Federalist No. 2
Today, we continue our review of the Federalist. The goal, to review the first thirty (30) before Election Day in the U.S. Why 30? When the Federalist essays -- which first appeared in the Independent Journal, the New-York Packet, and the Daily Advertiser between 1787 and 1788 -- were first collected and printed in book form in 1788, only the first 36 essays were included, which covered the first three topics that Hamilton said the essays would cover in Federalist No. 1:
- The utility of the UNION to your political prosperity,
- The insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union, and
- The necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed to the attainment of this object.
And since we only have enough time to cover thirty (30) at the rate of six (6) a week, we will content ourselves with that number, as it is still quite significant.
Federalist No. 2 begins the discussion of the utility of the Union to your political prosperity. One of the four essays authored by John Jay, and also addressing the people of the State of New York, the essay addresses the dangers from foreign force and influence, but the key message is the strength of the Union as a whole compared to the sum of its parts.
The essay, that notes that independent America is one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country with a succession of navigable waters [that] forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities, states that this country ... should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties. Because, 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. In short, the prosperity of America [has] depended upon its Union.
The essay, which ends with the statement that whenever the dissolution of the Union arrives, America will have reason to exclaim, in the words of the poet: "FAREWELL! A LONG FAREWELL TO ALL MY GREATNESS", insists that for America to remain strong, it must be a Union, and not a collection of state level confederacies. It is essentially stating that the whole is stronger than the part, and this is a key tenet in the argument for a Union, and a key tenet for one who wants to be an elected representative to take to heart. The idea of a Senate and a House of Representatives is that, as a whole, the representatives in the room are collectively wiser and more capable of serving the nation than each on his or her own. So while a candidate is in a battle during a campaign in which she is vying for the privilege of representing the people in the constituency in which she is running, once elected, she has to stop being combative and start being collaborative, looking for solutions that benefit everyone, not just his or her constituents. Just like failing to put the good of the nation ahead of the good of the state will lead to dissolution of the Union and the greatness it offers, failing to put the good of the people as a whole ahead of select groups of individuals will limit the prosperity of the people as a whole.
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