Federalist No. 3

Federalist No. 3 continues the discussion as to why a unified national government would be better than thirteen sovereign states or any number of weaker confederacies of the states. Once again the logic is sound, but it exposes how we have strayed from the government envisioned by the founders.

It is of high importance to the peace of America that she observe the laws of nations towards all these powers, and to me it appears evident that this will be more perfectly and punctually done by one national government than it could be either by thirteen separate States or by three or four distinct confederacies.

Because when once an efficient national government is established, the best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will generally be appointed to manage it; for, although town or country, or other contracted influence, may place men in State assemblies, or senates, or courts of justice, or executive departments, yet more general and extensive reputation for talents and other qualifications will be necessary to recommend men to offices under the national government,–especially as it will have the widest field for choice, and never experience that want of proper persons which is not uncommon in some of the States. Hence, it will result that the administration, the political counsels, and the judicial decisions of the national government will be more wise, systematical, and judicious than those of individual States, and consequently more satisfactory with respect to other nations, as well as more SAFE with respect to us. (emphasis mine)

Is there any person in this nation today that would argue that our federal government is efficient in any sense?

Nations and individuals around the world who would fight against us are unlikely to fear a bloated national government that would take the time to bail out a financial investment firm like Bear Stearns when they have not managed to secure our own borders (and I’m not talking about immigration as an economic and social issue here, I’m talking smuggling as a national security issue).

A federal government as confused and confusing as ours has become does not invite the most capable to manage it – instead it invites those most comfortable with the vagaries of the bloated system regardless of their capability to lead and/or manage it.

Such a daunting system does not encourage a society of people who dare to risk and dream, rather it encourages people to seek any kind of personal security that another person is willing to offer them, making them reliant upon and susceptible to those who would take advantage of insecurity.

The federal government has grown large enough that the individual states are no longer cooperating within the federal government, but competing to influence it. It’s time that we worked to return to a more efficient government and remind our citizens that:

. . . a cordial Union, under an efficient national government, affords them the best security that can be devised . . .

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
This entry was posted in politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


5 Responses to Federalist No. 3

  1. Reach Upward says:

    Even our Founders attributed more altruism to potential public servants than was warranted. And oddly enough, many in our society continue to do so. If we instead understand that people are generally motivated by their own gain (economic, ego, security, or otherwise), and that organizations (bureaucracies) become akin to living organisms that seek to sustain themselves, we will develop a healthy skepticism of big government.

    As an aside, part of the reason the federal government has grown so much recently is that many citizens are shielded from the cost of government. The reality of the social aspects of the Bush tax cuts is that more than 40% of ‘taxpayers’ pay no taxes or even get income from government. Since these people see no cost to government programs, they have no problem with expanding government.

  2. David says:


    That last point about being shielded from the costs of government is very important. Is it any wonder that so many of those who are on that non-paying end are more likely to support the candidates who play to class warfare rhetoric and promise to offer more services. On the other hand they are more than happy to receive the tax cuts being handed out by the other side despite the arguments that the tax cuts are “for the wealthy.” Seeing no cost to government they are not so worried at the rich getting tax cuts so long as they do not lose access to any government services to which they may have become accustomed.

  3. To restate your second excerpted paragraph from Federalist #3:

    “Because when once an inefficient national government is established, gradually the vilest men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will generally be appointed to manage it”

  4. David says:

    We could wish that your statement were less reliably true than the original proposition of which it is the inverse.

    Sadly, experience suggests that this is not the case. The society that would clamor for inefficient and bloated government is definitely prepared to choose and accept very poor managers of that government.

  5. Reach Upward says:

    Frank makes a great observation there.

Comments are closed.

Loading Facebook Comments ...