John Jay ‘The Federalist’: Review Of The Book

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John Jay ‘The Federalist’: Review of the book

 The general idea of the document is the creation of a new Political Constitution and type of government for the 13 former colonies (Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, South Carolina).

Book written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay Political Leaders defenders of the federal state and the Political Constitution of the United States of America, after the problems between states, generated after the War of Independence.

Said Constitution proposed a year before the Convention made after constant crises, with place from the declaration of independence of the 13 British colonies. In order for it to have validity, the approval by 9 of the 13 states that composed it was necessary, contemplating the expansion of national power through clauses that in turn would allow the government to carry out what is necessary to meet the objectives of the country making these lawsThey had preference on regional or state laws in different places.

The federalist was initially written by the thought of one of his writers Alexander Hamilton who devised positively to influence New York, since these were key pieces in the constitutional process because they were geographically located in the center of the thirteen colonies,In addition, in turn they exercised a demanding political weight, by the hand of the state of Virginia.

Alexander Hamilton was part of the aforementioned convention, who convinced John Jay to be part of the project, who was a politician with great power of his main piece, New York, who also had a long and respected path in politics;being ambassador of the confederate states to the kingdom of Spain, with the idea of achieving support from Spain for the project.

In addition to John Jay, Alexander Hamilton made contact with different people deciding in the end by James Madison who contributed to forge the Constitution, who was aware of the inconsistencies of the system, proposing during the constituent convention their ideas that were aimed at ensuring a political structure whosemain objective was to avoid chaos of the previous period, generated by the blocking of minority groups. The federalist was a defense document of the Constitution, which proposed a new national power system, establishing an authority with nation limits, since these thirteen independent entities were confusing at the time of negotiating treaties and acting on the international stage.

After the revolution the British judicial system that existed in part of the colonies was lost and in the origin of the political structure there was also a force executive either. This is why the legislative powers of the different states had been constituted as the main source of authority and power of the 13 colonies, who in turn adopted legislative, judicial and executive functions. All power was concentrated in the legislative branch that was also subjected by local factions opposed to the interests of the remaining states, including long -term interests by citizens, reaching the point where some states printed money which had no wayTo support it, additionally promissory notes were issued by omitting the security of your payment, thus generating instability and useless for the set.

Alexander Hamilton would neutralize the image of the proposal in the Constitution with the existing truth of the moment “there is something noble and magnificent in the image of a great Federal Republic, clearly linked for the sake of a common interest, with tranquility and prosperity in its land, andRespected abroad, but in turn there is something that reduces its size proportionally and despicable in the idea of a group of states without weight, which only appears the union, but in reality contentious, jealous and perverse, without a fixed direction, fluctuatingand unhappy in his land and weak and insignificant in the eyes of other countries – due to his dissensions ”

After the war against Great Britain for Independence, the weakness of the existing political system of the mostly fluctuating factions had made it a base without a national voice that would guide it the policy towards an objective.

Warren Orbaugh, director of the Center for Capitalism Studies defines that the authors in his book The federalist proposes a type of Republic or representative and inventive government that aims to avoid the problem of the factions and protect the freedoms of each of the individuals.

The authors claim that at the time of dividing they will become weaker and in turn there will be greater possibilities of war, preventing defending freedom. These understand that trade is a source of force, but would not ensure in any way among the states some type of peace. In addition, the consequences of leaving the parties to whom they call "factions" are the ones who lead a democracy are analyzed.

The arguments of Hamilton and Madison focus on the need for the union to preserve the country’s need and protect the freedom of people, these ideas usually appear in the chapters of these two authors giving them enough priority;While Jay gives priority to the second idea due to his experiences as an ambassador to Ultamar.

Hamilton’s prospects about the nature of a free government resembles Madison’s;“Individuals leave the anarchic state of nature in their own interest, to live under a government that, even if it is popular, must restrict democracy through a constitution that ensures the protection of life, freedom and prosperity of citizens.”(Madison, 1787)

The federalist interprets the constitution in a quite effusive way, giving several powers to the federal government through its interpretation of the constitutional clause that the Government can legislate everything "necessary and appropriate". Even with this Madison sees federalism as a path to the creation of a system of balanced powers.

On the contrary, Hamilton does not trust member states to limit the excesses of the factions, in order to promote emotion in government, Hamilton puts the judiciary in a politically privileged situation by defending the possibility that he can review and also acts of the acts of theCongress to define if they are unconstitutional. For Hamilton a free government is a government that concentrates the law, but for Madison the ideal is to balance power in various parts of the government.

The writers of the ‘federalist’ had previously sought European democracies, looking for some references to structure their government. The American settlers did not seek an aristocratic hierarchy since for them it was a bit weird, but their perception focused more on an individual freedom that was reflected in their own political comfort;From before the North American Revolution. Many of the American colonies began as a refuge for religious dissidents fleeing religious control in Europe, since the religious communities of North America were organized in a more autonomous way.

Unlike European constitutionalism;The American was not secular;Thanks to this, the settlers felt free to be able to make a community of their own faith, without the permission of citizens there could be no Pope controlling his beliefs or a king dictating his laws.

Among the authors of the federalist was the idea of separating the religion from the government since it would be important for the State as for the religious freedom of which several communities enjoyed, Madison said “religious passions created an additional danger had already been seen inEurope ”Madison was one of the greatest defenders of freedom of worship precisely for his position contrary to no political or religious influence being established as dominant.

Madison and Hamilton stopped having a quite similar point of view as soon as the national government began, where these two had prominent positions, of several clashes they had, the most serious was in June 1970, it was a conclusive moment for both of MadisonHe was blocking Hamilton’s financial plan in Congress, since he, as a treasure secretary, sought support from the federal government and at the same time establish the credit of the United States before European bankers, in turn Madison sought support to ensure that theCapital of the Union will be located in what would be Washington D.C .

In the end, this mutual blockade was solved by Thomas Jefferson, allowing both Hamilton and Madison.

Sheldon Wolin, a more active and connected democracy defender with citizens, is somewhat critical of Publius, to the point of recovering some of the arguments of the antifederalist as we have already seen. Wolinllega even say that Chapter 10 of El Federalist reveals that “Madison has Plato’s insistence on the need to maintain political power out of reach of those who are in greater contact with the sordid realities of everyday existence, with themore prone to irrationality "

For Wolin, the people had no participation for the creation of the Constitution since many did not meet the requirements to vote, but as several social groups were integrated into politics, and the years passed, and the vote was extended. Wolin considers that the federalist and the Constitution, "therefore, the irrationality of the ‘crowd’ should be controlled by Madisonian mechanisms that, at the same time, would leave enough freedom of action for a rational government by the new ‘guardians’".

However, Muñiz expresses firmly that Mdison did not base his thinking "no aristocratizing elitism but is the consequence of critical relativization and questioning of the majorities of any kind and the perception of their risks to reason and freedom" (Muñiz,James Madison, P. XXV). For his defense of freedom it is precisely that Madison would oppose any group that cuts the freedom of others.


  1. Gold series "The Federalist", by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. Daniel Blanch (2009).
  2. Retrieved at https: // magazines.UCM.It is/index.PHP/FOIN/ARTICLE/VIEW/FOIN0909110129A/7781
  3. Three fundamental contributions of "the federalist" to modern constitutional theory. José Francisco García, Portal Web Scielo (2007). Retrieved at https: // scielo.CONICYT.CL/SCIELO.PHP?script = sci_arttext & pid = s0718-095020070001002 

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