|Blog #2015–20, May 15 (Federalist 18 through 22.)
James Madison in Federalist 18, 19, and 20 continues his analysis of the deficiencies in the Articles of Confederation. In #18, Madison discusses a number of ancient republics with historic evidence as well as why the Confederation would ultimately lead to disaster in America. This essay continues the previous papers’ argument that the Federalists system, in which power is shaped between a central government and smaller, constituent government, are more likely to suffer from disunity and anarchy then tyranny. It is an attempt to directly contradict the argument of anti-Federalists that the proposed constitution will lead to the establishment of monarchical rule in America.
Essay 19 is very similar to 18, in that Madison seeks to bolster his argument in favor of a stronger national government. He does this by using some examples of existing confederacies that have suffered tremendously as a result of inadequate authority being granted to the central government.
In essay 20 Madison continues the theme of the previous papers that unions composed of equal or sovereign states ultimately end in weakness, ineffectual government, civil war, and foreign predation (plunder). Essay 20 brings to a conclusion the extended argument, begun in paper 15, that the Articles of Confederation do not afford enough power and authority to the national government. The system of government provided for in the Articles ultimately amounts to a collection of independent, sovereign states, loosely united under a weak central government. The central government is unable to impose laws directly on the citizens and can only require action from the states. As a result, these papers argue, violence and the “coercion of the sword” inevitably replace law and “coercion of the magistracy.” In a system composed of multiple sovereigns, the only way to compel one of those entities is to act through violence. The national government cannot bring a state to court as it can an individual. This is ultimately a recipe for instability, division and civil war.
Alexander Hamilton takes over in essays 21 and 22, the topic being Other Defects of the Present Confederation. In the second paragraph of essay 21 he makes the following statement on these defects: “The next most palpable defect of the subsisting Confederation is the total want of a SANCTION to its laws. The United States, as now composed, have no powers to exact obedience, or punish disobedience to their resolutions, either by pecuniary mulcts [fine or taxation], by a suspension or divestiture of privileges, or by any other constitutional mode. There is no express delegation of authority to them to use force against delinquent members; and if such a right should be ascribed to the federal head, as resulting from the nature of the social compact between the States, it must be by inference and construction, in the face of that part of the second article, by which it is declared, ‘that each State shall retain every power, jurisdiction, and right, to expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.’"
In essay 22, Hamilton makes several strong points about the lack of power of the national government under the Confederation. For one thing he could not regulate our control either interstate or foreign commerce. The states erected high tariff barriers against one another by stating “each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence.” Foreign trade under the Confederation presented an even more complex problem. Both Hamilton and Madison felt that only under a federal government could such things as “free trade” be successfully obtained.
I would like to end this Blog with a personal “plug” for my recently published book by Tate Publishing on the Study of the United States Constitution and the Federalist Papers. I hope you will forgive my taking advantage of you in this way. But let’s face it I have to sell some books! And I can assure you that you will not be disappointed in purchasing a copy.
Recently in Arizona the legislature has passed a bill requiring all high school students to pass courses in the Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers, and conservative principles. I have also recently learned that South Carolina and North Carolina have also passed similar legislation. It appears that politicians at the state level are beginning to understand how important it is for our young people to learn about our National government. There may be other states considering the same direction.
To give you some source to “hang your hat on” to justify the purchase of the book I would like to share with you the comment by my publisher after receiving my manuscript last September. Here is the quote:
"On behalf of Tate Publishing and Enterprises LLC, thank you for choosing to publish with us!
“First, I have to tell you that I was quite in awe of the topics you so eloquently discussed in your manuscript. I can sense the passion and heart in your authorial voice, which is great because sometimes some of the subjects you touched here are sensitive and controversial, especially for readers who may subscribe to the common (oftentimes questionable) interpretation of the Constitution.
“Second, I am so impressed with the scholarly approach with which you have written this manuscript. This scholarly conscientiousness definitely affords your book the logic and reliability that so many religious expositions unfortunately lack.
“Third, I also must comment on the structure of your book. It was insightful and obviously well-researched. You present each chapter concisely with a clear-eyed logic, reinforcing your main points with appropriate external sources. The arrangement with which you fashioned your manuscript was efficient as well; there is a sense of heightened knowledge as the reader advances from one chapter to another. “
If you just may want to purchase the book on my website, use PayPal or your favorite credit card. There is neither a shipping charge nor sales tax as they are included in the price of the book. I suspect most of you already have my website but here it is again: