Federalist Paper 2 Summary
The Federalist Papers Summary No 2: John Jay
October 31, 1787
Jay begins a complicated but necessary argument in this paper. There are Politicians who believe that dismembering the Union into thirteen sovereign states each with governments with powers granted by the people is preferred to having a single national government. Further the Articles of the Confederacy which failed in governing the Union were written by many of the same people who have written the draft constitution now being proposed. Nevertheless, he states, “the country and this people seem to have been made for each other …. and united by the strongest of ties should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous and alien sovereignties”. Therefore he needs to make the case that the Articles which united the states with a national government have to be replaced not by dismembering the Union but by a Union “more wisely framed” i.e. more tightly bound.
Little attention is given to the arguments for dividing the states into individual confederacies other than to call it “an extraordinary new doctrine”, the emphasis being placed on the importance of a strong Union and why the Articles failed. The Articles failed according to this paper because they were written during the Revolutionary War when “their habitations were in flames, when many of their citizens were bleeding….and there was left little room for those calm and mature enquires and reflections which must ever precede the formation of a wise and well balanced Government for a free people”.
The arguments for a strong Union occupy most of the paper beginning with how Providence gave this large and connected country to a “united people descending from the same ancestors” and how they have together established Liberty and Independence. As a nation they have made peace and war, vanquished enemies, and made treaties with foreign States. The people who wrote the Articles perceived and regretted its defects but still continue attached to a union and that security and prosperity can only be found in a national Government. Many of these wise and patriotic people who have contributed to the proposed draft have preserved what was beneficial in the Articles and replaced what was not. Further papers he concludes will develop and explain why “attachment to the cause of a Union rests on great and weighty reasons “.
Federalist Paper 2 Summary 2 Written by Donald Mellon