The Federalist #4

Jul 8, 2014 by

While each article is a standalone article, this article is part of a series of articles examining the Federalist Papers.  To read the first article in this series, go to “The Federalist #1″.

John Jay

John Jay

In Federalist #4, John Jay continues to argue for the advantage of Union over disunion in the case of national defense.  In Jay’s last article, he argued that disunion would create more just causes of war than union.  Now, Jay is arguing that disunion will place them in a situation of inviting hostility more than union.  Jay argues that, because men govern nations, there are many causes of war that are not just.  America is, moreover, in a position where we rival great powers with our economy.  As our trade improves, it is only at the cost of diminishing theirs.  In retaliation, we have seen both Spain and Britain cut off our navigation abilities.  Spain closing off the Mississippi at New Orleans.  Britain closing off the St. Laurence on the other.  And, neither nation will permit the use of waterways connecting our nations as a means of mutual trade.  From this, it is easy to see how “jealousies and uneasiness may gradually slide into the minds of other nations.”  Because of this, it is unlikely they will be neutral to our inevitable expansion of economy.

The people of America recognize that this, and other reasons, may lead to war.  And, when war arises, the other nation will not be short on invented reasons for justifying the war.  Thus, it is the purpose of the National Government to keep foreign nations in need of creating reasons and in discouraging any acts of war through a strong military and steady resources.  Jay continues by analyzing whether one government  is better at creating a better defense than several independent governments.  A national government can call upon the talents of the entire nation, a larger choice for the military means the people you choose will be of better quality.  A unified nation will be able to consider the whole, as opposed to the individual part, when considering trade agreements.  It will be able to move resources where necessary.  A war being waged in Georgia can have resources diverted there from Massachusetts.  Under one government, the army will be unified and uniformly regulated.

British fleetNext, Jay appeals to the British Army and Navy to prove that unity creates a superior Military.  Suppose Britain invaded, instead of all their respective countries united, by having the armies of England, Wales, and Scotland having their armies independent of each other.  Even if they were to agree to such a venture, their armies would be chaotic, not acting in as great of unison with each other as they do when united under Britain.  Look at Britain’s celebrated Navy.  If Britain’s navy was not united, but under the control of the individual nations, it would never have flourished to the status it is at today.  Now, apply this idea to America.  If we were not united, how would our armies and fleets operate effectively if we ever joined in war.  However, because of disunion, would we ever join in war at all?  Why would Massachusetts send aid to a war in Georgia?  Moreover, would not our independent diplomacy actions cause us to possibly take opposite sides in a war with foreign nations?  If Britain was to attack Virginia, would New York risk it’s trade deals and close ties to Britain to protect Virginia?  And, if the states did unite, who would command the armies?  Who would take charge?  Who would settle the terms of peace?  Without union, this would be a very difficult process.

Jay concludes by stating that, in the end, it all comes down to how other nations view us.  If we have a strong nation with a good economy, they will think twice before attacking.  If we are weak, disorganized, and not unified, they will see us as vulnerable, and we will be more likely to invoke anger to justify invasion.

The main point in Federalist #4 that Jay is trying to get at is that a dis-unified nation has no hope of an organized defense.  Without union, there is nothing really to get us to be organized.  When you are operating in a group, you need unified action in order to be effective in any way.  Each member acts towards their own personal interests, without consulting each other, and creates a mess of the whole project.

Is this how are government is?  Does it still work together, unbiasedly, towards the good of the whole?  Does it still try and promote peace?

Also, think about this for your own life.  When you are working in a group with other people, are you trying to make the whole project good, or just the part you worked on so that you get as much recognition as possible.  If you only focus on your part of a project, does that diminish the project as a whole.  If your part does not line up with the other parts, does that not effect you too?  If you see a presentation by a group where the first speaker says one thing with some evidence, and the second speaker says the complete opposite with a ton of evidence, doesn’t that look bad on both speakers?  Though you may only see the immediate advantage to acting alone, you can’t always see how acting alone will make you look like a great speaker who doesn’t know what presentation they are speaking about.

Related Posts

Share This

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.