Federalist Papers – Essay #44

In Essay #44, Restrictions on the Authority of the Several States, James Madison raises the stakes of the debate in the closing lines of this paper by asserting that the powers contained in the constitution are absolutely necessary for the preservation of the union: “the question, therefore, whether this amount of power shall be granted or not, resolves itself into another question, whether or not a government commensurate to the exigencies of the union, shall be established; or, in other words, whether the union itself shall be preserved.”

He defends the following prohibitions of states:

  • entering into treaties,
  • authorizing ships to attack enemy ships,
  • printing money,
  • granting titles of nobility,
  • imposing import and export duties without the consent of Congress, and
  • passing bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws “impairing the obligation of contracts.”

Madison describes many of these restrictions as so obviously proper as to be unnecessary of a long discussion.

He defends the restriction on states printing money by asserting that if every state could regulate the value of money, “there might be as many different currencies as states; and thus, the intercourse among [states] would be impeded.”

He defends the prohibition on bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts as violations of personal rights and “contrary to the first principles of the social compact.”

Credit for the summary and analysis of Essay #44 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay #44 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 5 February 2019.

You can read the summary and analysis of Essay #44 by clicking HERE.

You can read the entire text of Essay #44 by clicking HERE.

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