Republicanism and the Federalist Papers

by erich.grosse on October 8, 2013

Today in our class we went over how America’s attitude of Republicanism conflicted with the Federalist Papers.  The idea behind Republicanism is that people have an obligation to society and that people should emphasize a greater community rather than individual wealth.  If everyone in society was virtuous, then there would be nothing to worry about when it came to internal problems.  This Republicanism idea, however, clashes with the Federalist Papers.  We went over how although the Federalist Papers thought virtue was good, the word virtue was actually left out of them.  The Federalist Papers stressed how you cannot depend on people who claim to be virtuous, because they could actually be telling a lie.  In a country that was not very patriotic but more united as individual states, the Federalist Papers wanted to unite the rules and laws of America t everyone, regardless of where you called home.  We then discussed how technology and the speed of passing on information allowed this goal to be reached.  In Richard John’s “Spreading the News” the post office is emphasized as getting credit for news being spread faster than ever before.  Since information was being passed among states more rapidly, the ideas of people became more national and united and less state based.

We then went over some archives.  One document we observed was a newspaper article that printed Federalist Paper Number 1.  One of the most interesting things I noticed was the size of the page.  It was about three times the size of the newspapers today.  It also had an old language barrier that I needed to overcome.  When there were supposed to be an “s” it was substituted with an “f”.  Those things are great to realize first hand because you really get to see how different things were back in the 1780′s, even the English language.  But after seeing the differences between newspapers from back then to the present ones, I had to analyze the text.  The most intriguing part of the text was how the Federalist Papers spoke to the importance of the people being able to elect its own rulers, as opposed to leaving it to chance to have royalty be born.  The documents were all interesting, and the class was awesome!

Erich Grosse

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