Saving our Constitutional Republic – A Summary of Federalist Paper #29

Alexander Hamilton devotes his entire attention to the military issue – the new Constitution’s provisions for Federal control of the militia – in Essay #29, Concerning the Militia.

Specifically, the constitution empowers the union “to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving the states respectively the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by congress.”

Hamilton’s principal argument was that the new Constitution reduces the need for large standing armies – viewed as a threat to liberty.

Critics also objected to the new Constitution’s lack any provision where a local magistrate could enlist the services of able-bodied men to help enforce the laws. Hamilton counters by pointing out that authority was granted to Congress to “pass all laws necessary and proper to execute its declared powers” – including the authority to require citizens to help officers enforce the law.

Hamilton dismisses the notion that one state militia would be used to oppress the people of a different state – saying that state militias would never be willing to do such a thing and would, under the leadership of state-appointed officers, instead overthrow any tyrant who issued such orders.

In conclusion, Hamilton argues that with Federal control of the militia, the national government could deploy state militias to different states in times of war – thus reducing any potential disproportionate burden that any state might bear during a war.

Credit for the summary and analysis of Essay #29 is given to Brittany Nelson and Christopher Higgins (second revision 09/15/2011). Weinbloom, Elizabeth ed. “The Federalist Papers Essay #29 Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 30 December 2011 Web. 28 January 2019.

Go to the GrAdeSaver Summary of Federalist #29

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