Federalist Papers – Essay #64

In Essay #64, The Powers of the Senate, John Jay addresses the issue of the President being able to make treaties with the consent of two-thirds of the senate.

Remember that John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

These two bodies were appropriate for making foreign policy decisions, Jay argues, because they are elected less frequently than members of the house and, therefore, are able to acquire the extensive knowledge necessary for handling such matters as treaties with other nations.

Jay addresses the issue of power granted to the executive branch being checked by the requirement that all treaties be ratified by the senate. Thus a balance is struck between expediency of action by the President and republican suspicions of excessive power in the executive branch.

Anti-federalists were gravely concerned that granting too much authority to the President and the Senate in international affairs would open the door to corruption and shady deals with foreign powers.

Jay tries to convince Americans that the Constitution adopts a balance approach to this issue.

Jay wrote: “As to corruption, the case is not supposable. He must either have been very unfortunate in his intercourse with the world, or possess a heart very susceptible of such impressions, who can think it probable that the President and two thirds of the Senate will ever be capable of such unworthy conduct. The idea is too gross and too invidious to be entertained. But in such a case, if it should ever happen, the treaty so obtained from us would, like all other fraudulent contracts, be null and void by the law of nations.”

Credit for the summary and analysis of Essay #64 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay #64 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 15 February 2019.

You can read a summary and analysis of Essay #64 by clicking HERE.

You can read the entire text of Essay #64 by clicking HERE.

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