Sunday, September 4, 2011

Anti-Federalist/Federalist #2

Anti-Federalist Papers #1
Despotism? 1. The exercise of absolute power, esp. in a cruel and oppressive way
But remember, when the people once part with power, they can seldom or never resume it again but by force.  Is the author referencing war?

Throughout this reading I think that the author is very passionate about what they believe. I think that this is because whenever I am reading something, the voice in my head is excited and enthusiastic, whether or not the author intended this; however, the main point the author wanted to get across was whether or not the 13 States (at that time) should be under one "Republic."  The author proposed this question after a brief introduction about the convention created with the 13 States already creating a constitution that could either be a good thing or create a "despotism" government, which means that the "absolute" power would control everything in a negative manner.

"History furnishes no example of a free republic, any thing like the extent of the United States. The Grecian republics were of small extent; so also was that of the Romans. Both of these, it is true, in process of time, extended their conquests over large territories of country; and the consequence was, that their governments were changed from that of free governments to those of the most tyrannical that ever existed in the world."

This quote from the text can pretty much sum up the viewpoint of the author. If under a one republic that was free, we would end up like one of the countries mentioned above.  Throughout this reading, I found it difficult to understand at times and I would re-read it a few times to make sure I was taking away the correct viewpoint. Sometimes I wasn't sure if he were for the one republic or against it, but then after coming to the end it was clear his opinion and thus the quote above.

The Federalist #51
usurpations? trespass: entry to another's property without right or permission
I just love how towards the middle of the text he talks about if men were angels then we would need no government and that if the angels were to govern the men then there would be not need for "controls." In this work the author makes clear their point of view,but in a way very hard to understand. At the end of the text he gives the two "considerations" about the federal of America. One of them being that the rights of the people will be broken up into the two sections of government that will control each other and itself all at once. (Which sounds really tricky) Also, his number two consideration is that majority wins. At first when I was reading this I thought he was talking about dividing up societies. Was he really talking about that? I think that he was just using that word phrase in a bad part of the sentence. I'll ask this in class tomorrow. 


  1. Hey, I hope your question about the anti-federalist (Yates) and his view of the states being part of one Republic rather than a confederation (or union of member states) was answered today!

    I also hope the checks and balances and ambition defending against encroachments on power is more clear. Also, I think when you summarize his view as "majority rules," it sort of misses the overall point he is making, which is "you don't have to fear tyranny of the majority," in a nutshell. All the points he makes about the diverse factions and the general unlikelihood of their coming together and forming a huge majority around any of the contentious issues of the day serve the viewpoint that the central government will not be empowered to stomp all over the states and minorities within them.

  2. After our in class discussion, and Jake's comment above, what do you think? Were Brutus' fears realized? Was Publius correct?

  3. Jake, yes my questions were answered. As we said today in class the language can get a bit rough sometimes and I get lost in the words very easily. You had great examples for reference. Also, I agree with you that I missed a huge portion of what he was saying by stating the majority rules, though at the time I really did think that is what he was trying to say. The class discussion cleared that up a bit.

    Professor G: I think that the fears were realized. We talked about today that if we combine under one government then the individual interests of the states will not be meet because of the majority will overrule. You made an example of comparing the north to the south.

    After the class discussion today I feel a bit more confident to speak about these particular texts. I think that the big thing that needs to be reiterated is the discussion of "state of nature" and organization. I think that this concept plays a big role in the decision making process and the overall process of thinking. IF men were angels we would need no rules, but in a of state of nature we are more worried about OUR own individual needs rather than as a whole. I have yet to make my mind up if I agree. I'd love to believe that every one is good, but at the same time I am not naive.