looking forward with eager expectation and growing cheerfulness to this pleasing reward of their labor. The conflict between agriculture and commerce has from real experience come to a conclusion that has stopped the rivalry that once existed between them and has proved to everyone’s satisfaction that their interests are closely blended and interwoven. We have seen in other countries that the value of land increases in proportion to the growth of commerce. How could it have otherwise happened? That which encourages a freer market for harvesting the goods of the earth; which produces new reasons to cultivate the land; which is the great means of producing wealth in a state – in short, the faithful servants of labor and industry enhance the value of land which is the fruitful parent of by far the greatest resources upon which wealth is created? It is amazing that such a simple truth should have ever been thought to have detractors, and it proves how the ill-informed and jealous, or those too preoccupied or proud, will lead men astray from these plainest paths of reason and conviction.

The ability of a country to pay taxes must always be proportionate in great part to the quantity of money that is in circulation and the speed at which it circulates. Because it contributes to both of these aims, commerce must necessarily make the payment of taxes easier and help the required supplies get to the treasury. The lands that were inherited by the Emperor of Germany contain a great expanse of fertile, cultivated and well-populated lands, much of which lies in mild and lush climates. You can find in some of this territory the best gold and silver mines in Europe. But because commerce there has not been encouraged, that monarch can boast of only slender revenues. He has been required to owe obligations to the financial support of other nations for the preservation of his necessary interests, and is unable, relying on his own resources, to sustain a long or continued war.

But it is not on this subject alone that the Union will be seen to contribute to the expectation of revenue. There are other points of view on which the influence of revenue will appear more immediate and decisive. It is clear from the state of the country, from the habits of its people, and from the experiences we have had that it will not be practical to raise any major amount of revenue by direct taxation. Tax laws have been ineffectively multiplied, and new methods of collection have been tried and have failed. Public expectations regarding the raising of revenue have not been met, and the State treasuries remain empty. The popular system of administration that comes with popular government, coupled with the real scarcity of money that comes with a lazy and mangled state of trade, has before now thwarted any experiment for broad revenue collections. The different State legislatures have learned therefore the folly of trying to attempt trying to do so.

No one who is aware of what happens in other countries will be surprised by this. In such a wealthy country as Great Britain, where direct taxes from those of superior wealth is more practical than it is in America, and where the vigor of the British government makes that sort of collection also more practical, still the greater part of the national revenue comes from indirect taxes, like tariffs and excises. A large portion of these taxes come from duties on imported goods.

It is evident in America we must for some time chiefly depend upon such duties for revenue. Most excises must necessarily be confined within a narrow definition. The genius of the people will not allow them to tolerate the intrusive and intolerant nature of excise laws. On the other hand, the pockets of the farmers will reluctantly yield only meager supplies in the unwelcome intrusion on their houses and lands. And personal property is too uncertain and its value too difficult to ascertain for the government to be able to gain revenue from other than by virtue of a tax on consumption.

For these remarks to have any clout, then the things that most enable us to improve and extend so valuable a resource as revenue should be adapted to the best advantage of our political welfare. And no one could seriously doubt that the best way is to maintain the general Union. As the Union would be conducive to commerce, so it would also encourage the growth of revenue to be drawn from commerce. This is so as long as the regulations for collecting duties is simple and serviceable; so far is it must serve to make equal rates of duties more productive; and so long as the power of government to increase rates is without prejudice to trade.

There are many circumstances that would encourage illicit trade between the separate States and insure that they frequently avoid the commercial regulations imposed by the others. These include: the different situations of these States; the number of rivers which connect them and the bays that wash their shores; the ease of communication in all directions; the compatibility of language and manners; and the familiar habits of commerce. The separate States or confederacies would be required by mutual jealousies to avoid trade that carried with it unfriendly duties. For a long time to come, the climate of interaction of our governments would not allow the same precise precautions by which the European countries, by land and water, guard the avenues of commerce into their respective countries. Even when these kinds of precautions are taken, it still is not enough to prevent the creative endeavors of greed.

In France there is an army of patrols constantly employed to enforce the financial regulations against those the dealers of contraband who seek to weaken them. Mr. Necker* computes the number of these patrols at upwards of twenty thousand. This just proves how enormously difficult it is to prevent that kind of traffic where there are internal prejudices. It also clearly shows, if the Union is rejected and we are thrust into a situation similar to France with respect to trade with her neighbors, the difficulties we would experience in collecting these duties. The arbitrary and tormenting powers with which the patrols would have to be armed would be intolerable in a free country.

On the other hand, if there is but one government connecting all the States, there would be as major part of our commerce, only one side to our commerce – the Atlantic Coast. Ships coming directly from foreign countries, laden with valuable cargoes, would rarely choose to subject themselves to hazardous perils which would result from any attempt to unload their cargo prior to coming into port. They would have to worry about both the dangers of landing outside of a port and also of detection, both before and after they arrive at their official destination. A regular degree of vigilance would be enough to prevent any major breaches upon the laws of revenue. A few armed vessels carefully stationed at the entrances to our ports could enforce the law with little expense. And since the government would have the same interest to prevent violations everywhere, the consistency of its operations in each of the States would make these measures more effective. Here we should therefore also preserve the advantage which nature extends to us and which would be lost if we remain separate. The United States is a great distance away from Europe and a considerable distance away from all other countries with which we might engage in trade. We don’t enjoy passages of a few hours or of overnight like they do in moving between, for example, France and Britain. So there is plenty of security against contraband trade from foreign nations, but such a trade in contraband between one State and another would be both easy and safe. Any discerning man surely can see that there is a great difference between direct importation from abroad and an indirect importation, with the aid of inland communication, through the channel of a neighboring State.

It is therefore clear that one national government would be able, at much less expense, to more effectively regulate duties on imports than would the separate States or confederacies. I think it’s safe to say that on average these duties have not in any State exceeded three percent. In France they are estimated to be about fifteen percent, and in Britain the proportion is even greater. There seems to be nothing in this country to prevent their being raised to at least three times their present amount. Under federal regulation, the single commodity of liquor might be made to furnish considerable revenue. Calculated upon a ratio to the importation into this State, the entire quantity imported into the United States, on the low end could be estimated to be four million gallons. At a shilling per gallon, this alone would produce two hundred thousand pounds. That commodity would well bear this rate of duty, and even if it did tend to reduce the consumption of it, that would also be equally favorable to agriculture, to the economy, to the morals and to the health of the society. There is probably nothing else that is the subject of such national extravagance as liquor.

What will be the result if we can’t use any resource in question to its full extent? A nation cannot long exist without revenue. Without this essential support, it would have to resign its independence and sink into the humiliated condition of a province. This is an extreme situation into which no government would enter into by choice. Therefore, revenue absolutely must be accumulated. In this country, if the principle part of the revenue does not come from commerce, it must fall with oppressive weight upon land. It has already been implied that collective excise taxes combined with a lack of support by the people render them an ineffective mode of taxation. It has also been suggested that in the States where almost the sole means of employment is agriculture, there are not enough objects for taxation to allow that system to provide sufficient revenues. It has been remarked that personal property is difficult to trace and the only way to really effectively use that as a tax base has been through the use of a consumption tax. In the more populated cities there is a lot of speculation that the collection of revenues could be used to oppress the people without being of much benefit to the State, while those outside of the cities would more easily avoid the eye and hand of the tax collector. The requirements of the State must necessarily be supplied from some source or another, and if other sources are ignored for this purpose, then the major weight of the tax burden will fall upon the landowners. And since the demands of government can never be met, unless all sources of revenue are subject to those demands, the finances of the community, with much embarrassment, would be contrary to its respectability or it security. Thus we wouldn’t even have the consolation of a full treasury to make up for the oppression of that valuable class of citizens who are employed in the cultivation of the soil. But public and private distress will keep pace with each other in gloomy partnership and will stay united in deploring the infatuation of those whose advice led to disunion.
PUBLIUS [Hamilton]

*Jacques Necker (1732-1804). Director-General of Finances in France 1776-81 and 1788-90. (Footnote: The Federalist Papers, Edited by Isaac Kramnick.
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 XIII
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED
WITH A VIEW TO ECONOMY

Since we have been discussing revenue, then it makes sense to also discuss the subject of economy. The money saved from one endeavor can be used for another, and that means less that must be taken from the pockets of the people. If the States are united under one government, then there will be only one government treasury to support. If the States are divided into several confederacies, there will be as many national treasuries as there are States, and each will have to support the principle departments equally to that which would be necessary for a united government. The separation of the States into thirteen unconnected sovereignties is a plan too costly and too full of danger to have many supporters. Those who do support the idea of breaking up America seem generally to favor a model with three confederacies – one consisting of the four Northern States, one consisting of the four Middle States, and the third consisting of the five Southern States. It unlikely for the time being that there would be a greater number of states. According to this plan, each confederate territory would comprise a larger territory than that of Great Britain. No well-informed man could seriously believe that the affairs of such a confederacy could be managed effectively without a government that is as comprehensive as the national government hereby proposed by this convention. Once a State gets large enough, the government needed to be effective would be the same as is needed for a much larger state. This is of course an inexact science, since we don’t have any means by which to measure the amount of power necessary to govern any given number of individuals. Consider that Great Britain, which is comparable to what each of the individual confederacies would be, is populated by around eight million people. When we consider the amount of authority that is required to keep order of such a large society, then we should have no doubt that a similar amount of authority would be required for a society which a far greater population. If civil powers are properly organized and exercised, they can be expanded as necessary, and can be used in every part of a great empire by the wise delegation of that power to subordinate agencies throughout.

The argument therefore is that each confederacy into which the States would most likely be divided would require a government as comprehensive as that of a national government. This argument is strengthened by another idea that is more certain than the idea of having three confederacies as an alternative to a general Union. If we think carefully about the geographical and commercial considerations related to our discussion, especially in the context of the habits and biases of the different States, we would have to conclude that the States, in the event of separation, will ultimately align themselves under two governments. Because of the natural causes that form the links of national sympathies and connections, we can expect that the four Eastern States will unite. Located where she is, New York would never be unwise enough to oppose adding a weak and unsupported territory to the weight of that confederacy. There are other obvious reasons which would encourage the joining of New York to that confederacy. New Jersey is too small a State to entertain the thought of remaining only a frontier in the face of the strength of an adjacent confederacy, and there appears to be no impediments to her joining that confederacy. Even Pennsylvania would have very good reasons to be lured into joining the Northern league. Because Pennsylvania enjoys an active commerce based in navigation, her policy is to engage in foreign commerce and this policy is supported by her citizens. The more Southern States however might not be as interested in the pursuits of navigation. They may prefer a system which gives unlimited ability to all nations to be the carriers as well as purchasers of their products. Pennsylvania may choose not to complicate her interests via a connection that is contrary to her interests. Since she must always be exposed to some frontier, she may find it a better idea to have that frontier located towards the weaker power of the Southern Confederacy, rather than the stronger power of the Northern Confederacy. This would give her the better chance of avoiding being the Flanders of American.* No matter what Pennsylvania plans to do, if the Northern Confederacy includes New Jersey, there is no likelihood of more than one confederacy to the south of that State.

Nothing can be clearer than the fact that the thirteen States will be able to support a national government better than one half, or one third, or any number less than the whole. This realization must be given great weight in countering any objection to the proposed plan [of one union], which is founded on the principle of expense. Any objection that we study closely will be seen in every way to be flawed.
If, in addition to the consideration of the great number of individual civil requirements, we understand the number of persons who would have to be employed to guard against coordination between the difference confederacies to guard against illicit trade (which will inevitably spring up due to the necessity of protecting revenue); and, if we also consider the military establishments which it has been shown will inevitably result from the jealousies and conflicts of the several nations into which the States would be divided, we shall clearly see that a union will be less damaging to the interests of creating wealth, and the peace, commerce, revenue and liberty of every part.

Publius [Hamilton]


*This reference pertains to the fact that the European territory of Flanders has changed hands and has been beholden to many claims over its history; most recently, the area was the subject of a “tug-of-war” between Belgium, the Netherlands, and France.
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 XIV
AN OBJECTION DRAWN FROM THE EXTENT
OF COUNTRY ANSWERED

We have seen how the Union is necessary to protect against foreign danger, and would work to preserve peace amongst ourselves, and would be the guardian of our commerce and other common interests. This type of military would be necessary only as a substitute for the past military establishments that have undermined the liberties of the old world, and as the proper cure for the problems of faction (separation and self-interest), which we have seen hints of in our popular government, and which have proved fatal to other popular governments. Now all we have to do regarding this issue is to consider an objection that might come from greater part of the country which the Union includes. We need to consider this objection because it appears that those who are opposed to the new Constitution are taking advantage of a dominant prejudice with regard to the practical sphere of republican administration, apparently because they need to invent imaginary problems since they can’t find any solid objections.


In the preceding papers, we have dealt with the problems associated with a republican government that limits this type of government to a narrow community. I say this here because it seems that this happens because there is a misunderstanding as to the difference between a democracy and a republic. We need to apply to a democracy some of the reasoning drawn from the republic. The true difference between these two was alluded to earlier. In a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic they assemble and administer the government through representatives and agents. A democracy therefore must be confined to a small spot, while a republic can be extended over a large region.

To this misunderstanding we might add the ruse of certain known authors whose writings have had a lot to do with forming the modern standard of political opinions. Being the subjects of either an absolute or limited monarchy, these writers try to strengthen the advantages of or downplay the evils of those forms of government. They do this by comparing them with the vices and defects of the republican form of government and then they use as examples the turbulent democracies of ancient Greece and modern Italy. Because of confusion over the names of these types of government, it has been easy transfer the characteristics of a republic to a democracy, and this carries with it the observation that it can never be established except among a small number of people living with a small area.

This untruth might not have been understood since most of the popular governments in history were of the democratic kind. Even in modern Europe, to which we owe the great idea of representation, there is no example of a government completely popular and founded completely on that principle [of representation]. While Europe might be able to claim to have discovered the means by which the will of the whole can be concentrated into the ends which the public good requires, America gets to claim the merit of discovering the basis of unmixed and extensive republics. Now we only need lament that any of her citizens should wish to deprive America of the additional merit of displaying how efficient this can be when enacted into a comprehensive system like that now under consideration.

The natural limit of a democracy has to do with that distance from the central point which just barely permits those citizens most remote from that central point to assemble as much as their public functions demand, and which therefore limits the number of participants to those who can actually join in those functions. The natural limit of a republic is that distance from the center which will barely allow the representatives of the people to meet as often as is necessary to carry out public affairs. Do the limits of the United States exceed this distance? Remember that the Atlantic coast is the longest side of the Union, and during the thirteen years that representatives of the States have been almost continually meeting and the members from the most distant States are not allowed a greater number of absences than are those that are located more closely to Congress.

As favorable as this view is on the subject, there are still some observations that will make things even more satisfactory.

First of all, we should remember that the general government should not be given all of the power of making and administering laws. The jurisdiction of the general government is limited to certain enumerated issues, which concern all of the members of the republic and which can’t be dealt with separately by those members. The subordinate governments [of the States] can extend their care to these other issues which can be dealt with separately and the State governments will therefore keep their due authority and activity. If the convention proposed to abolish the State governments, then opponents of the constitutional proposals would have some reason to object to those proposals, although it would be easy to show that, if the State governments were abolished by the general government, then the general government would be required, in the interest of self-preservation, to reinstate the lesser governments to their proper jurisdiction.
A second observation is that the immediate goal of the federal Constitution is to secure the union of the thirteen primitive States, which we know to be practical, and to add to them such other States as may arise in their territory or in their neighborhoods, which is equally practical. The arrangements necessary for organizing the areas of territory which lay to our north-western frontier must be left to further discoveries and for people with the experience to enable them to deal with that issue effectively.

Let it be said, in the third place, that the connections throughout the Union will be made more efficient and effective by new improvements. Roads can be shortened and well-maintained; accommodations for travelers will be multiplied and improved; and an interior navigation on our eastern side will be opened throughout, or nearly throughout, the entire extent of the thirteen States. Communications between the Western and Atlantic districts, and the different parts of each, will become easier because of the numerous canals with which the generosity of nature has intersected our country, and which ingenuity finds simple to connect and complete.
A fourth and still more important consideration is that almost every State will on one side or the other be bordered by frontier and therefore will find it necessary to make some provision for the sake of general protection. The States which lie the greatest distance from the heart of the Union (and therefore may enjoy less of the ordinary circulation of its resources in the Union) will at the same time be immediately adjacent to foreign nations and therefore will sometimes be in the greatest need of its strength and resources. For example, it may be inconvenient for Georgia, or the States forming our western or northern borders, to send their representatives to the seat of government. But they will find it even more inconvenient to struggle alone against an invading enemy or even to manage alone the entire expense of the precautions necessary to living those living in a dangerous neighborhood. If they should lose some benefits from the Union in some respects, the more distant States will still gain greater benefits in other respects. Thus, a proper equilibrium will be maintained throughout.

So I submit to you, my fellow citizens, these considerations, fully confident that the good sense that has prevailed in your decision-making will allow these considerations their due weight and respect. I hope that you will not be tempted to allow yourself to be guided into the dangerous and gloomy scene into which proponents of disunion wish to conduct you, no matter how appealing or acceptable the error upon which their arguments are based might seem. Don’t be tempted to listen to the unnatural voice which tries to convince you that the people of America, closely knit together as they are by so many cords of affection, cannot now live together as members of the same family, or can no longer continue as mutual guardians of their mutual happiness, or can no longer be fellow-citizens of one great, respectable and flourishing empire. Follow not the voice that sullenly tells you that the form of government offered for your adoption is a novelty in the political world, that it never had a place in the theories of the wildest planners, or that it rashly attempts that which is impossible to accomplish. No, my countrymen shut your ears against this unholy language. Shut your hearts against the poison it conveys. The kindred blood which flows in the veins of American citizens, the mingled blood which they have shed in defense of their sacred rights, consecrates their Union and incites horror at the idea of them becoming aliens, rivals, enemies. And we are to reject odd notions, believe me, the most alarming of all odd ideas, the most wild of all suggestions, the most rash of all attempts, is that of tearing us into pieces in order to preserve our liberties and promote our happiness. Why is the experiment of an extended republic to be rejected simply because it is something new? Is it not to the credit of the American people that, while they understand history and the situation of other nations, they are do not blindly follow the past, or custom, or labels, to the extent that it overrules their own good sense, the understanding of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience? To this hardy spirit posterity will be indebted for the practice, and the world for the example, of the numerous advancements in favor of private rights and public happiness demonstrated by America. Had it not been for the important steps undertaken by the leaders of the Revolution, the likes of which had never happened before, and with no previous governments serving as a model, the people of the United States might have been numbered among the unhappy victims of misguided advice who would still labor under the same kinds of governments which have in the past crushed the liberties of mankind. Happily for American, and happily we trust for the whole human race, they pursued a new and nobel course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the records of human history. They created the fabrics of governments which have no model on the face of the globe. They formed the design of the great Confederacy, and the responsibility is on their successors to improve and perpetuate this model. If there are found to be imperfections in their works, we are amazed at how few there are. If they erred most in the structure of the Union, this was very difficult work to be executed; this is the work which has been modeled by the act of your convention, and it is that act which you are not to deliberate and decide.

PUBLIUS [Madison]
NUMBER XIV
AN OBJECTION DRAWN FROM THE EXTENT
OF COUNTRY ANSWERED

We have seen how the Union is necessary to protect against foreign danger, and would work to preserve peace amongst ourselves, and would be the guardian of our commerce and other common interests. This type of military would be necessary only as a substitute for the past military establishments that have undermined the liberties of the old world, and as the proper cure for the problems of faction (separation and self-interest), which we have seen hints of in our popular government, and which have proved fatal to other popular governments. Now all we have to do regarding this issue is to consider an objection that might come from greater part of the country which the Union includes. We need to consider this objection because it appears that those who are opposed to the new Constitution are taking advantage of a dominant prejudice with regard to the practical sphere of republican administration, apparently because they need to invent imaginary problems since they can’t find any solid objections.

In the preceding papers, we have dealt with the problems associated with a republican government that limits this type of government to a narrow community. I say this here because it seems that this happens because there is a misunderstanding as to the difference between a democracy and a republic. We need to apply to a democracy some of the reasoning drawn from the republic. The true difference between these two was alluded to earlier. In a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic they assemble and administer the government through representatives and agents. A democracy therefore must be confined to a small spot, while a republic can be extended over a large region.

To this misunderstanding we might add the ruse of certain known authors whose writings have had a lot to do with forming the modern standard of political opinions. Being the subjects of either an absolute or limited monarchy, these writers try to strengthen the advantages of or downplay the evils of those forms of government. They do this by comparing them with the vices and defects of the republican form of government and then they use as examples the turbulent democracies of ancient Greece and modern Italy. Because of confusion over the names of these types of government, it has been easy transfer the characteristics of a republic to a democracy, and this carries with it the observation that it can never be established except among a small number of people living with a small area.

This untruth might not have been understood since most of the popular governments in history were of the democratic kind. Even in modern Europe, to which we owe the great idea of representation, there is no example of a government completely popular and founded completely on that principle [of representation]. While Europe might be able to claim to have discovered the means by which the will of the whole can be concentrated into the ends which the public good requires, America gets to claim the merit of discovering the basis of unmixed and extensive republics. Now we only need lament that any of her citizens should wish to deprive America of the additional merit of displaying how efficient this can be when enacted into a comprehensive system like that now under consideration.

The natural limit of a democracy has to do with that distance from the central point which just barely permits those citizens most remote from that central point to assemble as much as their public functions demand, and which therefore limits the number of participants to those who can actually join in those functions. The natural limit of a republic is that distance from the center which will barely allow the representatives of the people to meet as often as is necessary to carry out public affairs. Do the limits of the United States exceed this distance? Remember that the Atlantic coast is the longest side of the Union, and during the thirteen years that representatives of the States have been almost continually meeting and the members from the most distant States are not allowed a greater number of absences than are those that are located more closely to Congress.

As favorable as this view is on the subject, there are still some observations that will make things even more satisfactory.

First of all, we should remember that the general government should not be given all of the power of making and administering laws. The jurisdiction of the general government is limited to certain enumerated issues, which concern all of the members of the republic and which can’t be dealt with separately by those members. The subordinate governments [of the States] can extend their care to these other issues which can be dealt with separately and the State governments will therefore keep their due authority and activity. If the convention proposed to abolish the State governments, then opponents of the constitutional proposals would have some reason to object to those proposals, although it would be easy to show that, if the State governments were abolished by the general government, then the general government would be required, in the interest of self-preservation, to reinstate the lesser governments to their proper jurisdiction.

A second observation is that the immediate goal of the federal Constitution is to secure the union of the thirteen primitive States, which we know to be practical, and to add to them such other States as may arise in their territory or in their neighborhoods, which is equally practical. The arrangements necessary for organizing the areas of territory which lay to our north-western frontier must be left to further discoveries and for people with the experience to enable them to deal with that issue effectively.

Let it be said, in the third place, that the connections throughout the Union will be made more efficient and effective by new improvements. Roads can be shortened and well-maintained; accommodations for travelers will be multiplied and improved; and an interior navigation on our eastern side will be opened throughout, or nearly throughout, the entire extent of the thirteen States. Communications between the Western and Atlantic districts, and the different parts of each, will become easier because of the numerous canals with which the generosity of nature has intersected our country, and which ingenuity finds simple to connect and complete.

A fourth and still more important consideration is that almost every State will on one side or the other be bordered by frontier and therefore will find it necessary to make some provision for the sake of general protection. The States which lie the greatest distance from the heart of the Union (and therefore may enjoy less of the ordinary circulation of its resources in the Union) will at the same time be immediately adjacent to foreign nations and therefore will sometimes be in the greatest need of its strength and resources. For example, it may be inconvenient for Georgia, or the States forming our western or northern borders, to send their representatives to the seat of government. But they will find it even more inconvenient to struggle alone against an invading enemy or even to manage alone the entire expense of the precautions necessary to living those living in a dangerous neighborhood. If they should lose some benefits from the Union in some respects, the more distant States will still gain greater benefits in other respects. Thus, a proper equilibrium will be maintained throughout.

So I submit to you, my fellow citizens, these considerations, fully confident that the good sense that has prevailed in your decision-making will allow these considerations their due weight and respect. I hope that you will not be tempted to allow yourself to be guided into the dangerous and gloomy scene into which proponents of disunion wish to conduct you, no matter how appealing or acceptable the error upon which their arguments are based might seem. Don’t be tempted to listen to the unnatural voice which tries to convince you that the people of America, closely knit together as they are by so many cords of affection, cannot now live together as members of the same family, or can no longer continue as mutual guardians of their mutual happiness, or can no longer be fellow-citizens of one great, respectable and flourishing empire. Follow not the voice that sullenly tells you that the form of government offered for your adoption is a novelty in the political world, that it never had a place in the theories of the wildest planners, or that it rashly attempts that which is impossible to accomplish. No, my countrymen shut your ears against this unholy language. Shut your hearts against the poison it conveys. The kindred blood which flows in the veins of American citizens, the mingled blood which they have shed in defense of their sacred rights, consecrates their Union and incites horror at the idea of them becoming aliens, rivals, enemies. And we are to reject odd notions, believe me, the most alarming of all odd ideas, the most wild of all suggestions, the most rash of all attempts, is that of tearing us into pieces in order to preserve our liberties and promote our happiness. Why is the experiment of an extended republic to be rejected simply because it is something new? Is it not to the credit of the American people that, while they understand history and the situation of other nations, they are do not blindly follow the past, or custom, or labels, to the extent that it overrules their own good sense, the understanding of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience? To this hardy spirit posterity will be indebted for the practice, and the world for the example, of the numerous advancements in favor of private rights and public happiness demonstrated by America. Had it not been for the important steps undertaken by the leaders of the Revolution, the likes of which had never happened before, and with no previous governments serving as a model, the people of the United States might have been numbered among the unhappy victims of misguided advice who would still labor under the same kinds of governments which have in the past crushed the liberties of mankind. Happily for American, and happily we trust for the whole human race, they pursued a new and nobel course. They accomplished a revolution which has no parallel in the records of human history. They created the fabrics of governments which have no model on the face of the globe. They formed the design of the great Confederacy, and the responsibility is on their successors to improve and perpetuate this model. If there are found to be imperfections in their works, we are amazed at how few there are. If they erred most in the structure of the Union, this was very difficult work to be executed; this is the work which has been modeled by the act of your convention, and it is that act which you are not to deliberate and decide.

PUBLIUS [Madison]

RSS

About

Old Rooster created this Ning Network.

This effort is focused on sacrifice to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Fox News

Tech Notes

Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11



HOW TO JOIN YOUR STATE GROUP

1. Click on State Groups tab at the top of the page.
2. Find your State Flag
3. Click on Flag.
4. Look for link to join Your State Group near the top of the State Groups page.
5. Click on it.

Follow the Prompts


How to post "live" URL in posts at PFA............. Adding URLs in blog posts that are not "live" is a waste of everyone's time.....
Here's how....if anyone has better guidance send to me.....
First........type your text entry into the post block to include typing or paste the URL you want us to view........when finished with the text, highlight and copy the URL in the text.......then click the "add hyperlink" tool in the B, I, U box just above the text entry, after clicking, a window will open asking for the URL...paste the URL in the box and click "OK". You have now made the URL "live"...........it shows some code before the post is published, it goes away when you "publish post".......

Events

© 2019   Created by Old Rooster.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service