Monday, May 10th, 2010
Thank you Professor Knipprath for yet another enlightening essay!
In Federalist 1, A General Introduction, Hamilton asserted that a wrong decision on this “important question” of whether or not to ratify the United States Constitution, would “deserve to be considered as the general misfortune of mankind.”
Federalist 9 reminds us of the grand experiment that America was and is. History was littered with failed Republics. Another failure could forever doom future attempts at governing within the framework of a Republic. Success, however, could inspire similar governments around the world, liberating mankind. The stakes were high, and the founders recognized their place in history.
This was America’s chance to prove that a Republican form of government could work – that political science had progressed, and refinements had been made including, as Hamilton lists:
“The regular distribution of power into distinct departments; the introduction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of courts composed of judges holding their offices during good behavior; the representation of the people in the legislature by deputies of their own election,” and ”the ENLARGEMENT of the ORBIT within which such systems are to revolve.”
I love how Hamilton takes on the arguments of his opposition, and further quotes, paraphrases, and explores Montesquieu to make his points, ending with an explanation of the importance of the State governments within the framework of the proposed Constitution, and their “exclusive and very important portions of sovereign power.”
Thomas Jefferson called the Federalist, “The best commentary on the principles of government, which ever was written.” Federalist 9 certainly lives up to this high praise.
Looking forward to Federalist 10!