History and Philosophy Essay
History and Philosophy
The Federalist is the greatest contribution ever made on the Constitution of United States. According to Chief Justice John Marshall in the case Cohen’s v. Virginia (1821) ‘The Federalist is a complete commentary on our Constitution. ’ Since 1790 lawyers, politicians, students and even judges have all studied The Federalist to know more about the Constitutional issues. In United States the ideas of The Federalist are at the heart of the civic culture. Work on The federalist papers was started in 1787 and finished in 1788. It was written to contradict the arguments of the Anti-federalist against the ratification of the U.
S Constitution in 1787. This work was originated by Alexander Hamilton who wrote 51 essays of this literature. Another author was James Madison who wrote 26 essays and the remaining were written jointly by the two and by John Jay. Overall, The Federalist comprises of 85 essays written by three authors who wanted to persuade the voters to support them in ratifying the proposed constitution of U. S. In their papers these three people outlined how this new government will operate and what type of government is best for United States. These papers were written and published under the name Publius.
Although Hamilton, Madison and Jay had different and at times conflicting ideas about the government they did agree on some important points like, republicanism, federalism, separation of powers, and free government. According to them Republicanism is based on the ‘consent of the governed’ because power is divided between few people who are elected by the public to be on the top. Federalism is power divided between federal government and state government. They are two different powers at different levels and can make decisions separately and directly.
“State governments can neither ignore nor contradict federal statutes that conform to the supreme law, the Constitution. This conception of federalism departed from traditional forms, known today as confederations, in which states retained full sovereignty over their internal affairs” In The Federalist Paper No. 47 Separation of Powers is mentioned as, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands… may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny”. Free government was another aspect which was agreed by all three authors of The Federalist.
Free government is made up of the remaining three points that have been discussed above, republicanism, federalism, and separation of powers. According to the Federalist, the popular government is the free government, in which, security, property, and liberty of people are guarded by the government. This type of government is so strong that it can protect against the internal and external threats, yet it is sufficiently narrow to prevent tyranny. It can be said that free government was designed in such a manner that it could prevent against the cruelty, of the dictators, to the public.
The Federalist Papers served a dual purpose. Where it outlined the requirement for a strong central government, emphasized the weakness of Articles of Confederation, and portrayed the power of the proposed Constitution, at the same time, the paper alleviated doubts about the new federal government becoming too powerful. The authors argued that that the Confederation government was too weak and the new proposed Constitution will never be too strong. The federalist had two main objectives.
First, was to convince the people of New York to ratify the Constitution and the second objective was to convince the people of all 13 states to endorse the constitution. A major concern for the authors of the Federalist was federal taxation, which is obvious in their assessment of the Articles and Constitution’s justification. “At various points, they expounded on the efficacy and fairness of consumption taxes, specifically customs duties. They insisted, however, that the federal government be granted unlimited taxing powers, including the authority to assess domestic excise taxes.
Debates over “direct” vs. “indirect” taxation received considerable attention, as did the constitutional requirement for tax uniformity” . Nine of the Federalist papers discuss federal taxes and federal revenue topics. Classical Influences in Federalist Papers-Madison James Madison was the fourth President of the United States and was honored with the title of ‘Father of the American Constitution. ’ Madison is the epitome of intellectual forces, which came together in American politics by the end of the eighteenth century.
Bernard Bailyn has hypothesized that the classics in colonial America was ‘illustrative, not determinative of thought. ’ To defy this notion and explain Madison’s ability to perform the role of an architect of a system that successfully integrated political and philosophical views, an assessment of Madison’s life and education will be important. A complex synthesis of classical, modern, philosophical, and rational thought has been revealed by the foundation of the American Republic, as well as, the impact of classical antiquity that was considered thoughtfully.
In this regard, a combined political wisdom of thousands of years of human experience was reflected by the implementation of the abovementioned complex synthesis for the formation of a system of government. Simplistic theories of interpretation have been defied by a degree of reflection and contemplation that completed that republican government, which is accounted as one of the most purposefully design by the history of mankind. In two years, after the completion of his first year’s exams, the degree was finished by the Madison in English, Greek, mathematics, and Latin.
During this time, Reverend John Witherspoon considered Madison as one of his favorite students, and it was an honor as the Reverend was the president of the college. Employing a syllabus that was classical and Christian Witherspoon taught Madison moral philosophies which greatly affected him for the rest of his life. Tangible manifestation in the Federalist Papers was found by the ability of Madison regarding the classical, as well as, modern political philosophy, which was often referred as quasi-Calvinist cognizance. Wherein the plan for a fractured government was described and advocated by Madison.
In addition, any individual person or entity sought precluding of usurpation of the power of governance. This theological system of belief also reveals itself in an existing political philosophy. As per the political thinking of the Calvinist, the grace of God is responsible for all the authority. In this regard, due rights are received by both authority and liberty, when the relation between the citizens and rulers is standardized unbridled authority on the part of rulers lead to despotism, autocracy, and tyranny; unbridled liberty on the part of citizens generates into license, revolution, and anarchy.
License, anarchy, and revolution have been generated by the unbridled liberty on the part of the citizens. Stewards from the God are found in the rulers, as proper constitution is formed in the government according to the principles of Calvinism. For God’s sake, the highest motives are considered for the obeying of the rulers by the citizens. An example for the understanding of development of the political, classical, and philosophical amalgamation for the debates that were performed during the formation of the American Constitution was presented by a strong proponent of the classics, Calvinist, and the Scottish Enlightenment Witherspoon.
The diverse approach of Witherspoon to education provides an important explanation for understanding Madison’s talent of successfully merging classical and modern political theory into a feasible plan for a secure democratic state. In other words, an extensive intellectual focus was maintained by Witherspoon, by which, discordant philosophical, as well as, theological concepts were blended into an educational program effectively and coherently.
When Madison came into politics his instant tasks were clear, first he wanted to put up a proposal for a democratic republican government acceptable to the representative body at the Constitutional Convention, and second, to assure the ratification of the proposed Constitution. From an extensive view point, Madison wanted to produce a classic dissertation on the American system of government, which would enlighten future generations about democratic republicanism. Madison was able to attain both of these goals through one channel and that was The Federalist Papers.
This information helps in understanding how extensive knowledge of the classics was acknowledged by Madison and the other two authors. In Federalist no. 14 Madison presents a question, which can function as a good outline of his approach concerning the issue of the significance of the classics to the American people: It has been the glory of American people, as a blind veneration for antiquity, custom, knowledge, experience’s lessons, and objections of their senses has not been suffered by them, as the opinions of former times, as well as, other nations have been paid with a decent regard by these people.
The Federalist has considered this thinking approach an obvious thing, since ancients have been referenced frequently by Madison, and their strengths and weaknesses have been borne in mind. When Thomas Jefferson sent the published texts of Polybius from France, the issues of the proposed government were considered by Madison, while positive and negative examples were considered and utilized from the ancient sources by him. Therefore Madison opposes the objections of people who mention the example of Ancient Greece as a sign of un-workability of a permanent republic.
He argues that Greece was a democratic system that was often confused with a republic; Madison distinguishes between the two by mentioning that a democracy requires the people to be in assembly in order to carry out the business of the state, whereas a republic requires only the assembly of legislative body to work effectively. Hence he includes both democratic and republican doctrines in his government blueprint. The importance of the classics in the American Republic origin was demonstrated by the evaluation of specific sections comprising of papers of the Federalist, and specifically, the Madison.
In addition, classical antiquity’s major references were also included in these sections as mentioned before, Madison frequently opted for classical tradition method to convey his political message, yet Madison often referred to antiquity as a negative prototype for a political culture. One area in which Montesquieu’s political philosophy complements Madison’s tactic is the issue of religion. After historical bigotry of the religion was criticized, and trade was meddled with it, it was commented by him that when the established religion satisfied the state, the establishment of another religion is not allowed.
In this regard, establishment of any state religion was banned by the framers of the Constitution. Few smart and wise individuals should be communicated with the important political truths for their wise implementation, which was provided by the writings of the political philosopher, as the relationship between the political community and philosophy was considered as volatile. At the same time, harmful truths were concealed from these individuals by these writings as well. This concept was well aware by the student of Montesquieu, Madison.
In the result, the classical and modern political philosophy was concealed by the furthering of his project. In this sense, the role of a crucial link in the chain of thoughts of the Romans and Greeks was played by the Madison, who was served by the Montesquieu. Classics are where Madison’s popular audience was at a majority and this is one fact that he used to his benefit in writing The Federalist Papers. In addition, major references to classical antiquity were contained in six out of eighty-five of the Federalist Papers.
Passing references and explicit references regarding the specific indebtedness with a clear sign were contained in the twenty-three Federalist Papers. If these facts are considered, the link between classical antiquity and the origins of the American Republic appears to ignore a serious question. Mark Diamond states that the most immediate kind of political work was the Federalist, which was a piece of campaign propaganda. In addition, a view to the permanence of its argument was also provided to thoughtful men.
The widest electorate was at once addressed by it, but able and educated men were also considered, by whom, the fate of the Constitution could be determined. Short-term objective was accomplished by the Federalist, in which, public opinion had to be influence with the relation of political system of the United States. Federalist As mentioned before, the people of New York were persuaded by the publishing of the Federalist for the ratification of the Constitution.
It also made an attempt to elucidate different provisions of the Constitution and to enlighten the people by giving reasons, as to why other provisions like bill of rights had been excluded. It was argued by the Publius that an exceptional opportunity of reason and choice had by the Americans for the creation of own type of government. In contrast, earlier constitutions were determined by the chance of force. Publius argued that the Constitution shaped a republican style of government which was effective and sound in nature, but yet was controlled by checks and balances
Advocates of the American Constitution obtained a strategic advantage over those who opposed it by taking up the name Federalist for themselves and by identifying the adversaries Anti-Federalists. Federalists supported state rule and disagreed with a central national government. By holding the title Federalist, Hamilton and other authors got an additional advantage for their position and got around an extreme conflict over the issue of state versus national power. They emerged as advocates of states’ rights and this idea was clearly explained in The Federalist Papers, yet they were also evidently advocating for a strong national government.
The essays were signed “Publius” after Publius Valerius who was the state builder and who rebuild the Roman republic following the removing from power Rome’s last king called Tarquin. Plutarch measured Publius favorably against Solon who was Greece’s law giver. And at that instant a modern Publius would have helped erect the new American republic. By opting for a name like Publius, the authors of the Federalist were following a practice which was common among the eighteenth-century writers. The writers used to publish a combined work under a fictitious name instead of a byline.
If Hamilton, Madison, and Jay had revealed their identity in The Federalist Papers then they would have been known as advocates of specific positions instead of being recognized by their arguments, and also this would have become a part of the argument over the Constitution. Further more; choosing secrecy was also because of the enmity between Hamilton and George Clinton the New York Governor. Interestingly Hamilton was the single New York ambassador who signed the Constitution. On the contrary, Clinton was an Anti-Federalist who was heading a state where people opposing the new Constitution were in majority.
Therefore, opting for Publius was somewhat an effort to shift the discussion away from the personal bitterness between Hamilton and Clinton. As the need of unification has been signified, and the Articles of Confederation had arrears, it was explained by the Publius that a strong republican government was shaped by the Constitution, yet checks and balances controlled it. This type of government, which was strong and had checks, would maintain freedom and assets, and bring back respect for America overseas.
Although an un-amended Constitution was opposed by two thirds of the nominated representatives at the New York conventions, the provision of other political writers was done by the Publius. At the same time as replying to explicit Anti-federalist arguments, The Federalist presented an integrated theory of the philosophies upon which the new Constitution was based. History, experience, and reason were the bases of this philosophical foundation, and the long existence of the republican government was verified by this foundation in relation with the examples of failed governments in the past, which were unable to survive.
Countering the belief, which is often ascribed to Montesquieu, that republics could stay alive only in small areas taken by identical inhabitants, Madison in The Federalist no. 10 argued that republics could flourish best in large areas where different groups constantly competed with each other. During the constant struggles of these groups the independence of both majorities and minorities would be preserved. This republic would provide better leadership by expanding the group of qualified persons from which delegates would be selected. The Federalist no.
10 by Madison, as mentioned before, was very influential in U. S. political history and philosophy. The separation of the three branches of the federal government had to be done, as the role of a check upon the other was played by each branch in the government Although these three branches were not completely separate the practicality of each division was assured by assigning it enough power to protect itself against the actions of the other division. Furthermore, if any branch exceeded its role as defined in the Constitution then the other branches could proceed by checking on the misuse of power.
Moreover, it was also stated by the Publius that freedom was protected by the new Constitution by the provision of power to the central, as well as, state governments. Specific areas of power and simultaneous powers were determined by this new federalism. It was mentioned by the Publius that a central government with restricted powers was created by the Constitution. In this regard, identification of the Congress’s, as well as, President’s powers was also done. The people and the states were left with all the remaining powers completely.
If the legislative body dishonored their power and authority bestowed on them then the people could substitute them during the regular elections ensured by the Constitution. On the other hand, if the President or the judiciary breached the confidence of the people, Congress could prosecute them and if convicted Congress could remove them from their designation and from their office. The debate that was going on was based on vocabulary that is circling around the gist of the thoughts constitutive of republican dialogue.
They are liberty, tyranny, virtue, corruption, representation, and even republic. It has been said before, along with rationalizations, that the new created American republic was the combined efforts of Federalists and Anti-federalists. A new political system was created not by ordains of a single lawmaker but instead was fought to bring it to life and was constructed jointly by having a powerful discussion between supporters of different political affiliations and theoretical standpoints.
“The ratification debate produced an enormous outpouring of newspaper articles, pamphlets, sermons, and tracts, both for and against the new design. Of the former The Federalist is by far the most famous and certainly the most widely read in our day. The Anti-federalist case against the Constitution, by contrast, is today rarely read or even remembered. Once described (and dismissed) as mere nay-Sayers and men of little faith, the Anti-federalists are now more often regarded as the other founders. ”
Knowledge of this debate over the ratification of the Constitution illustrates that Publius was from time to time vanquished by its adversaries. The views supported by Publius occasionally differed from the point of view of Hamilton and Madison in the Constitutional Convention and a large portion of the Americans and the delegates did not consent with The Federalist. Nonetheless, from the beginning Americans have depended on The Federalist as being the most reliable source for understanding the objectives of the framers.
The essays presented a number of arguments. The essays convincingly made the case for a strong unification of the states in Federalist number 1 to 14, highlighted the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation in Federalist number 15 to 22, argued about the benefits of a strong energetic central government in number 23 to 36, and mentioned the republican government’s capability to provide political steadiness as well as freedom in numbers 35 to 51.
The essays following shortly after these scrutinized the roles of the three branches of government: the legislative numbers 52 to 66, the executive numbers 67 to 77, and the judicial numbers 78 to 83 along with the question of a bill of rights in Federalist number 84. The authors of the Federalist also reasoned the benefits of federalism. Furthermore, an impact on the United States law was done by the essays, which were written on the role of the federal judiciary for a long time now.
Federalist essay number 78 consists of a vital defense of the belief of the judicial review that is the power which permits the U. S. Supreme Court to eliminate laws passed by Congress. In Federalist number 80 it is argued by Hamilton that it is important to establish system of federal courts, which are separate from state courts. The theories of the European philosophers of the Enlightenment have built the political philosophy of the Federalist. In addition, the Articles of Confederation, as well as, their experience by the United States, and historical examples have also been included.
The treatise not only presented historical arguments and philosophical theories about the human nature and government, but also presented strong analysis of the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation. The general aim of the paper was to persuade the people that an energetic and strong centralized government would be more caring towards their freedom and independence. The philosophers’ thoughts were consideration of natural rights, and illustrated the kind of government best capable of protecting the rights of the people.
They recognized that a person’s inclination towards self-protection, freedom, and selfishness would primarily come into conflict with the opposing needs of other people. Therefore, these philosophers maintained that the best type of government is one which balances the selfish needs of the human beings with the need of self-protection. The speculative thought that too much liberty can be terrible for an organized society was confirmed by the U. S government during the years of the Articles of Confederation. A shoddy amalgamation of independent states, as well as, the national government was provided by the articles.
A specific legislative body was considered for the positioning of the articles. Affairs relating to the mutual defense were discussed and decided by the bestowed powers on this legislative body, which has been referred as the Congress. The creation of a strong central government has been fearfully taken like the Great Britain, a significant power with the state governments has been placed by the delegates, and national government has been restricted with the powers greatly. Lack of power for the enforcement of law, funds collection, trade regulation, and uniform judgment’s provision has been responsible for the hampering of the Congress.
What is more, many intuitive leaders identified that the self-centeredness of the states would ultimately break the union and they also recognized that the Articles of Confederation presented no legal means to stop this collapse. States had clashes with each other over land, commerce regulations, and imposts against nearby states. States set up relations with foreign nations and declined to send tax money to Congress. The Virginia legislature called a delegate for the production of uniformity in trade, as well as, in the commerce.
The meeting was meant for the discussion of uniform trade regulations with the interested delegates from the different states. In spite of the small presence of states at the Annapolis Convention, the meeting motivated states to hold another meeting for the explicit reason of modifying the Articles of Confederation. Sufficient power was not within a weak central government for the provision of security and protection of the civil liberties of individuals, as assumed by the delegates with the help of guidance from the Article of Confederation experience.
Therefore, the delegates decided to entirely abolish the old system. The convention presented a new plan of government at the end of the summer of 1787, which was titled the U. S. Constitution. A strong central government was requested by this manuscript, in which all the other state governments will depend on this authoritative body and laws will be enforced, judged, and legislated by the bestowed powers to this body. The document was highly praised by the Federalists for the creation of energy in a centralized body.
However, it was feared by the Anti-federalists that their rights and liberties would be infringed by the new plan. Strong and rational justifications were provided for each choice of the Constitution Convention by the Federalist papers. Citizens were also persuaded by the papers that greater protection could be provided by the government for the people, if the hands of people will be placed with less power. Although the concern about ratification of the U. S.
Constitution in the New York state by Alexander Hamilton was originated with the document, ratification of the Constitution and its related essays were supported by the arguments of leaders in many states. Since the role of delegates to the Constitutional Convention was played by both Hamilton and Madison, the name Publius was used for all the published essays. As a large part for the constructing of document was done by the arguments, criticism as a subjective by these arguments was felt by them.
Even after nine out of thirteen state approvals were received by the Constitution, two of the most powerful states, the New York and Virginia continued their struggle for the ratification. Technically, ratification of New York or Virginia did not have any effect on the Constitution. However the writing down the federalist essays was not a futile assignment, even though the Constitution turned out to be successful without New York’s support. While an effort was made by them for the persuasion of the American audience, an opportunity was received by them for being associated with the first federal republic.
A distinctive political philosophy was conveyed successfully by the Publius. Practice was possible, and philosophical theories and historical examples instituted this philosophy. Moist importantly, the experience during the accomplishment of the balance between order and freedom was the bases of this philosophy. “The Federalist Papers reflect the end of an era in America, a chapter that began with the Mayflower Compact of 1620 and the various covenants, declarations, and state constitutions that followed, and culminated in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
During that period of more than a century and a half, American political thought was formulated and tried, and arguments were rehearsed and refined in press, pulpit, and legislative chamber, often to express opposition to the British crown, but also to give an expanding country a workable government. It was against such a background that The Federalist Papers emerged, combining the traits Robert A. Ferguson ascribes to the Constitution: generic strength, manipulative brilliance, cunning restraint, and practical eloquence. ”
The essays presented in The Federalists are fundamental and ground-breaking statements of sound rational political thought, which carefully progress ahead the essential thoughts mentioned by theorists Hume, Locke, and Montesquieu. Rather than radically deposing off the old theory and practice, the authors of the Constitution cautiously studied it and took its finest aspects and gave them a new meaning altogether. The essays of the Federalists had more life and were more strongly remembered than material written by Marx, Lenin, Mao, Castro, or Metternich.
If there would have been no credible arguments against the proposed constitution then there would have been no need for the intense material of The Federalist. And, if there would have been no Federalist then understanding the Constitution would have been significantly reduced. The Constitution is a concise manuscript which is not suitable for an argument or for an explanation. The Federalist makes us understand the minds of the creators. Madison commented that The Federalist offers “the most authentic exposition of the text of the Federal Constitution, as understood by the Body which prepared and the authority which accepted it.
” The Federalist justifies why the authors found the Articles of Confederation unacceptable; why they wanted to separate the powers of the government’s branches; why they split the national legislature into two different houses; why they thought that a federal court for the final appeal was desirable and necessary; why they banned titles of nobility; why they said that a bill of rights was a needless addition, and why a lot of other permissions and prohibitions were written into the Constitution or excludes completely.
“As a contribution to the ratification debate, The Federalist is an extended exercise in exposition, explanation, and persuasion. As a work of political theory, then, The Federalist flies fairly close to the ground, rarely soaring into the stratosphere of philosophical abstraction. ” Articles of Confederation If the Articles of Confederation would not have failed then there would have been no Constitution and surely no Federalist Papers. After two centuries it is not easy to picture the hectic state of America in the post revolutionary era. There was so much going on.
America won a war but still the eastern seaboard was susceptible to attackers. Then the economy was weighed down by numerous currencies and tariffs, the state governments were bankrupt, and the central government was only central in name. Everything was hap hazard and nothing was going right. Since 1776 till 1787 America was an uncontrolled union of states which were ruled by the Articles of Confederation, which had a serious defect and that was the individual states had power and that power remained with them. The central government was just there to be called central. It could do nothing.
It could neither increase revenues nor pass and ratify legislation necessary for independent states. To pass laws, nine votes out of thirteen states were necessary and an undisputed and agreed by all votes was essential to effect any basic change in the Articles. Making a central government with such weakness was deliberate because the American colonists had angrily rejected the British crown’s authority to control trade and collect taxes. The governmental body created under the Articles of Confederation was basically immobilized, and there was no executive or judicial branch as well.
What is more, the thirteen states had distinct political and commercial concerns and therefore a brief duration of artificial harmony among these states proved to be unsuccessful in producing a nationalized identity. What is surprising is that nine states had navies; seven printed their own currency, and the majority had tariff and customs laws. Also, New York was charging duties on ships transporting firewood or farm produce to and from neighboring states such as, New Jersey and Connecticut.
When the soldiers mentioned that “New Jersey is our country,” they were endorsing the prevailing emotions of other states. The insolvent state governments also contributed largely to the political turmoil of the 1780s. Hamilton harshly attacked the Articles of Confederation when he stated in Federalist No. 9 that the states promoted “little, jealous, clashing, tumultuous commonwealths, the wretched nurseries of unceasing discord. ” Madison when writing Federalist No. 10 had the insolvent states in mind as well because he portrays the requirement to “secure the national