Saving our Constitutional Republic – A Review of Federalist Paper #22

In Federalist Paper #22, Other Defects of the Present Confederation, Alexander Hamilton goes beyond the problems of the Articles of Confederation already discussed and argues that there are others of equal importance that need to be addressed.

  • First, both Federalists and anti-Federalists agree that the lack of power to regulate commerce among the several states and between this government and foreign nations has created an abominable situation.
  • Second, Hamilton addresses the subject of the military, a power that under the confederation was merely “making requisitions upon the States for quotas of men.” During the Revolution, this system was found wanting because it created competition between the states, “an auction for men.”
  • Third, Hamilton argues that the new constitution provides “the right of equal suffrage among the states.” Under the Articles of Confederation, all the states, whether large or small, were represented equally in the Congress. This system, however, means that in reality the people are unequally represented.
  • Fourth, Hamilton points out the lack of a Supreme Court under the Articles of Confederation. The new Constitution provides a body that is necessary to define and interpret the laws, as “laws are dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation.”
  • Lastly, Hamilton attacks the way the Articles of Confederation were ratified.  Because the Articles of Confederation were ratified by the state legislatures, Hamilton argues that they lack power and could be dismissed easily. Instead, he believes that “the fabric of American Empire ought to rest on the solid basis of the consent of the people.”

Credit for the summary and analysis of Essay #22 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay 21 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 24 January 2019.

Go to the GrAdeSaver Summary of Federalist #22

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