Search for:

Posted on August 17th, 2012, by

On discussing the Federalist Papers # 39, it is necessary to underline the importance of the Federalist Papers in the context of the American history. To put it more precisely the Federalist Papers laid the foundation to the contemporary American political and administrative system. The Federalist Papers were essential since they were created at the epoch when the USA had just got independence and started to build up a new, independent state. The country needed a different form of government, a different political and administrative system compared to the one that existed in the USA before the independence as well as different from the one that existed in European countries.

Obviously, the USA could not accept a monarchy because there was no monarch who could gain enough authority and support of all American people. Moreover, Americans fought for the liberation from the oppression of the British monarchic power and it was quite natural that they were unwilling to accept a new monarchy.

At the same time, the country needed some basic principles on the ground of which it could construct a new, truly independent and effectively governed state, which, above all, should protect liberties and sovereignty of people within the united country comprising of thirteen states. This is actually why the Federalist Papers were created to lay the foundation to the new socio-political and administrative system of the USA. To put it more precisely, the author of the Federalist Papers #39, James Madison, focuses his attention on the formation of the Republic in the USA. The author insisted on the necessity of the creation of the republic in the USA as the most effective and democratic form of the state and, throughout the Federalist Paper #39, the author attempts to support his idea and conducts a convincing argument in favor of the republic, but, simultaneously, he critically assesses and analyzes what the republic actually means and what it should be like in the USA, underlying that the republic in the USA should be a hybrid of the national and federal government.


1. The Republican government as the only form of government acceptable to the USA

First of all, the author of the Federalist Paper #39 lays emphasis on the importance of the creation of the Republican government in the USA. In actuality, the author does not even take into consideration seriously any other government form but the republican one. In this regard Madison is quite radical and absolutely convinced in his righteousness concerning the republican government as an ideal form of the government for the USA. In fact, he views the republican government as incorporation of ideals and basic principles of the American Revolution since American people fought for the liberation and the republic would be an ideal form of the government which meets the expectations and needs of ordinary Americans who risked and sacrificed their life for the sake of independence.

Moreover, the author estimates that the republican government is the only form of the government that can reconcile the nation and protect adequately interests of all people living in the USA. In this regard, he rejects the idea of the creation of any other form of the government, which he considers to be inapplicable in the American context.

What is meant here is the fact that the USA was not a classical nation-state as many European states, which were viewed by many American leaders as example for building up the USA, were. Instead, the USA represented a unique formation uniting people living in thirteen states, who were united not only by some national principle, but rather and mainly by the idea of independence and creation of the state of their own, free of any external influences.

Consequently, American people needed to be represented adequately and equally. Therefore, the republican government was the only government form which could ensure the representation of all Americans and, thus, could guarantee that the ideals they fought during the revolution would be protected.



2. Distinctive characteristics of the republican government form

The author discusses distinctive characters of the republican form, focusing his argument mainly on the creation of a federal or national state. Basically, the author critically evaluates both national and federal states and view the USA from both perspectives. However, he argues that the USA cannot become either a national or federal state in its pure form because of local specificities. This is why he concludes that the USA needs a mixed, national-federal republican government, which could perfectly meet needs and expectations of all Americans and which could guarantee representations of all Americans in the power.

a. The power to govern must be derived from the consent of the people

The power to govern must be derived from the consent of the people is one of the fundamental principles promoted by James Madison in the Federalist Paper #39. He stands on the ground that the American people are the only source of power in the USA and the government should be created by the people and for the people. What is meant here is the fact that the government cannot exist separately from American people. In stark contrast, according to the author of the Federalist Paper #39, it is American people who should elect the government, while the government should responsible to people and be under the control of American people. Any deviations from this formula are considered by the author as unacceptable to the USA. Therefore, he underlines that the legitimate government in the USA needs to derive from the consent of the people. Moreover, without the consent of the people the government cannot exist at all since it will not have any legitimate authority in the USA.

At the same time, he admits that there can be direct and indirect consent of the people. For instance, Madison insists that the government should be elected by the people that is the direct form of the consent of the people. Hence, when people elect members of the House of Representatives, this, according to Madison, is a direct consent of the people.

On the other hand, he admits the existence of the indirect consent, which does not involve the people directly. At this point, it is possible to speak about the delegation of the power by the people to a limited group of people or agency.

For instance, Madison considered the election of the US senators by the state legislatures as a form of the indirect people’s consent, since the people delegates its power to the legislature who actually elect the US senators.

b. Representatives elected from the people are the administrators of the government

Taking into consideration the fact that the government gets power from the consent of the people, Madison logically continues his reflections on the government form and its power by underlying the fact that representatives elected from the people are the administrators of the government. In fact, this means that people elect their representatives who comprise the government. Moreover, it is necessary to underline the fact that the elected representatives of people do not simply exercise their power, but they perform the role of administrators. In other words, they cannot use the power in their own interests or in the interests of certain groups of people, but, in contrast, they should participate in the work of the government and administer the government protecting interests of those people who has elected them. At this point, the federalist principles and features of the American government become particularly obvious because representatives, being elected in different parts of the USA naturally stand for the interests of those people who elected. However, as they represent a specific region and specific part of American electors they cannot be viewed as representatives of the whole nation. On the other hand, the representatives of the people in the government need to develop the common strategy and policy on the national level. As a result, the author arrives to the combination of federalist and national treats of the state, which are essential to the USA.

c. The terms of service of the representatives should be limited by time or good behavior

At the same time, Madison understands that the power of the government and representatives should be controlled by the people. In this regard, he does not rely on the elections solely. Instead, he believes that the representatives of the people should be limited in their power and possibility to gain power. In this respect, he recommends limiting the service of the representatives by time or good behavior. In such a way, time and good behavior become essential elements which define the term of the service of the representatives. This is a very important part of the Federalist Paper #39 because, in such a way, Madison ensures that the USA will not slip to a dictatorship or a kind of authoritarian rule since the members of the government are limited in terms of their services. Therefore, Madison lays an important element of American democracy which ensures that the representatives’ service in the government is not eternal and can be qualified in terms of goodness or good behavior. Obviously, this stimulate the members of the government to a responsible policy and adequate representation of interests of people who have elected them.

3. Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important to focus on the major points of the Federalist Paper # 39. To put it more precisely, it is necessary to underline the significance of the Federalist Paper #39 in the historical context of the USA, when the country had just gained the independence. As for the major points of the Federalist Paper #39, it is necessary to underline that Madison was an eager supporter of the republican government, whose representatives should be responsible to and controlled by the people who elects them and delegates them power. In fact, the American people is the only source of the power in the USA, while the service of its representatives in the government, who perform administrative functions, should be limited by time or good behavior. Finally, Madison underlines that the US combine features of nation and federalist state.

Posted in Free essays | Tagged | Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *