Federalist Papers – Essay #77

In Essay #77, The Appointing Power Continued and Other Powers of the Executive Considered, Alexander Hamilton responds to specific criticisms levied against ratification by the anti-federalists – tying up loose ends while addressing related issues.

Two issues come to the forefront:

  • the importance of stability in the administration of the government as a justification for requiring Senate approval to appoint or displace public officials; and
  • the notion that the Senate would have undue influence over the executive in the appointment of officials.

Hamilton concludes his arguments by claiming that a proper balance between the power of the executive and oversight through advise and consent in the Senate would put proper checks and balances on these two institutions.

Hamilton’s words are eloquent as he sums up his position:

“We have now completed a survey of the structure and powers of the executive department, which, I have endeavored to show, combines, as far as republican principles will admit, all the requisites to energy. The remaining inquiry is: Does it also combine the requisites to safety, in a republican sense, a due dependence on the people, a due responsibility? The answer to this question has been anticipated in the investigation of its other characteristics, and is satisfactorily deducible from these circumstances; from the election of the President once in four years by persons immediately chosen by the people for that purpose; and from his being at all times liable to impeachment, trial, dismission from office, incapacity to serve in any other, and to forfeiture of life and estate by subsequent prosecution in the common course of law. But these precautions, great as they are, are not the only ones which the plan of the convention has provided in favor of the public security. In the only instances in which the abuse of the executive authority was materially to be feared, the Chief Magistrate of the United States would, by that plan, be subjected to the control of a branch of the legislative body. What more could be desired by an enlightened and reasonable people?”

Credit for the summary and analysis of Essay #77 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay #77 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 19 February 2019.

You can read a summary and analysis of Essay #77 by clicking HERE.

You can read the entire text of Essay #77 by clicking HERE. 

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