What Does Hamilton Say in Federalist No. 6  Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Hamilton's "Federalist No. 6"

The purpose of Alexander Hamilton's "Federalist No. 6" is to convince the reader of the dangers of an only partially united group of states. Hamilton urges total centralization under the guise of a ruling Constitution to protect the nation from "ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious" men, which is what men turn into when they are given independence, according to him. (The irony of Hamilton's argument is that he is arguing for that which the American Revolutionaries just threw off!) His thesis is contained in the opening paragraph: "I shall now proceed to delineate dangers of a different and, perhaps, still more alarming kind -- those which will in all probability flow from dissensions between the States themselves, and from domestic factions and convulsions" (Hamilton). His aim is clear: a loose confederation of states, each with its own authority, will not work because men simply cannot get along. Hamilton is no fan of diplomatic skill or neighborliness, apparently. This may be due to his upbringing.

The structure of the essay is set up in epistolary form and is very well organized: it is construed as a letter to the People of the State of New York. Hamilton supports his thesis point by point and his argument takes a logical process, though the soundness of his premise is debatable. He begins by ridiculing the idea of interstate cooperation (without federal oversight) as Utopian and then goes on to list all the possible causes that can serve to make states hostile to one another. Hamilton lists all of men's vices known throughout history and essentially says that these are what will appear (without federal oversight). He uses examples such Pericles, Cardinal Wolsey, women in general, and the "concurring testimony of experience" to show how men just cannot get along (without federal oversight).

The method of organization is straightforward and the letter does not deviate in any way from its purpose, which is to underscore the necessity for federal oversight of the individual states. The style of writing is eloquent and articulate and is aimed at educated readers. However, the style is also provocative and the emphasis on man's depravity makes the argument come across as entirely one-sided and biased. Obviously, nations and states have been able to get along throughout history without adopting means of centralized power. Why does Hamilton not mention these? Because it does not suit his rhetorical purpose.

Hamilton concludes his letter by showing how already the states are fighting with one another and that the only remedy to the natural discord is a Constitution. He does not explain how or why such depraved men as the ones he describes will abide by such a Constitution. But such a point is not the main focus of his letter anyway. Hamilton had "hooked" his reader in the introduction by promising to show what dangers a loose union or partial confederacy would bestow. His "hook" is the same hook used by fear mongers and scandal mongers. It is easy to point out the problems and apply…

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