Federalist Papers – Hamilton asks why we think we can ignore history?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, History | Posted on 21-10-2009


While reading the Federalist Paper No. 6, I came across another great Hamilton quote that we should keep in mind.

In No. 6, Hamilton was arguing that in order to prevent unnecessary wars both internally between the colonies and externally between the colonies and foreign nations, they should ratify the Constitution to form the Union. With the Union, there would be rationality in calming the fervor for war with other nations, because one area of the country may be hurt by the war that another part of the country was calling for. With seperate colonies or three or four confederacies, one confederacy or colony could start a war without regard to the others. This would lead to more wars.

Internally, he was arguing with separate colonies or confederacies, there would more than likely be wars between them. He used examples of Britian’s wars with Scotland.

After laying out the historical proof, Hamilton was calling for the dismissal of the arguments to remain separated. He started by asking what would make us think that despite the history of similar nations’ experiences with inter-quarreling we would be able to have peace with separate confederations or colonies.

To shut down the claims from the anti-federalist, Hamilton wrote the following quote to ask why we think that we are different.

“Have we not already seen enough of the fallacy and extravagance of those idle theories which have amused us with promises of an exemption from the imperfections, the weaknesses, and the evils incident to society of every shape? Is it not time to awake from the deceitful dream of a golden age and to adopt as a practical maxim for the direction of our political conduct that we, as well as the other inhabitants of the globe, are yet remote from the happy empire of perfect wisdom and perfect virture?”

Hamilton is basically saying. We aren’t  different. These human traits that have led to war for other nations will not forgo us simply because those who want to maintain the separate colonies say so.

While, Hamilton was talking about war, I think the quote fits perfectly into our modern context. It fits in respect to the our further slide towards socializing as much as possible in our country. Surely, history has laid out the disaster of socialism whether it be the famine in China that killed countless millions, the never ending impoverishment of Cuba, or the horror stories of health care in Britain and Canada. If Hamilton was writing about our governments taking over banks, car companies, possibly newspapers and health care, I am guessing he would say what makes us think we are different? Why do we think we can ignore history?

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