Apply Assignment: Power
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During the time of the Revolutionary War, the colonists were wrestling with the question of how to organize themselves. The first formalized government was organized under the Articles of Confederation. While it did provide some level of organization, it was essentially a weak from of government, which makes sense since the early colonists feared a strong central government – especially like the one that was currently raging war with them. However, recognizing that the current government was too weak, a group of delegates met in Philadelphia at the Constitutional Convention to see if they could create a better form of government.
There was of course strong support and strong opposition. Debate was common place, much of it taking place through the media (as still happens today). Convention delegates, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, as well as John Jay (diplomat), wrote a series of articles supporting the constitution. These articles were published in newspapers and later collected into a book called The Federalist Papers.
Taken at face value, Federalist No. 1 serves as an introduction to The Federalist Papers. But, to reduce it to merely an introduction trivializes its importance. It is not simply an introduction, but rather an unprecedented appeal to the people of the United States to abolish the foundation of their government and decide on a “new Constitution.” According to the author, Alexander Hamilton, the consequence of this decision is “nothing less than the existence of the Union…” The fate of the United States did not rest on the shoulders of those who were arbitrarily awarded with power either by birth or force; it rested on the shoulders of every single American citizen. The significance of this cannot be overstated. The most important decision in our nation’s history was placed in the hands of the people.
Hamilton believed in the potential future greatness of America. When discussing the consequences of this deliberation, he refers to “…the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world.” The use of the word empire indicates the amount of belief and confidence Hamilton had in the Constitution. The Constitution was proposed in order to preserve the Union which Hamilton and others believed was in danger of dissolving. In reality, the United States was far from being considered an empire. Nevertheless, Hamilton knew that this experiment, with a constitutional republic founded on the consent of the governed, would prove to be remarkable.
In many respects these issues, namely the proper scope and function of our government, remain relevant to us today—and just as controversial.
In order to complete this assignment, you will first need to read through the excerpts from Federalist No. 1:
Reflecting on what you have read, record your insights by responding to the following questions. For each question, you should provide a detailed response explaining your perspective and how it is you reached that conclusion.
- Alexander Hamilton asks the reader to consider if societies of people are really capable of establishing good government through reflection and choice. What do you think?
- Knowing that the new government was to be built on the idea of democracy; do you think it is ever possible to have a government system that respects the will of the majority while at that same time protects the rights of the individual?
- What did Alexander Hamilton mean by “the vigor of the government is essential to the security of liberty”? How does a government maintain its vigor?
- Put yourselves in the shoes of someone hearing this read during the time that Alexander Hamilton wrote the piece. It is obvious that Alexander Hamilton was afraid that others would persuade people to opt out of this new government. Where would you stand? What fears might you have of this new government?
Refer to the rubric in your syllabus to understand how the assignment will be assessed. While there is not specific page-length associated with this assignment, the typical student submits 3-5 pages of script, following standard APA guidelines, not including a cover page (12 pt, double spaced, 1-inch margins).
NEED ONLY 2 AND 1/2 PAGES FOR A GRAND TOTAL OF 3 PAGES. NOTHING MORE. I’M NOT LOOKING FOR GENIUS LEVEL. THIS NEEDS TO BE A B PAPER AND NOTHING MORE. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY BECAUSE I NEED IT BY TOMORROW. THE NAME OF THE BOOK THAT WE ARE USING IS CALLED “BOWLING ALONE” THE COLLAPSE AND REVIVAL OF AMERICAN COMMUNITY BY ROBERT D. PUTNAM.