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The Federalist papers first appeared
in the Independent Journal of New York City press on the proposed new
constitution under the pseudonym “Publius” meaning of the Public, chosen by
Alexander Hamilton, the pioneer of the project, and later recruited
collaborators John Jay and James Madison. Jointly they wrote 85 articles and
essays to promote the ratification of the constitution to the newspapers in the
year between October 1787 and August 1788. Because of the limited availability
of space in the newspapers, the articles were short, but all of them were in
purely political on the subject. Their original purpose was to mobilize the
public opinion to defend the new constitution, which would keep the Union and the
government in peace and security of its citizens proposed by the federal
convention happened in the late May to mid-September, 1787 in Philadelphia.
After the long and often rancorous debate in that convention, they had agreed
to set up the new governmental infrastructure in the country. However, any
amendment to the articles required the consent from all thirteen states
legislatures. So, they ordered for the consent from the states for the
ratification or rejection of the new constitution. Representatives from 12
states signed the completed constitution on September 17, 1787. Nevertheless,
rather than abide by these rules, the convention thus proposed that the
constitution would be adopted when approved by elected conventions in 9 states.

In Federalist 1, Alexander
Hamilton begins his essay with a bold opening statement by stating “People of
the State of New York” by urging his readers to consider the adaptation of an
entirely new constitution after they experienced the inefficacy of the present
form of federal government. He also anticipated the criticism on the proposed
constitution from the certain dissidents who were congenitally opposed to any
change, those who feared that might cost their jobs. However, Hamilton believed
in the future greatness of the United States and sees the America as a world
power. This might not seem odd to the modern readers, but back in the days, America
was vulnerable to foreign domination.

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In Federalist 9, Hamilton
explains a firm union combined with individual republics will be used to
counteract the danger of factious outbreaks within its individual members by
using their common resources as a barrier. He also specified that the recurrent
use of the military was necessary to keep the rebellions in their place.
Hamilton was a great supporter of the French political philosopher Montesquieu that
he chose to quote “The Science of Politics, however, like most other sciences,
have received great improvement…not known at all or imperfectly known to the
ancients.”

Federalist 10, this was the
first contribution of James Madison to the series where he defined the term
“faction” or political party. In his perspective, a faction was a group of
citizens who gather together by some common impulse of similar interests,
adverse to the rights of other citizens and promote their economic interests
and political opinions. James Madison was also one of the Federalists who
believed in the one-party system. In Federalist 15, Hamilton stressed the defects
of the American confederation arose because there was no general superintendence
and he argued that such superintendence should be extended beyond the state
governments to its citizens the genuine objects of the government. At the
beginning, he does not attack the Articles of Confederation particularly but
instead, he stated that the principle of legislation for states which creates
multiple jurisdictions in the existing government is the biggest problem. Both
Hamilton and Madison believed that local jurisdictions had to be abolished,
something which they were much open about in their private correlation than in
their public statements.

With Federalist 23, Hamilton
started the essays on the imperatives of the national defense. He stated that
the principal purpose of the union is to provide the common defense for the
members, maintaining the public peace, and conducting the foreign affairs. He believed
that “the powers ought to exist without limitation” because it is impossible to
foresee the extent or variety of the future national exigencies. Union ought to
be invested with full powers to raise armies, build a navy, provide for their
support by raising the revenues is a common defense. In Federalist 32, Hamilton
discussed about many problems involved in setting up equitable taxation plan and
reconciling the conflicts between the two governments- one national, one state-
each empowered to collect the taxes from the people. He stated that states have
the all the authority to levy taxes for their own purposes, with the exception
of laying custom duties on foreign imports and exports. That leads to a free
trade among the states which would stimulate the economy.

In Federalist 47, Madison begins
his essay by telling his readers that he is going to examine the principle of
republican government and distribution of powers between its constituent parts.
Madison declared that a well-balanced government –legislature, executive and
judicial, should keep each of his powers separate and distinct. He considers
their separation is essential for the preservation of the union. In Federalist
64, the last essay of John Jay, he defends the provision in the constitution which
would give the president the power to make treaties provided that two-thirds of
the senators present concur. By this condition the method of electing the
president, the senators would be mostly distinguished by their abilities and
the trustworthy of the citizens and with those men the power of making treaties
may be safely lodged. He also argued that making treaties are fundamentally
different from the regular laws.

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