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The Federalist Papers: A Discussion

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Notes on the Federalist Papers.

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The solution is an extensive discussion of the Federalist Papers, its original purpose, what it accomplished, what it came to mean and how it affected life and politics in Colonial America.

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Notes on The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers we written to persuade New York to ratify the Constitution. While perhaps not ultimately persuasive, the Federalist serves to explain the necessity of the Constitution - a strong national government - and the rationale for each of the particular institutions.

The arguments of the Federalist Papers proceed in this manner: first by explaining the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation and demonstrating the need for a stronger union and national government, then moving into justify the particular elements of the Constitution and how they contribute to a stronger union and republican government, while maintaining individual liberty and state's dominion.

Need for Stronger Union
Constitution will provide national government, republican government and protection of liberty. Will: restrain factions and powerful individuals, power against foreign intrigue, prevention of war between states, no titles of nobility (Hamilton, 85).

Need for a national government in military and foreign affairs: making treaties, dealing with foreign powers and in just causes of war (Jay, no. 3), to discourage war from foreign powers, need for central gov't to administer military (Jay, no.4). Need for a national government in domestic affairs: addressing dissention in states without violence (Hamilton, no. 6), overseeing national commerce and debt (Hamilton, no. 7), dealing with foreign trade and a navy (Hamilton, 11), to gather revenue and effectively manage affairs (Hamilton, 12). Need to have power to tax, (Hamilton, 21), to regulate commerce, to raise armies (Hamilton, 22); common defense, interact with foreign nations (Hamilton, 23).

Need for strong union: suppress factions, internal tranquility, external security (Hamilton, 9). Need a union to break control of factions; majority tyranny is the greatest danger of republican government, with larger government, factions unlikely to control majority, control institutions necessary to implement radical, factious policies (Madison, 10). National government would guard against usurpers (Hamilton, 21). Need national government to put down domestic disturbances, conflict between states (Hamilton, 28)

National government likely to be better administered that states (Hamilton, 27).

Criticism of Articles
The articles of confederation were formed under duress of war, deficient and flawed (Jay, no. 2). Consensus of flaws in articles of confederation - no troups, treasury, or government; cannot have two sovereigns (imperium in imperio) in one nations (Hamilton, 15).

Articles resemble feudal states - national government to weak to preserve public peace (Hamilton, 17). Other confederations fail: Greece - conquered by Macedonia and Rome because not strong enough (Madison, 18); Germany - emperor and princes in constant conflict (Madison, 19); Swiss, Polish, Dutch; when sovereigns rule over sovereigns, rule is by sword, not law (Madison, ...

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