Federalist Papers Summary No. 43

 

Federalist Papers Summary No. 43

 
 

Federalist Papers Author James Madison
James Madison

Federalist Papers Summary Number 43

The Federalist Papers Summary No 43: Madison
January 23, 1788

This paper discusses the forth class of miscellaneous powers introduced in Federalist Paper No. 41. 

  1. A power to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for a limited time to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writing and discoveries, i.e., copy rights.
  2. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever over the seat of the Government of the United States, Washington, D.C. and over other public property including forts, magazines ,etc.
  3. To declare the punishment of treason as defined in the Constitution but only extending the consequences of guilt to the person convicted of it.
  4. To admit new States into the Union, a provision that was not in the Articles of Confederation. However no new State could be formed within an existing State or by combining existing States unless agreed to by the State legislatures involved and the Congress.
  5. To dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other property belonging to the United States. 
  6. To guarantee to every State a Republican form of Government and to protect each against invasion and when asked by the legislature or executive against domestic violence.  Invasion of course shortly after the Revolutionary War was a major concern and since a given reason for uniting the States together was mutual protection this power was not controversial.  But only Republican forms of Government were guaranteed thus States could not avail of this protection if they adopted anti-republican Constitutions.  Intervention by the Federal Government in the case of domestic violence is not a clear issue.  Madison seems almost to anticipate rebellions by slaves when he mentions “species of population abounding in some of the States who during the calm of regular government are sunk below the level of men” but in turbulent times of civil violence may give superior strength to any party.  In such a case, on whose side should the Government intervene?  Once again the Republican form of Government with representatives from “States not heated by the local flame” would be the impartial judges.
  7. To consider all debts contracted and engagements entered into before the adoption of this Constitution as being as valid under this Constitution as under the Confederation.  This was added primarily for the satisfaction of foreign creditors.
  8. To provide for amendments to be ratified by three-fourths of the States with two exceptions. The first exception again demonstrates the power the Southern States had while negotiating the language in the proposed Constitution for it prohibited amending their right to import slaves for the next twenty years.  The other exception stated that no State without its consent could be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
  9. The ratification of the conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the States ratifying the same.  A few comments on this seemingly benign statement can be made.  Note they are State conventions and not State legislatures that ratify the Constitution.  These conventions are chosen by the people so it is the people who ratify or enter into a valid contract and not the States so only the people can break this contract.  Presumably  State legislatures therefore could not vote to secede from the union.  Secondly, States that did not ratify would not be part of the Union and not subject to its laws or protections, what a mess that would have been.  And finally, how could a nine of thirteen State ratifications overthrow the Articles of Confederation that required unanimous approval for any modification?  Madison claims it is because it improves the safety and happiness of the society which is the object of all political institutions and because actions by the States under the Articles violated the Articles which therefore dissolves the federal pact.

 

Summary Written by Donald Mellon

 

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