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My First Read: The Federalist Papers, No. 1

Objective Voice

DP Veteran
Apr 14, 2008
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Huntsville, AL (USA)
Political Leaning
A few months ago, a came across a thread here where someone mention the Federalist Papers and provided a brief summary of what they were and their importance to our nation's history. I finally got around to begin reading them mostly because I'm just curious and I wanted to learn for myself how the authors viewed issues and events surround the forming of this nation prior to the ratification of the Constitution. Again, I've only just begun reading them today - am on the first article, in fact - and just had to shake my head. No, not at the profoundness of what I'm reading, but rather how history has a way of repeating itself. Case and point from Federalist Paper No. 1:

Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.

And yet, however just these sentiments will be allowed to be, we have already sufficient indications that it will happen in this as in all former cases of great national discussion. A torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose. To judge from the conduct of the opposite parties, we shall be led to conclude that they will mutually hope to evince the justness of their opinions, and to increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives. An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty. An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good.

Alexander Hamilton
Federalist Paper No.1

I read that and was like, "Wo!!" Words written over 200 years ago and the arrogance of politics hasn't changed one bit. Just had to share that tidbit.

I plan on reading an article a day and my post what I learn here from time to time. Wish me luck.
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Just remember that this is what history can do to you. It can really put things into perspective. There is a tendency of those in political science or journalism to act as if their times are the most important or that, to put it lightly, "we are more divisive than ever before"-when in fact, this is not necessarily the case. You can't do a blanket dismissal of contemporary claims of how bad things are, but you can be more humble to your predecessors by carefully considering what our times are like in comparison with other times in our past.
Isn't it neat, shocking, amazing and very troublesome at the same time?

#8 is VERY intriguing and painful to read - also very applicable to today's climate.

I think the most interesting and overlooked one is #49.
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