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Federalist 38 Summary

Federalist Papers Summary 38Federalist Papers Summary 38

The Federalist Essays Summary No 38: James Madison January 12, 1788

James Madison, Federalist Papers Author
James Madison

The themes of this rather lengthy paper is that those objecting to the proposed Constitution offer no alternative which would have fewer objections and that a Constitutional form of Government needs to be established quickly to replace that currently operating under the Articles of Confederation. In the past the framing of Governments was usually performed by a single person or several people in series often more satisfactory to the framer than the population. America has considerably improved upon this process, but even so there may be problems with the new Constitution that will only appear when executed. The Articles of Confederation provide many examples of unforeseen defects.

America is like a patient who finds his situation growing worse everyday and requiring an immediate cure. The patient selects the best physicians who prescribe a solution, the proposed Constitution, but then immediately others rush forward and without denying the dangers of the situation declare the solution is really poison that will kill the patient. There follows a long list of the types of poisons that will injure America. For example “this one tells us the proposed Constitution ought to be rejected because it is not a confederation of the States but a Government over individuals. Another admits that it ought to be a government over individuals to a certain extent but by no means to the extent proposed.” The list goes on and on.

Suppose we start over and have a second convention, would the result have fewer critics will fewer objections? Those objecting to the current proposal never mention any defects with theirs. “It is not necessary that the former (proposed Constitution) should be perfect; it is sufficient that the latter (proposed by objectors) is more imperfect.” Interestingly, the objections to the new proposal apply tenfold to the current constitution under the Articles whose many defects are repeated from previous papers. And of immediate concern, the current congress without proper authorization is amassing a “GREAT and INDEPENDENT fund of revenue and passing it into the hands of a SINGLE BODY of men, i.e. the Congress who can RAISE TROOPS to an INDEFINITE NUMBER and appropriate money to their support for an INDEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME.” The new Constitution will not allow any of these dangers to the people and must be acted upon.

Federalist Papers Summary 38 Written by Donald Mellon

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