Federalist Papers – Essay #42

In Essay #42, The Powers Conferred by the Constitution Further Considered, James Madison defends two more classes of powers afforded to the general government:

  • The regulation of intercourse with foreign nations; and
  • The regulation of intercourse among the states.

Madison goes into considerable detail in describing and defending the many specific powers granted to the general government to manage relations between the states, and perhaps the most important is the authority of the national government to regulate interstate commerce. Madison argues that if the national government is not authorized to perform this role, tensions and “serious interruptions of the public tranquility” will result from states imposing various kinds of taxes and restrictions on goods coming from other states.

The issue of slavery is introduced in this Essay – specifically the slave trade.

While James Madison was adamantly opposed to slavery of any kind as an inhumane and barbaric practice, he discusses the provision in the Constitution allowing for the importation of slaves until 1808, after which Congress may decide to ban importation. He argues that while it would have been better to abolish the trade immediately, it is nevertheless better to place some sort of time limit on the trade than to leave it completely unfettered forever.

Credit for the summary and analysis of Essay #42 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay #42 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 30 January 2019.

You can read the summary and analysis of Essay #42 by clicking HERE.

You can read the entire text of Essay #42 by clicking HERE.

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