Monday, February 23, 2009

National-Federal Structure as explicated in the Federalist Papers

As with any other book I've read and/or studied where I'm drawn to particular chapters or paragraphs and sentences, or phrases within particular chapters or paragraphs, over and over again for one reason or another, so it is with the Federalist Papers which is divided into 85 individual essays, many of which in their individual capacities are actually part of larger bodies of essays explaining the same topic as distinct from all others. For example Federalist nos. 30-36 are all devoted to explaining the general power of taxation as enumerated in the Constitution.

Other of the Federalist Papers take on a different characteristic; they are, insofar as they can be separated from the whole body of the Federalist essays, stand-alone essays. Such, I think, is Federalist #39 which explains our National-Federal Structure as the founders originally designed it. In fact, I think it was in studying Federalist #39 that I first began to use the phrase "Our National-Federal Structure," but that's beside the point. The point here being that I do not use this phrase without evidence or authority. Our government was originally designed to take on both national and federal characteristics as per the founders themselves, and as explicated specifically in Federalist #39.

But of course many of the federal characteristics of our original compact have since been eroded, and/or altogether abolished during the course of the 140+ years since the closing of the Civil War. Our government has since assumed, by degrees, a much larger role than originally anticipated by the founding generation, and thus has taken on more of the national characteristic at the expense of federalism. And, yes, going even beyond what was originally intended by the framers of the fourteenth amendment.

Nonetheless Federalist #39 has always been one of my particular favorites among the Federalist essays because it explains the National-Federal Structure of our government as the founders originally designed it. Read therein where we've gone astray as concerns the proper balance of the national and the federal characteristics of our Republic. But do not stop at reading it once, as this simply will not do.


publius said...

a Resurgence of the Founding Principles, many like to "invoke" or "evoke" where are the FEDERALISTS.

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