Saturday, July 14, 2012

Republican Government


William Graham Sumner

Chicago Tribune January 01 1877 

A republican government is a form of self-government in which the authority of the state is conferred for limited terms upon officers designated by election. 

I beg leave here to emphasize the distinction between a democracy and a republic because the people of the United States, living in a democratic republic, almost universally confuse the two elements of their system. Each, however, must stand or fall by itself. Louis Napoleon gave the French democracy, under his own despotism.
If the principle of equality is what we aim at we can probably get it — we can all be equally slaves together. If we want majority rule, we can have it — the majority can pass a plébiscite conferring permanent power on a despot. A republic is quite another thing. It is a form of self-government, and its first aim is not equality but civil liberty. It keeps the people active in public functions and public duties; it requires their activity at stated periods when the power of the state has to be re-conferred on new agents. It breaks the continuity of power to guard against its abuse, and it abhors as much the irresponsible power of the many as of the one. It surrounds the individual with safeguards by its permanent constitutional provisions, and by no means leaves the individual or the state a prey to the determination of a numerical majority. In our system the guarantees to liberty and the practical machinery of self-government all come from the constitutional republic; the dangers chiefly from democracy. Democracy teaches dogmas of absolute and sweeping application, while, in truth, there are no absolute doctrines in politics. Its spirit is fierce, intolerant, and despotic. It frets and chafes at constitutional restraints which seem to balk the people of its will and it threatens all institutions, precedents, and traditions which, for the moment, stand in the way. When the future historian comes to critizise our time, he will probably say that it was marked by a great tendency toward democratic equality. He will perhaps have to mention more than one nation which, in chasing this chimaera, lost liberty. 

Government by interests produces no statesmen, but only attorneys.

It is evident that the republican system, especially in a democratic republic, demands on the part of the citizen extraordinary independence, power to resist false appeals and fallacies, sound and original judgment, far-sighted patriotism, and patient reflection...this is plainly impossible unless he is well informed as to some great principles of political science, knows something of history and of experiments made elsewhere, and also understands the great principles of civil liberty...that he will exercise his political power conscientiously and faithfully... the citizen will sacrifice time, interest, and attention, in no slight degree, to his public duty. In short, it comes to this: the franchise is a prerogative act; it is the act of a sovereign; it is performed without any responsibility whatever except responsibility to one's judgment and one's own conscience. And furthermore, although we are fond of boasting that every citizen is a sovereign, let us not forget that if every one is a sovereign every one is also a subject. The citizen must know how to obey before he is fit to command, and the only man who is fit to help govern the community is the man who can govern himself.
What Social Classes Owe to Each Other 

William Graham Sumner - 1883

The discussion of "the relations of labor and capital" has not hitherto been very fruitful. It has been confused by ambiguous definitions, and it has been based upon assumptions about the rights and duties of social classes which are, to say the least, open to serious question as regards their truth and justice. If, then, we correct and limit the definitions, and if we test the assumptions, we shall find out whether there is anything to discuss about the relations of "labor and capital," and, if anything, what it is.

Let us first examine the terms.

1. Labor means properly, toil, irksome exertion, expenditure of productive energy.

2. The term is used, secondly, by a figure of speech, and in a collective sense, to designate the body of _persons_ who, having neither capital nor land, come into the industrial organization offering productive services in exchange for means of subsistence. These persons are united by community of interest into a group, or class, or interest, and, when interests come to be adjusted, the interests of this group will undoubtedly be limited by those of other groups.

3. The term labor is used, thirdly, in a more restricted, very popular and current, but very ill-defined way, to designate a limited sub-group among those who live by contributing productive efforts to the work of society. Every one is a laborer who is not a person of leisure. Public men, or other workers, if any, who labor but receive no pay, might be excluded from the category, and we should immediately pass, by such a restriction, from a broad and philosophical to a technical definition of the labor class. But merchants, bankers, professional men, and all whose labor is, to an important degree, mental as well as manual, are excluded from this third use of the term labor. The result is, that the word is used, in a sense at once loosely popular and strictly technical, to designate a group of laborers who separate their interests from those of other laborers. Whether farmers are included under "labor" in this third sense or not I have not been able to determine. It seems that they are or are not, as the interest of the disputants may require.

1. Capital is any product of labor which is used to assist production.

2. This term also is used, by a figure of speech, and in a collective sense, for the persons who possess capital, and who come into the industrial organization to get their living by using capital for profit. To do this they need to exchange capital for productive services. These persons constitute an interest, group, or class, although they are not united by any such community of interest as laborers, and, in the adjustment of interests, the interests of the owners of capital must be limited by the interests of other groups.

3. Capital, however, is also used in a vague and popular sense which it is hard to define. In general it is used, and in this sense, to mean employers of laborers, but it seems to be restricted to those who are employers on a large scale. It does not seem to include those who employ only domestic servants. Those also are excluded who own capital and lend it, but do not directly employ people to use it.

It is evident that if we take for discussion "capital and labor," if each of the terms has three definitions, and if one definition of each is loose and doubtful, we have everything prepared for a discussion which shall be interminable and fruitless, which shall offer every attraction to undisciplined thinkers, and repel everybody else.

The real collision of interest, which is the centre of the dispute, is that of employers and employed; and the first condition of successful study of the question, or of successful investigation to see if there is any question, is to throw aside the technical economic terms, and to look at the subject in its true meaning, expressed in untechnical language. We will use the terms "capital" and "labor" only in their strict economic significance, viz., the first definition given above under each term, and we will use the terms "laborers" and "capitalists" when we mean the persons described in the second definition under each term.

It is a common assertion that the interests of employers and employed are identical, that they are partners in an enterprise, etc. These sayings spring from a disposition, which may often be noticed, to find consoling and encouraging observations in the facts of sociology, and to refute, if possible, any unpleasant observations. If we try to learn what is true, we shall both do what is alone right, and we shall do the best for ourselves in the end. The interests of employers and employed as parties to a contract are antagonistic in certain respects and united in others, as in the case wherever supply and demand operate. If John gives cloth to James in exchange for wheat, John's interest is that cloth be good and attractive but not plentiful, but that wheat be good and plentiful; James' interest is that wheat be good and attractive but not plentiful, but that cloth be good and plentiful. All men have a common interest that all things be good, and that all things but the one which each produces be plentiful. The employer is interested that capital be good but rare, and productive energy good and plentiful; the employe is interested that capital be good and plentiful, but that productive energy be good and rare. When one man alone can do a service, and he can do it very well, he represents the laborer's ideal. To say that employers and employed are partners in an enterprise is only a delusive figure of speech. It is plainly based on no facts in the industrial system.

Employers and employed make contracts on the best terms which they can agree upon, like buyers and sellers, renters and hirers, borrowers and lenders. Their relations are, therefore, controlled by the universal law of supply and demand. The employer assumes the direction of the business, and takes all the risk, for the capital must be consumed in the industrial process, and whether it will be found again in the product or not depends upon the good judgment and foresight with which the capital and labor have been applied. Under the wages system the employer and the employé contract for time. The employé fulfills the contract if he obeys orders during the time, and treats the capital as he is told to treat it. Hence he is free from all responsibility, risk, and speculation. That this is the most advantageous arrangement for him, on the whole and in the great majority of cases, is very certain. Salaried men and wage-receivers are in precisely the same circumstances, except that the former, by custom and usage, are those who have special skill or training, which is almost always an investment of capital, and which narrows the range of competition in their case. Physicians, lawyers, and others paid by fees are workers by the piece. To the capital in existence all must come for their subsistence and their tools.

Friday, July 13, 2012

What Social Classes Owe to Each Other 

 William Graham Sumner - 1883 

Capital is only formed by self-denial, and if the possession of it did not secure advantages and superiorities of a high order men would never submit to what is necessary to get it. The first accumulation costs by far the most, and the rate of increase by profits at first seems pitiful. Among the metaphors which partially illustrate capital--all of which, however, are imperfect and inadequate--the snow-ball is useful to show some facts about capital. Its first accumulation is slow, but as it proceeds the accumulation becomes rapid in a high ratio, and the element of self-denial declines. This fact, also, is favorable to the accumulation of capital, for if the self-denial continued to be as great per unit when the accumulation had become great, there would speedily come a point at which further accumulation would not pay. The man who has capital has secured his future, won leisure which he can employ in winning secondary objects of necessity and advantage, and emancipated himself from those things in life which are gross and belittling. The possession of capital is, therefore, an indispensable prerequisite of educational, scientific, and moral goods. This is not saying that a man in the narrowest circumstances may not be a good man. It is saying that the extension and elevation of all the moral and metaphysical interests of the race are conditioned on that extension of civilization of which capital is the prerequisite, and that he who has capital can participate in and move along with the highest developments of his time. Hence it appears that the man who has his self-denial before him, however good may be his intention, cannot be as the man who has his self-denial behind him. Some seem to think that this is very unjust, but they get their notions of justice from some occult source of inspiration, not from observing the facts of this world as it has been made and exists.

The maxim, or injunction, to which a study of capital leads us is; get capital. In a community where the standard of living is high, and the conditions of production are favorable, there is a wide margin within which an individual may practice self-denial and win capital without suffering, if he has not the charge of a family. That it requires energy, courage, perseverance, and prudence is not to be denied. Any one who believes that any good thing on this earth can be got without those virtues may believe in the philosopher's stone or the fountain of youth. If there were any Utopia its inhabitants would certainly be very insipid and characterless.

No instance has yet been seen of a society composed of a class of great capitalists and a class of laborers who had fallen into a caste of permanent drudges. Probably no such thing is possible, so long as society continues to develop strong classes of merchants, financiers, professional men, and other classes. If it were conceivable that non capitalist laborers should give up struggling to become capitalists, should give way to vulgar enjoyments and passions, should recklessly increase their numbers, and should become a permanent caste, they might with some justice be called proletarians. The name has been adopted by some professed labor leaders, but it really should be considered insulting. If there were such a proletariat it would be [mired] hopelessly in the hands of a body of plutocratic capitalists, and a society so organized would, no doubt, be far worse than a society composed only of nobles and serfs, which is the worst society the world has seen in modern times.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Book of Zephaniah
Chapter 1 Verse 7

7 Be still at the presence of the Lord God: for
the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath
prepared a sacrifice, and hath sanctified his guests

Nehemiah 8:11; Psalm 4:4; Psalm 46:10; 

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Book of Zephaniah
Chapter 1 Verse 1-18

Editor’s notation - Today’s study is a reading of the first chapter of the Book of Zephaniah. (a) Over the next few days I will take verses and highlight them as I normally do in my studies

Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah,
the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, in the days
of Josiah, the son of Amon king of Judah.
2 I will surely destroy all things from off the land,
saith the Lord.
3 I will destroy man and beast: I will destroy the
fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and
ruins shall be to the wicked, and I will cut off man
from off the land, saith the Lord.
4 I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah,
and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and I will
cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the
name of the Chemarims with the Priests,
5 And them that worship the host of heaven
upon the housetops, and them that worship and
swear by the Lord, and swear by Milcam.
6 And them that are turned back from the Lord,
and those that have not sought the Lord, nor inquired
for him.
7 Be still at the presence of the Lord God: for
the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath
prepared a sacrifice, and hath sanctified his guests.
8 And it shall be in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice,
that I will visit the princes and the king’s children,
and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.
9 In the same day also will I visit all those that
dance upon the threshold so proudly, which fill their
masters’ houses by cruelty and deceit.
10 And in that day, saith the Lord, there shall be
a noise, and cry from the fish gate, and an howling
from the second gate, and a great destruction from
the hills.
11 How ye inhabitants of the low place: for the
company of the merchants is destroyed: all they that
bear silver, are cut off.
12 And at that time will I search Jerusalem with
lights, and visit the men that are frozen in their
dregs, and say in their hearts, The Lord will neither
do good nor do evil.
13 Therefore their goods shall be spoiled, and their
houses waste: they shall also build houses, but not
inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards, but not
drink the wine thereof.
14 The great day of the Lord is near: it is near,
and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the
Lord: the strong man shall cry there bitterly.
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble
and heaviness, a day of destruction and desolation,
a day of obscurity and darkness, a day of clouds and
16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the
strong cities, and against the high towers.
17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they
shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned
against the Lord, and their blood shall be poured
out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able
to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath, but
the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his
jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance
of all them that dwell in the land.

(a) Footnote - For various translations of this Chapter please click here

The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection
For the Independent Journal. - Hamilton. 

To the People of the State of New York:

A firm Union will be of the utmost moment to the peace
and liberty of the States, as a barrier against domestic faction
and insurrection. It is impossible to read the history of the
petty republics of Greece and Italy without feeling sensations
of horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were
continually agitated, and at the rapid succession of revolutions
by which they were kept in a state of perpetual vibration
between the extremes of tyranny and anarchy. If they
exhibit occasional calms, these only serve as short-lived contrast
to the furious storms that are to succeed. If now and
then intervals of felicity open to view, we behold them with a
mixture of regret, arising from the reflection that the pleasing
scenes before us are soon to be overwhelmed by the tempestuous
waves of sedition and party rage. If momentary rays of
glory break forth from the gloom, while they dazzle us with
a transient and fleeting brilliancy, they at the same time admonish
us to lament that the vices of government should
pervert the direction and tarnish the lustre of those bright
talents and exalted endowments for which the favored soils
that produced them have been so justly celebrated.

From the disorders that disfigure the annals of those republics
the advocates of despotism have drawn arguments, not
only against the forms of republican government, but against
the very principles of civil liberty. They have decried all free
government as inconsistent with the order of society, and have
indulged themselves in malicious exultation over its friends
and partisans. Happily for mankind, stupendous fabrics reared
on the basis of liberty, which have flourished for ages, have,
in a few glorious instances, refuted their gloomy sophisms.
And, I trust, America will be the broad and solid foundation
of other edifices, not less magnificent, which will be equally
permanent monuments of their errors.

But it is not to be denied that the portraits they have sketched
of republican government were too just copies of the originals
from which they were taken. If it had been found impracticable
to have devised models of a more perfect structure,
the enlightened friends to liberty would have been obliged
to abandon the cause of that species of government as indefensible.
The science of politics, however, like most other sciences,
has received great improvement. The efficacy of various
principles is now well understood, which were either not
known at all, or imperfectly known to the ancients. The regular
distribution of power into distinct departments; the intro-
duction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of
courts composed of judges holding their offices during good
behavior; the representation of the people in the legislature
by deputies of their own election: these are wholly new discoveries,
or have made their principal progress towards perfection
in modern times. They are means, and powerful means,
by which the excellences of republican government may be
retained and its imperfections lessened or avoided. To this
catalogue of circumstances that tend to the amelioration of
popular systems of civil government, I shall venture, however
novel it may appear to some, to add one more, on a principle
which has been made the foundation of an objection to the
new Constitution; I mean the enlargement of the orbit within
which such systems are to revolve, either in respect to the
dimensions of a single State or to the consolidation of several
smaller States into one great Confederacy. The latter is that
which immediately concerns the object under consideration.
It will, however, be of use to examine the principle in its application
to a single State, which shall be attended to in another

The utility of a Confederacy, as well to suppress faction
and to guard the internal tranquillity of States, as to increase
their external force and security, is in reality not a new idea. It
has been practiced upon in different countries and ages, and
has received the sanction of the most approved writers on the
subject of politics. The opponents of the plan proposed have,
with great assiduity, cited and circulated the observations of
Montesquieu on the necessity of a contracted territory for a
republican government. But they seem not to have been apprised
of the sentiments of that great man expressed in another
part of his work, nor to have adverted to the consequences
of the principle to which they subscribe with such
ready acquiescence.

When Montesquieu recommends a small extent for republics,
the standards he had in view were of dimensions far short
of the limits of almost every one of these States. Neither Virginia,
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina,
nor Georgia can by any means be compared with the
models from which he reasoned and to which the terms of his
description apply. If we therefore take his ideas on this point as
the criterion of truth, we shall be driven to the alternative either
of taking refuge at once in the arms of monarchy, or of
splitting ourselves into an infinity of little, jealous, clashing,
tumultuous commonwealths, the wretched nurseries of unceasing
discord, and the miserable objects of universal pity or
contempt. Some of the writers who have come forward on the
other side of the question seem to have been aware of the dilemma;
and have even been bold enough to hint at the division
of the larger States as a desirable thing. Such an infatuated policy,
such a desperate expedient, might, by the multiplication of petty
offices, answer the views of men who possess not qualifications
to extend their influence beyond the narrow circles of
personal intrigue, but it could never promote the greatness or
happiness of the people of America.

Referring the examination of the principle itself to another
place, as has been already mentioned, it will be sufficient to
remark here that, in the sense of the author who has been
most emphatically quoted upon the occasion, it would only
dictate a reduction of the size of the more considerable members
of the Union, but would not militate against their being
all comprehended in one confederate government. And this
is the true question, in the discussion of which we are at present

So far are the suggestions of Montesquieu from standing in
opposition to a general Union of the States, that he explicitly
treats of a confederate republic as the expedient for extending
the sphere of popular government, and reconciling the advantages
of monarchy with those of republicanism.
“It is very probable,” (says he) “that mankind would have
been obliged at length to live constantly under the government
of a single person, had they not contrived a kind of
constitution that has all the internal advantages of a republican,
together with the external force of a monarchical government.
I mean a confederate republic.
This form of government is a convention by which several
smaller states agree to become members of a larger one, which
they intend to form. It is a kind of assemblage of societies
that constitute a new one, capable of increasing, by means of
new associations, till they arrive to such a degree of power as
to be able to provide for the security of the united body.
A republic of this kind, able to withstand an external force,
may support itself without any internal corruptions. The form
of this society prevents all manner of inconveniences.
If a single member should attempt to usurp the supreme authority,
he could not be supposed to have an equal authority and
credit in all the confederate states. Were he to have too great
influence over one, this would alarm the rest. Were he to subdue
a part, that which would still remain free might oppose him
with forces independent of those which he had usurped and overpower
him before he could be settled in his usurpation.
Should a popular insurrection happen in one of the confederate
states the others are able to quell it. Should abuses
creep into one part, they are reformed by those that remain
sound. The state may be destroyed on one side, and not on
the other; the confederacy may be dissolved, and the confederates
preserve their sovereignty.
As this government is composed of small republics, it enjoys
the internal happiness of each; and with respect to its
external situation, it is possessed, by means of the association,
of all the advantages of large monarchies.’’

I have thought it proper to quote at length these interesting
passages, because they contain a luminous abridgment of the
principal arguments in favor of the Union, and must effectually
remove the false impressions which a misapplication of
other parts of the work was calculated to make. They have, at
the same time, an intimate connection with the more imme-
diate design of this paper; which is, to illustrate the tendency
of the Union to repress domestic faction and insurrection.

A distinction, more subtle than accurate, has been raised
between a confederacy and a consolidation of the States. The
essential characteristic of the first is said to be, the restriction
of its authority to the members in their collective capacities,
without reaching to the individuals of whom they are composed.
It is contended that the national council ought to have
no concern with any object of internal administration. An
exact equality of suffrage between the members has also been
insisted upon as a leading feature of a confederate government.
These positions are, in the main, arbitrary; they are
supported neither by principle nor precedent. It has indeed
happened, that governments of this kind have generally operated
in the manner which the distinction taken notice of, supposes
to be inherent in their nature; but there have been in
most of them extensive exceptions to the practice, which serve
to prove, as far as example will go, that there is no absolute
rule on the subject. And it will be clearly shown in the course
of this investigation that as far as the principle contended for
has prevailed, it has been the cause of incurable disorder and
imbecility in the government.

The definition of a confederate republic seems simply to be
“an assemblage of societies,’’ or an association of two or more
states into one state. The extent, modifications, and objects
of the federal authority are mere matters of discretion. So
long as the separate organization of the members be not abolished;
so long as it exists, by a constitutional necessity, for
local purposes; though it should be in perfect subordination
to the general authority of the union, it would still be, in fact
and in theory, an association of states, or a confederacy. The
proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of
the State governments, makes them constituent parts of the
national sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation
in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive
and very important portions of sovereign power. This fully
corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the
idea of a federal government.

In the Lycian confederacy, which consisted of twenty-three
cities or republics, the largest were entitled to three votes in
the common council, those of the middle class to two, and the
smallest to one. The common council had the appointment of
all the judges and magistrates of the respective cities. This was
certainly the most, delicate species of interference in their internal
administration; for if there be any thing that seems exclusively
appropriated to the local jurisdictions, it is the appointment
of their own officers. Yet Montesquieu, speaking
of this association, says: “Were I to give a model of an excellent
Confederate Republic, it would be that of Lycia.’’ Thus
we perceive that the distinctions insisted upon were not within
the contemplation of this enlightened civilian; and we shall
be led to conclude, that they are the novel refinements of an
erroneous theory.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The Same Subject Continued
(Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the States)

For the Independent Journal - Hamilton

To the People of the State of New York:

It is sometimes asked, with an air of seeming triumph, what
inducements could the States have, if disunited, to make war
upon each other? It would be a full answer to this question to
say—precisely the same inducements which have, at different
times, deluged in blood all the nations in the world. But,
unfortunately for us, the question admits of a more particular
answer. There are causes of differences within our immediate
contemplation, of the tendency of which, even under
the restraints of a federal constitution, we have had sufficient
experience to enable us to form a judgment of what might be
expected if those restraints were removed.

Territorial disputes have at all times been found one of the
most fertile sources of hostility among nations. Perhaps the
greatest proportion of wars that have desolated the earth have
sprung from this origin. This cause would exist among us in
full force. We have a vast tract of unsettled territory within
the boundaries of the United States. There still are discordant
and undecided claims between several of them, and the dissolution
of the Union would lay a foundation for similar claims
between them all. It is well known that they have heretofore
had serious and animated discussion concerning the rights to
the lands which were ungranted at the time of the Revolution,
and which usually went under the name of crown lands.
The States within the limits of whose colonial governments
they were comprised have claimed them as their property, the
others have contended that the rights of the crown in this
article devolved upon the Union; especially as to all that part
of the Western territory which, either by actual possession, or
through the submission of the Indian proprietors, was subjected
to the jurisdiction of the king of Great Britain, till it
was relinquished in the treaty of peace. This, it has been said,
was at all events an acquisition to the Confederacy by compact
with a foreign power. It has been the prudent policy of
Congress to appease this controversy, by prevailing upon the

States to make cessions to the United States for the benefit of
the whole. This has been so far accomplished as, under a continuation
of the Union, to afford a decided prospect of an
amicable termination of the dispute. A dismemberment of
the Confederacy, however, would revive this dispute, and
would create others on the same subject. At present, a large
part of the vacant Western territory is, by cession at least, if
not by any anterior right, the common property of the Union.
If that were at an end, the States which made the cession, on
a principle of federal compromise, would be apt when the
motive of the grant had ceased, to reclaim the lands as a reversion.
The other States would no doubt insist on a proportion,
by right of representation. Their argument would be,
that a grant, once made, could not be revoked; and that the
justice of participating in territory acquired or secured by the
joint efforts of the Confederacy, remained undiminished. If,
contrary to probability, it should be admitted by all the States,
that each had a right to a share of this common stock, there
would still be a difficulty to be surmounted, as to a proper
rule of apportionment. Different principles would be set up
by different States for this purpose; and as they would affect
the opposite interests of the parties, they might not easily be
susceptible of a pacific adjustment.

In the wide field of Western territory, therefore, we perceive
an ample theatre for hostile pretensions, without any umpire
or common judge to interpose between the contending parties.
To reason from the past to the future, we shall have good
ground to apprehend, that the sword would sometimes be
appealed to as the arbiter of their differences. The circumstances
of the dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania,
respecting the land at Wyoming, admonish us not to be
sanguine in expecting an easy accommodation of such differences.
The articles of confederation obliged the parties to submit
the matter to the decision of a federal court. The submission
was made, and the court decided in favor of Pennsylvania.
But Connecticut gave strong indications of dissatisfaction with
that determination; nor did she appear to be entirely resigned
to it, till, by negotiation and management, something like an
equivalent was found for the loss she supposed herself to have
sustained. Nothing here said is intended to convey the slightest
censure on the conduct of that State. She no doubt sincerely
believed herself to have been injured by the decision;
and States, like individuals, acquiesce with great reluctance in
determinations to their disadvantage.

Those who had an opportunity of seeing the inside of the
transactions which attended the progress of the controversy
between this State (NYS), and the district of Vermont, can vouch the
opposition we experienced, as well from States not interested
as from those which were interested in the claim; and can
attest the danger to which the peace of the Confederacy might
have been exposed, had this State attempted to assert its rights
by force. Two motives preponderated in that opposition: one,
a jealousy entertained of our future power; and the other, the
interest of certain individuals of influence in the neighboring
States, who had obtained grants of lands under the actual
government of that district. Even the States which brought
forward claims, in contradiction to ours, seemed more solicitous
to dismember this State, than to establish their own pretensions.
These were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and
Connecticut. New Jersey and Rhode Island, upon all occasions,
discovered a warm zeal for the independence of Vermont;
and Maryland, till alarmed by the appearance of a connection
between Canada and that State, entered deeply into
the same views. These being small States, saw with an unfriendly
eye the perspective of our growing greatness. In a
review of these transactions we may trace some of the causes
which would be likely to embroil the States with each other,
if it should be their unpropitious destiny to become disunited.

The competitions of commerce would be another fruitful
source of contention. The States less favorably circumstanced
would be desirous of escaping from the disadvantages of local
situation, and of sharing in the advantages of their more fortunate
neighbors. Each State, or separate confederacy, would
pursue a system of commercial policy peculiar to itself. This
would occasion distinctions, preferences, and exclusions, which
would beget discontent. The habits of intercourse, on the
basis of equal privileges, to which we have been accustomed
since the earliest settlement of the country, would give a keener
edge to those causes of discontent than they would naturally
have independent of this circumstance. We should be ready to
denominate injuries those things which were in reality the justifiable
acts of independent sovereignties consulting a distinct
interest. The spirit of enterprise, which characterizes the commercial
part of America, has left no occasion of displaying
itself unimproved. It is not at all probable that this unbridled
spirit would pay much respect to those regulations of trade

by which particular States might endeavor to secure exclusive
benefits to their own citizens. The infractions of these regulations,
on one side, the efforts to prevent and repel them, on
the other, would naturally lead to outrages, and these to reprisals
and wars.

The opportunities which some States would have of rendering
others tributary to them by commercial regulations
would be impatiently submitted to by the tributary States.
The relative situation of New York, Connecticut, and New
Jersey would afford an example of this kind. New York, from
the necessities of revenue, must lay duties on her importations.
A great part of these duties must be paid by the inhabitants
of the two other States in the capacity of consumers of
what we import. New York would neither be willing nor able
to forego this advantage. Her citizens would not consent that
a duty paid by them should be remitted in favor of the citizens
of her neighbors; nor would it be practicable, if there
were not this impediment in the way, to distinguish the customers
in our own markets. Would Connecticut and New
Jersey long submit to be taxed by New York for her exclusive
benefit? Should we be long permitted to remain in the quiet
and undisturbed enjoyment of a metropolis, from the possession
of which we derived an advantage so odious to our
neighbors, and, in their opinion, so oppressive? Should we be
able to preserve it against the incumbent weight of Connecticut
on the one side, and the co-operating pressure of New
Jersey on the other? These are questions that temerity alone
will answer in the affirmative.

The public debt of the Union would be a further cause of
collision between the separate States or confederacies. The
apportionment, in the first instance, and the progressive extinguishment
afterward, would be alike productive of ill-humor
and animosity. How would it be possible to agree upon
a rule of apportionment satisfactory to all? There is scarcely
any that can be proposed which is entirely free from real objections.
These, as usual, would be exaggerated by the adverse
interest of the parties. There are even dissimilar views among
the States as to the general principle of discharging the public
debt. Some of them, either less impressed with the importance
of national credit, or because their citizens have little, if
any, immediate interest in the question, feel an indifference,
if not a repugnance, to the payment of the domestic debt at
any rate. These would be inclined to magnify the difficulties
of a distribution. Others of them, a numerous body of whose
citizens are creditors to the public beyond proportion of the
State in the total amount of the national debt, would be strenuous
for some equitable and effective provision. The procrastinations
of the former would excite the resentments of the
latter. The settlement of a rule would, in the meantime, be
postponed by real differences of opinion and affected delays.
The citizens of the States interested would clamour; foreign
powers would urge for the satisfaction of their just demands,
and the peace of the States would be hazarded to the double
contingency of external invasion and internal contention.

Suppose the difficulties of agreeing upon a rule surmounted,
and the apportionment made. Still there is great room to suppose
that the rule agreed upon would, upon experiment, be

found to bear harder upon some States than upon others.
Those which were sufferers by it would naturally seek for a
mitigation of the burden. The others would as naturally be
disinclined to a revision, which was likely to end in an increase
of their own incumbrances. Their refusal would be too
plausible a pretext to the complaining States to withhold their
contributions, not to be embraced with avidity; and the noncompliance
of these States with their engagements would be
a ground of bitter discussion and altercation. If even the rule
adopted should in practice justify the equality of its principle,
still delinquencies in payments on the part of some of the
States would result from a diversity of other causes—the real
deficiency of resources; the mismanagement of their finances;
accidental disorders in the management of the government;
and, in addition to the rest, the reluctance with which men
commonly part with money for purposes that have outlived
the exigencies which produced them, and interfere with the
supply of immediate wants. Delinquencies, from whatever
causes, would be productive of complaints, recriminations,
and quarrels. There is, perhaps, nothing more likely to disturb
the tranquillity of nations than their being bound to
mutual contributions for any common object that does not
yield an equal and coincident benefit. For it is an observation,
as true as it is trite, that there is nothing men differ so readily
about as the payment of money.
Laws in violation of private contracts, as they amount to
aggressions on the rights of those States whose citizens are
injured by them, may be considered as another probable source
of hostility. We are not authorized to expect that a more liberal
or more equitable spirit would preside over the legislations
of the individual States hereafter, if unrestrained by any
additional checks, than we have heretofore seen in too many
instances disgracing their several codes. We have observed the
disposition to retaliation excited in Connecticut in consequence
of the enormities perpetrated by the Legislature of
Rhode Island; and we reasonably infer that, in similar cases,
under other circumstances, a war, not of parchment, but of
the sword, would chastise such atrocious breaches of moral
obligation and social justice.

The probability of incompatible alliances between the different
States or confederacies and different foreign nations,
and the effects of this situation upon the peace of the whole,
have been sufficiently unfolded in some preceding papers.
From the view they have exhibited of this part of the subject,
this conclusion is to be drawn, that America, if not connected
at all, or only by the feeble tie of a simple league, offensive
and defensive, would, by the operation of such jarring alliances,
be gradually entangled in all the pernicious labyrinths
of European politics and wars; and by the destructive contentions
of the parts into which she was divided, would be likely
to become a prey to the artifices and machinations of powers
equally the enemies of them all. Divide et impera (Divided and command)
must be the motto of every nation that either hates or fears us.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Same Subject Continued
(Concerning Dangers From Foreign Force and Influence)
For the Independent Journal. - JAY

To the People of the State of New York:

Queen Anne, in her letter of the 1st July, 1706, to the Scotch
Parliament, makes some observations on the importance of
the union then forming between England and Scotland, which
merit our attention. I shall present the public with one or
two extracts from it: “An entire and perfect union will be the
solid foundation of lasting peace: It will secure your religion,
liberty, and property; remove the animosities amongst yourselves,
and the jealousies and differences betwixt our two kingdoms.
It must increase your strength, riches, and trade; and
by this union the whole island, being joined in affection and
free from all apprehensions of different interest, will be enabled
to resist all its enemies.’’ “We most earnestly recommend
to you calmness and unanimity in this great and weighty affair,
that the union may be brought to a happy conclusion,
being the only effectual way to secure our present and future
happiness, and disappoint the designs of our and your enemies,
who will doubtless, on this occasion, use their utmost
endeavors to prevent or delay this union.’’
It was remarked in the preceding paper, that weakness and
divisions at home would invite dangers from abroad; and that
nothing would tend more to secure us from them than union,
strength, and good government within ourselves. This subject
is copious and cannot easily be exhausted.
The history of Great Britain is the one with which we are
in general the best acquainted, and it gives us many useful
lessons. We may profit by their experience without paying
the price which it cost them. Although it seems obvious to
common sense that the people of such an island should be
but one nation, yet we find that they were for ages divided
into three, and that those three were almost constantly embroiled
in quarrels and wars with one another. Notwithstanding
their true interest with respect to the continental nations
was really the same, yet by the arts and policy and practices of
those nations, their mutual jealousies were perpetually kept
inflamed, and for a long series of years they were far more
inconvenient and troublesome than they were useful and assisting
to each other.
Should the people of America divide themselves into three
or four nations, would not the same thing happen? Would
not similar jealousies arise, and be in like manner cherished?
Instead of their being “joined in affection” and free from all
apprehension of different “interests,” envy and jealousy would
soon extinguish confidence and affection, and the partial interests
of each confederacy, instead of the general interests of
all America, would be the only objects of their policy and
pursuits. Hence, like most other bordering nations, they would
always be either involved in disputes and war, or live in the
constant apprehension of them.
The most sanguine advocates for three or four confederacies
cannot reasonably suppose that they would long remain
exactly on an equal footing in point of strength, even if it was
possible to form them so at first; but, admitting that to be
practicable, yet what human contrivance can secure the continuance
of such equality? Independent of those local circumstances
which tend to beget and increase power in one part
and to impede its progress in another, we must advert to the
effects of that superior policy and good management which
would probably distinguish the government of one above the
rest, and by which their relative equality in strength and
consideration would be destroyed. For it cannot be presumed
that the same degree of sound policy, prudence, and foresight
would uniformly be observed by each of these confederacies
for a long succession of years.
Whenever, and from whatever causes, it might happen, and
happen it would, that any one of these nations or confederacies
should rise on the scale of political importance much
above the degree of her neighbors, that moment would those
neighbors behold her with envy and with fear. Both those
passions would lead them to countenance, if not to promote,
whatever might promise to diminish her importance; and
would also restrain them from measures calculated to advance
or even to secure her prosperity. Much time would not be
necessary to enable her to discern these unfriendly dispositions.
She would soon begin, not only to lose confidence in
her neighbors, but also to feel a disposition equally unfavorable
to them. Distrust naturally creates distrust, and by nothing
is good-will and kind conduct more speedily changed than
by invidious jealousies and uncandid imputations, whether
expressed or implied.
The North is generally the region of strength, and many
local circumstances render it probable that the most Northern
of the proposed confederacies would, at a period not very
distant, be unquestionably more formidable than any of the
others. No sooner would this become evident than the northern
hive would excite the same ideas and sensations in the
more southern parts of America which it formerly did in the
southern parts of Europe. Nor does it appear to be a rash
conjecture that its young swarms might often be tempted to
gather honey in the more blooming fields and milder air of
their luxurious and more delicate neighbors.
They who well consider the history of similar divisions and
confederacies will find abundant reason to apprehend that
those in contemplation would in no other sense be neighbors
than as they would be borderers; that they would neither love
nor trust one another, but on the contrary would be a prey to
discord, jealousy, and mutual injuries; in short, that they would
place us exactly in the situations in which some nations doubtless
wish to see us, viz., formidable only to each other.
From these considerations it appears that those gentlemen
are greatly mistaken who suppose that alliances offensive and
defensive might be formed between these confederacies, and
would produce that combination and union of wills of arms
and of resources, which would be necessary to put and keep
them in a formidable state of defense against foreign enemies.
When did the independent states, into which Britain and
Spain were formerly divided, combine in such alliance, or
unite their forces against a foreign enemy? The proposed confederacies
will be distinct nations. Each of them would have
its commerce with foreigners to regulate by distinct treaties;
and as their productions and commodities are different and
proper for different markets, so would those treaties be essentially
Different commercial concerns must create different interests,
and of course different degrees of political attachment to
and connection with different foreign nations. Hence it might
and probably would happen that the foreign nation with
whom the southern confederacy might be at war would be
the one with whom the northern confederacy would be the
most desirous of preserving peace and friendship. An alliance
so contrary to their immediate interest would not therefore
be easy to form, nor, if formed, would it be observed and
fulfilled with perfect good faith.
Nay, it is far more probable that in America, as in Europe,
neighboring nations, acting under the impulse of opposite
interests and unfriendly passions, would frequently be found
taking different sides. Considering our distance from Europe,
it would be more natural for these confederacies to apprehend
danger from one another than from distant nations, and
therefore that each of them should be more desirous to guard
against the others by the aid of foreign alliances, than to guard
against foreign dangers by alliances between themselves. And
here let us not forget how much more easy it is to receive
foreign fleets into our ports, and foreign armies into our country,
than it is to persuade or compel them to depart. How
many conquests did the Romans and others make in the characters
of allies, and what innovations did they under the same
character introduce into the governments of those whom they
pretended to protect.
Let candid men judge, then, whether the division of America
into any given number of independent sovereignties would
tend to secure us against the hostilities and improper interference
of foreign nations.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Book of HoseaChapter 9 Verses 1, 17

1 Rejoice not, O Israel for joy as other people:
for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God: thou
hast loved a reward upon every corn floor.
17 My God will cast them away, because they did
not obey him: and they shall wander among the

Jeremiah 44:17-19, 25;Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 10:1-5; Jeremiah 3:6, 8; Ezekiel 16:36; 2 Kings 17:20; Romans 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:12; Isaiah 14:19; Job 18:16; Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30; Matthew 3:10; Matthew 15:13; John 15:5-7, 16; Romans 11:16-18;

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Book of Hosea

Chapter 8

1 Set the trumpet to thy mouth: he shall come

as an eagle against the House of the Lord, because

they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed

against my Law.

2 Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know


3 Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the

enemy shall pursue him.

4 They have set up a king, but not by me: they

have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver

and their gold have they made them idols: therefore

shall they be destroyed.

5 Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off: mine

anger is kindled against them: how long will they

be without innocency!

6 For it came even from Israel: the workman

made it, therefore it is not God: but the calf of

Samaria shall be broken in pieces.

7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall

reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall

bring forth no meal: if so be it brought forth, the

strangers shall devour it.

8 Israel is devoured, now shall they be among

the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.

9 For they are gone up to Assyria: they are as

a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired


10 Yet though they have hired among the nations,

now will I gather them and they shall sorrow a little

for the burden of the king and the princes.

11 Because Ephraim hath made many altars to

sin, his altars shall be to sin.

12 I have written to them the great things of my

Law: but they were counted as a strange thing.

13 They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine

offerings, and eat it: but the Lord accepteth them

not: now will he remember their iniquity, and visit

their sins: they shall return to Egypt.

14 For Israel hath forgotten his maker, (a) and buildeth

Temples, and Judah hath increased strong cities: but

I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour

the palaces thereof.

Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 29:23; Jeremiah 2:32; Psalm 106:21; Jeremiah 13:25; Ezekiel 22:12; Ezekiel 23:35; Jeremiah 3:21; Ezekiel 20:8; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1; 1 Corinthians 7:23;

Editor Suggests reading Ezekiel 22 for additional meditation