Federalist 55 – Madison

If you were to ask people to name their favorite Federalist Paper, or even what they considered to be the most famous or important, most would indicate either Federalist 10 or 51. Others might name number 68, or perhaps 9 or 14. To me, Federalist 55 is not only one of the most important of the essays penned by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, it  is one of the foundational texts of modern political thought.

This essay is concerned with the number of representatives in the House of Representatives, particularly the concerns that the Constitution allowed for far too few representatives. To begin with, Madison examined the state legislative assemblies and the wide variation in how they apportioned legislators. Some states had huge legislative assemblies, allotting one representative for every thousand or so citizens. Yet certain states, such as Pennsylvania, had relatively small legislatures, and thereby each elected legislator represented far more people. In the end, no precise formula was perfect.

Another general remark to be made is, that the ratio between the representatives and the people ought not to be the same where the latter are very numerous as where they are very few. Were the representatives in Virginia to be regulated by the standard in Rhode Island, they would, at this time, amount to between four and five hundred; and twenty or thirty years hence, to a thousand. On the other hand, the ratio of Pennsylvania, if applied to the State of Delaware, would reduce the representative assembly of the latter to seven or eight members. Nothing can be more fallacious than to found our political calculations on arithmetical principles. Sixty or seventy men may be more properly trusted with a given degree of power than six or seven. But it does not follow that six or seven hundred would be proportionably a better depositary. And if we carry on the supposition to six or seven thousand, the whole reasoning ought to be reversed.

What follows is a critical passage. (more…)

Published in: on August 28, 2012 at 7:50 pm  Comments Off on Federalist 55 – Madison  

Jackson’s Report on Second Manassas

On April 27, 1863 Joe Hooker led the Army of the Potomac south of the Rappahannock River, opening the Chancellorsville campaign.  Lieutenant General Thomas J. Jackson would die on May 10, 1863 from wounds received on Chancellorsville.  We are therefore fortunate indeed that on April 27, 1863 he submitted his report on the Second Manassas campaign which culminated in the routing of the recently formed Union army of Virginia under General John Pope.  Here is the text of the report:

HDQRS. SECOND CORPS, ARMY OF NORTHERN VA., April 27, 1863.   Brig. Gen. R. H. CHILTON, A. A. and I. G., Hdqrs. Dept. Northern Virginia.  

L   General: I have the honor herewith to submit to you a report of the operations of my command from August 15 to September 5, 1862, embracing the several engagements of Manassas Junction, Bristoe Station, Ox Hill, and so much of the battle of Groveton(on August 28, 29, and 30) as was fought by the troops under my command: On August 15, in obedience to instructions from the commanding General, I left my encampment, near Gordonsville, and, passing Orange Court-House, encamped in the evening near Mount Pisgah Church, where I remained until the 20th, when, in accordance with my instructions, while General Longstreet was crossing the Rapidan at Raccoon Ford, I crossed the same river at Somerville Ford. The command en. camped for the night near Stevensburg.   My command at this time comprised Ewell’s, A. P. Hill’s, and Jackson’s divisions. Ewell’s was composed of the brigades of Generals Lawton, Early, Hays (Colonel Forno commanding), and Trimble, with the batteries of William D. Brown, W. F. Dement, J. W. Latimer, W. L Baithis, and L E D’Aquin A P Hill’s division was composed of the brigades of Generals Branch, Gregg, Field, Pender, Archer, and Colonel Thomas, with the batteries of C. M. Braxton. H. G. Latham, W. G. Crenshaw, D. G. Mcintosh, Greenlee Davidson, and W. J. Pegram. Jackson’s division, commanded by Brig. Gen. William B. Taliaferro, was composed of Winder’s brigade, Colonel Baylor commanding; Colonel Campbell’s brigade, Maj. John Seddon commanding; Brig. Gen. William B. Taliaferro’s brigade, Col. A. G. Taliaferro commanding, and Starke’s brigade, with the batteries of Brockenbrough, [George W.] Wooding, W. T. Poague, Joseph Carpenter, W. H. Caskie, and Charles I. Raine.

Major-General Stuart, with his cavalry, co-operated during the expedition, and I shall more than once have to acknowledge my obligations for the valuable and efficient aid which he rendered.

Early on the morning of the 21st the command left its encampment and moved in the direction of Beverly Ford, on the Rappahannock, General Taliaferro’s command in the lead. On approaching the ford the enemy was seen on the opposite bank. Batteries of that division, under the direction of Major Shumaker, chief of artillery, were placed in position, which, after a short resistance (as reported by General Taliaferro), silenced the enemy’s guns and dispersed his infantry. Major-General Stuart had crossed with a portion of his cavalry, supported by some pieces of artillery, and after skirmishing with the enemy a few hours, taking some prisoners and arms, returned with the information that the Federal forces were moving in strength upon his position and were close at hand. The enemy soon appeared on the opposite bank, and an animated firing was opened and, to a considerable extent, kept up across the river for the rest of the day between the Federal artillery and the batteries of Taliaferro’s command. (more…)

Published in: on August 28, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Jackson’s Report on Second Manassas  
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