May 7, 2010 – Federalist No. 8 – Janine Turner
Friday, May 7th, 2010
Today was yet another stimulating reading. Your blog comments have been thought provoking as well. I thank you and I, also, once again, thank Professor W.B. Allen for his astute interpretation. After reading both Federalist Paper No. 8 and Professor Allen’s essay here is what I have gleaned:
With the birth of the Republic of the United States came the birth of a new type of republic. Republics in the past all eventually lent themselves to the art of war, instead of the art of commerce and free enterprise, as its focus. Our new republic would be monitored and governed by the people instead of military figures.
This was truly an enlightened and inspired experiment.
Yet, safety would have to be secured in order to offer the opportunity of these pursuits and the art of war delineated. If the people did not feel safe, and if war were to spring from internal hostilities, then the focus would shift away from the remarkable aspects of American ingenuity to the colossal attentions war and/or petty skirmishes demanded.
To quote Alexander Hamilton:
“Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates..”
“To be more safe, they, at length, become willing to run the risk of being less free…”
If war were to become the dictate then the executive branch would broaden and the legislative branch, the people’s branch, weaken.
“They would, at the same time, be obliged to strengthen the executive arm of government; in doing which, their constituents would acquire a progressive direction towards monarchy. It is of the nature of war to increase the executive, at the expense of the legislative authority.”
War was thus incompatible with the new industriousness of the American people:
“The industrious habits of the people of the present day, absorbed in the pursuits of gain, and devoted to the improvements of agriculture and commerce, are incompatible with the condition of a nation of soldiers, which was the true condition of the people of those republics.”
Once again our forefathers had the wisdom and wherewithal to prophesy the necessities for a free people to flourish – freedom from dictators, tyranny, war, conquests and internal squirmishes.
Which begs the next big undertaking: replacing the dictator with the wisdom of the people. If the government were to heed upon the whims of the people then how does one educate and inspire the people? The checks and balances of the Constitution were thus both a check against the leaders and the people – a republic instead of a democracy.
In this respect how have Americans fared? I would say on the broad scale, remarkably. I believe our forefathers would be mesmerized with the scope of growth, scientifically, industriously and humanitarianly. They would be in a state of awe. The experiment of liberty and union, though bruised along the way, has remained vital.
Yet, a new generation and movement are upon us. Our founding fathers, I believe, would be a bit wary regarding the modern day wisdom of the people. There was such a hunger for education and inspiration in the blossoming days of the United States because the repression of such liberties had left a formidable and everlasting impression.
Today, do we take for granted the freedoms that have made our country great? I believe that the lack of voting would be a disappointment to our forefathers, as would the seeming unawareness of the founding principles of our country.
If we, as citizens, and our children, do not understand the dignified rights and principles we have then we, and our children, will not know when they are subtly taken away from us. The success of the progressive movement is a prime example.
Thus, the reading and comprehension of the United States Constitution and the Federalist Papers are paramount. I, personally, feel blessed to be having this dialogue with our daily scholars, Cathy and all of you who blog. I thank you for your involvement. Spread the word! Let us all be educated citizens with a knowledge rooted in the thesis of our country so that we may then step forward, voice our opinions and make a difference as informed citizens.