Table of Contents
Federalist Papers are a series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison in the fall and spring of 1787 to 1788 (History.com, 2017). They played a key role in the constitution’s ratification because of the arguments they made. They covered the importance of being in a Union, answered objections coming from Anti-federalists concerning separation of powers, and defended the opposing arguments targeted against the nature of the judicial and executive branches of the government as stipulated in the constitution.
The Federalist got printed and published between October 1787 and August 1788. Its intentions and purpose was to explain plain the constitution plus urge people in the state of New York to ratify it.
Argument for the benefit of Union
Federalist 10 was by Madison and it argued that being incorporated in a Union would protect individuals from external dangers such as violence caused by domestic factions, especially majority dissensions (Maggie, 2007). Also, he claimed it would protect against internal dangers such as insurrection. That will be able to control factions by making both minorities and majorities to level.
Argument of the problem with complete separation of powers
The Anti-federalists found the way in which the constitution meant to sustain the braches of power weak and they demanded that they be completely separated. Their suggestion was that it was not clear how the three would work together. Federalist 51, still by Madison, replied to the anti-federalists’ claims lamenting about the separation of power among the executive, judicial and legislative branches by suggesting that, contriving the internal structure of the government by the branches relations, to keep each other in the right places was a solution (The University of Chicago, 2000).
Argument for a single executive, and a plural executive
Anti-federalists opposed having a single executive where the president would be immune and a plural executive by suggesting that a single one would resemble a monarchial form too much and in a plural one decision making upon emergencies would take too long. Hamilton responded in the Federalist 51 by claiming that a plural executive was best because a council would act as a buffer between the presidents and his subjects.
Argument in favor of review and terms of good behavior for judges
Here Anti-federalists contended the part of the constitution which proposed that federal judges should hold an office for a lifetime but maintain good behavior. That is because it would make people qualified to be judges and give them time to develop skill particularly the word, ‘good behavior’ did not sound convincing. Hamilton, in Federalist 78, argued that though a review of the judicial structure was necessary, putting it under a legislative body would be inappropriate because it would not be observing the sense of separating the powers.
It is evident that the claims from Anti-federalists also make sense, therefore, making the Federalists mentioned the most contentious and important among the 85 published between 1787 and 1788 as seen earlier. However, the manner in which the scholars respond is articulate making the Federalist Papers, in general, successful in pushing for the ratification of the constitution.
Maggs’ (2007) work “A concise guide to the Federalist Papers as a source of the original meaning of the United States Constitution” convinces that the Federalist papers were indeed capable of influencing ratification given the arguments made by the Federalists. For example, the issue of people getting to Unions got well argued that there are no underlying critics about it from Anti-federalists. Even on other matters, the scholars make logical arguments which neutralize the claims by Anti-federalists.
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The article by The University of Chicago (2000) “Separation of Powers” gives an insight of the effort the authors of the Federalist Papers made to explain the constitution and respond to critiques. It depicts Madison replying to the issue of separation of powers by saying that for the branches to work efficiently, there only has to be a sharp look and reconstruction in the internal structure of the government.
- History.com. (2017). Federalist Papers.
- Maggs, G. (2007). A Concise guide to the federalist papers as a source of the original meaning of the United States constitution.
- The University of Chicago. (2000). Separation of Powers.