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The Federalist Paper

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In writing The Federalist Paper #15, Hamilton relies on ethos – his authority, which positions him as being credible for the audience to persuade citizens to support the federal government. Hamilton was a Continental Army commander, chief contributor to the Constitution making, and confidant and aide de camp of George Washington (US History, 2011).  He enjoyed great authority and credibility while writing about matters of federal and state politics. Hamilton supports his argument with demonstration of the weakness of national unity which is based on mere obligations of good faith by using the example of European nations. He shares his fear that if the States are allowed to operate without strong central government control through the Constitution, the federation would be rendered meaningless. Hamilton assumes that there would be anarchy if the federal constitution is not adhered to in the States. He also believes that the opposition which exists between the state powers and the central powers, as each state follows its self-interest, is good reason not to grant complete independence to states under a sovereign federation.

The relationship of the people – the audience - and the government is strained. Citizens of the United States, whom Hamilton is addressing, are at crossroads choosing between supporting the strong federal government and the independence of individual states they belonged to. This is the reason why Hamilton is desperate to appeal to their emotions in order to win their support. He directly addresses the audience and appears to be equal to people. For instance, he states in a sentence “Here, my countrymen, impelled by every motive that ought to influence an enlightened people, let us make a firm stand for our safety, our tranquility, our dignity, our reputation”. Hamilton is clearly rallying on people’s support of the central government.

Hamilton in #15 states that “if we still will adhere to the design of a national government … we must extend the authority of the Union to the persons of the citizens”. This statement can be used to defend the federal government’s decision to consolidate command of the state based National guard in the presidency, unlike days before, when powers were held by governors. Peterson (2007) states that there has been a conflict between the federal government and the States for control over the National Guard. Transfer of the power over National Guards helps citizens to render service to the federal government on scales beyond the State. Members of the National Guard deployed in foreign lands by the federal government were a good thing for national security. Governors, on the other hand, would want to maintain command over the National Guards to make them perform narrow duties as rescuing fellow statesmen in times of natural disasters. 

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