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FReeper Book Club: The Debate over the Constitution, Federalist #3
A Publius/Billthedrill Essay | 4 March 2010 | Publius & Billthedrill

Posted on 03/04/2010 7:56:50 AM PST by Publius

The Foreign Policy Expert Weighs In

John Jay had been battle tested in the diplomatic offices and salons of Paris and Madrid, and had navigated the infant Republic through the shoals of French, Spanish and British intrigue. More than anyone else, he understood the duplicity behind the smiles and kind words from European powers, both friendly and not so friendly. He knew precisely what the Great Powers of Europe were up to. He was nobody’s fool.

In this essay, Jay explores the dangers of one foreign policy versus thirteen separate foreign policies.

Federalist #3

Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence (Part 2 of 4)

John Jay, 3 November 1787

1 To the People of the State of New York:

***

2 It is not a new observation that the people of any country – if, like the Americans, intelligent and well informed – seldom adopt and steadily persevere for many years in an erroneous opinion respecting their interests.

3 That consideration naturally tends to create great respect for the high opinion which the people of America have so long and uniformly entertained of the importance of their continuing firmly united under one federal government, vested with sufficient powers for all general and national purposes.

***

4 The more attentively I consider and investigate the reasons which appear to have given birth to this opinion, the more I become convinced that they are cogent and conclusive.

***

5 Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary to direct their attention, that of providing for their safety seems to be the first.

6 The safety of the people doubtless has relation to a great variety of circumstances and considerations, and consequently affords great latitude to those who wish to define it precisely and comprehensively.

***

7 At present I mean only to consider it as it respects security for the preservation of peace and tranquillity, as well as against dangers from foreign arms and influence, as from dangers of the like kind arising from domestic causes.

8 As the former of these comes first in order, it is proper it should be the first discussed.

9 Let us therefore proceed to examine whether the people are not right in their opinion that a cordial union, under an efficient national government, affords them the best security that can be devised against hostilities from abroad.

***

10 The number of wars which have happened, or will happen, in the world will always be found to be in proportion to the number and weight of the causes, whether real or pretended, which provoke or invite them.

11 If this remark be just, it becomes useful to inquire whether so many just causes of war are likely to be given by United America as by Disunited America, for if it should turn out that United America will probably give the fewest, then it will follow that in this respect the Union tends most to preserve the people in a state of peace with other nations.

***

12 The just causes of war for the most part arise either from violation of treaties or from direct violence.

13 America has already formed treaties with no less than six foreign nations, and all of them, except Prussia, are maritime and therefore able to annoy and injure us.

14 She has also extensive commerce with Portugal, Spain and Britain, and with respect to the two latter has in addition the circumstance of neighborhood to attend to.

***

15 It is of high importance to the peace of America that she observe the laws of nations towards all these powers, and to me it appears evident that this will be more perfectly and punctually done by one national government than it could be either by thirteen separate states or by three or four distinct confederacies.

***

16 Because when once an efficient national government is established, the best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will generally be appointed to manage it, for although town or country or other contracted influence may place men in state assemblies or senates or courts of justice or executive departments, yet more general and extensive reputation for talents and other qualifications will be necessary to recommend men to offices under the national government, especially as it will have the widest field for choice and never experience that want of proper persons which is not uncommon in some of the states.

17 Hence it will result that the administration, the political counsels and the judicial decisions of the national government will be more wise, systematical and judicious than those of individual states, and consequently more satisfactory with respect to other nations as well as more safe with respect to us.

***

18 Because, under the national government, treaties and articles of treaties as well as the laws of nations will always be expounded in one sense and executed in the same manner; whereas adjudications on the same points and questions in thirteen states or in three or four confederacies will not always accord or be consistent; and that, as well from the variety of independent courts and judges appointed by different and independent governments, as from the different local laws and interests which may affect and influence them.

19 The wisdom of the Convention in committing such questions to the jurisdiction and judgment of courts appointed by, and responsible only to, one national government cannot be too much commended.

***

20 Because the prospect of present loss or advantage may often tempt the governing party in one or two states to swerve from good faith and justice, but those temptations, not reaching the other states, and consequently having little or no influence on the national government, the temptation will be fruitless and good faith and justice be preserved.

21 The case of the treaty of peace with Britain adds great weight to this reasoning.

***

22 Because even if the governing party in a state should be disposed to resist such temptations, yet as such temptations may and commonly do result from circumstances peculiar to the state and may affect a great number of the inhabitants, the governing party may not always be able, if willing, to prevent the injustice meditated or to punish the aggressors.

23 But the national government, not being affected by those local circumstances, will neither be induced to commit the wrong themselves nor want power or inclination to prevent or punish its commission by others.

***

24 So far, therefore, as either designed or accidental violations of treaties and the laws of nations afford just causes of war, they are less to be apprehended under one general government than under several lesser ones, and in that respect the former most favors the safety of the people.

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25 As to those just causes of war which proceed from direct and unlawful violence, it appears equally clear to me that one good national government affords vastly more security against dangers of that sort than can be derived from any other quarter.

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26 Because such [violence is] more frequently caused by the passions and interests of a part than of the whole; of one or two states than of the Union.

27 Not a single Indian war has yet been occasioned by aggressions of the present federal government, feeble as it is, but there are several instances of Indian hostilities having been provoked by the improper conduct of individual states who, either unable or unwilling to restrain or punish offenses, have given occasion to the slaughter of many innocent inhabitants.

***

28 The neighborhood of Spanish and British territories, bordering on some states and not on others, naturally confines the causes of quarrel more immediately to the borderers.

29 The bordering states, if any, will be those who, under the impulse of sudden irritation and a quick sense of apparent interest or injury, will be most likely by direct violence to excite war with these nations, and nothing can so effectually obviate that danger as a national government whose wisdom and prudence will not be diminished by the passions which actuate the parties immediately interested.

***

30 But not only fewer just causes of war will be given by the national government, but it will also be more in their power to accommodate and settle them amicably.

31 They will be more temperate and cool, and in that respect, as well as in others, will be more in capacity to act advisedly than the offending state.

32 The pride of states, as well as of men, naturally disposes them to justify all their actions and opposes their acknowledging, correcting, or repairing their errors and offenses.

33 The national government, in such cases, will not be affected by this pride but will proceed with moderation and candor to consider and decide on the means most proper to extricate them from the difficulties which threaten them.

***

34 Besides, it is well known that acknowledgments, explanations and compensations are often accepted as satisfactory from a strong united nation, which would be rejected as unsatisfactory if offered by a state or confederacy of little consideration or power.

***

35 In the year 1685 the state of Genoa, having offended Louis XIV, endeavored to appease him.

36 He demanded that they should send their Doge, or chief magistrate, accompanied by four of their senators, to France to ask his pardon and receive his terms.

37 They were obliged to submit to it for the sake of peace.

38 Would he on any occasion either have demanded or have received the like humiliation from Spain, or Britain, or any other powerful nation?

Jay’s Critique

This is a very short piece, confined to a single subject.

7 At present I mean only to consider [the matter of safety] as it respects security for the preservation of peace and tranquillity, as well as against dangers from foreign arms and influence, as from dangers of the like kind arising from domestic causes.

At this point in Jay’s lengthy career, foreign policy was his most noted area of expertise; indeed, except for Franklin, he was pre-eminent in the field, having served as the Confederation Congress’ Secretary for Foreign Affairs for the five years preceding the Federalist Papers. Thus his word on the matter must have carried considerable weight. Having negotiated with several foreign nations already, he has an eye for potential sources of friction.

13 America has already formed treaties with no less than six foreign nations, and all of them, except Prussia, are maritime and therefore able to annoy and injure us.

14 She has also extensive commerce with Portugal, Spain and Britain, and with respect to the two latter has in addition the circumstance of neighborhood to attend to.

The last phrase is an allusion to the presence of Spanish claims in the south, and British in the north and west of the new nation, both of which would in time produce armed conflicts.

15 It is of high importance to the peace of America that she observe the laws of nations towards all these powers, and to me it appears evident that this will be more perfectly and punctually done by one national government than it could be either by thirteen separate states or by three or four distinct confederacies.

There is, of course, the obvious point that it is far less likely for foreign governments to play one regional government off against another than it is to split a unified federal government.

20 Because the prospect of present loss or advantage may often tempt the governing party in one or two states to swerve from good faith and justice, but those temptations, not reaching the other states, and consequently having little or no influence on the national government, the temptation will be fruitless.

But Jay’s argument takes an interesting turn first.

16 Because when once an efficient national government is established, the best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will generally be appointed to manage it, for although town or country or other contracted influence may place men in state assemblies or senates or courts of justice or executive departments, yet more general and extensive reputation for talents and other qualifications will be necessary to recommend men to offices under the national government, especially as it will have the widest field for choice and never experience that want of proper persons which is not uncommon in some of the states.

17 Hence it will result that the administration, the political counsels and the judicial decisions of the national government will be more wise, systematical and judicious than those of individual states, and consequently more satisfactory with respect to other nations as well as more safe with respect to us.

In short, inasmuch as it offers a wider arena, the federal government will attract superior talent. It is a point unlikely to be attractive to the prickly state governments of the time; indeed, the reader has already encountered the objection of Samuel Bryan in Centinel #1 that it would likely lead to an aristocracy, a ruling class remote from the citizens. This at best would be a two-edged sword.

The reader comes to Jay’s speculation – for that is all that it is – that a unified federal government will be less likely to embark in needless wars with the sundry Native American tribes.

27 Not a single Indian war has yet been occasioned by aggressions of the present federal government, feeble as it is, but there are several instances of Indian hostilities having been provoked by the improper conduct of individual states who, either unable or unwilling to restrain or punish offenses, have given occasion to the slaughter of many innocent inhabitants.

It is not apparent whether Jay was ascribing the lack of such wars to the centralization of the existing federal government – which is, after all, the issue at hand – or to its weakness. In any case, the implication is that a strong federal government will be less likely to be swayed by local circumstances into an inappropriate response, and yet strong enough to respond in places where local governments could not. There are, however, disadvantages to the remoteness of a central federal government alluded to by Jay in the previous piece – and unacknowledged in this one – that would also become apparent in the coming century.

There would be, for example, a local commander who vociferously opposed the decision made by the federal government to relocate certain tribes to reservation areas that made little sense to anyone actually on the scene. In fact, this commander would travel back to Washington DC to testify against such policies, nearly costing him his command for insubordination, and in the end losing his life attempting to enforce policies he detested. His name was George Armstrong Custer.

Jay could hardly have foreseen the specifics, but the principles were certainly not difficult to anticipate. The subsequent history of the federal government with respect to treaties with Native Americans would be a sorry one indeed and remains a point of political sensitivity to this day. Would a decentralized set of governments, more aware of local conditions, have done any better? In any case, one cannot cede Jay this particular point, but the advantages of negotiating, whether with foreign or native nations, on the basis of a single united front, are not to be denied. Jay leaves the reader with a cautionary tale.

35 In the year 1685 the state of Genoa, having offended Louis XIV, endeavored to appease him.

36 He demanded that they should send their Doge, or chief magistrate, accompanied by four of their senators, to France to ask his pardon and receive his terms.

37 They were obliged to submit to it for the sake of peace.

38 Would he on any occasion either have demanded or have received the like humiliation from Spain, or Britain, or any other powerful nation?

The warning is clear. Power is respected, it is the only thing that is respected between nations, and a single unified federal government speaking for the United States would possess a credibility and a potential menace that smaller regional, or even state, governments could not match. Jay knew from personal experience that such a credibility, such a menace, was necessary to preserve the peace in a world that could be most predatory toward the weak.

The resolve and unity of the new nation was to be tested, and soon, first by the Barbary states and then the British. Jay himself would be instrumental in putting off the latter test for nearly twenty years, but in the end it would come. When it did, despite the occupation and burning of the new nation’s capital, the British would find themselves engaged by one nation, not thirteen. It would prove barely enough.

Discussion Topics

Coming Monday, 8 March

John DeWitt #3


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Free Republic
KEYWORDS: federalistpapers; freeperbookclub

1 posted on 03/04/2010 7:56:51 AM PST by Publius
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To: 14themunny; 21stCenturion; 300magnum; A Strict Constructionist; abigail2; AdvisorB; Aggie Mama; ...
Ping! The thread has been posted.

Earlier threads:

FReeper Book Club: The Debate over the Constitution
5 Oct 1787, Centinel #1
6 Oct 1787, James Wilson’s Speech at the State House
8 Oct 1787, Federal Farmer #1
9 Oct 1787, Federal Farmer #2
18 Oct 1787, Brutus #1
22 Oct 1787, John DeWitt #1
27 Oct 1787, John DeWitt #2
27 Oct 1787, Federalist #1
31 Oct 1787, Federalist #2

2 posted on 03/04/2010 7:58:29 AM PST by Publius (Come study the Constitution with the FReeper Book Club.)
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To: Publius

Jay made a clear argument just based on statistics. Most people struggle with the concept that an airplane with two engines is twice as likely to have an engine failure as a plane with one engine. But it is the truth. Each engine has a one percent chance of failure. Two engines have two times one percent, or two percent chance for failure.

A nation with thirteen powers acting on their own behalf is 13 times more likely to engage in mischief than a nation with one power. Jay’s ideals, though, are obvious from his poor prediction of the state of Indian affairs. Jay believed that the central government would attract the best and brightest because of increased opportunity to do good. He ommitted the fact that it would also attract the most unscrupulous characters because of the increased opportunity to do harm.

His time spent in European courts should have made this clear. Often the king’s men do not care about the best interests of the king. They have repeatedly acted intentionally to harm the monarchy and promote their own interests. Sometimes this was good, sometimes it was not. Jay’s opinion here is a glossover, and for that reason, I’ve ignored it for many years.


3 posted on 03/04/2010 8:23:47 AM PST by sig226 (Bring back Jimmy Carter!)
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To: Publius
Jay once again is arguing with phantoms. He's making the case for something which was not in question, apparantly continuing his theme from the last essay of conflating opposition to the Constitution with disunionism, and on the flipside, conflating the benefits of union with the benefits of the Constitution.

In reality, the question was not union or disunion. The question was whether to keep their federal system or replace it with the consolidated national system of the new Constitution.

4 posted on 03/04/2010 8:34:53 AM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Huck
Have you read Hamlton's Curse, by Thomas DiLorenzo?
5 posted on 03/04/2010 8:46:30 AM PST by Publius (Come study the Constitution with the FReeper Book Club.)
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To: sig226

“Most people struggle with the concept that an airplane with two engines is twice as likely to have an engine failure as a plane with one engine. But it is the truth. Each engine has a one percent chance of failure. Two engines have two times one percent, or two percent chance for failure.”

True, but the probability of a one engine plane running on zero engines is 1%.

The chance of a two engine plane running on zero engines is 1% of 1%.


6 posted on 03/04/2010 8:53:21 AM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: Huck
Jay once again is arguing with phantoms. He's making the case for something which was not in question, apparantly continuing his theme from the last essay of conflating opposition to the Constitution with disunionism, and on the flipside, conflating the benefits of union with the benefits of the Constitution.

Jay was aware of the temper of the times, the frustrations with the ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation, and believed that the United States were in very real danger of breaking up into 13 or more separate countries.

We of course know this was very possible - we have the examples of the United States of Central America, the Grand Columbian Republic, and the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, all of which broke up into component parts shortly after they achieved independence. Mexico underwent a similar breakup during the 19th Century, with some of the components eventually reuniting with Mexico (Republic of Yucatan, Republic of the Rio Grande), and others winding up part of Mexico's neighbor to the north (Texas, California).

My opinion is that the Constitution was the last chance before permanent disunion. There's nothing inevitable about one large republic between Canada and Mexico, to my knowledge no republic had ever existed on that scale (The Roman Republic was not - it was a city-state with an empire grafted onto it - and eventually the empire corrupted the Republic.) Breaking up into a bunch of perpetually squabbling independent states was probably the most likely outcome, and it is part of American Exceptionalism that it did not happen.

The Antifederalists may not have wanted disunion and perpetual turmoil and war, but if they had succeeded in blocking the ratification of the Constitution that is probably what they would have gotten.

7 posted on 03/04/2010 9:23:26 AM PST by Cheburashka (Stephen Decatur: you want barrels of gunpowder as tribute, you must expect cannonballs with it.)
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To: Publius
Have you read Hamlton's Curse, by Thomas DiLorenzo?

No but if in it he concludes that Hamilton was trying to undermine the republic from the outset he is right on!

I have put it on my list.

8 posted on 03/04/2010 10:02:17 AM PST by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Publius

No. In fact, I haven’t read any DiLorenzo. I know, it’s a travesty. I’ll get around to it at some point. Why do you ask?


9 posted on 03/04/2010 10:16:54 AM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Cheburashka
Jay was aware of the temper of the times, the frustrations with the ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation, and believed that the United States were in very real danger of breaking up into 13 or more separate countries.

That's one spin on it. A different spin is that we were 13 separate countries from the start, united by purpose, habits, morals, commerce, etc. That's why we were a confederation of states, and not a unified, consolidated republic. I personally think the pro-constitution crowd was whooping up fear as policians always do when trying to push through bigger government.

We of course know this was very possible - we have the examples of the United States of Central America, the Grand Columbian Republic, and the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, all of which broke up into component parts shortly after they achieved independence. Mexico underwent a similar breakup during the 19th Century, with some of the components eventually reuniting with Mexico (Republic of Yucatan, Republic of the Rio Grande), and others winding up part of Mexico's neighbor to the north (Texas, California).

All of which argues AGAINST forming one giant consolidated republic, as opposed to maintain the confederation of states. Of course, how long did it take AFTER the Constitution until we DID break up? 60 some odd years. Not very long. Which renders your entire point moot. We DID consolidate and we DID break up. I'd argue that consolidation made the breakup MORE likely.

10 posted on 03/04/2010 10:21:30 AM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Cheburashka

For your consideration...

Antifederalist No. 3 NEW CONSTITUTION CREATES A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT; WILL NOT ABATE FOREIGN INFLUENCE; DANGERS OF CIVIL WAR AND DESPOTISM


Like the nome de plume “Publius” used by pro Constitution writers in the Federalist Papers, several Antifederalists signed their writings “A FARMER.” While the occupation of the writers may not have coincided with the name given, the arguments against consolodating power in the hands of a central government were widely read. The following was published in the Maryland Gazette and Baltimore Advertiser, March 7, 1788. The true identity of the author is unknown.

There are but two modes by which men are connected in society, the one which operates on individuals, this always has been, and ought still to be called, national government; the other which binds States and governments together (not corporations, for there is no considerable nation on earth, despotic, monarchical, or republican, that does not contain many subordinate corporations with various constitutions) this last has heretofore been denominated a league or confederacy. The term federalists is therefore improperly applied to themselves, by the friends and supporters of the proposed constitution. This abuse of language does not help the cause; every degree of imposition serves only to irritate, but can never convince. They are national men, and their opponents, or at least a great majority of them, are federal, in the only true and strict sense of the word.

Whether any form of national government is preferable for the Americans, to a league or confederacy, is a previous question we must first make up our minds upon....

That a national government will add to the dignity and increase the splendor of the United States abroad, can admit of no doubt: it is essentially requisite for both. That it will render government, and officers of government, more dignified at home is equally certain. That these objects are more suited to the manners, if not [the] genius and disposition of our people is, I fear, also true. That it is requisite in order to keep us at peace among ourselves, is doubtful. That it is necessary, to prevent foreigners from dividing us, or interfering in our government, I deny positively; and, after all, I have strong doubts whether all its advantages are not more specious than solid. We are vain, like other nations. We wish to make a noise in the world; and feel hurt that Europeans are not so attentive to America in peace, as they were to America in war. We are also, no doubt, desirous of cutting a figure in history. Should we not reflect, that quiet is happiness? That content and pomp are incompatible? I have either read or heard this truth, which the Americans should never forget: That the silence of historians is the surest record of the happiness of a people. The Swiss have been four hundred years the envy of mankind, and there is yet scarcely an history of their nation. What is history, but a disgusting and painful detail of the butcheries of conquerors, and the woeful calamities of the conquered? Many of us are proud, and are frequently disappointed that office confers neither respect or difference. No man of merit can ever be disgraced by office. A rogue in office may be feared in some governments-he will be respected in none. After all, what we call respect and difference only arise from contrast of situation, as most of our ideas come by comparison and relation. Where the people are free there can be no great contrast or distinction among honest citizens in or out of office. In proportion as the people lose their freedom, every gradation of distinction, between the Governors and governed obtains, until the former become masters, and the latter become slaves. In all governments virtue will command reverence. The divine Cato knew every Roman citizen by name, and never assumed any preeminence; yet Cato found, and his memory will find, respect and reverence in the bosoms of mankind, until this world returns into that nothing, from whence Omnipotence called it. That the people are not at present disposed for, and are actually incapable of, governments of simplicity and equal rights, I can no longer doubt. But whose fault is it? We make them bad, by bad governments, and then abuse and despise them for being so. Our people are capable of being made anything that human nature was or is capable of, if we would only have a little patience and give them good and wholesome institutions; but I see none such and very little prospect of such. Alas! I see nothing in my fellow-citizens, that will permit my still fostering the delusion, that they are now capable of sustaining the weight of SELF-GOVERNMENT: a burden to which Greek and Roman shoulders proved unequal. The honor of supporting the dignity of the human character, seems reserved to the hardy Helvetians alone. If the body of the people will not govern themselves, and govern themselves well too, the consequence is unavoidable-a FEW will, and must govern them. Then it is that government becomes truly a government by force only, where men relinquish part of their natural rights to secure the rest, instead of an union of will and force, to protect all their natural rights, which ought to be the foundation of every rightful social compact.

Whether national government will be productive of internal peace, is too uncertain to admit of decided opinion. I only hazard a conjecture when I say, that our state disputes, in a confederacy, would be disputes of levity and passion, which would subside before injury. The people being free, government having no right to them, but they to government, they would separate and divide as interest or inclination prompted-as they do at this day, and always have done, in Switzerland. In a national government, unless cautiously and fortunately administered, the disputes will be the deep-rooted differences of interest, where part of the empire must be injured by the operation of general law; and then should the sword of government be once drawn (which Heaven avert) I fear it will not be sheathed, until we have waded through that series of desolation, which France, Spain, and the other great kingdoms of the world have suffered, in order to bring so many separate States into uniformity, of government and law; in which event the legislative power can only be entrusted to one man (as it is with them) who can have no local attachments, partial interests, or private views to gratify.

That a national government will prevent the influence or danger of foreign intrigue, or secure us from invasion, is in my judgment directly the reverse of the truth. The only foreign, or at least evil foreign influence, must be obtained through corruption. Where the government is lodged in the body of the people, as in Switzerland, they can never be corrupted; for no prince, or people, can have resources enough to corrupt the majority of a nation; and if they could, the play is not worth the candle. The facility of corruption is increased in proportion as power tends by representation or delegation, to a concentration in the hands of a few. . . .

As to any nation attacking a number of confederated independent republics ... it is not to be expected, more especially as the wealth of the empire is there universally diffused, and will not be collected into any one overgrown, luxurious and effeminate capital to become a lure to the enterprizing ambitious. That extensive empire is a misfortune to be deprecated, will not now be disputed. The balance of power has long engaged the attention of all the European world, in order to avoid the horrid evils of a general government. The same government pervading a vast extent of territory, terrifies the minds of individuals into meanness and submission. All human authority, however organized, must have confined limits, or insolence and oppression will prove the offspring of its grandeur, and the difficulty or rather impossibility of escape prevents resistance. Gibbon relates that some Roman Knights who had offended government in Rome were taken up in Asia, in a very few days after. It was the extensive territory of the Roman republic that produced a Sylla, a Marius, a Caligula, a Nero, and an Elagabalus. In small independent States contiguous to each other, the people run away and leave despotism to reek its vengeance on itself; and thus it is that moderation becomes with them, the law of self-preservation. These and such reasons founded on the eternal and immutable nature of things have long caused and will continue to cause much difference of sentiment throughout our wide extensive territories. From our divided and dispersed situation, and from the natural moderation of the American character, it has hitherto proved a warfare of argument and reason.

A FARMER


11 posted on 03/04/2010 10:25:21 AM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Huck

DiLorenzo makes some of your points.


12 posted on 03/04/2010 11:42:28 AM PST by Publius (Come study the Constitution with the FReeper Book Club.)
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To: ModelBreaker

Doesn’t matter. When one engine fails, it often leads to a crash.


13 posted on 03/04/2010 11:52:52 AM PST by sig226 (Bring back Jimmy Carter!)
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To: Cheburashka
John Jay was president of Congress during the Revolutionary War. He was thus familiar with the problems of the Articles of Confederation from within the system and as a diplomat, from without.

At the Virginia Constitutional Ratifying Convention, Governor Edmund Randolph remarked:

“We want a government, sir — a government that will have stability, and give us security; for our present government is destitute of the one and incapable of producing the other. It cannot, perhaps, with propriety, be denominated a government, being void of that energy requisite to enforce sanctions. I wish my country not to be contemptible in the eyes of foreign nations. A well-regulated community is always respected. It is the internal situation, the defects of government, that attract foreign contempt: that contempt, sir, is too often followed by subjugation.”

“Consider the commercial regulations between us and Maryland. Is it not known to gentlemen that the states have been making reprisals on each other — to obviate a repetition of which, in some degree, these regulations have been made? Can we not see, from this circumstance, the jealousy, rivalship, and hatred that would subsist between them, in case this state was out of the Union? They are importing states, and importing states will ever be competitors and rivals. Rhode Island and Connecticut have been on the point of war, on the subject of their paper money; Congress did not attempt to interpose.”

14 posted on 03/04/2010 11:53:18 AM PST by Jacquerie (Support and Defend our Beloved Constitution)
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To: Jacquerie
I wish my country not to be contemptible in the eyes of foreign nations.

Sounds like a modern Democrat. John Kerry or Joe Biden.

15 posted on 03/04/2010 12:22:58 PM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Huck
I've considered it and found it wanting.

Your Farmer doesn't understand the difference between a federal and a national (a better term would be unitary, like modern France, where all power is concentrated in the national government and the departments are just creatures of that national government. That is not the government the Framers of our Constitution put together, although Mr. Farmer doesn't seem to be aware of that.


That it is necessary, to prevent foreigners from dividing us, or interfering in our government, I deny positively; ...

Total and utter cluelessness. Of course with a multitude of autonomous states an outside power or many outside powers can set one against the others. The British did that in India and turned themselves into the arbiters amongst the native states. The Romans conquered the Mediterranean world by doing so among the other Mediterranean states. I am supposed to take seriously the ideas of someone who does not understand the axiom “divide et impera”?


Alas! I see nothing in my fellow-citizens, that will permit my still fostering the delusion, that they are now capable of sustaining the weight of SELF-GOVERNMENT: a burden to which Greek and Roman shoulders proved unequal.

Well, Mr. Farmer, time to send a nice letter to His Britannic Majesty King George and humbly request that he resume his benevolent rule over his former North American colonies.

Oh, Mr. Farmer, you were being sarcastic? My mistake. But then why are you opposing the vehicle by which you and your fellow Americans will rule themselves in peace and prosperity?


The honor of supporting the dignity of the human character, seems reserved to the hardy Helvetians alone....

Blaat! Wrong, Mr. Farmer. The Swiss Confederation of the time you wrote was a amalgamation of petty monarchies and oligarchies with a few democratic (relatively) city-states thrown in, who quarrelled amongst themselves. It only looks good from somewhere beyond the ocean. The Swiss had the benefit of the poor real estate that they occupied - no one really wanted it that badly but the Swiss themselves. And while it's still in your future (although not ours) this house of cards was to be kicked over by the French revolutionaries in just a short few years from when you were writing. The Swiss Confederation of the post-Napoleonic world will be much different from that of your day, Mr. Farmer. Most people are ignorant of history, and they are even more ignorant of the history of foreign countries. Especially small ones.


Whether national government will be productive of internal peace, is too uncertain to admit of decided opinion....

In a few short years you will have to admit the decided opinion that the FEDERAL (stop this national b.s. Mr. Farmer) government is productive of internal peace. I hope you lived to see that day.

I could go on, but I see no need. This guy's wrong, I don't see any reason to continue beating his poor dead horse. And this drivel makes my brain hurt.

The Anti-federalists were wrong, as they learned when the Constitution was ratified and put into operation. It's too bad that the writers of the various Anti-federalist screeds that have survived were not forced to sit down and publicly admit, “Well, I was wrong...” and describe exactly how they misunderstood how the Constitution would work. But that is life, people who make mistakes prefer to let them slide into oblivion.

Please don't ever throw some monstrosity like this at me and force me to read through it ever again. Ever. Because I won't. Life is too short to spend much time pointing out how the clueless were clueless when said clueless are some 200 years(plus or minus) dead.

16 posted on 03/04/2010 12:50:55 PM PST by Cheburashka (Stephen Decatur: you want barrels of gunpowder as tribute, you must expect cannonballs with it.)
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To: Huck
Governor Randolph continues:

"Notwithstanding their intelligence, and earnest solicitude for the good of their country, this system {The Articles of Confederation} proved totally inadequate to the purpose for which it was devised. But, sir, this was no disgrace to them. The subject of confederations was then new, and the necessity of speedily forming some government for the states, to defend them against the pressing dangers, prevented, perhaps, those able statesmen from making that system as perfect as more leisure and deliberation might have enabled them to do. I cannot otherwise conceive how they could have formed a system that provided no means of enforcing the powers which were nominally given it. Was it not a political farce to pretend to vest powers, without accompanying them with the means of putting them in execution? This want of energy was not a greater solecism than the blending together, and vesting in one body, all the branches of government."

"The utter inefficacy of this system was discovered, the moment the danger was over, by the introduction of peace"

Kinda sums it up.

17 posted on 03/04/2010 1:00:48 PM PST by Jacquerie (Support and Defend our Beloved Constitution)
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To: Cheburashka
the difference between a federal and a national

Wish I had time to respond other than to say the above quote is funny.

18 posted on 03/04/2010 1:13:29 PM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Cheburashka
It's too bad that the writers of the various Anti-federalist screeds that have survived were not forced to sit down and publicly admit, “Well, I was wrong...” and describe exactly how they misunderstood how the Constitution would work.

Patrick Henry actually did that, and then he sided with Hamilton in the disagreement over the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which Henry saw as fostering disunion and as possibly treasonous.

19 posted on 03/04/2010 1:20:59 PM PST by Publius (Come study the Constitution with the FReeper Book Club.)
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To: Publius
I didn't know that Henry eventually admitted he was wrong. Do you know where and when he did so?
20 posted on 03/04/2010 1:28:14 PM PST by Jacquerie (It is only in the context of Natural Law that our Declaration & Constitution form a coherent whole)
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To: Huck
My spin is right, your spin is wrong. And being strong enough to defend yourself form foreign interference is a good thing. Especially if you can arrange it so that the Federal government is strong enough to defend the States from foreign interference without being strong enough to oppress its citizens. That is what the Constitution does.

Thirteen or more separate states could not be as strong as one United States of America. They would be easily turned against each other by foreign diplomatic intrigue. Actually they would probably turn against each other before that just because they have different and competing economic and social interests. Eventually the foreigners (presumably the British, but not necessarily) would waltz in and be hailed for liberating the disunited states from the scourge of war by imposing its will. Presumably we would now all happily be singing “God Save the Queen” before our cricket games and soccer matches if it were the British.

I understand that you hate the Constitution. That is regrettable, but that is your problem.

21 posted on 03/04/2010 1:47:23 PM PST by Cheburashka (Stephen Decatur: you want barrels of gunpowder as tribute, you must expect cannonballs with it.)
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To: Jacquerie
Wikipedia is sometimes suspect, but I think this one is on the money.

...following the radicalism of the French Revolution Henry's views changed as he began to fear a similar fate could befall America and by the late 1790s Henry was in support of the Federalist policies of Washington and Adams. He especially denounced the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which had been secretly written by Jefferson and Madison, and approved by the legislatures of those two states. He warned that civil war was threatened because Virginia, "had quitted the sphere in which she had been placed by the Constitution, and, in daring to pronounce upon the validity of federal laws, had gone out of her jurisdiction in a manner not warranted by any authority, and in the highest degree alarming to every considerate man; that such opposition, on the part of Virginia, to the acts of the general government, must beget their enforcement by military power; that this would probably produce civil war, civil war foreign alliances, and that foreign alliances must necessarily end in subjugation to the powers called in." ... He strongly supported John Marshall and at the urging of Washington stood for and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates as a Federalist.

Once the Constitution had been ratified, Robert Yates, who was probably Brutus, also said that the debate was over and the Constitution was the supreme law of the land.

22 posted on 03/04/2010 1:47:27 PM PST by Publius (Come study the Constitution with the FReeper Book Club.)
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To: Huck
the difference between a federal and a national

Wish I had time to respond other than to say the above quote is funny.


The fact you do not understand the difference is sad.
23 posted on 03/04/2010 1:51:59 PM PST by Cheburashka (Stephen Decatur: you want barrels of gunpowder as tribute, you must expect cannonballs with it.)
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To: Publius
“Because when once an efficient national government is established, the best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will generally be appointed to manage it, for although town or country or other contracted influence may place men in state assemblies or senates or courts of justice or executive departments, yet more general and extensive reputation for talents and other qualifications will be necessary to recommend men to offices under the national government, especially as it will have the widest field for choice and never experience that want of proper persons which is not uncommon in some of the states.”

I'm really starting to hate this guy.. John Kerry pops into my mind when I read this. Puffed up with unearned money and elitism.

Despite this.. He makes some good points but he is profoundly naive.

The ubermenshen that are so wise to want to rule over us couldn't possibly have ulterior motives, like power, greed, political ideology that would put the nation at risk.

24 posted on 03/04/2010 2:01:07 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (Liberals are educated above their level of intelligence.. Thanks Sr. Angelica)
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To: Cheburashka

We defeated the British without consolidated government.


25 posted on 03/04/2010 2:06:21 PM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Huck
We defeated the British without consolidated government.

We did it without the Articles of Confederation as well, which were ratified just a few months before victory at Yorktown. We won at Yorktown despite the Articles and due to the assistance of the French Army, Navy and the efforts of a Virginia military dictator. His name was Thomas Nelson and his predations were made necessary by inadequate government. Absent his requisitions against the people of Virginian the combined armies may not have prevailed against the British.

26 posted on 03/04/2010 2:21:14 PM PST by Jacquerie (It is only in the context of Natural Law that our Declaration & Constitution form a coherent whole)
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To: Huck

This guy makes a number of great points.


27 posted on 03/04/2010 2:28:36 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (Liberals are educated above their level of intelligence.. Thanks Sr. Angelica)
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To: Publius

That’s not Henry admitting he was wrong in opposing the Constitution. He didn’t recant on any of that. He simply accepted the outcome of the ratification and served honorably under the new system.


28 posted on 03/04/2010 2:33:49 PM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Publius
He especially denounced the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which had been secretly written by Jefferson and Madison

Brutal irony in all of that. Henry tried to warn them, but no, they had to have their new fangled system. Then almost immediately they scrambled around trying to deal with the damage they'd wrought,and there was Henry, properly interpreting the system THEY created.

29 posted on 03/04/2010 2:36:45 PM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Huck
Wish I had time to respond other than to say the above quote is funny.

Oh, now you have the time! Let's hear it.

30 posted on 03/04/2010 2:55:06 PM PST by Jacquerie (It is only in the context of Natural Law that our Declaration & Constitution form a coherent whole)
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To: Huck
We defeated the British without consolidated government.

No, we had a confederated government, although not a very well organized one. Hey, there was a war on. It's hard to organize a new government while you're fighting a war, worse yet fighting a war on your home terrain. (Rule number one: when fighting a war, try to do it on the other guy's territory.) And we had French and Spanish help. So we won. Barely. If there had been thirteen separate governments each fighting the British separately, well, you could expect to know what spotted dick tastes like, as well as kidney pie.

But you seem to want disunion, to think it's a good thing.

31 posted on 03/04/2010 3:34:01 PM PST by Cheburashka (Stephen Decatur: you want barrels of gunpowder as tribute, you must expect cannonballs with it.)
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To: Cheburashka
If there had been thirteen separate governments ... But you seem to want disunion, to think it's a good thing.

chuckle. You're just like John Jay, conflating opposition to the Consitution with disunion.

32 posted on 03/04/2010 4:04:03 PM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Huck
The Anti-federalists were d___less wonders who pouted and whined and stamped their tiny little feet, but never came up with their alternative, their “Anti-constitution” to give it a name for purposes of argument. Since they never came up with their Anti-constitution that left only two choices: The Constitution or nothing, i.e. disunion. So yeah, you're right - with only two choices on the table you've got only two choices.

Too bad the Anti-federalists didn't man up and actually produce their Anti-constitution. I'm sure it would have been the eighth wonder of the world.

It's 2010. The Anti-federalists have produced squat for 223 consecutive years. Will they finally produce this year? You can hold your breath - I won't.

33 posted on 03/04/2010 4:38:59 PM PST by Cheburashka (Stephen Decatur: you want barrels of gunpowder as tribute, you must expect cannonballs with it.)
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To: Cheburashka
The Anti-federalists were d___less wonders who pouted and whined and stamped their tiny little feet,

lol. Thanks for showing your true colors.

but never came up with their alternative, their “Anti-constitution” to give it a name for purposes of argument. Since they never came up with their Anti-constitution that left only two choices: The Constitution or nothing, i.e. disunion.

That's nowhere near the truth. For one, we already had a government. Rejection of the Constitution would not have returned them to a state of nature. It would have been just another day under the Articles of Confederation.

The "alternative" to the Constitution is what sent the delegates to Philly in the first place. They were asked to make specific changes to the Articles, but certain delegates, particularly Hamilton and Madison, already had their plan to adopt a new, centralized, national government, and so they seized the opportunity, showing up with a draft already written.

The Anti-federalists have produced squat for 223 consecutive years.

What the antifederalists produced was an accurate critique of the national system created by the Constitution, and some good predictions of the abuses that would follow.

Anyway, I find your hostility and name-calling amusing. Thanks for the entertainment.

34 posted on 03/05/2010 6:07:59 AM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Cheburashka
It's 2010. The Anti-federalists have produced squat for 223 consecutive years. Will they finally produce this year? You can hold your breath - I won't.

Uh, being a student freshly exposed to the roots of our form of government, I must admit that, so far, the Bill of Rights seems to be the child of the Anti-Federalists.

Today, conversation about our form of government is likely, more often than not, to discuss which amendment is being challenged.

35 posted on 03/05/2010 10:56:57 AM PST by whodathunkit
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To: Publius; sig226
•At 27, Jay points out that states have caused Indian wars, but not the federal government, no matter how feeble it may have been. At 31 and 32, he argues that federal men will be cooler and less prideful than men from the state governments. At 34, he states that with power comes greater confidence from a greater nation. To what extent is right?

Line 27 appears to be an outlier compared to his prior arguments. One can accept that there was no 'official' declaration of war against Indians in part or in whole but the effects of alliances and treaties would have a negative impact on a large scale and soon be realized. Retributions against the Loyalists did not distinguish between Europeans and Indians.

He describes a great gathering of able men to the benefit of all. It can also be interpreted as having the ability to control remote areas and future states from a central authority.

The power of the government ultimately rests with the individual. Given to states or the union, the source remains the same. Jay makes a valid point that a larger group of individuals uniting together has an exponentially stronger bargaining position. He is too willing to overlook the fact (as sig226 says in post 3) "Often the king’s men do not care about the best interests of the king."

24 So far, therefore, as either designed or accidental violations of treaties and the laws of nations afford just causes of war, they are less to be apprehended under one general government than under several lesser ones, and in that respect the former most favors the safety of the people.

It is understandable that 'one world government' was not an issue at the time. The world influence of a country was generally defined by the range of it's weapons, ships being one of the farthest ranging. Today is different, of course, and we have ICBMs. The consolidation of all governments of our planet would be the logical outcome of his ideology.

36 posted on 03/05/2010 12:21:59 PM PST by whodathunkit
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To: Huck
I find your hostility and name-calling amusing

Review your own comments directed at John Jay and Gov. Randolph. Your first resort is the ad-hominem. Keep laughing. It suits those who substitute emotion for thought.

37 posted on 03/05/2010 1:19:23 PM PST by Jacquerie (It is only in the context of Natural Law that our Declaration & Constitution form a coherent whole)
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To: Huck
What the antifederalists produced was an accurate critique of the national system created by the Constitution, and some good predictions of the abuses that would follow.

If their criticisms had been accurate they would have continued to point them out after the Constitution was ratified. They weren't and they didn't. Once it was in operation they realized that their criticisms were wrong. They shut up. They wanted everyone to forget they had been so wrong. I can't say I blame them. Who wants to admit they were that wrong?


Rejection of the Constitution would not have returned them to a state of nature. It would have been just another day under the Articles of Confederation.

True. And the rejection of the Constitution would have started the clock ticking on when the several states would have sent notice to the moribund central government that they were seceding. Six or less, maybe a lot less. They already had experience with breaking ties with unsatisfactory governments that wouldn't reform themselves, they got rid of one twelve years earlier. Unlike that prior one, which had a serious army, this one was so weak it couldn't even have put up a fight.
38 posted on 03/05/2010 4:14:57 PM PST by Cheburashka (Stephen Decatur: you want barrels of gunpowder as tribute, you must expect cannonballs with it.)
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To: Cheburashka
True. And the rejection of the Constitution would have started the clock ticking on when the several states would have sent notice to the moribund central government that they were seceding.

Seceding? From a perpetual Union? Surely you jest!!

Fact is that they ALL did seced from the "perpetual union" formed under the Articles of Confederation and formed a NEW government under the Constitution. How did they legally do that?

39 posted on 03/05/2010 5:46:16 PM PST by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Cheburashka
YOu seem to make a habit of being wrong.

If their criticisms had been accurate they would have continued to point them out after the Constitution was ratified. They weren't and they didn't. Once it was in operation they realized that their criticisms were wrong. They shut up.

Bzzzzt. Wrong. After it was ratified, and the first congress was in session, they added 10 amendments to the Constitution to attempt to improve some of its obvious deficiencies. That's hardly shutting up.

As for who turned out to be wrong, history has shown who was right and who was wrong. Do we have a judiciary that is virtually unchecked and expands federal power? Do we have a congress that deems almost anything within the scope of its "necessary and proper" powers? Do we have states that have been neutered to the point of being mere agents or depaertments of the national government? These were the predictions of the antifederalists.

Or, on the other hand, do we have robust states and a federal government of "few and defined" powers." That was the federalist argument.

Obviously, the question answers itself.

40 posted on 03/06/2010 5:39:29 AM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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To: Cheburashka; Huck
Once the Constitution was ratified, the anti-Federalists did more than get the Bill of Rights into the Constitution, they formed the basis of the Jeffersonian impulse in American politics.

Before the Civil War dealt a death blow to Jacksonian federalism, the anti-Federalists formed the base of Jefferson's Republican Party and Jackson's Democratic Party. After the Civil War, the Jeffersonian impulse formed the basis of the Progressive Movement.

Following World War II, Goldwater brought the heirs of the anti-Federalists and Jeffersonians into the modern Republican Party, and Reagan brought them to power -- for a while. Today the heirs of John DeWitt and Jefferson reside in the Tea Party movement.

The anti-Federalists are still among us, but in a different form.

41 posted on 03/06/2010 12:35:30 PM PST by Publius (Come study the Constitution with the FReeper Book Club.)
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To: Publius

But of course, once the Constitution was ratified, antifederalism (federalism) was a lost cause, as we have seen. I don’t really like Jefferson’s name attached to antifederalism. While the antifederalists were resisting big government consolidation, Jefferson was out of the country taking Madison’s word for everything. Madison, once his great plan was hatched, immediately began scurrying around, scheming with Jefferson against Washington and Hamilton, who were only doing what any antifederalist could have told them (and did) would happen. By then it was too late, and they both come off looking like fools.


42 posted on 03/06/2010 6:03:41 PM PST by Huck (Q: How can you tell a party is in the majority? A: They're complaining about the fillibuster.)
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