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01-24/11 - THE FEDERALIST PAPERS > FEDERALIST. NO 1 - 10/19/09 - 10/25/09

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited May 07, 2010 08:49PM) (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This is the thread for the discussion of FEDERALIST. NO 1.

This paper is titled General Introduction written for the Independent Journal.

This paper was written by Alexander Hamilton The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics) by Alexander Hamilton Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jul 18, 2010 01:24PM) (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This is the reading assignment for the week beginning October 19th through October 25th.

FEDERALIST No. 1 General Introduction Alexander (Hamilton)
October 19 - October 25 (page 27)


For those who would like a free copy:

http://www.foundingfathers.info/feder...

The copy of the book that I am using is the following:


The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton



Check the syllabi thread for more details.

We will only be discussing one Federalist Paper a week and we will go in order.

Members can also discuss any previous Federalist paper on its specific thread which was already assigned and or introduced in previous weeks.

Please make sure to be clear which Federalist Paper you are referencing when you post and post to the specific thread assigned to that paper.

So as an example, in week one, we will be able to discuss only Federalist #1, Week Two we will be able to discuss Federalist #2 or a member can go back and make reference to Federalist #1; in Week Three members will be discussing Federalist #3; but members can also during Week 3 make reference to either Federalist #2 or # 1 at any time during that week's period.

But discussion on Federalist #4 cannot take place until Week 4 commences.

This will help us avoid spoilers for those members who are just catching up and it will help minimize confusion.

If anybody would like to kick off discussion of Federalist Paper #1 with some introductory discussion questions, comments, etc. Please feel free to do so.


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments If folks would like to listen and read along to an audio of Federalist Paper #1 - here is the link:

http://www.americanaphonic.com/?p=589

Publius

Readers will notice that a pseudonym was used with these essays. Alexander Hamilton wrote this first paper but also signed the essay with the "Publius" pseudonym.

"Publius," was used in honor of Roman consul Publius Valerius Publicola. Publicola had helped establish the Roman Republic and his name means "friend of the people".

Here is the wikipedia write-up on Publius:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publius_...


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments FEDERALIST PAPER NUMBER ONE: (AUTHOR - HAMILTON):

Page 27:

"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."

I thought that this was a curious way to begin the general introduction.

"unequivocable experience"
"inefficacy of the subsisting federal government"


Hamilton said the importance was the very existence of the UNION as the first bullet point; the second dealt really with national security (safety and welfare); but the third bullet point was more than curious (the fate of an empire???) and (the most interesting in the world).

What did group members think about Hamilton's choice of words and their potential meaning and interpretation by others?


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexande...

American Revolution Home Page:

http://americanrevwar.homestead.com/f...

Interesting ad hoc site:

http://www.alexanderhamilton.org/

Google book on Alexander Hamilton by Henry Cabot Lodge:

http://books.google.com/books?id=zvd0...

Alexander Hamilton: The Man who Made Modern American (New York Historical Society website dedicated to a previous exhibition)

http://www.alexanderhamiltonexhibitio...

US Department of Treasury biography:

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/hist...

Hamilton project: University of Virginia:

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/ham/h...

From Revolution to Reconstruction:

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/B/hamilton/...

Alexander Hamilton on the web:

http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/ham...

Ad hoc site:

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/proje...

United States Congress bio:

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/...

US History.org:

http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/...

Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site:

http://www.ushistory.org/Brandywine/s...

U-S- History.com - ad hoc site:

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h367...

PBS Special: Alexander Hamilton:

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h367...


Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Alexander Hamilton


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Alexander Hamilton: America's Forgotten Founder: by Murray

http://books.google.com/books?id=ykio...


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Hamilton seems to pick up steam:

Page 27 - No. 1 - General Introduction

"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."

Questions:

Who do you think Hamilton was referring to when he wrote - It has been frequently remarked" - by whom?

Do you think that Hamilton is being a bit pretentious when he claims that America must decide the question whether a good government can be established from reflection and choice? Why and/or why not?

Page 27:

"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."

Questions:

Was the fledgling country in a crisis at this point?

Did anybody else think that this sentence sounded a lot like Common Sense and Thomas Paine?

Was the country at a crossroads?


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This is a post from Larche:

I think these comments reflect Hamilton's interest in creating a strong federal government. Hamilton supported a stronger government than than even most Federalists desired. He was instrumental in the creation of the Bank of the United States. Does anyone know if he ever suggested a national currency?


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This is a post from Larche:

I believe that Hamilton was referring to the intense national debate over whether or not the Constitution should be adopted by the newspapers of his day. The constitution was not adopted by popular vote, but politicians still had to appease their constituencies. Newspapers were popular, and they usually took political stands. Imagine thousands of Fox News newspapers across the nation, each with a political agenda ranging from reactionary to extremely liberal. They had been discussing the new Constitution since the Framers had announced the creation of the document.

He was pretentious in tone, but that does not distract from the truth of his claim. You asked if the states were in crisis at this time. Indeed it was. During the war, the central government operated under the Articles of Confederation. The government could not tax the states enough to pay the soldiers in Washington's army at times. After the war, the government practically ceased to exist. The Congress of the Confederation had no explicit power to sign treaties or levy taxes. A new form of government was necessary, and Congress was the best compromise available. The Constitution was not perfect: it supported slavery (but never mentions the word until the 13th Amendment). States were allowed to limit suffrage, which they did, and women had no role in government.

The nation was at a crossroads. Had we continued under the Articles of Confederation, states would have become virtual nations in their own right. The West would have become a mass of disputed claims, there would have been no Louisiana Purchase, and states would have erected internal tariffs. Southern states would have sustained slavery -- it took a strong national government to eradicate slavery, and -- at the least -- African-Americans would still be treated with pre-Civil Rights disdain in the Southern states. The massive aid rendered the Allies in the two World Wars would not be forthcoming. It is even possible that the states may have warred on one another. One can only guess at the sorts of governments that might have evolved in certain states.

It sounds like Paine in that it is an appeal for change made to reason, and it points to destiny.



message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments I think he did help establish the National Currency with the Mint Act of 1791 as Secretary of the Treasury (Hamilton).

Great posts Larch.


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This post was from Elizabeth:

Larche, On a side note, you bring up an interesting idea for an alternative-history book. What if the Articles of Confederation still stood? What would have happened in events like WWI where the USA significantly impacted the world? You point out that the southern states would have retained slavery. Perhaps, eventually, some external force might have changed that? Would the states have attacked each other similar to the wars and squabbles in Europe during the 19th and early 20th centuries? What an interesting chain of thoughts.

To tie this back to The Federalist Papers, we have so much to be grateful to the founding fathers for.



message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This post was from Larche:

That would make an interesting alternative-history book, but it would require an author far more knowledgeable and skill than I to write it.

But you are correct -- we owe much to the Founding Fathers, but they were only human. Their failure to deal with the issue of slavery resulted in the Civil War.



message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This note is from Elizabeth:

Finally got my copy of The Federalist Papers this week, and have just finished reading the Introduction. (It is the Signet Classic edition, with Intro by Charles R. Kesler.)

Kesler made some interesting (to me) points in his intro. He says, "George Mason, for example, the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and one of the most distinguished delegates to the Federal Convention, refused to sign the document [the Constitution:]" (page ix). Mason thought our the Constitution would turn our country into a moderate Aristocracy. I wonder what he would think now? I wonder if everyone would remember Mason's name better if he had signed the Constitution?

I also hadn't realized that the Anti-Federalist papers began first, beginning Sept 27. The first Federalist paper was in newspapers Oct 27, 1787. I guess I was thinking the other way around, since the "anti" usually comes after whatever it is against. But the discussion actually started before either set of papers were written, along with the claiming of names.

Also, Kesler does say that at least some of the Anti-Federalists were pro-Articles of Confederation, "Still, the Constitution's opponents--now the defenders of the Articles of Confederation against the much stronger central government proffered in the Constitution..." (page x). Since there seemed to be general agreement that the AoC weren't working, I would guess those Anti-Federalists were arguing for the AoC because it seemed better than the Constitution.

The most surprising thing to me in the introduction was the fact that Hamilton didn't think the Constitution was perfect either. On the day he signed it, Hamilton said, "No man's ideas were more remote from the plan than [mine:] were known to be" (quote from page vii). And here he is promoting the Constitution and setting aside what he didn't like about it. I think that is a sign of an honest compromise, when you don't get what you idealized, but embrace what the group comes up with. I'm guessing what Hamilton wanted differently were things he worked for later, like the national bank.

I'd like to raise a question to think about when we get to later Federalist papers that deal with this issue. On page xxi, Kelser says, "The very design of these offices [i.e. leaders of the 3 branches:]--their powers, number, duration, and other constitutional characteristics--will help to attract 'fit characters' to them." Is that true now? Do we see people best fit for congress and president running for those offices?

Now I'm hoping to get to Federalist #1 in the next couple of days. :)



message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This note is from Rick:

It seems to me that Hamilton is arguing forcefully for thoughtfulness, that he is asking people to set aside the screamers on both sides and rationally examine the issues. I was struck by the passage in which he criticizes both parties for trying "to increase the number of their convert by the loudness of their declamations and by the bitterness of their invective." One could read those words on an Op-Ed page today and find them just as applicable as they were 200 plus years ago.

BTW, I have always wanted to read the Federalist papers, I am excited by having this group as an ongoing incentive.



message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This post is from Elizabeth:

Just finished #1. Bentley, I think there is some pretentiousness here by Hamilton. At least that is what anyone of international consequence at the time would probably say. And yet history since then has shown him to be right--in many ways the choices made by Americans back then have set a standard and altered course for the world. Not that the American way is the only way to do it, but it shows that it can be done. In my opinion, the founding fathers knew that they were doing something great, significant, and lasting. And I think Hamilton was using this phrase to try to convey some of that to the people. At the time, pretentious. From a couple of centuries later, amazing foresight.

Rick, I think you make a good point that Hamilton wanted people to set aside the loudness, the forcefulness, because they are really not the best discriminators of truth. He also says that "we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists" (page 28). In other words, just because someone is a scoundrel doesn't mean everything he says is untrue, so don't judge the Constitution based on whether or not those advocating it have the purest motives. That has some interesting application to modern issues. :)



message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Good comments Elizabeth S. I do think that Hamilton's comments show more about Hamilton's thinking at that time. And Rick made a very good point about not judging the book by its cover. Something can be really great even though you are not too keen on its inventor.


message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This post was from Joe:

I recently found this book while browsing for some material for my Sony ereader and thought everyone here might want to take a look. It appears like this book can help us a great deal in learning more about the Federalist Papers, so I ended up purchasing it and will be studying it a bit closer. It was even written by a Goodreads.com author, Michael Meyerson. But first I need to finish Federalist #2.

From the description:
Liberty's Blueprint offers an essential introduction to how the Federalist Papers were written, the philosophical thinking that shaped the Constitution, how the framers meant the various clauses to be understood, and why they are still vitally important today.




Liberty's Blueprint  How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World by Michael MeyersonMichael Meyerson


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This post was from Elizabeth:

Joe,

That does look interesting. Wish I had time to join you in perusing it. For now, it is on my "eventually" list.



message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Joe wrote: "I recently found this book while browsing for some material for my Sony ereader and thought everyone here might want to take a look. It appears like this book can help us a great deal in learning m..."

That looks great Joe. By all means jump in with any and all points you glean from that book. I will look into it when I am back in the states in a few weeks time. Right now I consider myself lucky when I am able to be on.


message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments FEDERALIST PAPER NUMBER ONE - GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Alexander Hamilton, very carefully, outlines for the readers that there will be a series of papers and that he will focus on the following topics:

"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."


Page 30 - Signet edition

What does everyone think of Hamilton's thinking processes and his logical, breakdown of the important elements of the proposed Constitution that would be of interest to the colonists? I was impressed that he gave an outline to the broader picture that would be presented in the remaining 84 papers not yet published. He really had a grasp of the issues and their supporting arguments.


message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This is a post from Joe:

Bentley,

You continually are able to post the crux of what needs to be said. Thank-you again for your passions in helping us understand all of this better.

Not only was Hamilton one of the first backers for calling a Constitutional Convention in the first place, but he was present for much of the 4 months it took to deliberate. It's quite possible that those 4 months had given him ample time to draw up an outline, given he was determined to write these essays ahead of time. Especially since he had little influence without his other two colleagues from New York.

In spite of the fact that Hamilton had been a leader in calling for a new Constitutional Convention, his direct influence at the Convention itself was quite limited. Governor George Clinton's faction in the New York legislature had chosen New York's other two delegates, John Lansing and Robert Yates, and both of them opposed Hamilton's goal of a strong national government. Thus, while the other two members of the New York delegation were present, they decided New York's vote; and when they left the convention in protest, Hamilton remained with no vote (two representatives were required for any state to cast a vote).

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_H...


About Alexander Hamilton - Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexande...


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Joe wrote: "Bentley,

You continually are able to post the crux of what needs to be said. Thank-you again for your passions in helping us understand all of this better.

Not only was Hamilton one of the first ..."


Thank you Joe..isn't politics a strange breed; choosing others to oppose progress for whatever reason (good or bad). I guess it proves that you can have the best ideas; but if you do not have the votes and the backing..no dice. Luckily for all of us, cooler and more rationale heads prevailed.

It is obvious that Hamilton was passionate and adamant about his and the country's cause and direction. Odd in some ways that Madison (although brilliant); but void of charisma and personality really became known as the Father of the Constitution and went on to become one of our Presidents.

Hamilton, on the other hand, dashing, spirited and attractive in demeanor and personality; through his rashness and maybe because of rather reckless behavior became involved in a duel and was ultimately killed (by Burr)


message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Tracey, we are glad to have you with us. There are 85 essays and we are only doing one a week for discussion purposes; they are fairly short..so it will take us about a year and a half (smile)..but hopefully some great discussion along the way.


message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This is a post from Joe:

It's very important during this discussion that we keep organised and not loose focus of what we should have already taken away from our readings. In that light, your recap is perfect, Bentley. I am reading them again.

What are other people doing as far as trying to get as much out of these essays as possible? Read the essay's, then any summary's we might have available, then any other material we might have, like Meyerson's book? Any suggestions? Is anyone taking notes.. and if so, what kind of notes?



message 26: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This was a note from Vince:

Hi Folks
i am running late for the Federalist papers and have just finished the first paper - and I see that I have not yet begun Jay but have learned a lot from you.

The very striking current events comment that Hamilton makes in the first is referring to the "intolerant spirit of political parties" which seems to be an often appearing aspect of politics thru our history.



message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Hello Vince,

Welcome aboard..it is never too late to start these. They are very short and we are learning from each other.

I frankly never knew that much about John Jay before so it is very interesting; nor much of George Clinton either who I have also learned was not simply the first governor of New York State but also served as Vice President under both Madison and Jefferson. Jay may not have been a Tolstoy or a Jefferson in terms of his writing; but it is obvious that he was very well liked and popular and in a fashion stood up for what he believed; though Madison allegedly poked some criticism at his writing.

Yes Vince that "intolerant spirit of political parties" seems to be still with us today; I often wonder if that is because we inherited this propensity from our British ancestors who really seem to go at each other; or does it simply have to do with some kind of basic quality of man (they seem to need a good fight and have to band with their gang against someone or something).

That intolerant spirit is a form of checks and balances in a major way (JMHO)


Elizabeth (Alaska) Rather than the Signet Edition, for some reason I chose to purchase the Bantam Classics edition.
The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton

Coming in very late, but want to read the first 16 before we start on the next grouping next month. Two quotes that seem oh so relevant today leaped off the page at me.

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

...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.


message 29: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Dec 22, 2010 02:00PM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) The first quote above is why I am suspicious of the leaders of either political party so certain they have rightness on their side.

The second quote says why I am suspicious of those who are so busy doing things "for the American people."


message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Alexander Hamilton if he were a politician today would be more inclined to be a Republican whereas Thomas Jefferson would probably have been more inclined to have been a Democrat aside from the fact that he owned slaves and who knows which side of the fence that issue would have fallen.

Here is an article which may be interesting:

This is someone's take on the following: Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton: Architects of the Modern Day Democratic and Republican Parties

http://www.associatedcontent.com/arti...

And Elizabeth, thank you for trying to get caught up before we start the next batch. I am very interested to see your take on things and hope that others post to discuss your views with you.


Elizabeth (Alaska) As this Paper is the "preamble" to Publius argument in favor, for the most part it feels that Hamilton is simply laying the groundwork for future Papers.

I was always "informed" that Jefferson was the founder of today's Democratic party. I don't know enough about Hamilton's views - though I'm certain to learn much more - to understand about his being the forerunner of the Republican party, which I'd always been told was founded by Lincoln.


message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Things changed with the parties and their names and what they stood for a few times in our history. And yes, Hamilton was on the affirmative side for the ratification of the Constitution. I think from reading his views and his ideas about things that he would probably have been a Republican by today's standards. I am not as certain about what Jefferson might have been; but folks feel that even though he was from Virginia he would have been a Democrat because of his beliefs concerning the common man.

Lincoln was considered the leader of the moderate faction of the then Republican party. At the time of his election; one of the reasons for his winning his first term was that the Democratic party at that time had split their vote. There was a Northern Democratic candidate and a Southern Democratic candidate plus a Constitutional party one. The Democrats had diluted their vote and that spelled victory for Lincoln.


Elizabeth (Alaska) I must admit that it's very difficult to see much difference between today's parties. I found it noteworthy in the Introduction (written in 1982) to the Bantam Classics version:
Though America has made its party system a part of the functioning Constitution, that system is unlike most - and certainly unlike the parties in most countries with a parliamentary government. There, parties proliferate to express defined views, since each party will have some members in the parliament. In America two parties compete in winner-take-all races - which means that our parties have remained nonideological. Each party spreads an umbrella over many compromises, and the two generally approximate each other's positions at election time, making clear-cut ideological choice difficult or impossible. The genius of this sytem is compromise, which entails the surrender of one's private position to reach a working arrangmeent with others. The rationale for this is no longer a choice of disinterested men as arbitrators. The elitest note of Madison's day has been muted, and compromise is worked out rather than arbitration handed down. But the results of our practice resemble in some measure the aims of Madison's theory - an escape from narrow sectionalism to embrace a national vision extending over a territory far larger than even Madison could imagine in 1787.



message 34: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 834 comments HI Folks

I have started again the Federalist Papers - I note that the anti-Federalist writings appeared first (Bentley message 14) and I am curious if anyone knows if that spurred the efforts of Hamilton & colleagues or if the Federalist papers were planned already?

Also I wonder if Hamilton was not pretentious in his presentation but rather trying to set a platform to be convincing.

I do believe that if he saw flaws in the Constitution it was a "workable" platform unlike the AoC.


message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 08, 2011 08:15AM) (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Hello Vince,

It is great to see that you have started the Federalist Papers again; our quest will take us awhile but who is in a rush.

Regarding Hamilton:

I think he had unbounded talent and ambition. But........

He was adored by his followers but by his enemies he was considered to be cocky, swaggering and conceited. He could never master being the smooth politician needed to hold a high office. Hamilton lived in a world of moral absolutes, and was not prone to compromise or consensus building. Washington and Jefferson talked about the hopes of ordinary people; Hamilton did not care about what really were the popular preferences. He also was probably too elitist to also ever be president nor did he have any profound sympathy with those who he would have led (the ordinary American people).

I think that Hamilton was brilliant and was convincing; but at the same time was also pretentious if that makes any sense.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow Ron ChernowRon Chernow

As far as flaws in the constitution, Hamilton knew that it was not perfect; but he also knew that it was far better for the country than the Articles of Confederation.


message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 08, 2011 07:45AM) (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments This was an excerpt from message 14 - Vince. But it was Elizabeth S's interpretation which I moved from the mixed up thread which had all of the papers jumbled up to individual threads - one for each paper which I think is working out a whole lot better from what I can see.

This is what Elizabeth said: (in italics)

The most surprising thing to me in the introduction was the fact that Hamilton didn't think the Constitution was perfect either. On the day he signed it, Hamilton said, "No man's ideas were more remote from the plan than [mine:] were known to be" (quote from page vii). And here he is promoting the Constitution and setting aside what he didn't like about it. I think that is a sign of an honest compromise, when you don't get what you idealized, but embrace what the group comes up with. I'm guessing what Hamilton wanted differently were things he worked for later, like the national bank.

I think he said it to make sure that his enemies because of him did not abstain from voting for the constitution. Because Hamilton was very dutiful but not known for consensus building or compromise if given the opportunity; I disagree a tad with Elizabeth's take.

I think that Hamilton was more inclined to even do away with the states altogether and have even a stronger central government but that was not to be.


message 37: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 08, 2011 08:16AM) (new)

Bentley | 28671 comments Vince, you are correct that the Federalist Papers were written because they needed a defense from the onslaught of the debates from the Anti Federalists' publications. And Hamilton, Madison and Jay were quick on their feet. The Constitution had just been written and sent to the states to be ratified and immediately the anti federalists were out of the chutes trying to shoot it down.

I have to also add that no grass grew under Hamilton's feet and we owe him a tremendous amount in terms of getting the Constitution ratified with some of the first Op-Ed pieces written. In fact, he was the primary writer and defender of the Constitution.

The following is from wikipedia which explains further:

Origins

The Federal Convention sent the proposed Constitution to the Confederation Congress, which at the end of September 1787 submitted it to the states for ratification. Immediately, the Constitution became the target of many articles and public letters written by opponents of the Constitution. For instance, the important Anti-Federalist authors "Cato" and "Brutus" debuted in New York papers on September 27 and October 18, 1787, respectively.[7] Hamilton decided to launch a measured and extensive defense and explanation of the proposed Constitution as a response to the opponents of ratification, addressing the people of the state of New York. He wrote in Federalist No. 1 that the series would "endeavor to give a satisfactory answer to all the objections which shall have made their appearance, that may seem to have any claim to your attention."[8]

Hamilton recruited collaborators for the project. He enlisted John Jay, who after four strong essays (Federalist Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5), fell ill and contributed only one more essay, Federalist No. 64, to the series; though he wrote a pamphlet in the spring of 1788, An Address to the People of the State of New-York, that made his distilled case for the Constitution (Hamilton cited it approvingly in Federalist No. 85). James Madison, present in New York as a Virginia delegate to the Confederation Congress, was recruited by Hamilton and Jay, and became Hamilton's major collaborator. Gouverneur Morris and William Duer were also apparently considered; Morris turned down the invitation, and Hamilton rejected three essays written by Duer.[9] Duer later wrote in support of the three Federalist authors under the name "Philo-Publius", or "Friend of Publius".

Hamilton chose "Publius" as the pseudonym under which the series would be written. While many other pieces representing both sides of the constitutional debate were written under Roman names, Albert Furtwangler contends that "'Publius' was a cut above 'Caesar' or 'Brutus' or even 'Cato.' Publius Valerius was not a late defender of the republic but one of its founders. His more famous name, Publicola, meant 'friend of the people.'"[4] It was not the first time Hamilton had used this pseudonym: in 1778, he had applied it to three letters attacking Samuel Chase.

Source: Wikipedia

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Federalist Papers (other topics)
Alexander Hamilton (other topics)
Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World (other topics)
The Federalist Papers (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Alexander Hamilton (other topics)
Michael Meyerson (other topics)
Ron Chernow (other topics)