In Essay #16, The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union, Alexander Hamilton wastes no time in focusing on the inadequacies of the present confederation, which he calls the “parent of anarchy,” and continues the theme of the importance of the government to the unity of the country. He postulates that the “delinquencies of the states of the Union are the natural offspring that will lead the country to civil war.”
Hamilton argues for the need for a national standing army to enforce national laws. “Only by having power over the individual do you have the right to arrest them, to imprison them, and to set them free,” he writes. “Such an army would effectively preserve the general tranquility.”
Hamilton developed the theme that “no national government could endure unless it had jurisdiction over the individuals in the states rather than over the states in their corporate capacities.”
Hamilton was always worried about interstate conflicts mainly because of the absence of strong neighbors. In subsequent essays, the scholarly Madison reinforced Hamilton’s arguments by citing historical precedents.
Credit for the summary and analysis is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay 16 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 19 January 2019.