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Busy this week and last and missed posting this on Wednesday. Please forgive me!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a historian nor a political scientist. I do have a fascination and interest in the Constitution and so I started reading the Federalist Papers and posting my interpretation on my own blog. I thought it might be of some interest here. Your interpretations and thoughts are greatly appreciated in the comments!

You can find the Federalist Papers in their entirety at The Library of Congress website.

Federalist No. 5 and links to the previous diaries below the fold and previously posted at LiveJournal

Federalist No. 1 here
Federalist No. 2 here
Federalist No. 3 here
Federalist No. 4 here

Federalist No. 5 is the third and final part from John Jay on threats to the young nation from foreign influence.

In the previous letter, Jay argued that the inherent weakness of a loose confederation would invite danger from foreign powers. Jay opens this letter with an example of the unification of Britain citing Queen Anne:

QUEEN ANNE, in her letter of the 1st July, 1706, to the Scotch Parliament, makes some observations on the importance of the UNION then forming between England and Scotland, which merit our attention. I shall present the public with one or two extracts from it: "An entire and perfect union will be the solid foundation of lasting peace: It will secure your religion, liberty, and property; remove the animosities amongst yourselves, and the jealousies and differences betwixt our two kingdoms. It must increase your strength, riches, and trade; and by this union the whole island, being joined in affection and free from all apprehensions of different interest, will be ENABLED TO RESIST ALL ITS ENEMIES." "We most earnestly recommend to you calmness and unanimity in this great and weighty affair, that the union may be brought to a happy conclusion, being the only EFFECTUAL way to secure our present and future happiness, and disappoint the designs of our and your enemies, who will doubtless, on this occasion, USE THEIR UTMOST ENDEAVORS TO PREVENT OR DELAY THIS UNION."

This quote essentially sums up Jay's arguments over the three letters in this series. Jay uses the history of Great Britain to augment his arguments because most of his audience would have been familiar with that history given their recent ancestral ties to Europe. In fact, at the beginning of that century, England was facing a potentially similar threat. In 1700, Charles II of Spain died and left his kingdom of Spain and it's colonies to the grandson of the King of France. This development led to the possibility that France and Spain could be united and pose a threat to the power and security of England. This is the context of Queen Anne's quote above in arguing for the unification of Scotland and England under one central monarch and parliament, which was achieved with the Treaty of Union in 1707.

Jay goes on to say that the regional disputes between England, Scotland, and Ireland proved that a central unified government was critical to minimizing such disputes for the greater good of all of the people and that such a federal government would allow the young United States not to repeat the mistakes of Great Britain.

The next section of the paper predicts what would happen in a regionally divided United States. Jay states that given that the northern section of the nation was at the present time the most powerful, that jealousies with the southern states would probably fester. At the same time, many of the natural resources were concentrated in the southern states. One can easily see the seeds of discontent in such a situation - seeds that would lead to internal strife and weakness as argued in Federalist No 4.

From these considerations it appears that those gentlemen are greatly mistaken who suppose that alliances offensive and defensive might be formed between these confederacies, and would produce that combination and union of wills of arms and of resources, which would be necessary to put and keep them in a formidable state of defense against foreign enemies.

Jay then closes out his argument that individual confederacies would by nature form individual alliances, treaties, and relationships with other nations thereby creating yet another situation that might pit confederacies against each other and against the best interest of the United States. These situations would further inflame the suspicion between the confederacies and would in all likelihood be exploited by foreign powers for their own interest.

Jay then leaves the merits of his own arguments to be decided by the people of the new nation.

Let candid men judge, then, whether the division of America into any given number of independent sovereignties would tend to secure us against the hostilities and improper interference of foreign nations.

Originally posted to docstymie on Fri May 15, 2009 at 11:25 AM PDT.

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