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The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers From Foreign Force and Influence
For the Independent Journal.

Author: John Jay

To the People of the State of New York:

IT IS not a new observation that the people of any country (if, like the Americans, intelligent and wellinformed) 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 of their continuing firmly united under one federal government, vested with sufficient powers for all general and national purposes.

The more attentively I consider and investigate the reasons which appear to have given birth to this opinion, the more I become convinced that they are cogent and conclusive.

Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary to direct their attention, that of providing for their SAFETY seems to be the first. The SAFETY of the people doubtless has relation to a great variety of circumstances and considerations, and consequently affords great latitude to those who wish to define it precisely and comprehensively.

At present I mean only to consider it as it respects security for the preservation of peace and tranquillity, as well as against dangers from FOREIGN ARMS AND INFLUENCE, as from dangers of the LIKE KIND arising from domestic causes. As the former of these comes first in order, it is proper it should be the first discussed. Let us therefore proceed to examine whether the people are not right in their opinion that a cordial Union, under an efficient national government, affords them the best security that can be devised against HOSTILITIES from abroad.

The number of wars which have happened or will happen in the world will always be found to be in proportion to the number and weight of the causes, whether REAL or PRETENDED, which PROVOKE or INVITE them. If this remark be just, it becomes useful to inquire whether so many JUST causes of war are likely to be given by UNITED AMERICA as by DISUNITED America; for if it should turn out that United America will probably give the fewest, then it will follow that in this respect the Union tends most to preserve the people in a state of peace with other nations.

The JUST causes of war, for the most part, arise either from violation of treaties or from direct violence. America has already formed treaties with no less than six foreign nations, and all of them, except Prussia, are maritime, and therefore able to annoy and injure us. She has also extensive commerce with Portugal, Spain, and Britain, and, with respect to the two latter, has, in addition, the circumstance of neighborhood to attend to.

It is of high importance to the peace of America that she observe the laws of nations towards all these powers, and to me it appears evident that this will be more perfectly and punctually done by one national government than it could be either by thirteen separate States or by three or four distinct confederacies.

Because when once an efficient national government is established, the best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will generally be appointed to manage it; for, although town or country, or other contracted influence, may place men in State assemblies, or senates, or courts of justice, or executive departments, yet more general and extensive reputation for talents and other qualifications will be necessary to recommend men to offices under the national government,–especially as it will have the widest field for choice, and never experience that want of proper persons which is not uncommon in some of the States. Hence, it will result that the administration, the political counsels, and the judicial decisions of the national government will be more wise, systematical, and judicious than those of individual States, and consequently more satisfactory with respect to other nations, as well as more SAFE with respect to us.

Because, under the national government, treaties and articles of treaties, as well as the laws of nations, will always be expounded in one sense and executed in the same manner,–whereas, adjudications on the same points and questions, in thirteen States, or in three or four confederacies, will not always accord or be consistent; and that, as well from the variety of independent courts and judges appointed by different and independent governments, as from the different local laws and interests which may affect and influence them. The wisdom of the convention, in committing such questions to the jurisdiction and judgment of courts appointed by and responsible only to one national government, cannot be too much commended.

Because the prospect of present loss or advantage may often tempt the governing party in one or two States to swerve from good faith and justice; but those temptations, not reaching the other States, and consequently having little or no influence on the national government, the temptation will be fruitless, and good faith and justice be preserved. The case of the treaty of peace with Britain adds great weight to this reasoning.

Because, even if the governing party in a State should be disposed to resist such temptations, yet as such temptations may, and commonly do, result from circumstances peculiar to the State, and may affect a great number of the inhabitants, the governing party may not always be able, if willing, to prevent the injustice meditated, or to punish the aggressors. But the national government, not being affected by those local circumstances, will neither be induced to commit the wrong themselves, nor want power or inclination to prevent or punish its commission by others.

So far, therefore, as either designed or accidental violations of treaties and the laws of nations afford JUST causes of war, they are less to be apprehended under one general government than under several lesser ones, and in that respect the former most favors the SAFETY of the people.

As to those just causes of war which proceed from direct and unlawful violence, it appears equally clear to me that one good national government affords vastly more security against dangers of that sort than can be derived from any other quarter.

Because such violences are more frequently caused by the passions and interests of a part than of the whole; of one or two States than of the Union. Not a single Indian war has yet been occasioned by aggressions of the present federal government, feeble as it is; but there are several instances of Indian hostilities having been provoked by the improper conduct of individual States, who, either unable or unwilling to restrain or punish offenses, have given occasion to the slaughter of many innocent inhabitants.

The neighborhood of Spanish and British territories, bordering on some States and not on others, naturally confines the causes of quarrel more immediately to the borderers. The bordering States, if any, will be those who, under the impulse of sudden irritation, and a quick sense of apparent interest or injury, will be most likely, by direct violence, to excite war with these nations; and nothing can so effectually obviate that danger as a national government, whose wisdom and prudence will not be diminished by the passions which actuate the parties immediately interested.

But not only fewer just causes of war will be given by the national government, but it will also be more in their power to accommodate and settle them amicably. They will be more temperate and cool, and in that respect, as well as in others, will be more in capacity to act advisedly than the offending State. The pride of states, as well as of men, naturally disposes them to justify all their actions, and opposes their acknowledging, correcting, or repairing their errors and offenses. The national government, in such cases, will not be affected by this pride, but will proceed with moderation and candor to consider and decide on the means most proper to extricate them from the difficulties which threaten them.

Besides, it is well known that acknowledgments, explanations, and compensations are often accepted as satisfactory from a strong united nation, which would be rejected as unsatisfactory if offered by a State or confederacy of little consideration or power.

In the year 1685, the state of Genoa having offended Louis XIV., endeavored to appease him. He demanded that they should send their Doge, or chief magistrate, accompanied by four of their senators, to FRANCE, to ask his pardon and receive his terms. They were obliged to submit to it for the sake of peace. Would he on any occasion either have demanded or have received the like humiliation from Spain, or Britain, or any other POWERFUL nation?

PUBLIUS.

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Howdy from Texas! I am still here in the Lone Star State for a few more days.   Tonight Janine and I were honored to be invited to a wonderful gathering hosted by our friends Don Hodges and David Thompson and many new and old friends in Dallas to fill them in on Constituting America and how they can be involved.  We are gratified by the enthusiasm those in attendance have for learning and spreading the word about the U.S. Constitution, and hope to see our Dallas friends joining us on the 90 in 90 = 180: History Holds the Key to the Future Blog!

Today’s reading, Federalist 3, begins to address the benefits of the new government proposed by the U.S. Constitution, vs. a government of independent, sovereign states, as some at the time advocated.  It is interesting that one of the first justifications for the Constitution expounded upon by John Jay was the safety and security of the homeland, still a primary concern today.

Jay’s statement that “one good national government affords vastly more security against dangers of that sort than can be derived from any other quarter,” is certainly true.  A government that is perceived as strong will be less vulnerable to attack than one that is divided and weak.

Chuck  invoked Ronald Reagan today, and President Reagan was on my mind as I read Federalist No. 3 as well.  In a compelling National Security speech on March 23, 1983, Reagan said:

The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression – to preserve freedom and peace.

Just as a body’s strength is dependent on its skeletal system, our country’s strength is dependent on its Constitutional backbone.

Our founding fathers knew they lived in a world that posed threats, and they knew the best way to keep the peace was a strong, unified country.  Two hundred twenty-two years later, our world still poses threats, and the stronger and more unified the United States is perceived, the safer we will be.

Have a great weekend everyone!

See you Monday for Federalist No. 4

Cathy Gillespie

9 Responses to “April 302010 – Federalist No3 – Cathy Gillespie

  1. Susan Craig says:

    That is one thing I can never figure out. How when we have never been the initiator of aggression and very infrequently have we retained, annexed and or occupied for our profit can we be called imperialist? What dictionary definition of that word do people who think that hold to?

  2. Reed W says:

    Wow, the more I read, the more I am grateful for the founding fathers and their consideration and determination to bring about a united government that was motivated towards the shared rewards of a participating society. They looked to bring forth the best in we humans, considered all the pitfalls we manipulate, over stepped their own, and reached for the honesty of common decency. It was so down to earth and selfless, and good. Can we still live up to it, as Franklin implied? O gosh, we need a really big big wake up for a lot of people, politicians and voters. They gave us the tools, the framework, it’s not dissolved yet. How do we get this education out? It is so amazing that all this even came about. Thanks again for having this symposium!

  3. Daneen says:

    “our country’s strength is dependent on its Constitutional backbone”. It seems to me that in the plethora of labels tossed out these days–liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, independent, etc — the Constitution itself has been completely forgotten. I identify myself as a Constitutionalist and people actually ask me “What’s that?” How sad that they do not even ASSUME a meaning for that label…

    I applaud and appreciate what you’re doing here, it is more crucial now than at any time in our history–will spread the link!

  4. Bob Greenslade says:

    You wrote:

    “Today’s reading, Federalist 3, begins to address the benefits of the new government proposed by the U.S. Constitution, vs. a government of independent, sovereign states, as some at the time advocated.”

    It appears you are asserting that the Constitution consolidated the States into one nation and they are no longer sovereign entities because they surrendered their sovereignty to the federal government.

    Please explain your comment. Thanks.

  5. Hi Bob – Thank you for your question! Ours is a federal system. Often people are confused about it, and this is one of the reasons we initiated this project – to try to address concerns just as you mentioned. If you look at the preamble, our Constitution makes clear that the beginning and the end of the government’s authority comes from the consent of the people. We the people desire to form “a more perfect Union; establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense…. ordain and establish this Constitution.”

    By ratifying the U.S. Constitution the people caused the State to cede certain powers to the federal government. Both the Constitution itself and the founders who drafted and confirmed it imply only that states ceded the powers enumerated and listed in the U.S. Constitution as powers belonging to a federal government. All other authority continues to rest with the people and the states respectively. When the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, both the 9th and 10 amendments reaffirmed this principle.

  6. Roger Jett says:

    Excellent comments by Cathy and all ! I would like to add a quote attributed to James Madison that for me is pertinent to the discussion as it pertains to the sovereignty issue.
    ” We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

  7. Kristine says:

    Roger Jett regarding your post: WOW. Intuitively, we know this, and it is what our parents taught us; but here it is in black and white from the Father of the Constitution. Very powerful and worth remembering. This incident in NYC is a good example of one man using his intellegence and God-given sense to prevent a terrorist attack. What if he decided not to get involved and let someone else take care of the problem. Boom.

    Thanks for the quote.

  8. Andy Sparks says:

    Unfortunately, it can not be proved that James Madison said that. Especially with the proliferation of the internet, bogus quotes are flying around everywhere that can not be appropriately attributed to the authors. Below is a reference asking the question of the validity of this very quote:

    http://candst.tripod.com/misq1.htm

  9. Roger Jett says:

    I agree with Andy Sparks that we can all too easily latch on to a bogus quote off of internet sources. I apologize for not citing the source for my earlier post concerning a quote that has been “attributed” to James Madison. My source for ascribing this quote to Madison is Frederick Nymeyer, Progressive Calvinism, (January, 1958), Vol. 4, p. 31.

 

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Howdy from Texas. I thank you for joining us today and I thank today’s guest scholar, William B. Allen, for his words of wisdom about Federalist Paper #3. Thanks William!

What I continue to find fascinating is how the Federalist Papers are consistently relevant today. John Jay’s Federalist Paper #3 is one that really motivates contemplation. Publius speaks about how the unity of the country, the states, is the best way to combat an enemy or foreign intrigues. Unity, a house united, is definitely more advantageous than a house divided. Objectivity trumps subjectivity.

Yet, if the states are to acquiesce their rights and inclinations to defend themselves, then it is the duty of the Federal government to adequately protect the states. The father must protect his children. The Federal government needs to pay heed.

John Jay provides examples of how domestic disputes amongst small countries in Europe often lead to major battles – battles that then enveloped several nations for many years. We have certainly seen this repeat itself subsequently and most recently in the 20th century yielding morbid and tragic devastation.

During our country’s infancy, unity amongst the states was paramount for a strong and unilateral defense.
However, ironically, the same principle applies today. With the current situation in Arizona, we should remain first and foremost unified in dealing with the crisis at hand. Brother against brother, state against state, breeds contempt and failure.

It is prophetically proposed by our founding fathers that a unified action yields the best result for the nation.
Let us remember that unity will reign victorious and gather wisdom to deal with all obstacles.

We are the United States of America.

God Bless,

Janine Turner
April 30, 2010

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our “We the People 9.17 Contest” for kids, my daily Video Podcasts and the archive of the daily essays written by Cathy and me and our daily guest scholar!

Responses to “April 302010 – Federalist Paper No3 – Janine Turner

  1. Maggie says:

    I have found it fascinating that the reading of Federalist #3 is so timely with what is happening in AZ today. This reading has, thus far for me, presented the greatest corellation to current events. What was true to life when the constitution and Federalist papers were written is true today and will continue to be so. That is why we must continue to learn and protect the great gifts that were given to us with the writing of these documents.

  2. Jessica D. Hicks says:

    .

  3. Marc W. Stauffer says:

    The wisdom of this Founding Father continually astounds me. His comments are as relevant today as when he first put pen to his thoughts. The old adage of; “a house united stands strong, but a house divided falls”, rings true in Jay’s dissertation of the need for unity. I must admit that it makes me nervous to hear states give thought to succession as this tears at the fabric of our unity. We need to continually use the strong material of historical knowledge to weave the cloth of unity, repair its holes of strife, and keep it fresh and new!

  4. Nancy Wujcik says:

    I am enjoying this project and want to thank you all. I especially enjoyed your comments today about how the Arizona law and things that divide us make us more vulnerable to outside forces just as was written in this FederalistPaper. I think relating these to present day events make them mean more to the reader. Thanks!

  5. Bob Greenslade says:

    You wrote:

    “Yet, if the states are to acquiesce their rights and inclinations to defend themselves, then it is the duty of the Federal government to adequately protect the states. The father must protect his children.”

    Are you asserting that the States surrendered their “rights” to the federal government?

    “The father must protect his children.” Are you asserting that the States spring from the federal government?

    Thanks.

  6. Hi Bob – Thank you for your question! Ours is a federal system. Often people are confused about it, and this is one of the reasons we initiated this project – to try to address concerns just as you mentioned. If you look at the preamble, our Constitution makes clear that the beginning and the end of the government’s authority comes from the consent of the people. We the people desire to form “a more perfect Union; establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense…. ordain and establish this Constitution.”

    By ratifying the U.S. Constitution the people caused the State to cede certain powers to the federal government. Both the Constitution itself and the founders who drafted and confirmed it imply only that states ceded the powers enumerated and listed in the U.S. Constitution as powers belonging to a federal government. All other authority continues to rest with the people and the states respectively. When the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution, both the 9th and 10 amendments reaffirmed this principle.

 

 

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Essay # 3 investigates the causes of war. Publius seems to raise the question, not merely from curiosity but rather because it’s important to be prepared to prevail in war and also to place one’s state in the position to avoid war. The Federalist Papers seem to adopt this perspective in its approach to foreign policy inquiring not how to adopt an active posture for engaging in war but rather how to make war as little likely as possible. The argument is laid out by the end of the third essay, and then stated outright in the fourth essay, where he says of the American people, “Wisely therefore do they consider Union and a good national Government as necessary to put and keep them in such a situation as instead of inviting war will tend to repress and discourage it.” This deterrence theory is based on a number of factors deriving from human nature, and it therefore forces us to ask whether Publius generally understands the causes of war. Again, in the third essay we see a claim that the pace of America highly depends upon observance of the laws of nature towards all foreign powers, a thing more perfectly accomplished in proportion as we have one national government rather than thirteen or some other number of states. We expect, therefore, to close with an argument from efficiency, less chance, greater consistency, and greater stability in foreign relations.

Surprisingly, Publius does not do that in the third essay. He instead states the following: “When once an efficient national government is established, the best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will generally be appointed.” He argues not from efficiency but from the character and talents of the officeholders. The first reason for increased national security is clearly that one obtain the best statesmen. The question of safety calls for intelligence and consistency.

It is wise to avoid war, and Publius illustrates this by arguing that “Hence, it will result that the administration, the political councils and the judicial decisions of the national Government will be more wise, systematical, and judicious, than those of the individual States, and consequently more satisfactory with respect to other nations, as well as more safe with respect to us.” The chief means to avoid war is good order at home, and it includes satisfying other nations.

A third reason for a foreign policy of justice and consistency is that the national government will avoid tempting other nations to offend the United States because a United States that is well organized will be successful and prosperous, and that is what will bring peace. It will dispose other nations to cultivate our friendship as well as yielding strength. This will attract other nations into peaceful association, and this is what makes it possible to avoid war.

W. B. Allen

Michigan State University


Professor William B. Allen is emeritus dean and professor of Political Philosophy at Michigan State University.

39 Responses to “April 302010 – Federalist No3 – The Same Subject ContinuedConcerning Dangers From ForeignForce and Influence (Jay) – Guest BloggerWilliam BAllenProfessor of Political Philosophy at Michigan StateUniversity

  1. Susan Craig says:

    So far the argument for union, is the implied understanding that in strength there is peace.

  2. Carolyn Attaway says:

    There was so much in Paper #3 that lends itself to a good discussion. However; the 3rd and 4th paragraphs sum up the whole paper for me when John Jay talks of Foreign Arms and Influence; and Like Kind arising from domestic causes. And whether the wars happen or will happen because of REAL or PRETEND causes that will PROVOKE or INVITE them.

    I am constantly amazed at the insight our Founders had regarding the present State of the Union during their time, as well as future conditions that could, and most likely will, occur. Without the strength of a Union, the individual states existence were in danger because of their lack of reinforcements from the other states; that combined with their statenot only ensured safety of external forces, but internal conflicts as well.

    Think of all the small countries in Europe that have been abolished and/or reformed into other countries because of internal or external conflicts. The country of Yugoslavia, for example; until 1941 was the First State of Yugoslavia with a monarchy rule. The Second of Yugoslavia was from November 29, 1943 until June 25, 1991, and it was a socialist successor state to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and existed under various names.

    The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was from April 27, 1992 until February 4, 2003 and it was a federation on the territory of the two remaining republics of Serbia and Montenegro.
    The Union of Serbia and Montenegro was formed on February 4, 2003, and officially abolished the name “Yugoslavia.” On June 3 and June 5, 2006, Montenegro and Serbia respectively declared their independence, thereby ending the last remnants of the former Yugoslav federation.

    This present day example could have very easily happened to any individual state during the Founders time if they allowed themselves to believe they were stronger as an individual entity as opposed to an entity within a greater union. As John Jay explains, there were threatening forces for the Border States, as well as internal conflicts with native Indians within other states. With a Union, individual states were protected from aggressors, as well as being prevented from becoming a rogue state that would threaten the security of the Union.

    Today, many of our states are experiencing turmoil from neighboring countries, other states, and citizens. The Founders had put in place measures on the Federal level to keep the Union secure. However; I find it ironic, that today it is the Federal government that is threatening the security of the Individual States.

  3. Chuck Plano, Tx says:

    The very argument that is made in Federalist #3 for Peace through Strength was the very essence of the Ronald Regan Administration. Remember when he refused to give up SDI and the media belittled him and yet what do we see today, missile defense. When Regan let the summit in Iceland go with out an agreement with the USSR on arms control every one said we were doomed and yet who fell from the world stage, the USSR and not the United States. The most important question is where are we headed today and how will we mantain our strength when those who are supposed to be our leaders and willing to give up our strenth by crippling our economy after all it is economic strength that produces the real stength in any nation.

  4. Bill Kenagy says:

    In “strength bringing peace” the opportunity then will present itself to aid our fellow man rather than war with our fellow ma.

  5. Shannon Castleman says:

    Chuck, insightful. I fear where we are headed today is disater on a global scale. I think Jay ande others of the time would tell us today, “Let’s be as strong militarily as e can, so that others will not cause us harm. In return, let’s not have troops in fifty nations, (lik we do today), so that other nations will not feel the need to wage war against us.”

    What better use of our resources if we took 80% of the troops we have spread around the world and secured our borders, south and north. I care not what the North Koreans do (our troops there); I care intensely what the Mexicans do.

  6. Susan H. says:

    Hi All,

    I’m catching up on my reading today. Thank you everyone for your great comments.

    I was struck today by the passage “Because when once an efficient national government is established, the best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but will also generally be appointed to manage it…..” I feel like maybe at this point in time we don’t have the best men or women in the country serving. Of course this behooves the population to place better people in office.

    I also wanted to say that I agreed with the comment from a few days ago regarding how the founding fathers WANTED the people to know what the government was doing. It really does feel to me like the present government is being sneaky.

  7. Randy Nutt says:

    I took from Federalist #3 the need for a centralized govt to protect the whole of the States and wage war if necessary… Federalist #3 ties in to the border question we have today in my opinion… if we have between 12 and 25 million illegals crossing the border and Art IV section 4 of the Constitution has the Federal Govt responsible for protecting the borders from an invasion, then if the numbers I stated are correct, what, pray tell, would constitute an invading force than up to 25 million non-citizens?

    Just saying…

  8. Chuck Plano, Tx says:

    Shannon it is very frightful as we see what is going on, on our southern border. In the late 1980′s after Casper Winberger was Secetary of Defense he wrote a novel outlining 5 senerios where the USA could fing itself in war. One of those was Mexico, as that country would become so corrupt and violent due to it’s drug problem that the US would have to send troops to stabilize it in “our” national security interest. It appears we have reached that point but our Federal Government has niether the plan or the will to do so much less secure our own borders.

  9. Morning. It’s Janine. I think it is very interesting and quite relevant how John Jay talks about the states dealing with their neighboring countries in a passionate manner as opposed to the Federal government who would deal with the state’s neighboring countries in a cool, objective manner.

    This begs the question: If the Federal government is to protect the states re her foreign borders then should they not neglect the states needs and causes? What happens if the states are left in middle of desperate situations with no aid from the Federal government. Is this where the Tenth Amendment comes into play?

  10. Susan Craig says:

    I think that in their worldview the order of responsibility went person, family, local, state and last and only as a final resort federal.

  11. Damon Wilson says:

    Professor Allen points out something that I’d never thought about before — the question of what should nations do to avoid invasion. It appears that the founders didn’t think that merely being friendly was a sufficient basis for ensuring that one would be free from an attack. President Reagan comes to mind, but I’d be curious what Presidents over the 20th and the 19th Century before thought about this principle?

  12. Gary says:

    Janine. I think your scenario is a prime example of when the 10th Amendment would be very operative. After all, the central government cannot state that an obligation is Constitutionally reserved to it, then refuse to exercise that obligation. I beleive Congress has defacto abrogated the right to “control naturalization” and the sovereign states must do it themselves.

  13. Carolyn Merritt says:

    @Constituting America and Gary: James Madison wrote in the Federalist No. 45 that “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the StateGovernments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace negotiation, and foreign commerce;…The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects , which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state.”

    In my humble opinion, I believe Arizona is correctly operating under the States’ Rights set forth in the 10th Amendment because the Congress is not doing its duty to protect Arizona from its loss of life, liberty, property and prosperity.

    What say someone else?

  14. Carolyn Merritt says:

    Federalist #3 is the first of 3 of Jay’s arguments that the Articles of Confederation are inadequate for our defense. In this third paper, Jay puts great emphasis on the reasoning for a national united Government as opposed to the 13 states each governing their own way.

    He states that we Americans long hold the belief that in order to continue with peace and prosperity; we do so under a single governing body, the federal government. The first provision by the governing body is the safety of our Country and We the people. Though the Founders were more concerned about our being protected against foreigninvasions and influence, they were also concerned even then about the dangers of domestic insecurity. Jay goes on to state that through a friendly and efficient national government can we best be protected from foreign hostilities. Our Nation would not be the provocateur because we would be an America that is united. “The Union tends most to preserve the people in a state of peace with other nations.”

    Jay goes on to state that it is extremely important that in order to maintain the peace of America we respect and observe the laws of nations in which we have signed treaties and this can be done only by and through one united Government, not by the several states or sovereignties.

    He gives the sound reasoning as to why we needed a national government run by men of intellect appointed to serve wisely, systematically, and judicially. Jay felt that left to their own governing, separate states would selfishly guard their own peoples and borders.

  15. Maggie says:

    Federalist #3, for me, drew the strongest parallel thus far to what we are experiencing today. Jay states that “Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary to direct their attention, that of providing for their SAFETY seems to be the first.” Has our government lost sight of this? “We the people” have stated time and time again that our biggest concern is safety. Jay also states that “The neighborhood of Spanish and British territories, bordering on some States and not non others, naturally confines the causes of quarrel more immediately to the borderers. The bordering States, if any, will be those who, under the impulse of sudden irritation, and a quick sense of apparent interest or injury, will be most likely, by direct violence, to excite war with these nations”. Doesn’t the Federal government have a duty and an obligation to HELP AZ? Is this not one reason WHY a centralized government was established rather than having several smaller governments?

  16. Maggie says:

    @ Carolyn….I too was struck by the fact that our founding fathers had the foresight to understand that dangers can come not only from “Foreign Arms”, but can also arise “from domestic causes”. These wonderful men seemed to have thought of everything that could possibly go wrong. God Bless them.

  17. Susan H. says:

    To Carolyn M.

    I wholeheartedly agree that AZ is doing the correct thing considering that the Federal government can’s seem to find the will to protect that border. Here we are reading the writing of our founding fathers arguing that the federal government is needed for just this sort of thing and yet currently the federal government is failing. It will be interesting to see if any other states follow suit in this issue.

  18. Howdy from Texas. I thank you for joining us today and I thank today’s guest scholar, William BAllen, for his words of wisdom about Federalist Paper #3. Thanks William!

    What I continue to find fascinating is how the Federalist Papers are consistently relevant today. John Jay’sFederalist Paper #3 is one that really motivates contemplation. Publius speaks about how the unity of the country, the states, is the best way to combat an enemy or foreign intrigues. Unity, a house united, is definitely more advantageous than a house divided. Objectivity trumps subjectivity.

    Yet, if the states are to acquiesce their rights and inclinations to defend themselves, then it is the duty of the Federal government to adequately protect the states. The father must protect his children. The Federal government needs to pay heed.

    John Jay provides examples of how domestic disputes amongst small countries in Europe often lead to major battles – battles that then enveloped several nations for many years. We have certainly seen this repeat itself subsequently and most recently in the 20th century yielding morbid and tragic devastation.

    During our country’s infancy, unity amongst the states was paramount for a strong and unilateral defense.
    However, ironically, the same principle applies today. With the current situation in Arizona, we should remain first and foremost unified in dealing with the crisis at hand. Brother against brother, state against state, breeds contempt and failure.

    It is prophetically proposed by our founding fathers that a unified action yields the best result for the nation.
    Let us remember that unity will reign victorious and gather wisdom to deal with all obstacles.

    We are the United States of America.

    God Bless,

    Janine Turner
    April 302010

    P.S. Don’t forget to check out our “We the People 9.17 Contest” for kids, my daily Video Podcasts and the archive of the daily essays written by Cathy and me and our daily guest scholar!

  19. Susan says:

    I am struck by the amount of thought put into these papers to explain the authors’ reasoning for the adoption of the Constitution to the people. It is a stark contrast to today’s bills which are so long and convoluted that I don’t think anyone can read them let alone explain them and probably few even try.

  20. John Harris says:

    I believe some of the founding fathers had an idealistic view of it’s new country and republic. Most specifically, Monroe believed that the brotherhood of republics transcended national boarders and expansion of induvidual liberties was central to the policies of modern governments born of revolution and the revolution would tear down national bounaries and unite mankind. Once the revolution was over he/they realized real quick that self interest was a greater force than any republic. England, France and others coveted the riches of the new world. The founding fathers found themselves having to preserve the united colonies (thank you Federalist Papers), protect them from invasion and promote trade abroad. And the best way at the time was through diplomacy and not war.

    Translating to our present situation we find ourselves relying on others for natural resources, trade abroad has resulted in a large deficit, and our boarders have been invaded. It is vital that every citizen in America today understand our Constitution and how it was formed. If we dismiss the wisdom of our forefathers we are doomed to tyranny.

  21. Jesse Stewart says:

    You all have said things that struck me when reading Federalist 3. But what really stood out, as others have suggested, was that the best men will fill the roles of “administration, the political counsels, and the judicial decisions” of the national government because there is a large population in the Union from which to draw these men.

    Would Jay roll over in his grave given the quality and honor of those serving today? It is our responsibility as citizens to ensure that the “best men” are filling those important roles!

    PS: realized I didn’t put my last name on previous comments; not intentional!

  22. Eli Hazelett says:

    There would seem to be many ways that a country could fall apart — does an invasion have to be formally waged by a nation as such or can it come from an unorganized group?

  23. Peggy Brittain says:

    “The pride of states, as well as of men, naturally disposes them to justify all their actions, and opposes their acknowledging, correcting, or repairing their errors and offenses. The national government, in such cases, will not be affected by this pride, but will proceed with moderation and candor to consider and decide on the means most proper to extricate them from the difficulties which threaten them.”

    It seems to me that our national representative government has turned this around. They are the ones who justify their actions, and oppose their acknowledging, correcting, or repairing their errors and offenses.

    If we cannot believe in our national government to protect us from harm and ensure our safety then don’t the states have the right to protect themselves?

    I don’t think our founders intended for our representatives to be career politicians. This state has led to our elected officials being more protective of their own self interests and their voting blocks than protecting the citizens of the states. Today, the interests of our elected officials is all about power and control. To them our founding documents are living documents meant to change with the times. I am learning that it is just the opposite. Our founding documents are just as relevent today as they were at the time of their writing.

  24. Christina Quinn says:

    It is staggering to me from our vantage point now looking back through time that that we in this present generation have so much greater abilities than our forefathers to both study historical documents and communicate to our fellow citizens, yet do not. It was beyond comprehension that a day would come where information regarding all past and present civilizations, their failures and successes, their forms of governments would be or could be juxtaposed and weighed against each other. The vast superiority of Our Constitution is not even debatable in world history and is in fact I would suggest self-evident to all that apply their reason, but therein lies the rub. It was a given during the time of our forefathers that applied reason would win the argument and that the citizenry out of self-interest would deem it necessary to educate themselves in a form of government that was to be run by themselves. Out of all the considerations, safeguards, checks and balances, they sought to circumvent or eliminate in the wording of the Constitution the one blind spot now a glaring omission was not to mandate it’s reading by the citizenry. The implied self-interest of a government by the people for the people for our forefathers it went without saying that all citizens would know and read the Constitution and thus understand our foundation and liberty. Again beyond their comprehension would be a day that “self interest” for a majority of citizens regarding their government could be assessed as what they can “Get from” it not “Vest To” it, yet here we are. While “Foreign Force and influence” were on Jays mind clearly foreseen as a great potential threat not so was the idea of threat of domestic ignorance… that specter that topples all freedom and liberty, let us pray for the defeat of ignorance in our this Constitution Revolution:-) .

  25. I to am amazed at the foresight of the Founding Fathers. I’m as amazed at the ignorance or disregard from our current leaders to bring history forward as guidance on what NOT to do to overcome troubles today.

    Fed Paper #3 – As I read it, I couldn’t focus on the paper itself…all I could focus on is the relevance to Arizona vs. the Federal Government. Jay states that a national government is more likely derterrent for warding off war than astate…and I agree. But since the Federal Government has been unable the state has to step in.

  26. Ron Meier says:

    @ Janine, the Arizona situation seems to bring rebirth to the Confederation instead of the Union. Only 4 states share the Mexico border and our Representatives and Senators spend their days about 2,000 miles away in Washinton, DC, far from the points of conflict. Because they are so far away, and the 46 states they represent don’t have the samedirect problems with illegal immigration, they seem to be acting as if they lived in a Confederation, where they don’t care enough to act on the problem because the problem is not in their own districts.
    In many instances such as this, our elected representatives are acting more like delegates than representatives of a Republic. As delegates of a state, they vote only for those things that are problems for their own states; as representatives, they should be voting for those things that are in the national best interest, even if not in the best interest of their home state.

  27. Greg Zorbach says:

    @John Harris… I agree in your entire post, but would amplify your statement: “And the best way at the time was through diplomacy and not war.” It was probably true that in 1787 the new country was weak enough to the point that diplomacy was the only option in most cases of foreign provocation or dispute (therefore, the recurring argument for adoption of the proposed Constitution to replace the AOC in order to give the country a stronger national government). Several times in our history when we were not strong enough militarily, our diplomatic efforts proved to be impotent. The best explanation of national power or effectiveness in foreign affairs I have heard was presented at the Naval War College by a visiting lecturer from the government in the late 80’s: any nation’s power is like a stool with four legs. The legs are military power, economic power, national resolve or character, and the last one that depends the most on the other three – diplomatic skill. However, if the stool’s legs are not in relative balance, national effectiveness in foreign affairs (the most critical being the avoidance of war without resorting to the ‘tribute’ that led Jefferson to take on the Barbary pirates) is diminished. I believe that Chief Justice Jay was make this same point in argument for adoption in Federalist 3.

  28. Beverly Benson says:

    If our country became unified would it mean that we would have more people to select from in terms of making up the military force? And I guess I haven’t read the Articles of Confederation, but I noted that the Constitution allows the federal government of the U.S. to have a draft. Would unity mean that the founders wanted to be able to draft people from every single colony?

  29. Cindy Thompson says:

    Our country has truly been blessed to have men such as John Jay to take such an interest in the nation and to accept the risks that they did. It is really too bad that historians have tried to rewrite their profiles to turn them into lesser men. I am honored to read their essays and thankful for the Constitution we have. I’ll do my part to spread the word about it.

  30. Tricia says:

    It is amazing how persuasive the 3rd Federalist Paper is. I like how Publius used moderate language throughout the essay in order to gradually convince the reader of his cause. By the end, I found myself agreeing with him in the idea that “strength is peace.” I envy the eloquence of this essay!

  31. Seij De Leon says:

    The Federalist Papers no3 makes a point to explain how things will go well, concerning the people running the country. It states that the best men will serve the country, and to defend that explains that “for, although town or country, or other contracted influence, may place men in State assemblies, or senates, or courts of justice, or executive departments, yet more general and extensive reputation for talents and other qualifications will be necessary to recommend men to offices under the national government,–especially as it will have the widest field for choice, and never experience that want of proper persons which is not uncommon in some of the States.” Like what Jesse Stewart was saying, this is nowadays an overall hollow statement, and I’m sure that John Jay could not of envisioned how things really work today. Just because there is a large selection of people to choose from does not mean the best men will be chosen, an unavoidable flaw in any society where the people can make decisions such as these.

  32. Nancy Martin says:

    It interests me that three men could agree so strongly on the benefits of the new constitution that they could all use the same pen name Publius. I’m curious about what this means in terms of the trust they had for one another?

  33. Shannon Castleman says:

    Nancy, thoughtful question. These men trusted each other because they were Statesmen, not “politicians”. They loved their new country more than they loved to disagree with one another.

    They don’t make people like that anymore, at least not many. Could you imagine Pelosi, Paul Ryan, Harry Reid, and a Libertarian doing this together?

    I can’t.

  34. Peter says:

    Dumas captured the spirit of Federalist #3 when he wrote “All for one – and one for all.”

  35. Susan Craig says:

    What has become inverted is the foundation of peace. What the founders here argued is that diplomacy functions best when supported by three legs. These legs are; one a strong defensive capability (making it hazardous to attack), two a strong economy (ability to sustain) and three a collective understanding of principle and the will to back them up. Currently termites are attacking all three legs and still insisting that diplomacy unsupported will work.

  36. Hello all. Peace through strength,,I think the founders knew this and up until these past few years that axiom has held us in a secure grip in a very dangerous world.Reality exists and to pretend that we can behave out side it because it suits our wishes is a dangerous and irresponsible failure of understanding.I expect our Government to be adults,people who will hold themselves errect and bear the burdens of truth, and this does not mean we are imperialist ,Facist,etc.These over the top charges make me wonder about the depth of understanding of those using these distructive words.It stikes me as as very young and immature teen who has heard a few new words and can’t wait to use them,and have no idea how foolish they appear .I am imbarrased for them most of the time.
    Strong mature silence is quiet and deliberate in its action and words. Unity is in our best interest and I pray for a leap of comprehension on the part of America.

  37. Andy Sparks says:

    Shannon, you may find it interesting to know that two of the people who wrote the Federalist Papers (Alexander Hamilton and James Madison) went on to become bitter enemies. Madison switched sides so to speak, and joined Jefferson’s Republicans and denounced and worked against Hamilton’s Federalists, and vice versa. Once the Constitution was ratified, they did not work together as statesmen, but became politicians.

  38. Patrina L. says:

    RE the statement by Seij De Leon: “Just because there is a large selection of people to choose from does not mean the best men will be chosen, an unavoidable flaw in any society where the people can make decisions such as these.”

    It is true that people can, have done, and will make mistakes in selecting their leaders via their voters’ voice; however, I fear how much WORSE it would be if the PEOPLE did NOT have the power to make these monumental choices…

    Would anyone want the current leaders (or any leaders, for that matter) making these important choices of leadership for us? How much worse would that be? We, as a people, have the CHOICE to oust, what we perceive to be as, any bad lot of leaders at the voter’s box. This is what gives US the power. We must jealously guard it through our own education regarding our national history and our current events. This is what Benjamin Franklin meant when asked by a woman what kind of government the Founding Fathers had given the Country. He responded, “A Republic- if you can keep it.” His answer implies that we bear an ACTIVE responsibility toward maintaining our power as a people. Not only must we educate ourselves, but we must also actively exercise our freedoms through voting. We have been given a rich wealth of freedom and power through our national inheritance, but we cannot become passive because our inheritance will not maintain itself. We, as the ones who have inherited this great gift, have an ETERNAL RESPONSIBILITY toward ACTIVELY preserving it by being knowledgeable, diligent, and vigilant regarding its upkeep, or else it will be stolen from us while we slumber. We the People must insist upon learning about our inheritance of power and freedom, and preserving it through proper tending, or else it will surely wilt and die, yielding us nothing but disappointment and grief, making us very poor inheritors, indeed.

    So, the truth of the matter is that if the PEOPLE did not make the choices of leadership, the outcomes would be far worse. I believe that is why the Founding Fathers put the “US” in the USA.

  39. CJ says:

    Amazing how forthright the Founders were and how devastated they’d be today.
    There are certainly a lot of words and as my High School teacher said of my essays….”flowery pansies”….The speaking back then certainly were colorful.

    In my mind I summed it up to: Together we are strong, separate open to prey..

    In this section of Federalist 2 it seems to be their lack of foresight and elitism that America would be a people of thesame kind and equal in religion manners and customs…CJ

    Federalist 2……
    ..”With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence
    has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united
    people–a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same
    language, professing the same religion, attached to the same
    principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs,
    and…”

    These paragraphs in 4 struck out at me: CJ

    Federalist 4
    …”But the safety of the people of America against dangers from
    FOREIGN force depends not only on their forbearing to give JUST
    causes of war to other nations, but also on their placing and
    continuing themselves in such a situation as not to INVITE hostility
    or insult; for it need not be observed that there are PRETENDED as
    well as just causes of war.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>.
    hostility and insult have been invited. CJ
    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature,
    that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect
    of getting anything by it; nay, absolute monarchs will often make
    war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the
    purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military
    glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts
    to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans.
    These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of
    the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by
    justice or the voice and interests of his people. But, independent
    of these inducements to war, which are more prevalent in absolute
    monarchies, but which well deserve our attention, there are others
    which affect nations as often as kings; and some of them will on
    examination be found to grow out of our relative situation and
    circumstances….”
    >>>>>>>>
    …. “Have our wars been sanctified by justice……”CJ

    …………
    This is sad for our government has put us in this position…I fear today with this administration even more so.
    America was so very young…… CJ


 

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

Having established the “utility” of the Union for avoiding foreign wars, Publius proceeds to reinforce the argument in essay number four. In the second paragraph he acknowledged the claim that the United States should avoid inviting hostilities, insults, from other nations. But the third paragraph shows how difficult that might be.  It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it, nay that absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it but for purposes and objects merely personal… These and a variety of motives, which affect only the mind of the Sovereign often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice, or the voice and interests of his people. What this suggests is that many of the wars that arise will do so because people having the power to make war or to a void war yield to temptations that we find perfectly ordinary in human nature. People see opportunities and try to take advantage of them.

We should question the causes of war and the premise that if we knew the causes it would be easier to avoid war. In this point, though, it seems that the very resource we relied upon in the beginning == namely, the people with the power to decide — is also one of the chief causes of war. People in office who yield to temptation happen to be one of the chief causes of war, and Publius reminds us of this.

This is not an aberration. All we need do is to expect leaders to be human to expect these causes to operate. That is not the exclusive cause of war. Publius is clear about this, but it is the most difficult to deal with. And in that respect we ask once again is the Union better at dealing with the causes of war? will the Union make it less likely that notional office holders yield to personal illusions that carry their nation into war? The significance of this is that with the national union our personal illusions come packed wait a far greater punch In spite of that, Publius argues that, yes, in spite of greater fire power, the greater temptations, the greater illusions, the answer is yes. How?

Publius does not claim to alter human nature one bit. He suggests, though, that we need to pay as close attention to the effect of the new government upon the governed as upon those who govern. There is a deterrence theory in essay four that suggests the response: “Wisely, therefore, do they consider union and a good national government as necessary to put and them in in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it.” Then he repeats the argument from essay three, namely, that a Union will foster the involvement of the “experience of the ablest men” in the entire nation in guiding the nation. But he adds a caveat that was not in essay number three, namely, that “it can harmonize, assimilate, and protect the several parts and members, and extend the benefit of its foresight and precautions to each.” That is a new argument, an argument that a government for the union can in fact create homogeneity where diversity existed previously: e pluribus unum.

Professor William B. Allen is emeritus dean and professor of Political Philosophy at Michigan State University.

28 Responses to “May 32010 – Federalist No4 – The Same Subject ContinuedConcerning Dangers from Foreign Forceand Influence, for the Independent Journal (Jay) – Guest BloggerWilliam BAllenemeritus dean and professor ofPolitical Philosophy at Michigan State University

  1. Ron Meier says:

    Those bumper stickers “War is Never the Answer,” and similar slogans always bother me because they assume that there are no humans who would ever choose war over peace. History proves that this simply is not true. I don’t know where I read it, but I remember reading sometime in the past several years that there have been at least two wars going on somewhere in the world every year of recorded history.
    The idealistic left assumes that peace is normal and conflict is abnormal; in my analysis of history, conflict is normal and peace is an anomaly. We don’t even have to look at the history of nations; we can look at families, homeowners associations, clubs, and the like, and what we find is that conflict is normal and peace is not. When good nations have unilaterally disarmed in the name of peace, we normally find that war comes shortly thereafter. Therefore, we should always be prepared with a strong defense.

  2. Shannon Castleman says:

    My question to you all: After reading #2-#4, Do you believe our Founders-if the came here in a time machine-would support or not support our being in the Middle East right now?

    Most of me says no, but a small part of me says maybe. Any thoughts??

  3. Susan Craig says:

    I find it very telling that the first four papers in defense of the new Constitution dealt solely with mutual defense and security! It is almost as if they wished the primary and dare I say almost the only purpose of the Federal government was dealing with external influences leaving the internal to the individuals and their respective States?

  4. Jeff James says:

    Isn’t it interesting that one of the main points in Federalist #4 is the balance of trade and the U.S. ability to supply ourselves with commodities once supplied by India and China. Times sure hve changed!

  5. Roger Jett says:

    In answer to Shannon, who posed the question ….” would our founders support or not support our being in the Middle East right now? I think that at least some insight can be obtained by studying our involvement in the “First Barbary War 1801-1805″ and the “Second Barbary War 1815″. Based upon the bold actions taken by the young United States with it’s fledgling military at that time, I believe it is probable that the Founders would be in support of any action that has taken place in recent decades to protect American Citizens and American commercial interest. However, I suspect they would not have engaged in the level of police action and nation building that our modern time leaders have burdened us with.

  6. Carolyn Attaway says:

    I am going to miss John Jay’s writings in these Papers. I find his Papers very easy to read and very thought provoking.

    Shannon, in paragraph 3, our conflicts with Iran and Iraq immediately jumped into my mind. Many speculate why we entered this war; national security, oil, democracy, many more views, and a combination of many. But with both Iraq and Iran, their leaders have expressed an ambition for themselves and their country that has enveloped the rest of the world. Unfortunately, a down side of the founder’s logic of being a strong union is that we have became too strong and we are depended upon by the rest of the world to intervene in global crisis. I do not believe our founders would have wanted this for their beloved Union, but could they themselves have prevented it given the cost of noinvolvement. As Edmund Burke, a supporter of the American Revolution said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. If the Middle East conflicts happened during our founder’s time, we probably would not have become involved, at least not to the degree we are now. But given the domino effect of global fallouts today, I believe they would feel they had no choice but to intervene.

    Why? In paragraphs 7 through 10, John Jay writes of America’s involvement with China and India, and how that trade involves other countries. He explains how this trade can irritate other countries with our success in commerce and in our navigation of the oceans that give America a greater share in the territories that they at one time monopolized. So even at this time, America was heavily involved in foreign affairs and commerce; the founder’s wanted to protect the Union’s stakes of interest in other countries and this was one of their reasons for the States to be unified.

    The last paragraph could be taken from any Tea Party and Patriot Activist Guide Book today. Of the many Rallies, Town Halls, and Prosperity meetings I have attended, this is the rallying call: “If they see that our national government is efficient and well administered, our trade prudently regulated, our militia properly organized and disciplined, our resources and finances discreetly managed, our credit re-established, our people free, contented, and united, they will be much more disposed to cultivate our friendship than provoke our resentment. If, on the other hand, they find us either destitute of an effectual government, what a poor, pitiful figure will America make in their eyes! How liable would she become not only to their contempt but to their outrage, and how soon would dear-bought experience proclaim that when a people or family so divide, it never fails to be against themselves.”

    The Conservative Movement feels it is way past time to return America to her previous Glory. Was she perfect? No. And a lot of things changed to make her better and her people freer. But the change we did not need is our overbearing and non-transparent government, an overregulated and crippling trade policy, liberal agendas to dictate our military, our resources and finances in ruins, our credit in the toilet, our citizens losing freedoms to the NannyState and becoming quickly discontented and divided.

    Was America perfect? No. But; she was the closest thing to liberty and freedom the civilized world had ever known.

    I believe most of us on this site probably believe this, otherwise why bother being here.

  7. Donna Hardeman says:

    @Bob Greenslade-before I get immersed in the next Federalist paper, I wanted to take a moment to thank you sincerely for your reply to my question about the Bill of Rights. It was an excellent read – one of the main reasons I’m on this site because of bloggers like you!

  8. Neal C White says:

    Shannon asks the question whether our Founders were to visit us would they or would they not support our being in the Middle East now? It is a good question and one we all should examine. I think the answer to this question depends on the faith we have in who our elected officials are and whether we are convinced of their resolve and purpose. Most of us do not have the time to research and totally understand such matters.

    Unfortunately, at present it is doubtful that our leadership are capable of steering our country in the right direction. I guess in the end we will have to depend on God having control and guiding our leaders to make the correct decisions.

  9. Marc W. Stauffer says:

    Remember the school yard bully? How that bully singled out and picked on the weak? There are always going to be the “school yard bullies” out there in the big bad world. Remember what happened when “the picked upon” banded together? You found out that the “school yard bully” wasn’t so big and bad after all and they turned to easier prey.
    I think Publius makes an excellent point with his fleets of Britain and trade market competition. The corner on the trade market was held by Britain and the inference that human nature would not stand idly by and allow that hold to simply be taken from them by a small, relatively defenseless state or confederation merits a good understanding. When you are banded together with a common cause strength is realized and with that strength comes deterrence…something every “school yard bully” thinks twice about.

  10. Bache says:

    In the First Barbary Wars,family letters written by Daniel T. Patterson from the Tripoli Prison, Nov. 23, 1803 are fascinating. He was a midshipman, from the shipwrecked frigate Philadelphia and now a prisoner at the age of 17. The prisoners were kept in “a stone bulding, the walls very thick, it is about 20 ft. wide, 25 ft. high, and about 80 ft long, with arches overhead, the walls could scarely be distinquished from cob-webs, and dirt, it had formerly been used to dry hides in, and had never been cleaned out, the strings by which they suspended them are still hanging there. The light and air is admitted through a space in the top, about 4 ft.square, grated over with Iron Bars, by 2 small holes in the side wall near the top, which are almost choked up with dirt and a small grated window near the door, there was the ground for seats and an old sail spread for beds, this place was to contain three hundred persons, the doors shut every evening at sunset and opened at daylight when they want any fot the men to work, they arrange them all in a line and take those they like…but when they misbehaved they are bastionandoed, two small loaves of bread made of barley bran and as much water they can drink is all they live upon.” He latter writes that the Turks had 50-60 million dollars in their treasury, in unchained captivity 1,500 Christians…a demand of $3,000 per sailor for ransom is made to President Thomas Jefferson.

    I find these letters from a young man held in captivity along with Captain Bainbridge and fellow officers enlightening. His words paint a picture of the demands of the First War of Terror on our newly founded republic and navy.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    After reading the fourth paper, the last paragraph jumped out at me. It seemed as though it was written for today and how the world views us. Are we sure it was written in 1787? Talking about how foreign nations, “if they see that our national government is efficient and well administered…they will be more disopsed to cultivate our friendship than provoke our resentment…How much more true does that ring today?

  12. Susan Craig says:

    I think this is a function of our founding fathers knowledge and understanding of human nature and realistic approaches to dealing with it. Whereas today’s ‘leaders’ wish try and impose their picture of an ideal. They ignore at their peril the human nature that resents and resists imposition of someone else’s picture of how we should be vice how we truly are; flawed and sinful.

  13. Carolyn Merritt says:

    I too, was taken with the past paragraph of #4 and how it rings true today. We must continue to show our strength and unity, if we do not and we continue on the path our current government is trying to take our Nation, we are going to keep losing the respect we once had from other Nations.

    The last sentence of John Jay’s argument was echoed almost 100 years later by Abraham Lincoln: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (1858) This holds true today as well.

  14. Ron Parson says:

    Three short points:
    – first: We subsidize consumption and tax investment, which is “eating the seed corn.” It leads to poverty. Thus, a wholehearted second to Carolyn Attaway’s point above, in part quoting “our resources and finances discreetly managed, our credit re-established.” We must do this, and quickly.
    – second: re Iraq and Afghanistan: both lacked a “strategy”; both were a full level below that, at “operations.” To distinguish strategy from operations, ask . . . “and then what?” as in, We capture Baghdad . . . and then what? We flatten the Taliban (temporarily) . . . and then what? Both operations implied nation-building, which was scarcely anyone was thinking about; and I believe it impossible by outsiders.
    – third: In Washington, a “strategic plan” is neither; Washington abounds in incoherent scraps of strategy. A coherent strategy has 7 elements: context, assumptions, ends/objectives, ways/concepts, means/resources, The Plan, review-adapt loop. If we’d applied that template to Iraq & Afgh before moving in, likely we wouldn’t have done so. The best monograph I know of on this is at http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=641 by a Dr. Harry Yarger.

  15. Will says:

    I strongly suspect that the standing and respect we once had in the world has been declining for some time, at least since the close of the Marshall Plan (itself a big social spending program). It’s being going on long before the current administration.

  16. Susan Craig says:

    Ron your second point is a function tieing our hands via the UN and limiting conflicts to police actions. War is not a sporting event in which ties are a good resolution to the game. War is a Darwinian evolution of the survival of the fittest.
    Your third point is one of the things the world holds against us – a lack of continuity/consistency between administrations. Case in point the missile shield promised to eastern Europe in the Bush administration and reneged upon by the Obama.

  17. Carolyn Attaway says:

    Susan, you have apoint about the lack of continuity between administrations, but I do not believe our past presidents strayed so far from each other as our current President has. Whether Reagan, either Bush, or Clinton; I do not believe our Allies ever considered that the USA would sever ties with them, or desert them. Now, I believe they are unsure of their relationship with us. You mention the world holds this inconsistency against us, but the sad part is many of our own citizens hate America as much as our enemies do. I came across a liberal the other day that hated America so much she said it was time we became a 3rd World country and suffer the abuses we inflicted on other countries. Her history was so skewed, I could not make any headway with her.

    So picking up Ron’s point of a strategic plan, I agree that we shouldn’t enter a war with just the first line of attack planned out, and then when that is over, you say “Now what?” I also realize that the world in constantly changing, and priorities are constantly changing, so National Security, our first and foremost proirity, needs to be constantly one step ahead of the world, and sometimes that is very hard to do. Ron, I look forward to checking out the link you provided. I joined Liz Cheney’s group “Keep America Safe”, and she and her contributors have indepth information on our current State of National Security. I haven’t been able to get to the site lately, but I recommend it.

  18. Hello all…….There are so many problems these days it is hard to keep up.The question was asked about our waring in the Middle East… great question and a very tall one.I suppose to bring the war to them could be argued for,WE were attacked by an idology not a country,this is very unconventional and a bit elusive by our past experiences.Our tactics need to be contemporary ….(going back, when the English attacked us during the revolution they followed strict and cumbersome methods of war,marching in bright red coats, and were quiet horrified that the militias did not line up and march in neat lines as they attacked, they instead used slight of view, snipers, etc.War had evolved and the Brits fought (may I dare say ,in a bit of an old fashon way) .Are we in a similiar delema ,fighting terrorist who fade from full annoument of their presence sneaking up using our very freedoms against us.Perhaps we need to reconsider some of our tactics.One way I think this is being done are the drone attacks.I know there are those who have objection to their use , but I like using stealt as often as possible .
    The mention of BIG government was also brought up. The thought that comes to mind over and over again when I see an attempt to control salt use,sweets , meat. fats and the such is the Temperence movement, and Prohibition. It was so against the Nature of humans and merely a product of the imaginations of the movers of Prohibition that we went right on doing what we knew was our own business.Crime rose and the repeal followed 13 years later. Of course this is a problems for sure but the most important problems we are facing is the Admin, taking control of Health Care, Banks, Financial markets, Car industry,errosion of Property ownership,wiping out contracts and so on and so on.We have much to right and thank God for our Constitution and the will of the people coming to life. This effort that has been offered to us by the contributers of the Constituting America site is a thrill.

  19. WeThePeople says:

    I really like the attitude this takes toward war: that it’s not something we ever want to invite upon ourselves. Its nice to know that the creators and supporters of our constitution strongly believed that peaceful solutions could be reached. It’s obvious that the constitution did need to give consideration to our national defense, but still. Now, if only our government had this same attitude today…

  20. Charles Babb says:

    This has been a wonderful opportunity to better understand what my ancestors faced, when they took their “Oath of Allegiance to North Carolina” at a Safety Committee meeting in Bute County (later to become Warren and Franklin Counties) in 1775.

    My question is; Where have all the Statesmen gone?

    They seem to have been replaced by patisan political thugs (result of career politicans?) that have usurped authority never granted them in the Constitution and have intentionally allowed our Nation to be invaded by a foreign forcewhich they hope will allow them to rip away the very last vestiges of freedom our Founding Fathers had intrusted to us.

    When America wakes up and realises what her apathy has brought us, I pray it is not too late for the People to regain control.

    Your posts give me hope that the United States can regain her way.

  21. Susan Craig says:

    Having spent sometime overseas (government sponsored tours and college) and listening to my hosts, it was a generic theme even back in the 1970′s. At that time it was Viet Nam Kennedy had committed to them and Nixon backed out under domestic political pressure.

  22. Tricia says:

    After reading the fourth Federalist Paper, I’m confused. John Jay sought to show how having a large, unified government would help protect the different states. He uses examples of how monarchies have started wars over personal matters and how three or four little governments aren’t as strong as one big one.

    But what’s to stop the leader of the US government from declaring war for personal reasons? What would keep the president in check? I don’t know if I missed that point or if it’s going to be further developed later…

  23. wow the founding fathers were right in so many aspects about war, trade, and just life in general. This country now feeks that we need to be in everyones affairs where as many of the founding fathers felt we needed to stay out of europes affairs. I wish the government was like this today, and that we needed to stay united unlike the polotics of today

  24. Andy Sparks says:

    To understand fully Jay’s essays regarding foreign relations, it is important to look to the near future of his time. The new republic’s life blood was trade with Europe. While America was rich in staples such as tobacco, timber, indigo, and rice; our manufacturing was relatively non-existant. Basically, we traded our raw materials for manufactured goods. The Quasi-War with France and the War of 1812 with Britain grew out of the disruption of trade with those respective countries. When both countries began boarding, impounding, and confiscating our merchant ships, it became a potential cause for war. Adams was able to avoid a conflict in the late 1790′s through shrewd diplomacy; Jefferson also avoided conflict by implementing a disasterous embargo policy that plunged the new nation into an economic crisis; Madison was not able to avoid war as the war hawks like Henry Clay and John Calhoun demanded the U.S. go to war with Britain in 1812. And although the U.S. claimed impressment and trade violations as the ultimate reason for war; imperial designs on Canada were as much a factor as those sited. So, despite (or because of) Jay’s warnings in Federalist #4, the nation not only could not avoid war, but in the case of 1812, actively sought it out.

  25. Peter says:

    There are some great comments being made tonight. It is interesting, but in a way obvious (at least to me) that the first few Federalist papers dealt with national security. Not only is the primary purpose of the state to organize for war – something the indiviudal is least prepared to do of all government functions – it is in my judgment the best argument for why the various colonies/states needed to come together into a centralized arrangement – or as one of the founders put it, for their mutual protection and, and this is important, defense.

  26. Seij De Leon says:

    In the last section of the article, Publius makes a remark saying that basically, if we as a nation are strong and powerful, other nations will want to befriend us and not provoke us. At the time, this may have been a more beneficial concept. But now as we are a large world power it has not only earned better feelings from other countries, but their dependency on dealing with larger affairs that our founding fathers may not of foreseen, and in turn made things what some might consider worse for us. I think it is interesting how goals were met, but even with the very thorough analysis that is offered by the federalist papers not everything can be predicted such as foreign dependency.

  27. Sandra Rodas says:

    I am very much enjoying this reading project and the blog. I read every comment each day. I have been meaning to read The Federalist Papers from “cover to cover” for some time now, and it is nice to have someone inspire me to get busy and do it. It is especially nice to get so many insights from others as I read. Thank you Cathy and Janine for sponsoring this.

    In #4 the comment, “when a people or family so divide, it never fails to be against themselves,” keeps coming back to my mind.
    There have always been different opinions and different sides of issues — some of them very nation-changing and serious — but I feel a lack of unity in our country at this time that alarms me. It somehow feels different and more hostile.
    We are dividing against ourselves. We need to realize that we can disagree without the hostility. The “shape” of our nation will be irregular and asymmetrical as we all push and pull in the different directions that our hard-won freedoms allow. That is OK—it is even good. The harmony improves the melody. However, we need to remember that our center should be one.

  28. Greg Zorbach says:

    re Tricia and her question: “But what’s to stop the leader of the US government from declaring war for personal reasons? What would keep the president in check?” Only the congress candeclare war. it was true with FDR in 1941 and with W in 2002. Yjey both had to make their points with the people and their representatives in congress.