The Federalist Papers Reader and Historical Documents of Our American Heritage

By Frederick Quinn | Go to book overview

No. 6
Concerning Dangers from War Between the States

Hamiltonlays out both his views on political society and his support of the commercial republic, arguing that "the spirit of commerce bas a tendency to soften the manners of men, and to extinguish those inflammable humors which have so often kindled into wars. Commercial republics, like ours, will never be disposed to waste themselves in ruinous contentions with each other. They will be governed by mutual interest, and will cultivate a spirit of mutual amity and concord." This is one of The Federalist Papers' infrequent comments on the interplay of economics and politics. Possibly the authors believed the subject did not need much elaboration in these essays because most readers would agree that a stable, relatively prosperous economy was a prerequisite to a functioning republican government.

Hamiltonsignals the dangers of "domestic factions and convulsions," which Madisonwill consider in greater detail in Federalist No. 10. Hamiltonbelieves humans live, not in a utopian society, but are "ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious"; political stability does not come naturally to a people. He sends a dark warning, comparable to any of Madison's more developed reflections on the human condition: "To look for a continuation of harmony between a number of independent, unconnected sovereignties situated in the same neighborhood would be to disregard the

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