Federalist Papers Summary No. 40

 

Federalist Papers Summary No. 40

 
 

Federalist Papers Author James Madison
James Madison

Federalist Papers Summary Number 40

The Federalist Papers Summary No 40:  Madison
January 18, 1788

This paper addresses one question “whether the Convention were authorized to frame and propose this mixed Constitution” or was the authorization merely to amend the Articles.  The Conventions was called for from a meeting at Annapolis in September, 1786 and again from Congress in February, 1787.  A strict reading of the recommendations for action to the delegates attending the Convention shows that their authority was not exceeded except for a single instance which was of little concern to the objectors.  Instead of reporting a plan to the States Legislatures for confirmation they have reported it to the people for confirmation and then ratification by nine of the thirteen States instead of a unanimous vote as required by the Articles.

The above was at odds by those apposed to the proposed Constitution who maintained that the sole purpose of the Convention was to revise the Articles of Confederation.  Madison argues that to establish the republican form of government desired it was necessary to essentially start anew and scrap the Articles even if this was not exactly their assigned task.  He summarizes the work of the convention as follows; further “if they had exceeded their powers they were not only warranted but required as the confidential servants of their country by the circumstances in which they were placed to exercise the liberty which they assumed”.   And finally if they violated the powers and obligations with which they were entrusted, the Constitution should still be approved given it is for the benefit of the American people.

 

Summary Written by Donald Mellon

 

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