Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Wesleyan University Press
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The United States has produced three historic documents of major importance: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and The Federalist. The Declaration of Independence has been printed at least twice with every minor insert and deletion; editions of the Constitution as well as commentaries on it resemble Biblical exegesis. Yet an...
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The Federalist, addressed to the People of the State of New York, was occasioned by the objections of many New Yorkers to the Constitution which had been proposed on September 17, 1787, by the Philadelphia Convention. During the last week in September and the first weeks of October, 1787, the pages of New York newspapers were filled with...
The Federalist No. i
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After an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting Foederal 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...
The Federalist No. 2
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When the people of America reflect that they are now called upon to decide a question, which, in its consequences, must prove one of the most important, that ever engaged their attention, the propriety of their taking a very comprehensive, as well as a very serious view of it, will be evident...
The Federalist No. 3
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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. 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...
The Federalist No. 4
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My last Paper assigned several reasons why the safety of the people would be best secured by Union against the danger it may be exposed to by just causes of war given to other nations; and those reasons shew that such causes would not only be more rarely given, but would also be more easily accommodated by a national Government, than either by the State Governments000
The Federalist No. 5
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Queen Ann, in her letter of the 1st July 1706 to the Scotch Parliament, makes some observations on the" importance of the Union then forming between England and Scotland, which merit our attention. I shall present the Public with one or two extracts from it. "An entire and perfect Union will be the solid foundation of lasting peace: It will secure your religion, liberty, and...
The Federalist No. 6
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The three last numbers of this Paper have been dedicated to an enumeration of the dangers to which we should be exposed, in a state of disunion, from the arms and arts of foreign nations. I shall now proceed to delineate dangers of a different, and, perhaps, still more alarming kind, those which will in all probability flow from dissentions between...
The Federalist No. 7
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It is sometimes asked, with an air of seeming triumph, what inducements could the States have, if disunited, to make war upon each other? It would be a full answer to this question to say — precisely the same inducements, which have, at different times, deluged in blood all the nations in the world. But unfortunately for us, the question admits of a more particular...
The Federalist No. 8
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Assuming it therefore as an established truth that the several States, in case of disunion, or such combinations of them as might happen to be formed out of the wreck of the general confederacy, would be subject to those vicissitudes of peace and war, of friendship and enmity with each other, which have fallen to...
The Federalist No. 9
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A Firm Union will be of the utmost moment to the peace and liberty of the States as a barrier against domestic faction and insurrection. It is impossible to read the history of the petty Republics of Greece and Italy, without feeling sensations of horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were...
The Federalist No. 10
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Among the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments, never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail therefore to...
The Federalist No. 11
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The importance of the Union, in a commercial light, is one of those points, about which there is least room to entertain a difference of opinion, and which has in fact commanded the most general assent of men, who have any acquaintance with the subject. This applies as well to our intercourse with foreign countries, as with each other...
The Federalist No. 12
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The effects of union upon the commercial prosperity of the
States have been sufficiently delineated. Its tendency to promote
the interests of revenue will be the subject of our present enquiry.
The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged, by all enlightened statesmen, to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth; and has accordingly...
The Federalist No. 13
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As connected with the subject of revenue, we may with propriety consider that of oeconomy. The money saved from one object may be usefully applied to another; and there will be so much the less to be drawn from the pockets of the people. If the States are united under one government, there will be but one national civil list to support; if they are divided into several...
The Federalist No. 14
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We have seen the necessity of the union as our bulwark against foreign danger, as the conservator of peace among ourselves, as the guardian of our commerce and other common interests, as the only substitute for those military establishments which have subverted the liberties of the old world; and as the proper antidote for the diseases...
The Federalist No. 15
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In the course of the preceding papers, I have endeavoured, my Fellow Citizens, to place before you in a clear and convincing light, the importance of Union to your political safety and happiness. I have unfolded to you a complication of dangers to which you would be exposed should you permit that sacred knot which...
The Federalist No. 16
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The tendency of the principle of legislation for States, or communities, in their political capacities, as it has been exemplified by the experiment we have made of it, is equally attested by the events which have befallen all other governments of the confederate kind, of which we have any account, in exact proportion...
The Federalist No. 17
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An objection of a nature different from that which has been stated and answered, in my last address, may perhaps be likewise urged against the principle of legislation for the individual citizens of America. It may be said, that it would tend to render the government of the Union too powerful, and to enable it to absorb in itself those residuary authorities...
The Federalist No. 18
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Among the confederacies of antiquity, the most considerable was that of the Grecian Republics associated under the Amphyctionic Council. From the best accounts transmitted of this celebrated institution, it bore a very instructive analogy to the present confederation of the American States...
The Federalist No. 19
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The examples of ancient confederacies, cited in my last paper, have not exhausted the source of experimental instruction on this subject. There are existing institutions, founded on a similar principle, which merit particular consideration. The first which presents itself is the Germanic Body...
The Federalist No. 20
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The United Netherlands are a confederacy of republics, or
rather of aristocracies, of a very remarkable texture; yet confirming
all the lessons derived from those which we have already reviewed.
The Union is composed of seven co-equal and sovereign States, and each State or province is a composition of equal and independent cities. In all important cases not only the provinces, but the cities must be unanimous...
The Federalist No. 21
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Having in the three last numbers taken a summary review of the principal circumstances and events, which have depicted the genius and fate of other confederate governments; I shall now proceed in the enumeration of the most important of those defects, which have hitherto disappointed our hopes from the system...
The Federalist No. 22
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In addition to the defects already enumerated in the existing
Fcederal system, there are others of not less importance, which
concur in rendering it altogether unfit for the administration
of the affairs of the Union.
The want of a power to regulate commerce is by all parties allowed to be of the number. The utility of such a power has been anticipated under the first head of our inquiries;* and for this reason as well as from the universal conviction entertained...
The Federalist No. 23
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The necessity of a Constitution, at least equally energetic with
the one proposed, to the preservation of the Union, is the point,
at the examination of which we are now arrived.
This enquiry will naturally divide itself into three branches — the objects to be provided for by a Fcederal Government — the quantity of power necessary to the accomplishment of those objects — the persons upon whom that power ought to operate...
The Federalist No. 24
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To the powers proposed to be conferred upon the Fcederal Government in respect to the creation and direction of the national forces, I have met with but one specific objection; which if I understand it rightly is this — that proper provision has not been made against the existence of standing armies in time of peace; an objection which I shall now endeavour to shew rests...
The Federalist No. 25
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It may perhaps be urged, that the objects enumerated in the preceding number ought to be provided for by the State Governments, under the direction of the Union. But this would be in reality an inversion of the primary principle of our political association; as it would in practice transfer the care of the common defence from the foederal head to the individual members...
The Federalist No. 26
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It was a thing hardly to be expected, that in a popular revolution the minds of men should stop at that happy mean, which marks the salutary boundary between power and privelage, and combines the energy of government with the security of private rights. A failure in this delicate and important point is the great source of the inconveniences we...
The Federalist No. 27
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It has been urged in different shapes that a constitution of the kind proposed by the Convention, cannot operate without the aid of a military force to execute its laws. This however, like most other things that have been alledged on that side, rests on mere general assertion; unsupported by any precise or intelligible designation of the reasons upon which it is founded. As far...
The Federalist No. 28
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That there may happen cases, in which the national government may be necessitated to resort to force, cannot be denied. Our own experience has corroborated the lessons taught by the examples of other nations; that emergencies of this sort will sometimes arise in all societies, however constituted; that seditions and insurrections are unhappily maladies as inseparable from...
The Federalist No. 29
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The power of regulating the militia and of commanding its
services in times of insurrection and invasion are natural incidents
to the duties of superintending the common defence, and
of watching over the internal peace of the confederacy.
It requires no skill in the science of war to discern that uniformity in the organization and discipline of the militia would...
The Federalist No. 30
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It has been already observed, that the Fcederal Government ought to possess the power of providing for the support of the national forces; in which proposition was intended to be included the expence of raising troops, of building and equiping fleets, and all other expences in any wise connected with military arrangements and operations. But these are not the only objects to which the jurisdiction of the Union, in respect to revenue...
The Federalist No. 31
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In disquisitions of every kind there are certain primary truths or first principles upon which all subsequent reasonings must depend. These contain an internal evidence, which antecedent to all reflection or combination commands the assent of the mind. Where it produces not this effect, it must proceed either from some defect or disorder in the organs of perception, or from the influence of some strong interest, or passion, or prejudice...
The Federalist No. 32
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Although I am of opinion that there would be no real danger of the consequences, which seem to be apprehended to the State Governments, from a power in the Union to controul them in the levies of money; because I am persuaded that the sense of the people, the extreme hazard of provoking the resentments of the State Governments, and a conviction of the utility and necessity...
The Federalist No. 33
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residue of the argument against the provisions in the constitution, in respect to taxation, is ingrafted upon the following clauses; the last clause of the eighth section of the first article of the plan under consideration, authorises the national legislature "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper, for carrying into execution the powers by that Constitution vested in the government of the United States, or in any department...
The Federalist No. 34
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I flatter myself it has been clearly shewn in my last number, that the particular States, under the proposed Constitution, would have co-equal authority with the Union in the article of revenue, except as to duties on imports. As this leaves open to the States far the greatest part of the resources of the community, there can be no color for the assertion, that they would...
The Federalist No. 35
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we proceed to examine any other objections to an indefinite power of taxation in the Union, I shall make one general remark; which is, that if the jurisdiction of the national government in the article of revenue should be restricted to particular objects, it would naturally occasion an undue proportion of the public burthens to fall upon those objects. Two...
The Federalist No. 36
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We have seen that the result of the observations, to which the foregoing number has been principally devoted, is that from the natural operation of the different interests and views of the various classes of the community, whether the representation of the people be more or less numerous, it will consist almost entirely of proprietors of land, of merchants and members of the...
The Federalist No. 37
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In reviewing the defects of the existing Confederation, and shewing that they cannot be supplied by a Government of less energy than that before the public, several of the most important principles of the latter fell of course under consideration. But as the ultimate object of these papers is to determine...
The Federalist No. 38
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It is not a little remarkable that in every case reported by antient history, in which government has been established with deliberation and consent, the task of framing it has not been committed to an assembly of men; but has been performed by some individual citizen of pre-eminent wisdom and approved integrity. Minos, we learn, was the primitive founder of the...
The Federalist No. 39
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The last paper having concluded the observations which were meant to introduce a candid survey of the plan of government reported by the Convention, we now proceed to the execution of that part of our undertaking. The first question that offers itself is, whether the general form and aspect of the government...
The Federalist No. 40
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The second point to be examined is, whether the Convention
were authorised to frame and propose this mixed Constitution.
The powers of the Convention ought in strictness to be determined, by an inspection of the commissions given to the members by their respective constituents. As all of these however had reference, either to the recommendation from the...
The Federalist No. 41
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The Constitution proposed by the Convention may be considered under two general points of view. The first relates to the sum or quantity of power which it vests in the Government, including the restraints imposed on the States. The second, to the particular structure of the Government, and the distribution of this power, among its several branches...
The Federalist No. 42
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The second class of powers lodged in the General Government, consists of those which regulate the intercourse with foreign nations, to wit, to make treaties; to send and receive Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations; to regulate foreign commerce...
The Federalist No. 43
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The fourth class comprises the following miscellaneous powers.
1. A power "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for a limited time, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right, to their respective writings and discoveries."
The utility of this power will scarcely be questioned. The copy right of authors has been solemnly adjudged in Great Britain to be a right at common law. The right to useful...
The Federalist No. 44
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A Fifth class of provisions in favor of the foederal authority,
consists of the following restrictions on the authority of the
1. "No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation, grant letters of marque and reprisal, coin money, emit bills of credit, make any thing but gold and silver a legal...
The Federalist No. 45
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Having shewn that no one of the powers transferred to the federal
Government is unnecessary or improper, the next question
to be considered is whether the whole mass of them will
be dangerous to the portion of authority left in the several
The adversaries to the plan of the Convention instead of considering in the first place what degree of power was...
The Federalist No. 46
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Resuming the subject of the last paper, I proceed to enquire whether the Fcederal Government or the State Governments will have the advantage with regard to the predilection and support of the people. Notwithstanding the different modes in which they are appointed, we must consider both of them, as substantially dependent on the great body of the citizens of the...
The Federalist No. 47
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Having reviewed the general form of the proposed government,
and the general mass of power allotted to it: I proceed to examine
the particular structure of this government, and the distribution
of this mass of power among its constituent parts.
One of the principal objections inculcated by the more respectable adversaries to the constitution, is its supposed violation of the political maxim, that the legislative...
The Federalist No. 48
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It was shewn in the last paper, that the political apothegm there examined, does not require that the legislative, executive and judiciary departments should be wholly unconnected with each other. I shall undertake in the next place, to shew that unless these departments be so far connected and blended, as to give to each a constitutional controul over the others, the degree of...
The Federalist No. 49
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The author of the "Notes on the state of Virginia," quoted in the last paper, has subjoined to that valuable work, the draught of a constitution which had been prepared in order to be laid before a convention expected to be called in 1783 by the legislature, for the establishment of a constitution for that commonwealth. The plan, like every thing from the same pen, marks a...
The Federalist No. 50
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It may be contended perhaps, that instead of occasional appeals to the people, which are liable to the objections urged against them, periodical appeals are the proper and adequate means of preventing and correcting infractions of the Constitution. It will be attended to, that in the examination of these expedients, I confine myself to their aptitude for enforcing the Constitution by keeping the several departments of power...
The Federalist No. 51
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To what expedient then shall we finally resort for maintaining in practice the necessary partition of power among the several departments, as laid down in the constitution? The only answer that can be given is, that as all these exterior provisions are found to be inadequate, the defect must be supplied, by so contriving the interior structure of the government, as that its...
The Federalist No. 52
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From the more general enquiries pursued in the four last papers,
I pass on to a more particular examination of the several
parts of the government. I shall begin with the House of Representatives.
The first view to be taken of this part of the government, relates to the qualifications of the electors and the elected. Those of the former are to be the same with those of the electors of the...
The Federalist No. 53
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I shall here perhaps be reminded of a current observation, "that where annual elections end, tyranny begins." If it be true as has often been remarked, that sayings which become proverbial, are generally founded in reason, it is not less true that when once established, they are often applied to cases to which the reason of them does not extend. I need not look for a proof...
The Federalist No. 54
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The next view which I shall take of the House of Representatives, relates to the apportionment of its members to the several
States, which is to be determined by the same rule with that of
It is not contended that the number of people in each State ought not to be the standard for regulating the proportion of those who are to represent the people of each State. The establishment...
The Federalist No. 55
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The number of which the House of Representatives is to consist, forms another, and a very interesting point of view under which this branch of the federal legislature may be contemplated. Scarce any article indeed in the whole constitution seems to be rendered more worthy of attention, by the weight of character and the apparent force of argument, with which...
The Federalist No. 56
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The second charge against the House of Representatives is, that
it will be too small to possess a due knowledge of the interests of
As this objection evidently proceeds from a comparison of the proposed number of representatives, with the great extent of the United States, the number of their inhabitants, and the...
The Federalist No. 57
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The third charge against the House of Representatives is, that
it will be taken from that class of citizens which will have least
sympathy with the mass of the people, and be most likely to aim
at an ambitious sacrifice of the many to the aggrandizement of
Of all the objections which have been framed against the Foederal Constitution, this is perhaps the most extraordinary...
The Federalist No. 58
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The remaining charge against the House of Representatives
which I am to examine, is grounded on a supposition that the
number of members will not be augmented from time to time,
as the progress of population may demand.
It has been admitted that this objection, if well supported, would have great weight. The following observations will shew...
The Federalist No. 59
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The natural order of the subject leads us to consider in this place, that provision of the Constitution which authorises the national Legislature to regulate in the last resort the election of its own members. It is in these words — "The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof...
The Federalist No. 60
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We have seen that an incontroulable power over the elections for the federal government could not without hazard be committed to the state legislatures. Let us now see what would be the dangers on the other side; that is, from confiding the ultimate right of regulating its own elections to the union itself...
The Federalist No. 61
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The more candid opposers of the provision respecting elections contained in the plan of the Convention, when pressed in argument, will sometimes concede the propriety of that provision; with this qualification however that it ought to have been accompanied with a declaration that all elections should...
The Federalist No. 62
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Having examined the constitution of the house of representatives, and answered such of the objections against it as seemed to merit notice, I enter next on the examination of the senate. The heads into which this member of the government may be considered, are I. the qualifications of senators. II. the appointment...
The Federalist No. 63
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A fifth desideratum illustrating the utility of a Senate, is the want of a due sense of national character. Without a select and stable member of the government, the esteem of foreign powers will not only be forfeited by an unenlightened and variable policy, proceeding from the causes already mentioned; but the national councils will not possess that sensibility to the opinion...
The Federalist No. 64
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It is a just and not a new observation, that enemies to particular persons and opponents to particular measures, seldom confine their censures to such things only in either, as are worthy of blame. Unless on this principle it is difficult to explain the motives of their conduct, who condemn the proposed constitution in the aggregate...
The Federalist No. 65
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The remaining powers, which the plan of the Convention allots to the Senate, in a distinct capacity, are comprised in their participation with the Executive in the appointment to offices, and in their judicial character as a court for the trial of impeachments. As in the business of appointments the Executive will be the principal agent, the provisions relating to it will most properly...
The Federalist No. 66
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A review of the principal objections that have appeared against
the proposed court for the trial of impeachments, will not improbably
eradicate the remains of any unfavourable impressions,
which may still exist, in regard to this matter.
The first of these objections is, that the provision in question confounds legislative and judiciary authorities in the same body...
The Federalist No. 67
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The Constitution of the executive department of the proposed
government claims next our attention.
There is hardly any part of the system which could have been attended with greater difficulty in the arrangement of it than this; and there is perhaps none, which has been inveighed against with less candor, or criticised with less judgment...
The Federalist No. 68
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The mode of appointment of the chief magistrate of the United States is almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which has escaped without severe censure, or which has received the slightest mark of approbation from its opponents. The most plausible of these, who has appeared in print, has even deigned...
The Federalist No. 69
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I proceed now to trace the real characters of the proposed executive
as they are marked out in the plan of the Convention. This
will serve to place in a strong light the unfairness of the
representations which have been made in regard to it.
The first thing which strikes our attention is that the executive authority, with few exceptions, is to be vested in a single...
The Federalist No. 70
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There is an idea, which is not without its advocates, that a vigorous executive is inconsistent with the genius of republican government. The enlightened well wishers to this species of government must at least hope that the supposition is destitute of foundation; since they can never admit its truth, without at the same time admitting the condemnation of their...
The Federalist No. 71
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Duration in office has been mentioned as the second requisite to the energy of the executive authority. This has relation to two objects: To the personal firmness of the Executive Magistrate in the employment of his constitutional powers; and to the stability of the system of administration which may have been adopted under his auspices. With regard to the first, it must be evident...
The Federalist No. 72
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The administration of government, in its largest sense, comprehends all the operations of the body politic, whether legislative, executive or judiciary, but in its most usual and perhaps in its most precise signification, it is limited to executive details, and falls peculiarly within the province of the executive department. The actual conduct of foreign negotiations, the preparatory...
The Federalist No. 73
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third ingredient towards constituting the vigor of the executive authority is an adequate provision for its support. It is evident that without proper attention to this article, the separation of the executive from the legislative department would be merely nominal and nugatory. The Legislature, with a discretionary power over the salary and emoluments of the Chief Magistrate, could render him as obsequious to their will, as
The Federalist No. 74
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The President of the United States is to be "Commander in Chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States." The propriety of this provision is so evident in itself; and it is at the same time so consonant to the precedents...
The Federalist No. 75
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The president is to have power "by and with the advice and consent of the senate, to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators present concur." Though this provision has been assailed on different grounds, with no small degree of vehemence, I scruple not to declare my firm persuasion, that it is one of the best digested and most unexceptionable parts of the plan...
The Federalist No. 76
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The President is "to nominate and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate to appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not otherwise provided for in the Constitution. But the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they...
The Federalist No. 77
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It has been mentioned as one of the advantages to be expected from the co-operation of the senate, in the business of appointments, that it would contribute to the stability of the administration.* The consent of that body would be necessary to displace as well as to appoint. A change of the chief magistrate therefore would not occasion so violent or so general a revolution...
The Federalist No. 78
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We proceed now to an examination of the judiciary department
of the proposed government.
In unfolding the defects of the existing confederation, the utility and necessity of a federal judicature have been clearly pointed out.* It is the less necessary to recapitulate the considerations there urged; as the propriety of the institution in the...
The Federalist No. 79
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Next to permanency in office, nothing can contribute more to the independence of the judges than a fixed provision for their support. The remark made in relation to the president, is equally applicable here.* In the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will. And we can never hope to see realised in practice the complete...
The Federalist No. 80
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To judge with accuracy of the proper extent of the federal judicature,
it will be necessary to consider in the first place what are
its proper objects.
It seems scarcely to admit of controversy that the judiciary authority of the union ought to extend to these several descriptions of causes, 1st. To all those which arise out of the laws of...
The Federalist No. 81
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Let us now return to the partition of the judiciary authority between different courts, and their relations to each other. "The judicial power of the United States is (by the plan of the convention) to be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the congress may from time to time ordain and establish."*...
The Federalist No. 82
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The erection of a new government, whatever care or wisdom may distinguish the work, cannot fail to originate questions of intricacy and nicety; and these may in a particular manner be expected to flow from the establishment of a constitution founded upon the total or partial incorporation of a number of distinct sovereignties. 'Tis time only that can mature and...
The Federalist No. 83
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The objection to the plan of the convention, which has met with most success in this state, and perhaps in several of the other states, is that relative to the want of a constitutional provision for the trial by jury in civil cases. The disingenuous form in which this objection is usually stated, has been repeatedly adverted to and exposed; but continues to be pursued in all the conversations...
The Federalist No. 84
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In the course of the foregoing review of the constitution I have taken notice of, and endeavoured to answer, most of the objections which have appeared against it. There however remain a few which either did not fall naturally under any particular head, or were forgotten in their proper places. These shall now be discussed; but as the subject has been drawn into great length...
The Federalist No. 85
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According to the formal division of the subject of these papers, announced in my first number, there would appear still to remain for discussion, two points, "the analogy of the proposed government to your own state constitution," and "the additional security, which its adoption will afford to republican government, to liberty and to property." But these heads have been so...
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Page Count: 704
Publication Year: 2010