The Federalist Papers: No. 11
On this day in 1787, Federalist Paper No. 11 is published. The Federalist Papers are a collection of essays that were published in New York newspapers in late 1787 and early 1788. They argued FOR the new Constitution, then being considered for ratification by the states.
As you can see, creation of a new American republic was no small task! The founding generation took the matter very seriously—so seriously that there was an audience for these numerous papers. Federalist Paper no. 11 was the 4th paper published in a quick 5-day period. And four more papers will be forthcoming in the next seven days. Whew!
Aren’t you thankful that the Founders took their task so seriously? We would benefit from a similar serious attitude to the problems that confront us today, as we seek to restore our republic to its first principles.
Publius turns his attention to the growth of commerce in the new country. A united America will thrive on the world stage. A disunited America cannot. The former can negotiate better trade treaties because the business of the continent is combined into one large block. Moreover, a united America will be able to finance and establish a better Navy. Even if it “could not vie with those of the great maritime powers,” it would “at least be of respectable weight.” America’s commerce will be less susceptible to disruptions or wars on the seas. A united America will have a greater variety of products to offer, both internally and to other nations.
Publius concludes by noting that Europe has long “extended her dominion” over Africa, Asia, and America. “It belongs to us,” Publius concludes, “to vindicate the honor of the human race. . . . Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness! Let the thirteen States, bound together in a strict and indissoluble Union, concur in erecting one great American system, superior to the control of all transatlantic force or influence, and able to dictate the terms of the connection between the old and the new world!”
Alexander Hamilton is the author of this particular paper. My post with more background on the Federalist Papers and their authorship can be found in the Federalist Paper No. 1 summary (see October 27 history post, here).