sovereignty that were both constant threats to national cohesion on even the most fundamental level.
Adding to the internal woes, the Spanish government had blockaded the Mississippi River, the outlet for almost all commerce west of the Allegheny Mountains; the English had stopped traffic on the St. Lawrence River; and the treaty with Great Britain was being ignored by both sides. That the times were unstable is an understatement. The hurdles facing ratification and setting up the new government were towering. Conflicting opinions on almost every practical consideration were the rule and seemed a far greater impediment to agreement than the visible intellectual battle addressed by authors in .
The overall discussion in -after a core explication in the early essays of strong resolve regarding the sanctity of liberty and property-was the proper scope and role of the federal government's authority. The sovereign entity created by the Constitution was not designed in the abstract; it had in mind the America and the people of that era, and it recognized their history, their make-up, and their habits. Hamilton's resolute desire for enlarged national powers-somewhat muted in but expressed more vocally at the Constitutional Convention-was vigorously and publicly opposed by others who feared the loss of local autonomy. The apprehension of the unknown in this equation hindered the forward movement the Constitution offered. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it is still easy to feel the depth of concern extant in 1788, as today we experience the ill-effects of lost local rule, while centralized, homogenized, and aggrandized government becomes increasingly more common and steadily less effective.
There was also a great practical difficulty facing the Philadelphia Convention. The convention's charter allowed only for amendment and repair of the Articles of Confederation under which the
country had operated since 1781. The specific instructions to the delegates for amendment of the Articles also held that no proposed revisions were to take effect unless the legislatures of all thirteen states agreed. As debate began, a majority of the members of the convention came to understand that no repairs to the Articles would make them work-regardless of any unanimous ratification difficulties-and that a whole new document and system of government was needed.
The core contentious issue at the convention was taxation-just as it had been at the time of the Declaration of Independence. In the ensuing eleven years it had become apparent that funding national
Though the Republicans were usually characterized as strict constructionists, who were opposed to the broad constructionism of the Federalists, both Jefferson and Madison's presidencies highlighted Federalist ideals in many of their decisions.
The Federalist Was A Series Of Essays Written By
Instead, founders chose federalism as a moderate option which could best meet the needs of a people desiring national unity, but demanding local representation and authority as well....
The Federalist Papers were a series of essays written by ..
carried to the Convention a plan that was the exact opposite of Hamilton's. In fact, the theory he advocated at Philadelphia and in his Federalist essays was developed as a republican substitute for the New Yorker's "high toned" scheme of state. Madison was convinced that the class struggle would be ameliorated in America by establishing a limited federal government that would make functional use of the vast size of the country and the existence of the states as active political organisms. He argued in his "Notes on Confederacy," in his Convention speeches, and again in Federalist 10 that if an extended republic was set up including a multiplicity of economic, geographic, social, religious, and sectional interests, these interests, by checking each other, would prevent American society from being divided into the clashing armies of the rich and the poor. Thus, if no interstate proletariat could become organized on purely economic lines, the property of the rich would be safe even though the mass of the people held political power. Madison's solution for the class struggle was not to set up an absolute and irresponsible state to regiment society from above; he was never willing to sacrifice liberty to gain security. He wished to multiply the deposits of political power in the state itself sufficiently to break down the sole dualism of rich and poor and thus to guarantee both liberty and security. This, as he stated in Federalist 10, would provide a "republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government."