Page:The Federalist (Ford).djvu/383

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Madison]
305
BALANCE OF UNION.

How far the unsacrificed residue will be endangered is the question before us.

Several important considerations have been touched in the course of these papers, which discountenance the supposition that the operation of the federal government will by degrees prove fatal to the State governments. The more I revolve the subject, the more fully I am persuaded that the balance is much more likely to be disturbed by the preponderancy of the last than of the first scale.[1]

We have seen, in all the examples of ancient and modern confederacies,See No. 37. the strongest tendency continually betraying itself in the members to despoil the general government of its authorities, with a very ineffectual capacity in the latter to defend itself against the encroachments. Although, in most of these examples, the system has been so dissimilar from that under consideration as greatly to weaken any inference concerning the latter from the fate of the former, yet, as the States will retain, under the proposed Constitution, a very extensive portion of active sovereignty, the inference ought not to be wholly disregarded. In the Achæan league it is probable that the federal head had a degree and species of power which gave it a considerable likeness to the government framed by the convention. The Lycian Confederacy, as far as its principles and form are transmitted, must have borne a still greater analogy to it. Yet history does not inform us that either of them ever degenerated, or


  1. As a matter of fact the balance between the states and the nation has been admirably maintained. While the national government has assumed many additional powers which the growth of communication has made it possible for it to enforce, yet relatively the state governments have come to be more important elements, as compared with the national government, than in 1800. This is owing chiefly to the circumstance that relations with foreign countries—the greatest function of the general government—have become far less vital, with the growing tendency to peace; for such foreign relations as now exist are chiefly commercial, and by the practical destruction of American shipping have been reduced to little more than questions of tariffs. The importance of internal affairs, too, has declined with the curbing and extinction of the Indian and with the steady lessening of public territory. Certain developments have, of course, greatly added to the national influence, such as the greater importance of the post office, the governmental control over railroads, the creation of national banks and the power to say what is money, the levying of protective tariff and the granting of bounties, the policy of internal improvement, and several other material factors. But with the development of national functions has come a greatly increased importance