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The Federalist No. 1
Hamilton October 27, 1787
To the People of the State of New York:
After a full experience of the insufficiency of the existing federal government, you are invited to deliberate upon 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, to decide by their conduct and example, 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 period when 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 by adding the inducements of philanthropy to those of patriotism, will heighten the solicitude which all considerate and good men must feel for the event. Happy will it be if our choice should be decided by a judicious estimate of our true interests, uninfluenced and unbiased by considerations foreign to the public good. But this is a thing more ardently to be wished for than seriously to be expected. The plan offered to our deliberations affects too many particular interests, innovates upon too manylocal institutions, not to involve in its discussion a variety of objects extraneous 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 aware that it would be disingenuous to resolve indiscriminately the opposition of any set of men into interested or ambitious views merely because their situations might subject them to suspicion. 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 already shown itself 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 always furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are engaged in any controversy however well persuaded of being in the right. 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 actuated 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 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, just as these sentiments must appear to candid men, 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. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretence and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of violent love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is too apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.
In the course of the preceding observations, it has been my aim, fellow-citizens, to put you upon your guard against all attempts, from whatever quarter, to influence your decision in a matter of the utmost moment to your welfare, by any impressions other than those which may result from the evidence of truth. You will, no doubt, at the same time, have collected from the general scope of them, that they proceed from a source not unfriendly to the new Constitution. Yes, my countrymen, I own to you that, after having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to adopt it. I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness. I affect not reserves which I do not feel. I will not amuse you with an appearance of deliberation when I have decided. I frankly acknowledge to you my convictions, and I will freely lay before you the reasons on which they are founded. The consciousness of good intentions disdains ambiguity. I shall not, however, multiply professions on this head. My motives must remain in the depository of my own breast. My arguments will be open to all, and may be judged of by all. They shall at least be offered in a spirit which will not disgrace the cause of truth.
I propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars:—The utility of the UNION to your political prosperity—The insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union—The necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed, to the attainment of this object—The conformity of the proposed Constitution to the true principles of republican government—Its analogy to your own State constitution—and lastly, The additional security which its adoption will afford to the preservation of that species of government, to liberty, and to property.
In the progress of this discussion I shall endeavor to give a satisfactory answer to all the objections which shall have made their appearance, that may seem to have any claim to attention.
It may perhaps be thought superfluous to offer arguments to prove the utility of the UNION, a point, no doubt, deeply engraved on the hearts of the great body of the people in every State, and one, which it may be imagined, has no adversaries. But the fact is, that we already hear it whispered in the private circles of those who oppose the new Constitution, that the thirteen States are of too great extent for any general system, and that we must of necessity resort to separate confederacies of distinct portions of the whole.* This doctrine will, in all probability, be gradually propagated, till it has votaries enough to countenance its open avowal. For nothing can be more evident, to those who are able to take an enlarged view of the subject, than the alternative of an adoption of the new Constitution or a dismemberment of the Union. It may therefore be essential to examine particularly the advantages of that Union, the certain evils, and the probable dangers, to which every State will be exposed from its dissolution. This shall accordingly be done.
The Federalist No. 2
October 31, 1787
To the People of the State of New York:
When the people of America reflect that they are now called upon to decide a question, which, in its consequences, must prove one of the most important that ever engaged their attention, the propriety of their taking a very comprehensive, as well as a very serious, view of it, will be evident.
Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights, in order to vest it with requisite powers. It is well worthy of consideration therefore, whether it would conduce more to the interest of the people of America that they should, to all general purposes, be one nation, under one federal government, than that they should divide themselves into separate confederacies, and give to the head of each the same kind of powers which they are advised to place in one national government.
It has until lately been a received and uncontradicted opinion, that the prosperity of the people of America depended on their continuing firmly united, and the wishes, prayers, and efforts of our best and wisest citizens have been constantly directed to that object. But politicians now appear, who insist that this opinion is erroneous, and that instead of looking for safety and happiness in union, we ought to seek it in a division of the States into distinct confederacies or sovereignties. However extraordinary this new doctrine may appear, it nevertheless has its advocates; and certain characters who were much opposed to it formerly, are at present of the number. Whatever may be the arguments or inducements which have wrought this change in the sentiments and declarations of these gentlemen, it certainly would not be wise in the people at large to adopt these new political tenets without being fully convinced that they are founded in truth and sound policy.
It has often given me pleasure to observe, that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty. Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities.
Editors ’ Introduction xvii Reader ’s Guide to The Federalist lvii Preface to the Gideon Edition lxxxv The Federalist No.1 Introduction 1
No.2 Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force & Influence 5
No.3 The same Subject continued 9
No.4 The same Subject continued 13
No.5 The same Subject continued 17
No.6 Concerning Dangers from War between the States 20
No.7 The subject continued, and Particular Causes Enumerated 26
No.8 The effects of Internal War in producing Standing Armies, and other institutions unfriendly to liberty 32
No.9 The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard against Domestic Faction and Insurrection 37
No.10 The same Subject continued 42
No.11 The Utility of the Union in respect to Commerce and a Navy 49
No.12 The Utility of the Union in respect to Revenue 55
No.13 The same Subject continued, with a view to Economy 60
No.14 An Objection drawn from the Extent of Country, Answered 62
No.15 Concerning the Defects of the Present Confederation, in Relation to the Principle of Legislation for the States in their Collective Capacities 68
No.16 The same Subject continued, in relation to the same Principles 75
No.17 The Subject continued, and Illustrated by Examples, to show the tendency of Federal Governments, rather to Anarchy among the Members, than Tyranny in the Head 80
No.18 The Subject continued, with further Examples 84
No.19 The Subject continued, with further Examples 90
No.20 The Subject continued, with further Examples 95
No.21 Further defects of the present Constitution 99
No.22 The same subject continued, and concluded 104
No.23 The necessity of a government, at least equally energetic with the one proposed 112
No.24 The subject continued, with an answer to an objection concerning standing armies 117
No.25 The subject continued, with the same view 122
No.26 The subject continued, with the same view 126
No.27 The subject continued, with the same view 132
No.28 The same subject continued 136
No.29 Concerning the militia 140
No.30 Concerning taxation 145
No.31 The same subject continued 150
No.32 The same subject continued 154
No.33 The same subject continued 158
No.34 The same subject continued 162
No.35 The same subject continued 167
No.36 The same subject continued 172
No.37 Concerning the difficulties which the convention must have experienced in the formation of a proper plan 179
No.38 The subject continued, and the incoherence of the objections to the plan, exposed 186
No.39 The conformity of the plan to republican principles: an objection in respect to the powers of the convention, examined 193
No.40 The same objection further examined 199
No.41 General view of the powers proposed to be vested in the union 207
No.42 The same view continued 215
No.43 The same view continued 222
No.44 The same view continued and concluded 230
No.45 A further discussion of the supposed danger from the powers of the union, to the state governments 237
No.46 The subject of the last paper resumed; with an examination of the comparative means of influence of the federal and state governments
No.47 The meaning of the maxim, which requires a separation of the departments of power, examined and ascertained 249
No.48 The same subject continued, with a view to the means of giving efficacy in practice to that maxim 256
No.49 The same subject continued, with the same view 260
No.50 The same subject continued, with the same view 264
No.51 The same subject continued, with the same view, and concluded 267
No.52 Concerning the house of representatives, with a view to the qualifications of the electors and elected, and the time of service of the members 272
No.53 The same subject continued, with a view of the term of service of the members 276
No.54 The same subject continued, with a view to the ratio of representation 282
No.55 The same subject continued, in relation to the total number of the body 286
No.56 The subject continued, in relation to the same point 291
No.57 The same subject continued, in relation to the supposed tendency of the plan of the convention to elevate the few above the many 295
No.58 The same subject continued, in relation to the future augmentation of the members 300
No.59 Concerning the regulation of elections 305
No.60 The same subject continued 310
No.61 The same subject continued, and concluded 315
No.62 Concerning the constitution of the senate, with regard to the qualifications of the members; the manner of appointing them; the equality of representation; the number of the senators, and the duration of their appointments 319
No.63 A further view of the constitution of the senate, in regard to the duration of the appointment of its members 325
No.64 A further view of the constitution of the senate, in regard to the power of making treaties 332
No.65 A further view of the constitution of the senate, in relation to its capacity, as a court for the trial of impeachments 337
No.66 The same subject continued 342
No.67 Concerning the constitution of the president: a gross attempt to misrepresent this part of the plan detected 347
No.68 The view of the constitution of the president continued, in relation to the mode of appointment 351
No.69 The same view continued, with a comparison between the president and the king of Great Britain, on the one hand, and the governor of New York, on the other 355
No.70 The same view continued, in relation to the unity of the executive, and with an examination of the project of an executive council 362
No.71 The same view continued, in regard to the duration of the office 369
No.72 The same view continued, in regard to the re-eligibility of the president 374
No.73 The same view continued, in relation to the provision concerning support, and the power of the negative 379
No.74 The same view continued, in relation to the command of the national forces, and the power of pardoning 384
No.75 The same view continued, in relation to the power of making treaties 387
No.76 The same view continued, in relation to the appointment of the officers of the government 391
No.77 The view of the constitution oft he president concluded, with a further consideration of the power of appointment, and a concise examination of his remaining powers 396
No.78 A view of the constitution of the judicial department in relation to the tenure of good behaviour 401
No.79 A further view of the judicial department, in relation to the provisions for the support and responsibility of the judges 408
No.80 A further view of the judicial department, in relation to the extent of its powers 411
No.81 A further view of the judicial department, in relation to the distribution of its authority 417
No.82 A further view of the judicial department, in reference to some miscellaneous questions 426
No.83 A further view of the judicial department, in relation to the trial by jury 430
No.84 Concerning several miscellaneous objections 442
No.85 Conclusion 452 Glossary 459
1.The Declaration of Independence 495
2.Articles of Confederation 500
3.Virginia Resolution Proposing the Annapolis Convention 510
4.Proceedings of the Annapolis Convention 511
5.Virginia Resolution Providing Delegates to the Federal Convention of 1787 516
6.Call by the Continental Congress for the Federal Convention of 1787 518
7.Resolution of the Federal Convention Submitting the Constitution to the Continental Congress 520
8.Washington ’s Letter of Transmittal to the President of the Continental Congress 522
9.Resolution of the Continental Congress Submitting the Constitution to the Several States 524
10.Letter of the Secretary of the Continental Congress Transmitting Copy of the Constitution to the Several Governors 525
The Constitution of the United States (cross-referenced with The Federalist )and Amendments 526 Index 553
Posted March 2, 2009
Nay, your one stop shopping for the little constructionalist (sp?) in you. Hardcover would've been nice but hey, you can't have everything.
Strong read, intro reads like a collegiate text book (it is, in some cases) but it does a superb introduction in the event you haven't done your research before this book. Book also contains other important documents that have proven themselves to be the cornerstones to our country (best reading the details, its been awhile myself)and can be considered a "two birds with one stone" if you are planning on owning the basic required reading of our nation's past.