Federalist 28 – Alexander Hamilton

In the 28th Federalist Paper, Alexander Hamilton continues to discourse on national defense and the fears of a standing army.  In this essay Hamilton seems to skirt between two extremes.  He seeks to promote the national government as the surest defender of peace and security, and yet he also wants to assuage fears that it will grow too powerful.  In other words, the government under this system will be strong enough to suppress rebellion, but it won’t be so powerful that it tyrannize the population.

Hamilton begins by observing that disruptions of the public safety are inevitable.  As he writes, “seditions and insurrections are, unhappily, maladies as inseparable from the body politic as tumors and eruptions from the natural body.”  American history is somewhat happy in this regard, though there have always been moments of extreme unrest.  But from the perspective of Alexander Hamilton writing towards the end of the 18th century, it was inconceivable to think that there would be long periods of civil content.  Hamilton suggests that the large body of the public would support the government’s attempts to put down the insurgency so long as the majority had not lost confidence in the government.

The major fear is that a significant outbreak of rebellion could occur, and this would require a different sort of force. (more…)

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 4:10 pm  Comments Off on Federalist 28 – Alexander Hamilton  
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