Saturday, June 05, 2004

Unintended Irony from a Few Framers

The constitutional balance, as seen by Hamilton and Madison in The Federalist Papers:
It will always be far more easy for the State governments to encroach upon the national authorities than for the national government to encroach upon the State authorities. (Hamilton, No. 17)

[T]here is greater probability of encroachments by the members upon the federal head than by the federal head upon the members. (Hamilton, No. 31)

The State governments will have the advantage of the federal respect to...the weight of personal influence which each side will possess...the powers respectively vested in them...[and] the...faculty of resisting and frustrating the measures of each other. (Madison, No. 45)

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. (Madison, No. 45)

[T]he powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States as they are indispensably necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded of a mediated and consequential annihilation of the State governments must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them. (Madison, No. 46)
On the other hand, "Cato" foresaw in 1787 that: "the great powers of the president...would lead to oppression and ruin"; the national government "would be an asylum of the base, idle, avaricious, and ambitious," a "court [with] language and manners different from [ours]"; and "rulers in all governments will erect an interest separate from the ruled, which will have a tendency to enslave them."