The Federalist

The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays advocating the ratification of the United States Constitution. The Papers are authored as follows: Alexander Hamilton (51 articles: nos. 1, 6–9, 11–13, 15–17, 21–36, 59–61, and 65–85), James Madison (26 articles: nos. 10, 14, 37–58 and 62–63) and John Jay (5 articles: 2–5 and 64). (Nos. 18–20 were the result of a collaboration between Madison and Hamilton.)

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  • I affect not reserves, which I do not feel.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 1
  • Nothing is more certain then the indispensable necessity of government; and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights, in order to vest it with requisite powers.
    • John Jay, No. 2
  • The pride of states as well as men, naturally disposes them to justify all their actions, and opposes their acknowledging, correcting or repairing their errors and offences.
    • John Jay, No. 3
  • 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.
    • John Jay, No. 4
  • We may profit by their experience, without paying the price which it cost them.
    • John Jay, No. 5
  • Has commerce hitherto done anything more than change the objects of war? Is not the love of wealth as domineering and enterprising a passion as that of power or glory?
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 6
  • There is, perhaps, nothing more likely to disturb the tranquillity of nations, than there being being bound to natural contributions for any common object, which does not yield as equal and coincident benefit.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 7 ( spelling as per text...)
  • Plunder and devastation ever march in the train of irregulars.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 8
  • The science of politics, however, like most other sciences, has received great improvement.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 9
  • As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.
    • James Madison, No. 10
  • We might defy the little arts of little politicians to control, or vary, the irresistible and unchangeable course of nature.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 11
  • The ability of a country to pay taxes, must always be proportioned, in a great degree, to the quantity of money in circulation, and to the celerity with which it circulates.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 12
  • Civil power properly organized and exerted, is capable of diffusing its force to a very great extent; and can, in a manner, reproduce itself in every part of of a great empire, by a judicious arrangement of subordinate institutions.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 13
  • It is, that in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person: in a republic, they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A democracy, consequently, must be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a large region.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 14
  • Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 15
  • When the sword is once drawn, the passions of men observe no bounds of moderation.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 16
  • Though the ancient feudal systems were not, strictly speaking, confederacies, yet they partook of the nature of that species of associations.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 17
The means to be employed, must be proportioned to the extent of the mischief.
  • It happened but too often, according to Plutarch, that the deputies of the strongest cities, awed and corrupted those of the weaker; and that judgment went in favor of the most powerful party.
    • James Madison, No. 18
  • Each circle is the miniature picture of the deformities of this political monster.
    • James Madison, No. 19
  • Experience is the oracle of truth; and where its responses are unequivocal, they ought to be conclusive and sacred.
    • James Madison, No. 20
  • The natural cure for an ill administration, in a popular or representative constitution, is a change of men.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 21
  • One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is, that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 22
  • The circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite; and for this reason, no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power to which the care of it is committed.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 23
  • Though a wide ocean separates the United States from Europe, yet there are various considerations that warn us against an excess of confidence or security.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 24
  • War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perseverance, by time, and by practice.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 25
  • Can it be supposed, that there would not be found one man, discerning enough to detect so atrocious a conspiracy, or bold or honest enough to apprize his constituents of their danger?
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 26
  • Man is very much a creature of habit.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 27
  • The means to be employed, must be proportioned to the extent of the mischief.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 28
  • To render an army unnecessary, will be a more certain method of preventing its existence, than a thousand prohibitions upon paper.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 29
  • How is it possible that a government, half supplied and always necessitous, can fulfil the purposes of its institution; can provide for the security, advance the prosperity, or support the reputation of the commonwealth?
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 30
  • Caution and investigation are a necessary armour against error and imposition.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 31
  • It is evident that this could not have been the intention, and that it will not bear a construction of the kind.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 32
  • What is a power, but the ability or faculty of doing a thing?
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 33
  • To argue upon abstract principles, that this co-ordinate authority cannot exist, would be to set up theory and supposition against fact and reality.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 34
  • Necessity, especially in politics, often occasions false hopes, false reasonings, and a system of measures correspondently erroneous.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 35
  • Happy will it be for ourselves, and most honourable for human nature, if we have wisdom and virtue enough, to set so glorious an example to mankind.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 36
  • The novelty of the undertaking immediately strikes us.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 37
  • It is a matter both of wonder and regret, that those who raise so many objections against the new constitution, should never call to mind the defects of that which is to be exchanged for it.
    • James Madison, No. 38
  • The proposed constitution, therefore, even when tested by the rules laid down by its antagonists, is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal constitution; but a composition of both.
    • James Madison, No. 39
  • It could not be unknown to them, that the hopes and expectations of the great body of citizens, throughout this great empire, were turned with the greatest anxiety, to the event of their deliberations.
    • James Madison, No. 40
  • A bad cause seldom fails to betray itself.
    • James Madison, No. 41
  • Nothing which tends to facilitate the intercourse between the states, can be deemed unworthy of the public care.
    • James Madison, No. 42
  • Canada was to be admitted of right, on her joining in the measures of the United States; and the other colonies, by which were evidently meant, the other British colonies, at the discretion of the nine states.
    • James Madison, No. 43
  • The right of coining money, which is here taken from the states, was left in their hands by the confederation, as a concurrent right with that of congress, under an exception in favour of the exclusive right of congress to regulate the alloy and value.
    • James Madison, No. 44
  • We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for people.
    • James Madison, No. 45
  • A local spirit will infallibly prevail much more in the members of the congress, than a national spirit will prevail in the legislatures of the particular states.
    • James Madison, No. 46
  • I am fully aware, that among the many excellent principles which they exemplify, they carry strong marks of the haste, and still stronger of the inexperience, under which they were framed.
    • James Madison, No. 47
If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
  • It will not be denied, that power is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectively restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.
    • James Madison, No. 48
  • But a nation of philosophers is as little to be expected, as the philosophical race of kings wished for by Plato.
    • James Madison, No. 49
  • When men exercise their reason coolly and freely on a variety of distinct questions, they inevitably fall into different opinions on some of them. When they are governed by a common passion, their opinions, if they are so to be called, will be the same.
    • James Madison, No. 50
  • If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
    • James Madison, No. 51
  • With less power, therefore, to abuse, the federal representatives can be less tempted on one side, and will be doubly watched on the other.
    • James Madison, No. 52
  • No man will subject himself to the ridicule of pretending that any natural connexion subsists between the sun or the seasons, and the period within which human virtue can bear the temptations of power.
    • James Madison, No. 53
  • It is agreed on all sides, that numbers are the best scale of wealth and taxation, as they are the only proper scale of representation.
    • James Madison, No. 54
  • Nothing can be more fallacious, than to found our political calculations on arithmetical principles.
    • James Madison, No. 55
  • The art of war teaches general principles of organization, movement, and discipline which apply universally.
    • James Madison, No. 56
  • The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first, to obtain for rulers, men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous, whilst they continue to hold their public trust.
    • James Madison, No. 57
  • Ignorance will be the dupe of cunning; and passion the slave of sophistry and declamation.
    • James Madison, No. 58
  • The people can never err more than in supposing that by multiplying their representatives beyond a certain limit, they strengthen the barrier against the government of a few.
    • James Madison, No. 58
  • The constitutional possibility of the thing, without an equivalent for the risk, is an unanswerable objection.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 59
  • The interest of all would, in this respect at least, be the security of all.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 60
  • There is a contagion in example, which few men have sufficient force of mind to resist.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 61
  • To trace the mischievous effects in a mutable government , would fill a volume.
    • James Madison, No. 62
  • " It adds no small weight to all these considerations, to recollect, that history informs us of no long lived republic which had not a senate, "
    • James Madison, No. 63
  • As in the field, so in the cabinet, there are moments to be seized as they pass, and they who preside in either, should be left in capacity to improve them.
    • John Jay, No. 64
  • A well constituted court for the trail of impeachments, is an object not to be desired, than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 65
  • The security essentially intended by the constitution against corruption and treachery in the foundation of treaties, is to be sought for in the numbers and characters of those who are to make them.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 66
  • We have been taught to tremble at the terrific visages of murdering janisaries; and to blush at the unveiled mysteries of a future seraglio.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 67
  • The business of corruption, when it is to embrace so considerable a number of men, requires time, as well as means.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 68
  • What answer shall we give to those who would persuade us, that things so unlike resemble each other?
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 69
  • A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 70
  • " It is a general principle of human nature, that a man will be interested in whatever he possesses, in proportion to the firmness or precariousness of the tenure by which he holds it: "
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 71
  • His avarice might be a guard upon his avarice. Add to this, that the same man might be vain or ambitious as well as avaricious.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 72
  • There are men who, under any circumstances, will have the courage to do their duty at every hazard.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 73
  • The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favour of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 74
  • An avaricious man might be tempted to betray the interests of the state for the acquisition of wealth.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 75
  • The sole and undivided responsibility of one man, will naturally beget a livelier sense of duty, and a more exact regard to reputation.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 76
  • And while an unbounded field for cabal and intrigue lies open, all idea of responsibility is lost.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 77
  • A constitution is in fact, and must be, regarded by the judges as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 78
  • Next to permanency in office, nothing can contribute more to the independence of the judges, than a fixed provision for their support.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 79
  • No man ought certainly to be a judge in his own cause, or in any cause, in respect to which he has the least interest or bias.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 80
  • That there ought to be one court of supreme and final jurisdiction, is a proposition which is not likely to be contested.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 81
  • Time only can mature and perfect so compound a system, liquidate the meaning of all the parts, and adjust them to each other in a harmonious and consistent WHOLE.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 82
I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man.
  • The truth is, that the general GENIUS of a government is that can be substantially relied upon for permanent effects.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 83
  • The truth is, after all the declamation we have heard, that the constitution is itself, in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose, A BILL OF RIGHTS.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 84
  • I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man.
    • Alexander Hamilton, No. 85

ReferencesEdit

  • The Federalist, The Gideon Edition, Edited by George W. Carey and James McClellan, Liberty Fund Indianapolis, ISBN 0-86597-289-3

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Last modified on 26 August 2013, at 04:12