Federalist 37 – James Madison

James Madison takes up his pen in order to write Federalist 37, thus commencing the second part of the series.  From this point forward Publius is mainly concerned with analyzing the Constitution and defending it from anti-Federalist attacks.  In this paper, Madison lays the groundwork by taking a look at the difficulties faced by those in attendance at the constitutional convention.

His preamble is a lament that sounds familiar to modern ears as he complains about the lack of civility surrounding the debate over the proposed Constitution.

It is a misfortune, inseparable from human affairs, that public measures are rarely investigated with that spirit of moderation which is essential to a just estimate of their real tendency to advance or obstruct the public good; and that this spirit is more apt to be diminished than promoted, by those occasions which require an unusual exercise of it. To those who have been led by experience to attend to this consideration, it could not appear surprising, that the act of the convention, which recommends so many important changes and innovations, which may be viewed in so many lights and relations, and which touches the springs of so many passions and interests, should find or excite dispositions unfriendly, both on one side and on the other, to a fair discussion and accurate judgment of its merits. In some, it has been too evident from their own publications, that they have scanned the proposed Constitution, not only with a predisposition to censure, but with a predetermination to condemn; as the language held by others betrays an opposite predetermination or bias, which must render their opinions also of little moment in the question.

(more…)

Published in: on August 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm  Comments Off on Federalist 37 – James Madison  
Tags: ,