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The Federalist Papers

  • Federalist 25 - The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further Considered

    6 NOV 2023 · In Federalist Paper No. 25, Alexander Hamilton continues to make the case for a strong national defense, emphasizing the drawbacks of relying solely on state militias. Hamilton argues that state militias are generally ill-equipped and lack the discipline to effectively defend the nation against foreign threats. He suggests that a standing federal army, operating under the guidance of a centralized government, is essential for national security. By doing so, Hamilton seeks to debunk the idea that state militias could replace a federal military force, stressing that such an approach would weaken the United States in the face of external threats.
    13 min. 20 sec.
  • Federalist 24 - The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further Considered

    29 OTT 2023 · Federalist Paper No. 24, authored by Alexander Hamilton, continues the discussion on the need for a robust centralized authority, this time focusing on the necessity of maintaining a standing army. Hamilton argues that local militias alone are insufficient for national defense. He addresses concerns that a standing army might be used for tyrannical purposes, contending that a well-regulated force under civilian control poses no such threat. The paper seeks to assuage fears about potential military despotism, making the case that a standing army is essential for the protection of the young nation, particularly against external threats.
    12 min. 44 sec.
  • Federalist 23 - The Necessity of a Government as Energetic as the One Proposed to the Preservation of the Union

    23 OTT 2023 · Federalist Paper No. 23, written by Alexander Hamilton, addresses the necessity of a strong central government in matters of national defense and security. Hamilton argues that the federal government must be empowered to handle all aspects of national defense, without any significant limitations. He outlines the unpredictability and diversity of threats that a nation could face, such as war, domestic insurrection, and interactions with foreign powers. According to Hamilton, these circumstances are so varied and unforeseeable that setting rigid restrictions on the federal government's ability to act would be imprudent. In essence, the paper makes the case for granting expansive powers to the national government in the realm of national security, contending that limited authority would inadequately protect the nation from external and internal threats.
    12 min. 48 sec.
  • Federalist 22 - Other Defects of the Present Confederation

    16 OTT 2023 · Federalist No. 22, authored by Alexander Hamilton, further critiques the limitations of the Articles of Confederation while advocating for the new U.S. Constitution. This paper specifically focuses on several key issues: the inefficiency of a government that requires unanimity for decision-making, the dangers of a weak central authority in matters of foreign policy and defense, and the inefficacy of the Articles in regulating interstate commerce.Hamilton starts by dissecting the requirement for unanimous consent in the confederation for making amendments and important decisions. He argues that requiring unanimity is impractical and essentially leads to a governance paralysis. It gives undue power to a minority, allowing even a single dissenting state to block beneficial laws or amendments.On the subject of foreign policy and defense, Hamilton posits that a weak central government cannot effectively negotiate with foreign powers or maintain a national defense. Without a strong federal authority, states might pursue their own foreign policies, leading to disunity and potentially putting the nation at risk.Another major issue Hamilton addresses is the regulation of interstate commerce. Under the Articles, individual states can impose tariffs and obstruct trade, leading to a complex and inefficient economic landscape. Hamilton argues that a federal system with the power to regulate commerce among the states would lead to a more vibrant and unified national economy.In conclusion, Federalist No. 22 serves as a detailed critique of the failures of the Articles of Confederation, particularly in terms of governance, foreign policy, and economic regulation. Hamilton uses these failures to make a compelling case for the new U.S. Constitution, which aims to address these shortcomings through a stronger, more centralized system of government. This essay adds to the cumulative argument for the necessity of a robust federal system as proposed in the Constitution.
    24 min. 43 sec.
  • Federalist 21 - Other Defects of the Present Confederation

    9 OTT 2023 · Federalist No. 21, authored by Alexander Hamilton, focuses on the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation with respect to the central government's ability to raise revenue, maintain internal order, and enforce laws. The paper serves as a critique of the existing system, laying the groundwork for the arguments in favor of the new U.S. Constitution.One of the key points Hamilton makes is about the inefficacy of the existing system of taxation under the Articles. He argues that the federal government's reliance on requisitions from states is unreliable and ineffective. States often fail to meet their obligations, leading to financial instability at the federal level. Hamilton contends that the new Constitution would remedy this by granting the federal government the authority to levy taxes directly on individuals, thereby ensuring a consistent and reliable source of revenue.Hamilton also addresses the issue of internal order, criticizing the inability of the Articles to maintain peace and stability within the states. He suggests that a stronger central government would be better equipped to handle internal discord, including insurrections and rebellions.Additionally, the paper talks about the absence of a unified system for enforcing laws. Under the Articles, enforcement is left to individual states, leading to inconsistent and often ineffectual implementation. Hamilton argues that the proposed Constitution would solve this problem by creating a federal judiciary and executive with the power to enforce laws uniformly across all states.In summary, Federalist No. 21 serves as an incisive critique of the Articles of Confederation, highlighting their failures in financial, legal, and internal governance. Hamilton uses these criticisms to build the case for the new U.S. Constitution, which he argues would provide a more effective and equitable system of governance. The paper thus emphasizes the need for a stronger central authority capable of addressing the nation's financial, legal, and social challenges.
    15 min. 48 sec.
  • Federalist 20 - The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union

    2 OTT 2023 · Federalist No. 20, penned by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, continues the examination of confederate systems of government, which was initiated in Federalist No. 15. This paper focuses particularly on the example of the United Netherlands, a confederation that, while appearing to be effective on the surface, is revealed to have significant flaws upon closer examination.The Dutch Confederacy is described as complex, consisting of several sovereign states bound together under a federal structure. Despite this intricate framework, the authors point out that the central government has little real authority over individual provinces. Instead, most power resides with the states, leading to inefficiencies and ineffectiveness. The Dutch model requires unanimity for federal decisions, which makes the process cumbersome and often leads to inaction or compromise solutions that satisfy no one.Hamilton and Madison highlight the shortcomings of a government system in which the federal government lacks direct authority over the people and has to work through state governments. They argue that the United Netherlands serves as a cautionary example of how such confederate systems can be paralyzed by their own complexity and structural weaknesses.The paper concludes by reinforcing the argument for a strong, centralized American government as proposed in the new U.S. Constitution. Hamilton and Madison assert that the proposed federal structure would address many of the weaknesses inherent in confederate systems by creating a strong central authority capable of direct action and equipped with the necessary checks and balances to maintain liberty and justice.In essence, Federalist No. 20 serves as another persuasive argument for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, emphasizing the need for a robust federal system to avoid the pitfalls that have plagued historical confederacies like the United Netherlands.
    12 min. 37 sec.
  • Federalist 19 - The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union

    26 SET 2023 · Federalist No. 19 delves into the challenges and inefficiencies associated with confederate governments, using historical examples to demonstrate the need for a stronger centralized authority in the United States.Authors Hamilton and Madison start by exploring ancient confederacies, such as the Amphictyonic League in ancient Greece and the Achaean League. These alliances were fragile and often unable to secure compliance from their member states, leading to weak enforcement of rules and regulations. They were also ineffective in defending against external threats or maintaining internal stability.Hamilton and Madison then turn their attention to feudal Europe, specifically the Holy Roman Empire, which they describe as a complex, overlapping system of jurisdictions and sovereignties that resulted in a weak and ineffective central authority. They point out that the Empire was often more a collection of individual entities rather than a unified nation, thereby suffering from inefficiencies, infighting, and an inability to enact or enforce coherent policies.In particular, the authors note that in such confederacies, the primary power is vested in the individual member states rather than the central authority. This imbalance creates a host of problems: the lack of a strong central military force, the inability to enact uniform laws or collect taxes efficiently, and the absence of a unified foreign policy, to name a few.One of the key points made is that these confederate systems often had to rely on force or coercion to get member states to comply with laws or policies, which is not only inefficient but also counterproductive. These historical examples are meant to serve as cautionary tales.Hamilton and Madison argue that the United States, under the Articles of Confederation, showed symptoms of these same problems. They advocate for a stronger centralized government, as outlined in the proposed Constitution, to avoid these pitfalls. Unlike the weak confederacies of the past, a robust federal system would have a balance of power and checks that ensure both effectiveness and fairness.The essay thus concludes by positioning the U.S. Constitution as the solution to the historical failures of confederate governments. By highlighting these failures, Federalist No. 19 aims to persuade its readers of the necessity of a strong centralized authority for the newly emerging American nation.
    16 min. 12 sec.
  • Federalist 18 - The Same Subject Continued - The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union

    1 FEB 2023 · In this paper, Madison continues to outline the inadequacies of the Articles of Consideration. His core concern in this paper is to establish the fundamental weaknesses inherent in a system of government composed of multiple sovereigns under a relatively powerless central government.Madison uses the example of the ancient Greek republics under the Amphyctionic council as historical evidence for why the Articles of Confederation would ultimately lead to disaster in America. He begins by showing that the system of government in this confederation seems to provide the central, governing council with all the powers it would need to keep the confederation strong and prosperous. However, it has a fatal flaw: each republic in the confederation “retained the character of independent and sovereign states, and had equal votes in the federal council.” Without an unquestioned higher authority to keep all the constituent republics in check, the council was soon torn apart by various divisions as the more powerful members sought to intimidate and exploit the weaker ones. Ultimately the republics, unable to maintain their unity, fell under the control of foreign powers.Madison also invokes the example of the Achaean League and suggests that the general authority and laws of the confederacy were able to temper the disorders within the members of the league. By giving up their sovereignty to the confederation, the members of this league experienced fewer disturbances and divisions. The downfall of the league only came when the Achaeans practiced “arts of division” and allowed their union to be dissolved.
    17 min. 39 sec.
  • Federalist 17 - The Same Subject Continued - The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union

    25 GEN 2023 · Hamilton seeks to address concerns that the proposed Constitution will lead to tyranny at the hands of a power-hungry national government. He argues that it is unlikely that men in national office would even be interested in usurping the powers from the states, which relate to concerns that “can never be desirable cares” of a general government.However, Hamilton argues that even if the national government were to try and usurp power from the states, it would be very difficult for it to do so. He contends that state governments will likely have far more influence over and support from the people then the national government. Essentially, Hamilton is arguing that since states deal with issues that more directly impact the day-to-day lives of the people, especially criminal and civil justice issues, they are more likely to inspire feelings of attachment from the people than a distant, national government would.As evidence, Hamilton points to European feudal societies and notes that it was very difficult for the sovereign to control his feudal baronies. Hamilton asserts that state governments in the American confederacy are analogous to these feudal baronies in that both are able to effectively resist central control. If anything, Hamilton warns, Americans should be concerned about a federal system leading to anarchy, not tyranny.
    12 min. 44 sec.
  • Federalist 16 -The Same Subject Continued - The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union

    18 GEN 2023 · Federalist 16, Alexander Hamilton the New York Packet: December 4, 1787. Hamilton begins this essay by restating that it is an absolute fact that the present confederation, because of the manner in which it has been set up, is the "parent of anarchy," and that the delinquencies of the states of the Union are the "natural offspring" that will lead the country to civil war. From this point, Hamilton proceeds to hypothetically go through the consequences of a lack of a large, standing, national army. In Hamilton's opinion, the end would be a war between the states because the strongest state is likely to prevail in any disagreement with no national army to put the states in their proper place. This would be the violent death of the confederacy. The other alternative would the "natural death" - what Hamilton thought the country was in the midst of at the writing of the Federalist Papers. If there is not war between the sates, the states would simply do their own bidding, disregarding the federal government, and the federal government's power would erode until it was completely eradicated.At this point, Hamilton reminds his reader that the country should prefer a national constitution, and one that has provisions for a large army, "continuously on foot to execute the ordinary requisitions or decrees of the government." While some of the critics of the constitution want to believe that there is an alternative, anything else is impractical. From this argument for a standing army, Hamilton proceeds to discuss the necessity of not governing merely the states, but of the government having power over the individual. The government must "carry its agency to the persons of the citizens." Hamilton proceeds to argue that the individual state legislatures should not have to approve the laws because they could disregard the laws, and their disregard would ruin the system of law in the country. Unity of the country is paramount, and the only way unity can occur is through a strong, national government. concludes his essay by claiming that no government can always avoid or control those who will be disorderly, but it would be "vain to hope to guard against events too mighty for human foresight or precaution, and it would be idle to object to a government because it could not perform impossibilities."
    13 min. 8 sec.

A reintroduction and reading of the Federalist Papers, first penned in 1787-1788, to support and defend the Nation's New Constitution. As you listen to the subsequent writings throughout this podcast,...

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A reintroduction and reading of the Federalist Papers, first penned in 1787-1788, to support and defend the Nation's New Constitution.

As you listen to the subsequent writings throughout this podcast, and contemplate the task they were trying to achieve, you might ask yourself if history is repeating itself and if our nation, its people and their representatives need a reminder on why this constitution is necessary to satisfy the nations need’s today as it did in 1787.

The ensuing podcasts will be relatively short, typically between 5 and 10 minutes each. They will consist of a brief summary of the Paper Number, followed by a full reading of the text, as originally published.
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