Federalist Papers Summary 19
The Federalist Essays Summary No 19: James Madison December 8, 1787
(With the Assistance of Alexander Hamilton)
Madison continues the discussion begun in the last paper by considering several existing confederacies; the first being the Germanic Body. This is a history lesson of Europe from the early ages of Christianity to the present (1787) and will not be repeated here. The history important to this discussion is that at numerous times confederations existed where there was a head typically and emperor and multiple sovereign members, and in every case conflicts between the members or from foreign powers which could not be defeated by the members brought ruin to the confederacy. Also mentioned are the powers conferred to the head which resemble those bestowed on the United States Government by the Articles of Confederation. The other examples discussed to a lesser extent are Poland’s Government over local sovereigns and the connection among the Swiss Cantons.
The paper is intended to bolster the argument that a confederacy of sovereign States organized by the Article of Confederacy will not survive. Madison puts it this way; “So far as the peculiarity of their case will admit of comparison with that of the United States, it serves to confirm the principle intended to be established. Whatever efficacy the Union may have had in ordinary cases, it appears that the moment a cause of difference sprang up, capable of trying its strength, it failed.”
Federalist Papers Summary 19 Written by Donald Mellon