Posted by: George | January 20, 2017

Lessons from The Federalist Papers, No. 5


     They who well consider the history of similar divisions and confederacies will find abundant reason to apprehend that those in contemplation would in no other sense be neighbors than as they would be borderers; that they would neither love nor trust one another, but on the contrary would be prey to discord, jealousy, and mutual injuries; in short, that they would place us exactly in the situations in which some nations doubtless wish to see us, viz., formidable only to each other.

     John Jay, Federalist Papers, No. 5

John Jay was fairly consistent in his arguments for a strong central and unified government. The country, as a union, he wrote, will be stronger and less likely to be drawn into unnecessary wars, and it will be better able to negotiate treaties. If, on the other hand, we form a loose confederacy, we will be also run the risk of internal strife.

I like John Jay. If he showed up in my neighborhood, I would take him out for a few micro-brews. I generally agree with him, but I don’t think a little strife is a bad thing.

clintonI understand what he is saying. If the young country split into four separate countries, these independent countries might go to war with each other. So, having a strong union would prevent something like a war between the states. Oh, yea. Never mind. That happened anyway.

On this point, at least, I am going to side with Cato, one of the Anti-Federalist. In Cato I, published on September 27, 1787, he (probably George Clinton, not the George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelics, but George Clinton who was the Vice President under both Jefferson and Madison and Governor of New York, yea, that George Clinton) wrote to his fellow citizens, urging them to engage in civic discourse, to participate in the decision about the proposed constitution, to take responsibility for the country’s future:

Your fate, and that of your posterity, depends on your present conduct—do not give the latter reason to curse you, nor yourselves cause of reprehension, that you have done right in this life, that blunts of sharpness of death; as individuals you are ambitious of leaving behind you a good name, and if in the reflection, that you have done right in this life, that blunts the sharpness of death; the same principles would be a consolation to you, as patriots, in the hour of dissolution, that you would leave to your children a fair political inheritance, untouched by the virtues of power, which you had acquired by an unshaken perseverance in the cause of liberty—but how miserable the alternative—you would deprecate the ruin you had brought on yourselves—be the curse of posterity, and the scorn and scoff of nations.

Cato (George Clinton who took the name of a Roman senator who tried to preserve the republic) was saying, Act now, engage in the process, as if our actions on this day will determine the future of our children.

 On this day, a new president will take office. It is historic. The Chief Justice will swear in our first anarchist president. You heard me correctly. Not anti-Christ. Anarchist. He has already shown us that he intends to appoint a cabinet that will destroy the very institutions that they have been entrusted with leading.

As I said in an earlier post, our institutions will be tested, our character will be tested.

As John Jay advised, I do not plan to be petty. I do not want to create discord out of jealousy or injuries. I want to act for my children and their future. Like Cato, who was pretty funkadelic for his times, I believe a little discord is not a bad thing. I will take part in this grand experiment.

Tomorrow, I will be among those at Women’s March for Arkansas. Let’s get funky.

Consult for background and texts relating to The Federalist Papers.

I also invite your to read Homo Academicus, my serial novel, which is being published at


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