The Federalist Papers, published in 1789, established a standard for the American constitution.
They established that a federal government could not be created in the States by the Federalists or any other party.
The paper’s introduction of the words “Federalist” is considered by many to be a major milestone in the development of American political theory and legal history.
But a new research paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Princeton University economist Nicholas Eberstadt and colleagues argues that the Federalist papers are more relevant today than they were in the early 19th century, when the United States was still the land of the free.
The Federalists’ idea that a “commonwealth” was an oxymoron, Eberstad and his colleagues write, was not new.
In the 1790s, British philosopher John Locke was trying to explain why states had to be separate.
In 1689, John Jay, the lawyer who helped write the 17th Amendment, published a pamphlet called A Treatise of the Laws of England.
In it, Jay argued that states were created by the people, not by the monarch.
It was a landmark document for Americans.
It also became the starting point for a debate about the federal government and the meaning of the constitution.
The debate between Locke and Jay “is still a central tenet of American constitutional law,” said Eberstads co-author and economics professor David Dinges, a former Princeton economist.
In his book “Federalism: The Making and Breaking of the Constitution,” which he co-authored with Dinges and political scientist Michael Pascual, Ebersonstadt writes that the federalists were right to be concerned about the commonwealth.
The 1790 Supreme Court decision in Federalist 58, he writes, “seemed to suggest that the commonweal and unity of the people could not, by themselves, create a state.”
But that “state” is not what the federalism in the Federalism Papers meant, Ebsons paper argues.
It meant a commonwealth that was more inclusive and less oppressive.
“The commonwealth is not a government of the People,” Ebersts paper says.
Instead, it is the “collective power” of the common people.
In 1791, the Supreme Court struck down the federal constitution, which the Federal Constitution created.
But in the years that followed, the Federal government expanded in power and authority.
By the time the federal courts ruled on cases like the Massachusetts Bay Colony case, in 1797, they were calling for a federal system of government.
They called for the Federal Government to “be organized, established, and controlled by the will of the legislature.”
The Federal Constitution was replaced by the Constitution of the United State of America, which replaced the 1789 federal constitution with a much stronger set of ideas.
That was the start of what is now called the United Nations, which is what most Americans would refer to as a “Commonwealth” in this context.
The United States now has a national government.
But for the last 100 years, the Constitution has been interpreted in a way that suggests that the “commonweal” of Americans is not the “state of the nation,” but the common weal of the American people.
Eberstedts paper is the latest effort to test this assumption.
It finds that “the Federalist” paper is a key document in understanding what Americans call a “state,” and its inclusion in the U.S. Constitution “seems to be at least partially a matter of history.”
The paper is available at Princeton University’s Nicholas Ebersons website.