Deliberations between the federalists and the anti-federalists, helped shape the future federal government, now in place over the United States, and the drafting of the important constitution. John Hamilton and James Madison, together with John Jay, wrote the federal papers advancing the federal perspective over the country (Berkin, 2003). Proposing for the establishment of a federalist government, and the ratification of the proposed constitution, Hamilton and Madison gave voice to their views, albeit with some variations seen through their argument (Gerston, 2007). Both federalists gave support for the supremacy of the federal government, however having a rather different point of views on the interpretation of the constitution, particularly in regard to giving power to the national government over the states.
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As noted by Gerston (2007), James Madison eloquently articulated the federal standpoint of having in place a “stronger national government”. Gerston (ibid) points out, Madison’s illustration of the federal perspective was unsurpassed, adding to the fact that his view was of great influence in charting the path taken by the first federal movement. To Madison, “the federal constitution formed a happy combination” that would have served to aggregate the national as well as the local and state legislations (Madison, 1787). His view was that the federal constitution was to be basically interpreted as it was, in distributing powers to the states and the federal government. Hamilton on the other hand, went further to argue that the federal constitution should be interpreted in a more loose way; in a manner that would have lent more power to the federal government. Described by Gerston (2007), as an “extreme and outspoken federalist”, Alexander Hamilton perceived national supremacy as pivotal to the endurance and stability of the union and with this background strongly campaigned for a stronger federal government in contrast to the picture painted by Madison.
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The US constitution, which has served to unite the national, state and local governments under the federal system, displays separation of power by distribution among its component parts; the legislative, judicial and the executive(Madison, 1788). Madison outlined this distribution with the view that accumulation of all powers would in essence have been an ingredient to promotion of tyranny (Madison, Ibid). However, it has become evident that the system of checks and balances, controlling and balancing the federal government’s power and its influence over national issues, leads to slower rates and pace of ratification of public policies. Nevertheless the federal government, given the mandate over national issues, has itself checked by the Congress; consisting of senate and houses of representatives from the various states making the country. Via this influence, the federal government’s decision not to act quickly in response to terrorist threats facing the country can be rescinded by the power vested in the congress. The United States would in this manner, use the power vested equally to all the states in influencing decisions by the federal government.
All democratic governments have balance between liberty and equality as an essential component that sustains the prevailing system of government. Absolute liberty to citizens can only lead to inequality among the people, with absolute lack of the same considered as repressive (Murrin et al, 2007). Maintaining the balance between the two, restores and enhances order, which is however not an easy task. Taking the case of airport security, the airport has the authority to screen everyone passing through them for security reason. It has the liberty to do undertake this security measures on all incoming and outgoing passengers, albeit on an equal basis to all (Murrin et al, 2007). Freedom of the passengers is limited in this manner, a compromise made to ensure security to all, from any element of crime such as terrorism. Airport security would have to ensure the measures do not go overboard by violating individual in the name of providing security. As stipulated under the federal constitution in the bill rights, the security personnel would have to treat everyone equally and with dignity during its operations.
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