August 3, 2010 – Federalist No. 70 – Janine Turner
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Howdy from really hot Texas! Federalist Paper No. 70 is a rich read. Within its pages lay a thought provoking instructive that once again finds its measures readily applicable to today.
Big government. This is a phrase that I had always heard, and new instinctively was a negative, but I never really understood its premise until I delved into the Federalist Papers. What a mint of invaluable information and directives are the essays of the Federalist. I do hope that our forum here, and time together as Americans, reading and blogging about the Federalist Papers have perhaps diffused the awareness of them amongst our great land.
Our founding fathers believed in a small federal government encumbered by checks and balances. Alexander Hamilton makes the case by quoting examples of how deceitful enterprises rise from an executive branch that is not singular. When accountability rests on the few instead of the singular, evasion becomes the norm.
“But one of the weightiest objections to a plurality in the Executive, and which lies as much against the last as the first plan, is, that it tends to conceal faults and destroy responsibility…”
Alexander Hamilton further denotes:
“It often becomes impossible, amidst mutual accusations, to determine on whom the blame, or the punishment of a pernicious measure, or series of pernicious measures, ought really to fall. It is shifted from one to another with so much dexterity, and under such plausible appearances, that the public opinion is left in suspense about the real author.”
This is one of the reasons why Americans throw up their hands in disgust and walk away from the duties beholden to a citizen of a Republic. Where does one begin to know the truth of an issue? Where does one begin to know who really is the culprit?
Yes, our Executive Branch is represented by a singular person, but the bureaucracy surrounding it, the lawyers, the administration instructing it, have become a huge machine. Transparency has become close to nil. The Executive Branch has become a branch governed by the“councils,” a process of which Alexander Hamilton both denounces and warns. This plurality of our modern day Executive Branch befuddles the citizens. How does one take action?
“The people remain altogether at a loss to determine by whose influence their interests have been committed to hands so manifestly improper.”
Alexander Hamilton states that it is plurality that most threatens a Republic and robs her citizens of, “the two greatest securities they can have for the faithful exercise of any delegated power.” These two securities of a Republic are: public opinion and discovery.
“The plurality of the Executive tends to deprive the people of the two greatest securities they can have for the faithful exercise of any delegated power. First. The restraints of public opinion, which lose their efficacy, as well on account of the division of the censure attendant on bad measures among a number, as on account of the uncertainty on whom it ought to fall; and secondly, the opportunity of discovering with facility and clearness the misconduct of the persons they trust, in order either to their removal from office, or to their actual punishment, in cases which admit of it.”
The office of President of the United States is a thankless job and certainly the President is still help accountable today for the state of the union. Yet, because the Executive Branch is so big and because laws are being made by bureaucrats behind the scenes, and not by the Legislative branch, enterprising schemes take place such in ways that render American citizens without the adequate resources to respond and take action.
As Alexander Hamilton astutely observes:
“An artful cabal in that council, would be able to distract and to enervate the whole system of administration.”
All of this intrigue begs the question: what are we, the genius of the people” to do? Where do we begin and how will we make a difference? Alexander Hamilton even asks the question:
“Who is there that will take the trouble, or incur the odium, of a strict scrutiny into the secret springs of the transaction? Should there be found a citizen zealous enough to undertake the unpromising task..”
Our forefathers were most certainly examples of men who were zealous enough to undertake the unpromising task. They were willing to lose “their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor” to combat the intrigues and unscrupulous behavior of the British Empire. They fought to secure liberty and justice for all American citizens.
America today has within its bosom men and women who are willing to, “incur the odium,” in order to preserve our Republic and all for which she stands: honor, dignity, freedom. Obviously, our men and women of uniform have risked and lost their lives throughout our history to maintain our rights and continue to do so today.
However, these men and women also start with you, you who are reading the Federalist Papers, you who are writing on our blog, you the Professors and scholars who are dedicating your time to Constitute America, you who are willing to stand up, seek the truths and speak your opinions. You are, “the majesty of the people.” On you, our Republic rests.
America stands because of the diligence of your actions, because you are, “a citizen zealous enough to undertake the unpromising task.”
August 3, 2010