Federalist Papers Summary No. 3

 

Federalist Papers Summary No. 3

 
 

Federalist Papers Author John Jay
John Jay

Federalist Papers Summary Number 3

The Federalist Essays Summary No 3:  Jay
November 3, 1787

This paper addresses safety of the people and concludes safety would be greater with a Union under a national Government than thirteen individual states or three or four distinct confederacies under individual Governments.  Safety is considered as maintaining security of the peace from foreign arms and influence and from similar domestic causes.  The argument regarding foreign arms is logical and statistical.  The probability of war is proportional to the number and weight of the causes for war and with a united America there will be fewer just causes than from a disunited America with many more Governments and therefore possible violations of treaties or direct violence. 

An interesting argument is that a united America will have wiser people in national Government, presumably less likely to go to war, than individual state Governments because only those in state government with the greatest reputations will be sent to the national Government.  A representative of less wise capability in a national Government would have little effect on national policy whereas in leading a state Government could more easily find just cause for war. 

Also in a united America one or two states finding cause for war would not necessarily tempt the country to war.  Border States are examples where quarrels with Spanish and British territories could cause the States “to direct violence, to excite war” with those nations but a “national Government whose wisdom and prudence will not be diminished by the passions which actuate the parties” can obviate the danger.  So not only will there be fewer causes for war with a national Government but the Government will be better able to settle disputes amicably.  And perhaps as a sign of the times where disputes with other nations were numerous he notes that “acknowledgements, explanations and compensations are often accepted as satisfactory from a strong united nation which would be rejected as unsatisfactory if offered by a State or Confederacy of little consideration or power”.

Summary Written by Donald Mellon

 

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