Federalist Paper Fridays

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"Federalist Paper Friday" is a social media initiative to take our members on a yearlong journey through all 51 federalist essays written by Hamilton. Make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get the newest content. The summaries, quotes, and fun facts will all be placed here for reference:

 

Numbers 1-16   

Numbers 17-29 (Coming Soon - Check Back Over The Year) 

Numbers 30-61 (Coming Soon - Check Back Over The Year) 

Numbers 65-74 (Coming Soon - Check Back Over The Year)  

Numbers 75-85 (Coming Soon - Check Back Over The Year) 

Federalist Papers

  

Federalist No. 1: General Introduction

In this essay, Hamilton declares his full support for the Union and adopting the Constitution.

"Decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force."

Fun Fact: Why did Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay use the pseudonym "Publius" when writing the Federalist essays? It was after Publius Valerius, one of the founders of the Roman Republic!


Federalist No. 6: Concerning Dangers From Dissensions Between the States

Hamilton cites historical examples from ancient Rome to Shay’s Rebellion proving why the states could not be separate without it ending in war.

“To look for a continuation of harmony between a number of independent, unconnected sovereignties situated in the same neighborhood would be to disregard the uniform course of human events, and to set at defiance the accumulated experience of ages.”

Fun Fact: Hamilton approached Gouveneur Morris to help write some of the essays, but he declined the offer.


Federalist No. 7: Continues "Concerning Dangers From Dissensions Between States"

Hamilton says without a union to act as umpire, territorial disputes, commercial competition, problems regarding the public debt, and laws contrary to private contracts will lead the separated states to war.

“For it is an observation, as true as it is trite, that there is nothing men differ so readily about as the payment of money.” - No. 7 proving why individual states could not handle public debt unless they are united.

“Divide et impera (Divide and command) must be the motto of every nation that either hates or fears us.” 

 

Federalist No. 8: “The Consequences of Hostilities Between The States”

Hamilton warns that larger states will continuously invade smaller ones if they are not united under a common constitution and that constant war between states will breed a militaristic culture that impedes civil liberties. Citizens, out of fear from endless battles, would become subservient to the military and less free.

“If we should be disunited…our liberties would be a prey to the means of defending ourselves against the ambition & jealousy of each other.”

Fun Fact: John Jay only wrote five of the Federalist essays because he fell seriously ill after writing four, recovered, published the fifth, and then was hit by a brick in a New York street riot.


Federalist No. 9: “The Union As A Safeguard Against Domestic Faction And Insurrection”

In this essay, Hamilton uses logic to refute a common Anti-Federalist argument. They cite philosopher Montesquieu who said, “it is natural to a republic to have only a small territory, otherwise it cannot long subsist." Hamilton points out that the states are already big and extends this concept to the extreme saying each state, then city can be broken up infinitely to ever smaller, warring territories - reductio ad absurdum.

Hamilton shows that large republics have historically not lasted because of centralized government over too large a territory. Hamilton’s (and Montesquieu’s) answer to this problem is a confederacy – where the federal government works with state and local governments. That way our new country learns from the historical errors of the ancients, while getting all the benefits and protections of a union. 

“If we therefore take [Montesquieu’s] ideas on this point as the criterion of truth, we shall be driven to the alternative either of taking refuge at once in the arms of monarchy, or of splitting ourselves into an infinity of little, jealous, clashing, tumultuous commonwealths.”


Federalist No. 11 “The Utility of the Union in Respect to Commercial Relations and a Navy”

Hamilton declares that America's spirit is inclined towards "active commerce" and warns that individual states would be relegated to a "passive commerce." By uniting, the country could set prohibitory regulations and be in a better position to negotiate/control trade as well as diversify their commerce to maximize value. Hamilton also advocates for the creation of a federal Navy, both to curb Europe's power and to increase state's commerce with each other.

 "A unity of commercial, as well as political, interests, can only result from a unity of government."


Federalist No. 12 “The Utility of the Union in Respect to Revenue”

Hamilton argues that a government needs revenue in order to survive, and the best way to collect it would be as a Union. The government could not rely on direct taxation and thus had to depend on indirect taxation (duties on imports and exports.) Individual states would spend a fortune patrolling the collection of these duties, whereas a Union could manage and collect them more efficiently.

He also states that there is no rivalry between commerce and agriculture, and "it is astonishing that so simple a truth should ever have had an adversary." When commerce succeeds, the value of land also increases.

 “A nation cannot long exist without revenue. Destitute of this essential support, it must resign its independence and sink into the degraded condition of a province.”


Federalist No. 13 “The Advantage of the Union in Respect to Economy in Government”

In this short essay, Hamilton highlights a major benefit of the proposed union: funding only one federal government as opposed to several individual governments means less overhead costs! One “civic list” of employees and one military is much more economically efficient.

“Nothing can be more evident than 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.”


2011 Federalist Paper Fridays. (c) 2016 The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society
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