In Federalist No. 9, we again have Hamilton addressing the people of the State of New York in the Independent Journal, but this time he is addressing the union as a safeguard against domestic faction and insurrection as a follow-up to his piece on the consequences of hostilities between the states.
He begins the piece by stating that a FIRM Union will be of the utmost moment to the peace and liberty of the States, as a barrier against domestic faction and insurrection. To stress this point, he begins with a discussion of how it is impossible to read the history of the petty republics of Greece and Italy without feeling sensations of horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were continually agitated and at the rapid succession of revolutions by which they were kept in a state of perpetual vibration between the extremes of tyranny and anarchy. These were, after all, republics, and since what is being proposed is a republic, one must address why the current instantiation of the republic will enable a FIRM Union between the states while previous instantiations did not.
The reason the current instantiation will not be subject to the distractions, agitations, tyranny, and anarchy of the republics of old is because the science of politics, however, like most other sciences, has received great improvement since the time these republics were created and the efficacy of various principles, not known to the ancients, is now well understood.
In particular, the regular distribution of power into distinct departments; the introduction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of courts composed of judges holding their offices during good behaviour; and the representation of the people in the legislature by deputies of their own election are wholly new discoveries, or have, at the very least, made progress towards perfection. They are means, and powerful means, by which the excellences of republican government may be retained and its
imperfections lessened or avoided.
Hamilton then goes on to quote the French social commentator Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally known as Montesquieu, who lived during the Enlightenment wand who articulated the theory of separation of powers which is a governance model for the state where it is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers such that no branch has more power than the others, that is the basis of many of the constitutions in today’s republics and democracies.
This is because Montesquieu was one of the first enlightened thinkers to state that it is very probable that mankind would have been obliged at length to live constantly under the government of
a single person, had they not contrived a kind of constitution that has all the internal advantages of a republican, together with the external force of a monarchical government. I mean a CONFEDERATE REPUBLIC. Furthermore, the assemblage of societies that constitute a new one, capable of increasing, by means
of new associations, till they arrive to such a degree of power as to be able to provide for the security of the united body is able to withstand an external force and may support itself without any internal corruptions. As a result, the form of
this society prevents all manner of inconveniences.
Furthermore, as noted by Hamilton, since the proposed constitution made the states constituent parts of the national sovereignty, this fully corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the idea of a federal government, we have a FIRM Union that should serve as a safeguard against domestic faction and insurrection.
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