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The Ratification Debate Part Three

Concluding my three part series in celebration of our nation’s 235th Birthday, we will look at arguments advanced by both sides. Last week we ended with the question, who were the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists and why does it matter to us today? This week we will learn the answers to the questions. Who was debating? What did they have to say? Who won? And, why does it matter to us today?

The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers are a collection of eighty five essays published in New York newspapers. They outline how the government, as proposed in the Constitution, would operate and why this highly centralized type of government was the best for the United States of America. All of the essays were signed by "PUBLIUS." To this day there is some dispute as to who authored some of the articles. However, after much study the consensus is generally believed that Alexander Hamilton wrote fifty two, James Madison wrote twenty eight, and John Jay wrote five.

Just as in every state, the debate over the ratification of the Constitution was intensely followed by the public in New York. Immediately after the conclusion of the Convention, the Constitution came under intense criticism in many New York newspapers. Echoing the sentiments of several of the prominent men who had been delegates to the Convention some contributors to the newspapers said the Constitution diluted the rights Americans had fought for and won in the recent Revolutionary War.

As one of the leading designers and loudest proponents of the Constitution Alexander Hamilton worried that the document might fail to be ratified in his home state of New York. Therefore, Hamilton, a well trained and well spoken lawyer, decided to write a series of essays refuting the critics and pointing out how the new Constitution would in fact benefit Americans. In the Convention Hamilton had been the only New York delegate to sign the Constitution after the other New Yorkers walked out of the Convention, because they felt the document being crafted was injurious to the rights of the people.

Hamilton was in favor of a strong central government having proposed to the Convention a president elected for life that had the power to appoint state governors. Although these autocratic ideas were thankfully left out of the finished document Hamilton knew that the Constitution, as written, was much closer to the kind of government he wanted than the one which then existed under the Articles of Confederation.

Hamilton’s first essay was published October 27, 1787 in the New York Independent Journal signed by "Publius." At that time the use of pen names was a common practice. Hamilton then recruited James Madison and John Jay to contribute essays that also used the pen name "Publius."
James Madison, as a delegate from Virginia, took an active role participating as one of the main actors in the debates during the Convention. In addition he also kept the most detailed set of notes and personally drafted much of the Constitution.

John Jay of New York had not attended the Convention. He was a well known judge and diplomat. He was in fact a member of the government under the Articles currently serving as the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

"Publius" wrote All eighty five essays that were written and published between October 1787 and August 1788, in newspapers of the state of New York. But their popularity, readership, and impact were not limited to New York. They were in such great demand that they were soon published in a two volume set.

The Federalist essays, also known as the Federalist Papers, have served two distinct purposes in American history. Primarily the essays helped persuade the delegates to the New York Ratification Convention to vote for the Constitution. In later years, The Federalist Papers have helped scholars and other interested people understand what the writers and original supporters of the Constitution sought to establish when they initially drafted and campaigned for ratification.

Knowing that the Federalist Papers were written by such luminaries as Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury; James Madison, the fourth President of the United States; and John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the question asked is, who were these Anti-Federalists who dared speak against the founding of the greatest nation that has ever existed: Some fringe people who didn’t want the blessing of truth, justice, and the American way?!

The Anti-Federalist Papers

The list of Anti-Federalist leaders included: George Mason, Edmund Randolph, Elbridge Gerry, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, and even though he was not in the country at the time, Thomas Jefferson.

There is one major difference between the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers: the former are compact and relatively unified the latter are not really a single series of articles written by a united group with a single purpose as the Federalist Papers were. Instead there were many different authors and they were published all over the country in pamphlets and flyers as well as in newspapers. Among the many the most important are: John DeWitt- Essays I-III, The Federal Farmer- Letters I and II, Brutus Essays I-XVI, Cato, Letters V and VII.

The first of the Anti-federalist essays was published on October 5, 1787 in the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer. This was followed by many more published throughout the country which charged that any new government formed under the auspices of the Constitution would:

• Be injurious to the people because it lacked of a bill of rights.
• Discriminate against the South with regard to navigation legislation.
• Give the central government the power to levy direct taxation.
• Lead to the loss of state sovereignty.
• Represent aristocratic politicians bent on promoting the interests of their own class

The Federalists had the momentum from the beginning. They were wise enough to appropriate the name Federalist, since federalism was a popular and well understood concept among the general public even though their position was the opposite of what the name implied. They also had the support of most of the major newspapers and a majority of the leading men of wealth if not of all the original revolutionary patriots. They also used a tactic of trying to rush the process as much as possible calling for conventions and votes with all dispatch. And in the end these tactics combined with the great persuasion of the Federalist Letters and the prestige of General Washington carried the day. The Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788.

Although the anti-Federalists lost their struggle against the ratification of the Constitution their spirited defense of individual rights, personal liberty, and their deep-rooted suspicion of a central governmental power became and remain at the core American political values. Their insistence upon the absolute necessity of the promise of enumerated rights as a prerequisite for ratification established the Bill of Rights as the lasting memorial to their work.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

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Very well researched & written. Thanks.

We will argue this & that by & by. For now I am chewing on it. As you pause, the view & the coffee is best up in the pilot house. Some essays from Republicae & SamAdamCW are up there on a crate. Inside the crate are more... that some say are more animated. I'll be up after I speak with the cook about wrestling up bacon & eggs. Piloting through this storm. No time to chat... but, I'll listen.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

There are many discussion here on the 14th Amendment.

Search: dailypaul "by mark twain" 14th amendment

Here is the first Google search result:

    There is No "Fourteenth Amendment"! by David Lawrence

Submitted by BFrank, 04/07/2010 - 21:45

U.S. News & World Report September 27, 1957

A MISTAKEN BELIEF -- that there is a valid article in the Constitution known as the "Fourteenth Amendment" -- is responsible for the Supreme Court decision of 1954 and the ensuing controversy over desegregation in the public schools of America. No such amendment was ever legally ratified by three fourths of the States of the Union as required by the Constitution itself. The so-called "Fourteenth Amendment" was dubiously proclaimed by the Secretary of State on July 20, 1868. The President shared that doubt. There were 37 States in the Union at the time, so ratification by at least 28 was necessary to make the amendment an integral part of the Constitution. Actually, only 21 States legally ratified it. So it failed of ratification.

The undisputed record, attested by official journals and the unanimous writings of historians, establishes these events as occurring in 1867 and 1868: ...

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

Only one problem, Hamilton had the 14th Amendment....

Alexander (Levine) Hamilton was responsible for codifying something, and bringing about a clause that would make the U.S. Constitution little more than a bargaining chip.

The 14th Amendment which actually handed "Central" Power.

This is what they all use to drown out your "chorus", including the very top Central Bankers who have actually sought to use this clause on National T.V.

The 17th Amendment stripped states of their rights to choose true Senators but that is easier to weave right around, electing sitting Senators who can repeal law.

But the 14th Amendment, declared in obvious language....that the Federal Powers were "absolute" and simply put allows the Executive to do anything it wants.

Even when Andrew Jackson came to play and literally overturned this entire travesty and the First National Bank with it....the 14th Amendment remains unaffected & legally allows the Federal Government to overturn your own rights.

I think you are confused.

The 14th amendment came LONG after Hamilton was dead.

Please cite the clause that declares in obvious language "that the Federal Powers were 'absolute' and simply put allows the Executive to do anything it wants."

Also, Andrew Jackson came LONG before the 14th Amendment.

Next, he didn't "overturn" the First National Bank. He successfully fought to not renew the charter of the SECOND Bank of the United States. It thus expired.

Your timeline is so out of whack it isn't funny.

Finally, please cite the clause that "legally allows the Federal Government to overturn your own rights."

All the King's men, & all the King's horse's could put...

Humpty-Dumpty had a bad fall. Seasons came & went. Will the next season be yet another bad fall?

But I digress.

Thank you for put order back into these historical events.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul

Geithner: The U.S. Debt Shall Not Be Questioned

That timeline may be off, but the reasoning sure is not...

Tim Geithner: The US Debt shall not be questioned, as outlined in the 14th Amendment.

They have claimed using Hamilton's own arguments, that Obama can bypass all of the states and raise the Debt Ceiling without any sort of asking the people nor the states.

He further claims that this power is vested in the executive, making the argument that Obama could ignore what the country says and raise taxes or redistribute.

After study, it appears that the 14th Amendment that grants authority including a statement on the U.S. debt was never even ratified by the required thirty-seven states.

Experts appear to view the 14th as null and void, and obsolete. Executive branch views it as their trump card.
Who has the real answer?

I answered this several times in other threads recently on the

topic of the debt ceiling. Sorry I don't have the thread links handy. A search should turn them up.

For starters, Geithner already backed down from this and is now denying they even contemplated it. (a lie)

It seems someone made them understand they were baffoons for thinking they could do such a thing.

Second, that clause pertains to what would be considered valid or invalid debt with respect to the Civil War.

Third, even if it could apply today, all it means is that Obama will have to pay the debt. It says nothing about him being able to borrow MORE to do it.

Congress has the power to borrow, not the President. This amendment says nothing about the power to borrow MORE money, only that what has been borrowed via law as it should have been cannot be ruled invalid in a court, and it thus has to be paid. It does not say this means the power to borrow somehow transfers from Congress to the President so he can AVOID actually paying the debt off, and instead, can continue to just roll it over into newly issued securities.

Also, even if, a big if, Obama decided to borrow past the limit and claim the 14th as his authority, he'd have issue with the "by law" part of it. Since an executive decision is not by law, but by decree. "By law" means Congress passes a bill authorizing debt, and the President signs it into law. If Congress is not involved in the process, it wasn't incurred "by law." So any such debt would be subject to being never paid at all - a tough prospect when trying to get someone to buy it. (this may already be the case, since new debt is still being issued, but accounting gimmicks are being used to make it look as though the limit has not been breached)

Please, go read those other threads and my responses. I think if you click my name you'll get a list of my recent comments. There should be a "more" link to see them all, and you should find them in the last week or two. I explained it better then, and more thorough. I am tired at the moment.

- p.s. raising the debt limit has nothing to do with bypassing the States. The States don't even figure into the process. (well, if we still appointed Senators maybe in that respect, but since the 17th amendment - not at all)

Congress has the power to borrow, and this is where the debt limit law comes into play. They used to authorize each issuance of debt with a bill, every time new debt was needed. (in both amount, form and terms) Now (since the 30's or 40's I believe) simply give the Secretary of the Treasury authority to borrow as needed - up to an aggregate amount - thus, the limit.

Well written. Thanks. Ah, the 14th adventure.

Added a bit...
There are many discussions here on the 14th Amendment. 07/17/2011

As stated in your response, it is the validity of the debt... that cannot be questioned. A statement high in the realm of absurdity. The 14th Amendment appears to be "legal fiction" about paying for a most UN-civil war retroactively.
Apparently, the 14th & subsequent amendments were hastily foist upon the land without regard to or acknowledging due process. Go forth. Search through the mysteries of the 14th. Tales about this farce are enthralling. Most ain't fact... The value is in the telling. The adventure.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul