(The Federalist Papers in Modern Language:
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THE #PUBLIUS TWEETS #3
An intelligent and well informed people such as Americans do not lightly take a stand that is directly contrary to their interests. Thus, the view that the States should remain under a single, sufficiently powerful central government has a great deal going for it: the good will and good opinion of the American citizenry.
The more we consider these factors, the stronger that argument becomes.
Of all the questions we need to take into account, the matter of public safety is paramount. However, it should be noted that the issue of "public safety" is a very broad one, and that this issue resists being narrowly classified.
For purposes of this essay, I wish to consider only the question of national defense both against foreign invasion and against domestic uprisings. Let's take the issue of defense against foreign invasion first. It appears clear that a benign national government offers our best safety against foreign hostilities.
Wars have an unhappy history of taking place whenever there are sufficient causes to go to war, whether those causes are real or pretended then the reduction of the number of independent states each of which are subject to the decision to go to war can only mean that the Union would have the strongest single factor in the prevention of war both between the States and between the Union and other nations.
Wars, when undergone in justice, occur because of either violence on American troops or personnel or because of the violation of treaties. We have six treaties in place so far–five of them with maritime powers (the other being Prussia). Any of those five have the power to strike at us by means of their navies. We have trade with Portugal, Spain and Britain. These latter nations of course have a colonial presence directly on our borders.
If we are to keep the peace with all nations, we must observe international law, particularly towards those powers with the means to strike at us. It seems obvious that this is most likely to take place if we have a single national government rather than 13 separate republics or three or four regional authorities.
If we have a working national government, it will either elect or appoint the very best among our citizenry to hold office in that government. A national government will have the largest possible talent pool to draw from, and experienced individuals who might pass on appointment to State office would no doubt be eager to accept appointment to National office. Thus the Presidency, the legislative branch, and the judiciary will be controlled by much more qualified individuals than the individual States; and as such, as decisions are made by the wisest available, that will result in a dramatic increase in domestic security–and as a consequence, tranquility.
A single National government made up of a national Elite will make better decisions that the local officials of thirteen States or 3-4 confederacies. Mathematically, it's quite simple: the fewer governments, the fewer decisions to be made; with one government, the least possible number of decisions shall be made. Furthermore, with many polities, there will be many more incompatible laws. A single Government avoids this trap. A single Judiciary will do more than any other institution to prevent this difficulty, and the fact that the Convention foresaw this speaks to their wisdom and vision.
One or two states may have corrupt or venial Governments that are willing to choose war, but a single National government will act to prevent that difficulty, and the peace and good faith of the Government will so be preserved. Let's take Britain as a primary example and reason why we must pursue a single national Government.
It is also possible that some of the individual States, with their individual economies, may have a greater tendency to be drawn into conflict with foreign or other States than the norm. The government of said States may not be in a position to restrain and punish those pushing needlessly for war. The Union government however won't have that temptation, and will not be drawn into an endless round of saber-rattling and war-mongering, as the nation it represents is too large and diverse to have that tendency.
So long as we have a single government, the simple mathematical numbers of interactions that could lead to war are dramatically reduced to a mathematical minimum. This most favors the possibility of the greatest possible degree of national security.
Likewise, war arising from violent international incidents provide more security for the nation as a whole than would separate polities.
Such violence could originate from only one or two States. It is a greater insurance for all if all States were involved in the consequences. The Federal government under the Articles has never commenced a single campaign against the Indians; however, the States have often, through bad behavior or the inability to constrain it, acted as proximate causes of local/state Indian wars. This has caused many casualties, not merely among the instigators but also among the innocent bystander.
Furthermore, it is an obvious point that the Spanish and British borders only impinge on certain of the States while not involving others. This also places those particular States at risk. A national Government offers an effective balm to their fears of war with their neighbors. A National government will be the most effective possible deterrent to the border States to instigate trouble with our Spanish or British neighbors.
Furthermore, just as a single government reduces the number of possible conflicts with outsiders to a minimum, so it increases the power to resolve and treat with our enemies over solving them. The National government will be easier to deal with than individual States. States are like Men: they are prideful and quick to demand the righting of wrongs. A National government, being somewhat distant from the causes of conflict, will be less quick to start wars and somewhat more efficient in ending them.
Furthermore, a strong nation may be able to make deals and accommodations unreachable by a smaller, prideful polity.
Finally, let's remember the example of Genoa. In 1685 the Genoans offended King Louis XIV, the Sun King, in France. They undertook to try to appease the offended King. His solution? He made their chief of state and four leading Senators to come apologize to him. Personally. They had to do it to keep the peace. Needless to say a stronger Nation would never have offered such obeisance. Let this be a lesson to us all.