Skip to comments.Peter Berkowitz: Why Colleges Don't Teach the Federalist Papers
Posted on 05/08/2012 10:01:56 PM PDT by iowamark
It would be difficult to overstate the significance of The Federalist for understanding the principles of American government and the challenges that liberal democracies confront early in the second decade of the 21st century. Yet despite the lip service they pay to liberal education, our leading universities can't be bothered to require students to study The Federalist...
Small wonder it took so long for progressives to realize that arguments about the constitutionality of ObamaCare are indeed serious.
The masterpiece of American political thought originated as a series of newspaper articles published under the pseudonym Publius in New York between October 1787 and August 1788 by framers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. The aim was to make the case for ratification of the new constitution, which had been agreed to in September 1787 by delegates to the federal convention meeting in Philadelphia over four months of remarkable discussion, debate and deliberation about self-government.
By the end of 1788, a total of 85 essays had been gathered in two volumes under the title The Federalist. Written at a brisk clip and with the crucial vote in New York hanging in the balance, the essays formed a treatise on constitutional self-government for the ages...
And thus so many of our leading opinion formers and policy makers seem to come unhinged when they encounter constitutional arguments apparently foreign to them but well-rooted in constitutional text, structure and history. These include arguments about, say, the unitary executive; or the priority of protecting political speech of all sorts; or the imperative to articulate a principle that keeps the Constitution's commerce clause from becoming the vehicle by which a federal governmentwhose powers, as Madison put it in Federalist 45, are "few and defined"is remade into one of limitless unenumerated powers...
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
The Federalist by numbers
In the early 60’s The Federalist Papers were covered in my school district. By the late ‘60’s they were gone.
When you’re trying to embezzle company funds, the last thing you do is show your employer how to check up on you....
This is a no-brainer as colleges in fact do not want an informed population.
It would be even more difficult to find college students capable of reading them, much less recognizing the snow job in Federalist 75 with which Hamilton hid a poison pill in the treaty power. Given the pending ratification of LOST or the Small Arms Treaty, it is a serious and current issue.
Hence, one should read the records of the Virginia Ratifying Convention as well.
It should be a required course in high school. It’s absurd that government funded schools don’t teach the fundamental origins of our country. Bizarre even.
“the last thing you do is show your employer how to check up on you....”
Good one, you should post this at the original site. :)
It is only important for education systems show students how to appropriately ply rubbers...
There exists a very strong argument that no treaty can violate pre-existing constitutional provisions without being void. The idea that treaties have full force implies that that force comes from somewhere - i.e. the Constitution. Therefore, to draw up a treaty that violates constituional provisions, is to negate the source of that treaty's claim to power.
Of course, interpreting the treaty clause through the 14th Amendment adds another layer of disconnect. But as it was originally written, it wasn't a direct poison pill, and was subject to judicial review vis a vis preexisting constitutional provisions.
On the other hand, Hamilton was a treasonous bastard before there was even a country, and fully deserved the end he received from Burr. Too bad it didn't come sooner.
I read some of the Federalist Papers at Bama. That probably had everything to do with Forrest McDonald being my professor. He made quite an impact on my family. I consider myself to have been very blessed to take many courses on American history from the best!
Disagree there. Ratification by "two thirds of Senators PRESENT" (my emphasis) was the poison pill, as was the placement of the comma in the Supremacy Clause. Patrick Henry was furious about it. He was right.
Had Henry accepted George Washington's appointment as the first Chief Justice of the United States perhaps he could have had some influence in shaping the Judicial Power.
Some people don't respond when history calls. Henry was one of them.
I recently read his Novus Ordo Seclorum. He is among the best historians of the Founding era.
Uh... for the same reason they DO TEACH The Communist Manifesto.
wow, I wish I had a little of your understanding of it all
“It should be a required course in high school.”
I agree. May I also add that I think that ECONOMICS should also be taught. Maybe if more people really understood how an economy works, they would vote intelligently. Although, I do admit, that in today’s US public schools, I do NOT trust the teacher’s unions to teach it truthfully.
My college age kids (oldest finishes college today :) know and understand economics because I taught them!! They have been taxpayers since age 15 (their Dad and I thought working after school was a valuable life lesson)and they vote like taxpayers not like “idealistic college kids”!
I pray for my country. We need public education to “teach the fundamental origins of our country”.
FR is a school for me bump.