The Federalist

The Federalist

3.7 219
by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay
     
 

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HAMILTON

To the People of the State of New York:
AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the
subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on
a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject
speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences
nothing less than the existence of…  See more details below

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HAMILTON

To the People of the State of New York:
AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the
subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on
a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject
speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences
nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare
of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many
respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently
remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this
country, by their conduct and example, to 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. If there be any truth in the
remark, the crisis at which we are arrived may with propriety be
regarded as the era in which that decision is to be made; and a
wrong election of the part we shall act may, in this view, deserve
to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.
This idea will add the inducements of philanthropy to those of
patriotism, to heighten the solicitude which all considerate and
good men must feel for the event. Happy will it be if our choice
should be directed by a judicious estimate of our true interests,
unperplexed and unbiased by considerations not connected with the
public good. But this is a thing more ardently to be wished than
seriously to be expected. The plan offered to our deliberations
affects too many particular interests, innovates upon too many local
institutions, not to involve in its discussion a variety of objects
foreign to its merits, and of views, passions and prejudices little
favorable to the discovery of truth.
Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new
Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the
obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist
all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument,
and consequence of the offices they hold under the State
establishments; and the perverted ambition of another class of men,
who will either hope to aggrandize themselves by the confusions of
their country, or will flatter themselves with fairer prospects of
elevation from the subdivision of the empire into several partial
confederacies than from its union under one government.
It is not, however, my design to dwell upon observations of this
nature. I am well aware that it would be disingenuous to resolve
indiscriminately the opposition of any set of men (merely because
their situations might subject them to suspicion) into interested or
ambitious views. Candor will oblige us to admit that even such men
may be actuated by upright intentions; and it cannot be doubted
that much of the opposition which has made its appearance, or may
hereafter make its appearance, will spring from sources, blameless
at least, if not respectable--the honest errors of minds led astray
by preconceived jealousies and fears. So numerous indeed and so
powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the
judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the
wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first
magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would
furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much
persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy. And a
further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the
reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the
truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists.
Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many
other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as
well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a
question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation,
nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which
has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in
politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making
proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be
cured by persecution.
And yet, however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we
have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as
in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of
angry and malignant passions will be let loose.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012385857
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
04/11/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
480 KB

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