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Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist XIV

“Publius,” The Federalist XIV [James Madison]

New-York Packet, November 30, 1787

With the draft Constitution having been published for consideration by the residents of each state in 1787 came questions about whether and how the federal government would effectuate its responsibilities given the vast land that the states and territories had already comprised—which James Madison found to be framed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River. Madison, in The Federalist XIV, articulated the reasoning behind the Constitution’s model for government, and at the heart of that reasoning was that this new form of government was not going to be a pure democracy of yore but rather a modern republic: “The true distinction” between a democracy and a republic is “that in a democracy, the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a republic they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A democracy consequently will be confined to a small spot. A republic may be extended over a large region.” Continue reading “Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist XIV”

Constitution Sunday: “Brutus” IV

“Brutus” IV

New York Journal, November 29, 1787

At the heart of a healthy democracy is the power for people or their representatives to create, modify, or repeal the laws for those laws inevitably govern nearly all aspects of life. The New York Journal published an article that dissected fair representation in the proposed Constitution:

“The object of every free government is the public good, and all lesser interests yield to it. That of every tyrannical government, is the happiness and aggrandisement of one, or a few, and to this the public felicity, and every other interest must submit. Continue reading “Constitution Sunday: “Brutus” IV”

Constitution Sunday: “Cato” V

“Cato” V

New York Journal, November 22, 1787

Following are excerpts from an anonymous article published in the New York Journal:

To the Citizens of the State of New-York.

In my last number I endeavored to prove that the language of the article relative to the establishment of the executive of this new government was vague and inexplicit, that the great powers of the President Continue reading “Constitution Sunday: “Cato” V”

Infrastructure’s Fostering of Democracy

Michel Chevalier. By: Leon Cogniet.

In 1833, a French engineer, Michel Chevalier, arrived in America and was fascinated by the infrastructure that surrounded him. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 241.

Continue reading “Infrastructure’s Fostering of Democracy”

The Two Scales and the Hand that Holds it

Benjamin Lincoln. By: John Singer Sargent.

Benjamin Lincoln wrote a series of articles in the Boston Magazine and Independent Chronicle that would touch on many of the same subjects as John Adams in his Defence of the ConstitutionSee Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 576.

Continue reading “The Two Scales and the Hand that Holds it”

A Revolutionary and Unique System

Alexander Hamilton. By: Franklin Simmons.

The Federalists, in overseeing the creation of the modern political system, culminating in the Constitution, had inadvertently changed not only the structure of government but also the trajectory of American politics.

Continue reading “A Revolutionary and Unique System”

Redefining Bicameralism

Charles Pinckney. By: Henry Benbridge.

Looking to the state governments’ creation of their respective senates, as explained in The Birth of the Senate, the creation of the Senate in the Constitution was a given, when the Constitutional Convention began. See Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 553.

Continue reading “Redefining Bicameralism”

Constitution Sunday: “Centinel” [Samuel Bryan] I

“Centinel” [Samuel Bryan] I

Independent Gazetteer (Philadelphia), October 5, 1787

Following are a series of excerpts: Continue reading “Constitution Sunday: “Centinel” [Samuel Bryan] I”

The One, the Few, and the Many

Portrait of John Adams. By: William Winstanley.

At the time of the American Revolution, it was commonly believed amongst Americans that formulating the ideal government would require a different system than any previously conceived. The Founding Fathers had their own ideas.

Continue reading “The One, the Few, and the Many”

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