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Federalist No. 45

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❶Within every district to which a federal collector would be allotted, there would not be less than thirty or forty, or even more, officers of different descriptions, and many of them persons of character and weight, whose influence would lie on the side of the State.

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Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
Federalist No. 45

Such copyrights, or patents, should be extended to protect and encourage inventors. Another of the powers would be the national government's right to exclusive legislation over lands purchased from the states for the erection of forts, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful structures.

Similar authority would be exercised over the district, not exceeding ten miles square, which was to be chosen as the seat of government, the national capital later named the District of Columbia. Other important miscellaneous powers included the right to define and punish treason, to admit new states into the union, to guarantee to every state a republican form of government, and to lay down the rules for amending the Constitution. In Chapter 44, a fifth classification of powers consisted of certain restrictions imposed on the authority of the states.

No state was to enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; or coin money, issue bills of credit, pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts, "or grant any title of nobility. A sixth classification consisted of several powers and provisions designed to give effect to all the rest.

One such provision gave the national government the power to make all laws deemed "necessary and proper for carrying into execution" all its other powers. No part of the proposed constitution, Madison observed, was being assailed "with more intemperance" by Anti-Federalists, who objected to the blanket phrase "necessary and proper. That was impossible, Madison replied.

Had the Constitutional Convention attempted to specify the "particular" powers necessary for implementing the Constitution, that would have involved a "complete digest of laws on every subject to which the Constitution relates. Taking higher ground, Madison declared: Another restriction on the states was salutary.

As the measures adopted and the treaties signed by the national government were to be the supreme law of the land, that law was to be binding on all state judges, no matter what the constitution or laws of any state might be.

Also, the law requiring all federal officials to take an oath to support the Constitution was to be extended to include state officers and all members of state legislatures.

State officials would be essential in giving effect to the federal Constitution. The election of the president and the United States Senate would depend in all cases upon the state legislatures.

In Chapter 45, would the powers of the national government be dangerous to the authority of the states? Critics said they would be; Madison said not. Under the Constitution, the states would retain a "very extensive portion of active sovereignty.

The United States Senate would be elected "absolutely and exclusively" by the state legislatures. The House of Representatives, though elected by the people, would be chosen very much under the influence of those men who had risen to become members of state legislatures. The national government would employ far fewer persons than the state governments in the aggregate. Consequently, the personal influence of national employees would be less than that of state employees, who would also be closer to the people.

The powers to be delegated to the national government were few and defined, while those retained by the states were numerous and indefinite. The operations of the national government would be most extensive in times of war and danger; those of the states, in times of peace and security. In Chapter 46, the author next asked whether the national government or the state governments would have the advantage in gaining the support of the people. The state governments would, he argued, for they would take care of the more domestic and personal interests of the people.

A greater number of individuals could expect to rise to office in state governments to enjoy the salaries and "emoluments" thereof. If the national government ever became disposed to extend its power beyond due limits and raised a standing army to carry out its designs, that army, in relation to the total population, could not exceed 30, men.

On the other hand, the combined militias of the states would total some , men, and American militiamen had proved what they could do by defeating British regulars during the Revolution.

The states would have nothing to fear if they joined the union. There was no danger of state governments being annihilated. HAVING shown that no one of the powers transferred to the federal government is unnecessary or improper, the next question to be considered is whether the whole mass of them will be dangerous to the portion of authority left in the several States.

The adversaries to the plan of the convention, instead of considering in the first place what degree of power was absolutely necessary for the purposes of the federal government, have exhausted themselves in a secondary inquiry into the possible consequences of the proposed degree of power to the governments of the particular States.

But if the Union, as has been shown, be essential to the security of the people of America against foreign danger; if it be essential to their security against contentions and wars among the different States; if it be essential to guard them against those violent and oppressive factions which embitter the blessings of liberty and against those military establishments which must gradually poison its very fountain; if, in a word, the Union be essential to the happiness of the people of America, is it not preposterous to urge as an objection to a government, without which the objects of the Union cannot be attained, that such a government may derogate from the importance of the governments of the individual States?

Was, then, the American Revolution effected, was the American Confederacy formed, was the precious blood of thousands spilt, and the hard-earned substance of millions lavished, not that the people of America should enjoy peace, liberty, and safety, but that the government of the individual States, that particular municipal establishments, might enjoy a certain extent of power, and be arrayed with certain dignities and attributes of sovereignty?

We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape — that the solid happiness of the people is to be sacrificed to the views of political institutions of a different form? It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object.

Were the plan of the convention adverse to the public happiness, my voice would be, Reject the plan. Were the Union itself inconsistent with the public happiness, it would be, Abolish the Union. In like manner, as far as the sovereignty of the States cannot be reconciled to the happiness of the people, the voice of every good citizen must be, Let the former be sacrificed to the latter. How far the sacrifice is necessary has been shown. How far the unsacrificed residue will be endangered is the question before us.

Several important considerations have been touched in the course of these papers, which discountenance the supposition that the operation of the federal government will by degrees prove fatal to the State governments. The more I revolve the subject, the more fully I am persuaded that the balance is much more likely to be disturbed by the preponderancy of the last than of the first scale. We have seen, in all the examples of ancient and modern confederacies, the strongest tendency continually betraying itself in the members to despoil the general government of its authorities, with a very ineffectual capacity in the latter to defend itself against the encroachments.

Although, in most of these examples, the system has been so dissimilar from that under consideration as greatly to weaken any inference concerning the latter from the fate of the former, yet, as the States will retain under the proposed Constitution a very extensive portion of active sovereignty, the inference ought not to be wholly disregarded. In the Achaean league it is probable that the federal head had a degree and species of power which gave it a considerable likeness to the government framed by the convention.

The Lycian Confederacy, as far as its principles and form are transmitted, must have borne a still greater analogy to it. Yet history does not inform us that either of them ever degenerated, or tended to degenerate, into one consolidated government. On the contrary, we know that the ruin of one of them proceeded from the incapacity of the federal authority to prevent the dissensions, and finally the disunion, of the subordinate authorities.

These cases are the more worthy of our attention as the external causes by which the component parts were pressed together were much more numerous and powerful than in our case; and consequently less powerful ligaments within would be sufficient to bind the members to the head and to each other.

In the feudal system, we have seen a similar propensity exemplified. Notwithstanding the want of proper sympathy in every instance between the local sovereigns and the people, and the sympathy in some instances between the general sovereign and the latter, it usually happened that the local sovereigns prevailed in the rivalship for encroachments.

Had no external dangers enforced internal harmony and subordination, and particularly, had the local sovereigns possessed the affections of the people, the great kingdoms in Europe would at this time consist of as many independent princes as there were formerly feudatory barons. The State government will have the advantage of the federal government, whether we compare them in respect to the immediate dependence of the one on the other; to the weight of personal influence which each side will possess; to the powers respectively vested in them; to the predilection and probable support of the people; to the disposition and faculty of resisting and frustrating the measures of each other.

The State governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter is nowise essential to the operation or organization of the former. Without the intervention of the State legislatures, the President of the United States cannot be elected at all.

They must in all cases have a great share in his appointment, and will, perhaps, in most cases, of themselves determine it. The Senate will be elected absolutely and exclusively by the State legislatures.

Even the House of Representatives, though drawn immediately from the people, will be chosen very much under the influence of that class of men whose influence over the people obtains for themselves an election into the State legislatures.

Thus, each of the principal branches of the federal government will owe its existence more or less to the favor of the State governments, and must consequently feel a dependence, which is much more likely to beget a disposition too obsequious than too overbearing towards them. On the other side, the component parts of the State governments will in no instance be indebted for their appointment to the direct agency of the federal government, and very little, if at all, to the local influence of its members.

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The Federalist Papers Summary No Madison January 26, In this important paper Madison, the primary author of the Constitution, explains how the Constitution is designed to preserve States rights.

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Home» Federalist Papers» FEDERALIST PAPER #45 SUMMARY. Today’s post is FEDERALIST PAPER #45 – Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered – written by James Madison and published Saturday, January 26, Federalist 45 begins with the question: was the revolution fought to secure the peace, liberty, safety, and public good of the American people or to secure the sovereignty of the states? Madison says, the former, and he is willing, if necessary, to sacrifice the states for the “public happiness.”.