The Federalist Papers

March 4, 2009 at 5:08 am 3 comments

389px-an_advertisement_of_the_federalist_-_project_gutenberg_etext_16960So since everything else in the news is less than pleasant I thought that perhaps a reading of The Federalist Papers might be something inspiring. I have honestly never read them before and thought the idea of reading why the founding fathers drafted the Constitution would be interesting. 

So here is a brief summary of what the papers are and who wrote them. Then I will start the first in my never-ending (well, not really – but it will take me awhile to read the whole thing) series of posts as I try to decipher these letters. The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles advocating the ratification of the United States Constitution. The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution, as they outline the philosophy and motivation of the proposed system of government.[2]The authors of the Federalist Papers wanted both to influence the vote in favor of ratification and to shape future interpretations of the Constitution. According to historianRichard B. Morris, they are an “incomparable exposition of the Constitution, a classic in political science unsurpassed in both breadth and depth by the product of any later American writer.” The articles were written by Alexander Hamilton , James Madison,  and John Jay. Although all were written under the pen name of Publius. (thank you Wikipedia for the excellent summary of what the papers are.

So tonight, for my first delve into the papers I learned very quickly that it was going to take me awhile to read these. Not only are there 85 of them, but they are written in Old School English. Which means that I have to think really hard to try and understand exactly what they mean. Old English always seems to have some superfluous words thrown in there that you have to decide what to do with.

Letter 1- General Introduction

This one is basically just an opener. An introduction to the other 84 letters that are coming to give you a welcome into the discourse. As well it was my refresher course into reading things that are hard to understand. Just for frame of reference there are only 13 states at this time.

Letter 2-  Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence. 

This letter was setting some framework for why the country should become one Union as opposed to states becoming multiple confederacies. They gave history for how they worked together as a nation as one of the reasons for becoming a Union, “As a nation we have made peace and war; as a nation we have vanquished our common enemies as a nation we have formed alliances and made treaties, and entered into various compacts and conventions with foreign states.” Another message made clear is that the people of the country had chosen wise men, who had proved themselves to help try and solve the problems the fledgling weak government was facing to meet in Philadelphia in 1774. 

I think the most interesting paragraph to me in this letter was this one, for everyone who likes to bring religion into play:

With equal pleasure I have 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 who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established their general liberty and independence.”

Perhaps by the time I get to number 85 I will have a better grasp on the English!

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Country in crisis – strategy for disaster The Arguement for a Union

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hoosierarmymom  |  March 4, 2009 at 6:16 am

    This is awesome. You are going on my blogroll!!!

  • 2. fourstringfuror  |  March 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Ditto that. Looking forward to your thought on the Papers.

  • 3. BillySpilly  |  July 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Hmmm. Federalist Ppr No. 2 expresses appreciation for general homogeneity of the country (including religion)…up to that point in time.

    Federalist Ppr No. 10 speaks very directly to religion – in general – as a cause, or primary influence in the very least, of violent factions.

    i.e. James Madison, the “undisputed heavy-weight” author of the Federalist Papers (No. 10) directly contradicts John Jay (Federalist Paper No. 2) as to the benefits of religion as related to government.

    James Madison’s view is the one expressed by the First Amendment.

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