Friday, June 10, 2011

The Case For The Constitution: Federalist Six

        In today's reading of the Federalist, we come to Federalist Six. In this paper, Alexander Hamilton analyzes the potential for war between the respective states, and how this fact gives credence to the fact that they should band together in a republic.

     To Hamilton, this potential for war between the states is real, and should be expected based upon history. Many of the nations of Europe, in close proximity of each other, have gone to war based upon both the avarice of the respective monarchs as well as the longing of individuals for human glory. Commerce, the one thing that political theorists assert keep neighboring and trading nations from going to war with one another, has not historically been enough of a deterrence to violent conflict. Hamilton outlines how many wars have been started by commercial nations - specifically addressing the examples of Carthage and Britain.  As Hamilton points out, though there may be commercial harm to a nation by going to war with another country,
"The cries of the nation and the importunities of their representatives have, upon various occasions, dragged their monarchs into war, or continued them in it, contrary to their inclinations, and, sometimes, contrary to the real interests of the state." 
       Thus, what is the only way that the American States can be sure to not repeat the wars of Europe and the ancient world? To Hamilton, the only answer is that the States must recognize their respective weaknesses, and band together to protect one another from harm. Though Commerce is not a deterrent to war; a confederation based upon the common weakness of the individual states will be. In Federalist Seven, Hamilton will extrapolate on this theory, so stay tuned.

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