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After the Revolutionary War, many Americans realized that the government established by the Articles of Confederation was not working. It had to be strong enough to maintain national unity over a large geographic area, but not so strong as to become a tyranny.
A public debate soon erupted in each of the states over whether the new Constitution should be accepted.
More important, it was a crucial debate on the future of the United States.
The second activity after each selection is intended as an individual or homework assignment.
The principle purposes to be answered by Union are these -- The common defense of the members -- the preservation of the public peace as well as against internal convulsions as external attacks -- the regulation of commerce with other nations and between the States -- the superintendence of our intercourse, political and commercial, with foreign countries. According to Hamilton, what are the main purposes of forming a Union under the Constitution? Do the majority of Hamilton's purposes relate to domestic or to foreign affairs?
He also kept detailed notes of the proceedings and drafted much of the Constitution.
Unlike Hamilton and Madison, John Jay of New York had not been a delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
Which one of Hamilton's purposes do you think is the most important for the United States today? The accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. According to this excerpt, do you think Madison supported or opposed the principle of "separation of powers"?
(Refer to your government textbook if you are not familiar with this term.)2.
The 85 essays succeeded by helping to persuade doubtful New Yorkers to ratify the Constitution.
Today, The Federalist Papers helps us to more clearly understand what the writers of the Constitution had in mind when they drafted that amazing document 200 years ago.