Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Case For The Constitution: Federalist Four

      Today in my series, "The Case For The Constitution", we are brought to Federalist Four by John Jay. Though I have not contributed to this series in a while - for reasons of school - as this is the summer I will be diligently analyzing the Federalist Papers on this blog. Federalist Four is a continuation of Federalist Three, and brings us Jay's discussion on the necessity of a strong federal government vs.  independant states or confederacies, based upon the threat of international military invasion.

    He starts his discussion of the benefits of a central government, with an analysis of the commercial power that the American States were beginning to develop and how these commercial goals could be disrupted by foreign military invasion or influence. To him, the only way to counteract this potential "national jealousy" of the European nations towards America's commerce, was to band together as a unit and put the full force of American law, military, and society behind its commerce. Each State was a part of a whole, not just an individual entity; and its well being had direct implications for all of the others.

     Only if a national government was formed, so as to provide protection against foreign invasion, would the American States be able to reach their full potential and influence. Jay knows that international relations does not exist in a vacuum, that other nations watch and see how the American States operated with each other. As Jay accurately points out, foreign nations will treat a unified American nation much differently than either a loose confederation of states or independent states. Jay's main concern with an arrangement other than a national union, was that other nations would play the states off of each other, causing divisions among the American people as a whole, and leading to the slow deterioration of the American experiment.

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