Writing Federalist 70
In this Federalist Paper, Alexander Hamilton argues for a strong executive leader, as provided for by the Constitution, as opposed to the weak executive under the Articles of Confederation. He asserts, “energy in the executive is the leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks…to the steady administration of the laws, to the protection of property…to justice; [and] to the security of liberty….”
Though some had called for an executive council, Hamilton defended a single executive as “far more safe” because “wherever two or more persons are engaged in any common…pursuit, there is always danger of difference of opinion…bitter dissensions are apt to spring. Whenever these happen, they lessen the respectability, weaken the authority.” Hamilton also argued that a single executive would be watched “more narrowly” and vigilantly by the people than a group of people would be.
A proponent of a strong national government with an “energetic executive,” he is sometimes described as the godfather of modern big government.
Would you have been a Federalist or an Anti-Federalist?
Federalist or Anti-Federalist? Over the next few months we will explore through a series of eLessons the debate over ratification of the United States Constitution as discussed in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers. We look forward to exploring this important debate with you! One of the great debates in American history was over the ratification […]