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Federalist No. 37



Concerning the Difficulties of the Convention in Devising a Proper Form of Government

Friday, January 11, 1788 [Alexander Hamilton] (excerpt)

To the People of the State of New York:

IN REVIEWING the defects of the existing Confederation, and showing that they cannot be supplied by a government of less energy than that before the public, several of the most important principles of the latter fell of course under consideration. But as the ultimate object of these papers is to determine clearly and fully the merits of this Constitution, and the expediency of adopting it, our plan cannot be complete without taking a more critical and thorough survey of the work of the convention, without examining it on all its sides, comparing it in all its parts, and calculating its probable effects. That this remaining task may be executed under impressions conducive to a just and fair result, some reflections must in this place be indulged, which candor previously suggests. It is a misfortune, inseparable from human affairs, that public measures are rarely investigated with that spirit of moderation....




Federalist No. 39



Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles

Wednesday, January 16, 1788 [James Madison] (excerpt)

To the People of the State of New York:

THE last paper having concluded the observations which were meant to introduce a candid survey of the plan of government reported by the convention, we now proceed to the execution of that part of our undertaking. The first question that offers itself is, whether the general form and aspect of the government be strictly republican. It is evident that no other form would be reconcilable with the genius of the people of America; with the fundamental principles of the Revolution; or with that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self government. If the plan of the convention, therefore, be found to depart from the republican character, its advocates must abandon it as no longer defensible. What, then, are the distinctive characters of the republican form....






Federalist No. 38



The Same Subject Continued, and the Incoherence of the Objections to the New Plan Exposed

Saturday, January 12, 1788 [James Madison] (excerpt)

To the People of the State of New York:

IT IS not a little remarkable that in every case reported by ancient history, in which government has been established with deliberation and consent, the task of framing it has not been committed to an assembly of men, but has been performed by some individual citizen of preeminent wisdom and approved integrity. Minos, we learn, was the primitive founder of the government of Crete, as Zaleucus was of that of the Locrians. Theseus first, and after him Draco and Solon, instituted the government of Athens. Lycurgus was the lawgiver of Sparta. The foundation of the original government of Rome was laid by Romulus, and the work completed by two of his elective successors, Numa and Tullius Hostilius. On the abolition of royalty the consular administration was substituted by Brutus, who stepped forward with a project for such a reform....




Federalist No. 40



On the Powers of the Convention to Form a Mixed Government Examined and Sustained

Friday, January 18, 1788 [James Madison] (excerpt)

To the People of the State of New York:

THE second point to be examined is, whether the convention were authorized to frame and propose this mixed Constitution. The powers of the convention ought, in strictness, to be determined by an inspection of the commissions given to the members by their respective constituents. As all of these, however, had reference, either to the recommendation from the meeting at Annapolis, in September, 1786, or to that from Congress, in February, 1787, it will be sufficient to recur to these particular acts. The act from Annapolis recommends the "appointment of commissioners to take into consideration the situation of the United States; to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the Constitution of the federal government adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and to report such an act for that purpose, to the United States in Congress assembled...."



   Federalist Papers summarizes restrictions concerning states
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