Federalist Papers – Essay #45

In Essay #45, The Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered, James Madison tones down the rhetoric and focuses on reassuring his suspicious audience that such a powerful general government as advocated in previous essays will not threaten the remaining authority of the state governments and render them wholly subservient.

Madison brilliantly makes the reader feel the tension of the arguments regarding the powers of the national government.

  • On the one hand he argues that there is an urgent need to invigorate the national government with sufficient power to govern effectively – the Achilles heel of the Articles was the lack of such power;
  • On the other hand, Madison labors to convince his audience that the state governments will still retain a significant degree of authority and will, in many respects, have a far greater impact on daily American life than the national government.

This tension illustrates the central compromise between state and federal authority that serves as one of the key pillars of the American Constitution.

Credit for the summary and analysis of Essay #45 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay #45 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 5 February 2019.

You can read the summary and analysis of Essay #45 by clicking HERE.

You can read the entire text of Essay #45 by clicking HERE.

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