Federalist 2: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence

Publius from your pediment of Providence.

For the matter of the Union well-spoken in your paper and the aspiration manifested in the new Constitution which you advocate to your people in the State of New York, as you suggest, it is founded on a logical precept that Union is more desirable than several confederations. Particularly as it finds expression in the consent and aspirations of a common culture much of it learned in good measure by heritage, good families in large part with some exceptions who have sacrificed in the establishment of this Union. Such people lend confidence and richness in the possibility of their boundless land.

For rightly you suggest, the people are united by virtue of common descent or share the same language, share a similar faith, and adhere to common beliefs in government forged in the common fight for freedom in that bloody action that blended life, love and land. And as such there is no viability to the establishment of intermediary confederacies since the formula for transcending directly into a common federated Union is attainable by all by virtue of this common Citizenship.

From your vantage point, which I pray is Paradise or sufficiently close to that providential pedestal to provide effective intercession, surely you have followed that with passage of time in the course of our history since you reflected best, that our experience has served to reinforce this view regarding the Citizenship of the Union as long as land and wealth were attainable. Land for the placement of factory or farming or extraction for foundry moved by this patriotic emotion that had its root in sacrifice. But we are not a nation of unbounded land anymore; and far fewer factories can be found as fear of foundries flourishing are seen as a detriment to firm foundation. The transcendent purpose of Union seems to have been compromised by divisive and irreconcilable influences that no longer indicate that such a Union is possible or desirable without imposition of a foreign purpose. We can only search in your words and believe that you might see the stresses this Union is undergoing for lack of common identity and faith; for the structure that makes the fabric tight seems now threadbare. So, it is incumbent on us to explain the truth and sound policy in sedate and candid consideration and the circumstances which may now indicate the greater wisdom of reorganizing into such loose Confederacies as may allow States to freely enter without reservation and rethink the value of the Federal Republic once logical and necessary as a sapling from a seed; today trending toward ulterior purpose without reference to the public good which the very basis of the Republic.

It may have been that unity and liberty were synonymous provided that land were the fuel for stability and values were extensively shared. But our unity now is confounded in purpose and as such that value of unity threatens the very liberty which union sought to preserve regardless of the preserve that may be manifest. For if the preserve of the people is the individual State bounded by cartography; the preserve of the nation is the Union of States bounded by culture. But when the people no longer find their transcendent identity in their aggregate preserve but rather venture into trivial identity of self as a collective that divides, then a disaggregation occurs and there can be neither nation or union but the devolution of a non-Republican authority designed to govern these disparate trivial un-constituted collectives unbounded in an unusual preserve of self-interest. This Republic will tend to a plutocracy exploiting the collectives and provide it with a new unintended constitution. And this is not a free Republic and I assert not the Constitution you advocated and was so hard fought and advocated to the constituency in New York. Is it really a higher value to preserve a Union of Collectives rather than your Constitution of free States?  

Perhaps you would grant that this hard-fought Constitution now demoralized through collective corruption without transcendent purpose may be better served through various free Confederations. The value of such Confederacies may allow a salutary distance from such divergent notions of governance that are neither miscible nor admissible. And it should not be merely two confederacies, for this would set up a rivalry of purpose between brothers. Rather there should be a plurality of confederacies where states can pivot and belong as they please. We no longer need horse and representative to go to Philadelphia. But perhaps you may understand that a buffer of a virtual layer of confederation managed by new means and technologies would serve to dissipate the growing authoritarian nature of the federal Republic and allow a pirouette of purpose within such strategic regional alignment. A State might belong to multiple confederacies and this idea will be further expanded. In all things, the Constitution you advocate ought to be preserved and the only manner to preserve now seems to divest and reinvent a nation by reinvesting in our state alone and rediscover the common culture of that hard fought purpose. So, we are now on the cusp of saying with the poet: “FAREWELL! A LONG FAREWELL TO ALL MY GREATNESS.”


(Charles Carroll)