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Unformatted text preview: Publius, The Federalist Federalist #1 (Hamilton) • Begins by demanding serious reflection on and consideration of the Constitution, and by reminding the audience that the old system was flawed and untenable (1). • The experimental frame goes beyond America and has global implications and consequences: “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 this remark, the crisis, at which we are arrived, may with propriety be regarded as the area 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,” (1). It is America that is the test case that will determine whether men can set up a rational government by themselves, and if America fails, the consequences will thus impact all humanity. • Hamilton hopes that the decision on ratification will be unbiased, separate from “considerations not connected to the public good” and guided only by the “true interests” of the community (1). • He goes straight into an attack when he asserts that the biggest roadblock to ratification is, “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,” (2). This is both a general attack on the motives of all Anti-Federalists and a specific plea to the people of New York (New York’s governor was a key anti-federalist writer). He completes the attack by noting that where Anti-Federalists have pure motives, they are still mistaken. • If candor is lost, “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 interests 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,” (3). Note his implication that liberty can only be secured by a strong government, and that chaos results from weak governments. This is a central theme of all the articles. • A lesson from history: paying court to the people is the first task of the demagogue. The Federalists thus will not attempt to flatter the people, and will tell them the full truth....
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2012 for the course 790 376 taught by Professor Murphy during the Spring '09 term at Rutgers.
- Spring '09
- The Federalist Papers