ANTI-FEDERALIST ESSAY BRUTUS #1 SUMMARY

  • July 4, 2019

History furnishes no example of a free republic, any thing like the extent of the United States. It has authority to make laws which will affect the lives, the liberty, and property of every man in the United States; nor can the constitution or laws of any state, in any way prevent or impede the full and complete execution of every power given. The different parts of so extensive a country could not possibly be made acquainted with the conduct of their representatives, nor be informed of the reasons upon which measures were founded. This will retard the operations of government and prevent such conclusions as will promote the public good. So why are we trying so hard to do that today?

With which powers of the new government is Brutus here especially concerned? It now contains near three millions of souls and is capable of containing much more than 10 times that number. In a pure democracy the people are the sovereign, and their will is declared by themselves; for this purpose they must all come together to deliberate, and decide. One inferior court must be established, I presume, in each state at least, with the necessary executive officers appendant thereto. Hence the government will be nerveless and inefficient, and no way will be left to render it otherwise, but by establishing an armed force to execute the laws at the point of the bayonet — a government of all others the most to be dreaded.

The former are ruled by the will of the whole, expressed in any manner they may agree upon; the latter by the will of one, or a few.

The territory of the United States is of vast extent; it now contains near three millions of souls, and is capable of containing much more than ten times that number. It is as much one complete government as that of New-York or Massachusetts, has as absolute and perfect powers to make and execute all laws, to appoint officers, institute courts, declare offences, and annex penalties, with respect to every object to which it extends, as any other in the world.

And Brutus is the pen name of the author. But they have always proved the destruction of liberty, and [are] abhorrent to the spirit of a free republic. As we’ve talked about in previous videos the Articles of Confederation proves to be too weak in terms of a central government. So, he’s saying hey, look, there’s really no precedent for this. In every government, the will of the sovereign is the law.

Not only the opinion of the greatest men, and the experience of mankind, are against the idea of an extensive republic, but a variety of reasons may be drawn from the reason and nature of things, against it. In a small one, the interest of the public is easier perceived, better understood, and more within the reach of every citizen; abuses are of less extent, and of course are less protected. So why are we trying so hard to do that today? This kind of government cannot be exercised, therefore, over a country of any considerable extent; it must be confined to a single city, or at least limited to such bounds as that the people can conveniently assemble, be able to debate, understand the subject submitted to them, and declare their opinion concerning it.

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How far the clause in the 8th section of the 1st article may operate to do away all idea of confederated states, and to effect an entire consolidation of the whole into one general government, it is impossible to say. No state can emit paper money — lay any duties, or imposts, on imports, or exports, but by consent of the Congress; and then the net produce shall be for the benefit of the United States.

One of the main objections to the Constitution argued by Brutus is the immense power of the federal government which requires the people to sacrifice their liberties. This will retard the operations of government, and prevent such conclusions as will promote the public good.

Brutus (Antifederalist)

In this situation, I trust the feeble efforts of an individual, anti-fedetalist lead the minds of the people to a wise and prudent determination, cannot fail of being acceptable to the candid and dispassionate part of the community.

In a republic of such vast extent as the United-States, the legislature cannot attend to the various concerns and wants of its different parts. The powers of these courts are very extensive; their jurisdiction comprehends all civil causes, except btutus as arise between citizens of the same state; and it extends to all cases in law and equity arising under the constitution.

There anti-fereralist many objections, of small moment, of which I shall take no notice — perfection is not to be expected in any thing that is the production of man — and if I did not in my conscience believe that this scheme was defective in the fundamental principles — in the foundation upon which a free and equal government must rest — I would hold my peace.

Anti-Federalists and Brutus No. 1

In a free republic, although all laws are derived from the consent of the people, yet the people do not declare their consent by themselves in person, but by representatives, chosen by them, who are supposed to know anti-federa,ist minds of their constituents, and to be possessed of integrity to declare this mind. The territory of the United States is of vast extent; it now contains near three millions of souls, and is capable of containing much more than ten times that number.

Both of these, it is true, in process of time extended their conquests over large territories of country and the consequence was that their governments were changed from that of free governments to sunmary of the most tyrannical that ever existed in the world. Not only the opinion of the greatest men, and the experience of mankind, are against the idea of an extensive republic, but atni-federalist variety of reasons may be drawn from the reason and nature of things, against it.

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anti-federalist essay brutus #1 summary

If this be not the case, there will be a constant clashing of opinions; and the representatives of one part will be continually striving against those of the other. The command of all the troops and navy of the republic, the appointment of officers, the power of pardoning offences, the collecting of all the public revenues, and the power of expending them, with a number of other powers, must anti-fedrealist lodged and exercised in every state, in the hands of a few.

The Anti-Federalist Papers: Brutus I | Tara Ross

These are some of the reasons by which it appears, that a free republic cannot long subsist over a country of the great extent of these states. The powers of the general legislature, so they’re talking about what will eventually be the US Congress as proposed by the constitution extend to every case that is of the least importance, there is nothing valuable to human nature, nothing dear to freemen, but what is brutuz its power.

So far therefore as its powers reach, all ideas of confederation are given up and lost. If this be not the case, summar will be a constant clashing of opinions; and the representatives of one part will be continually striving against those of the other. This enquiry is important, because, although the government reported by the convention does not go to a perfect and entire consolidation, yet it approaches so near to it, that it must, if executed, certainly and infallibly terminate in it.

This government is to possess absolute and uncontroulable power, legislative, executive and judicial, with respect to every object to which it extends, for by the last clause of section 8th, article 1st, it is declared “that the Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution, in the government of the United States; or in any department or office thereof.

So, here it looks like like the author is afraid of, you could kind of say, an elite democracy, that it really wouldn’t even be a republic, that anti-federalst people are going to start acting in their own interests. There are too many different types of people with too many different interests. The essays were widely reprinted and commented on throughout the American states.

anti-federalist essay brutus #1 summary

And if they may do it, it is pretty certain they will; for it will be found that the power retained by individual states, small as it is, will be a clog upon the znti-federalist of the government of the United States; the latter therefore will be naturally inclined to remove it out of the way.

It certainly is not.