THE #PUBLIUS TWEETS #4:
THE FEDERALIST PAPERS IN MODERN ENGLISH
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On Foreign Force, Influence, and The Dangers of Internal Division
To the People of New York:
Our last discussion gave a number of reasons why national security is best protected by means of a National Union: a Union that prevents war by preventing local foolishness from igniting us all in regional conflict. In short, we prevent war by acting in a manner more just, guaranteed by a single government. Mathematically, it's clear: one government can act foolishly far less often than can many, just as a single individual may be foolish on various occasions but is less likely on a single occasion than a large group of individuals each of whom can act independently of one another.
But that is not sufficient in protecting us from foreign powers. It is of course necessary not to give foreign powers the excuse to go to war with us through foolish acts. It is even more necessary not to invite attack through weakness and vulnerability. History shows that nations often go to war under pretense, saying the cause is one thing when it is in fact caused by another.
Human nature being what it is, nations tend to go to war if they'll gain from war. And monarchs and other absolute rulers have a bad habit of going to war over petty personal quarrels, or for "glory", or revenge for insults, out of ambition, or in support of relatives and/or other political allies.
As a result, wars often arise for reasons that neither serve the nation or the people, but only the personal vanity of the sovereign himself. But wars are not always caused by the caprice of kings. Sometimes they have other causes, arising from competition or other circumstances that arise between nations.
For instance, we remain highly competitive in the fish market with France and Britain, and can produce more fish for less investment than they, and thus our product is cheaper (notwithstanding tariffs or other barriers to entry to their markets).
We are of course fully aware that these may cause international conflict or war; those seeking an excuse for war against us will no doubt always find a reason for it.
A Federal government can bring together the talents, experience and wisdom of the elite of every state instead of each one being thrown onto its own intellectual resources. Great men (and women) are scarce, and one government can gather them together from many states far more effectively than each state can provide them on their own. A single government can institute uniform policies over all the states.... and can harmonize each of the states, and extend the benefits of a national government to each part more or less equally.
The interests of all states will be taken into account as regards treaties and international agreements, far better than where individual states make the same agreements: New York might make a trade agreement with England that would beggar, say, Massachusetts. A single government avoids this trap. A single government can defend the individual states far better than can each of the states themselves; a single state subjected to invasion would be supported by the resources of all the states. The military can be subjected to a single set of regulations; its officers, in one interest, under the President; they can be constructed to work together far more effectively than if divided into 13 states or three or four regional governments.
Imagine an alternate universe where Britain, with separate armies in England, Scotland, and Wales: would the latter states protect England against invasion? And if they did, would they work together more efficiently than that of a single British Army? Experience suggests that they would not.
The British Navy is famous and powerful; the day may come when our own Navy may gain the respect of the world. Note that the greatness of Britain's fleet would never have been a factor without a single Government there making naval strength a priority. Surely, three separate polities on the island of Great Britain would not have accomplished this.
OTOH, if they find our states poorly governed (or not governed at all), with each State doing its own will, or separate confederacies in hostile competition with one another, then America will be poor, pitiful, and vulnerable. We will be vulnerable to their contempt and aggression; and we will be vulerable, too, to a foreign strategy of divide and conquer.