Front Page Titles (by Subject) brief of argument on the constitution of the united states - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 2
brief of argument on the constitution of the united states - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 2 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 2.
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brief of argument on the constitution of the united states
- I. A republic, a word used in various senses. Has been applied to aristocracies and monarchies.
- 1. To Rome, under the kings.
- 2. To Sparta, though a Senate for life.
- 3. To Carthage, though the same.
- 4. To United Netherlands, though Stadtholder, hereditary nobles.
- 5. To Poland, though aristocracy and monarchy.
- 6. To Great Britain, though monarchy, etc.
- II. Again, great confusion about the words democracy, aristocracy, monarchy.
- a. Democracy defined by some, Rousseau, etc., a government exercised by the collective body of the people.
- b. Delegation of their power has been made the criterion of aristocracy.
- 2. Aristocracy has been used to designate governments.
- a. Where an independent few possessed sovereignty.
- b. Where the representatives of the people possessed it.
- 3.Monarchy, where sovereignty in the hands of a single man.☞ General idea—Independent in his situation; in any other sense would apply to State of New York.
- III. Democracy in my sense, where the whole power of the government in the people.
- 1. Whether exercised by themselves, or
- 2. By their representatives, chosen by them either mediately or immediately and legally accountable to them.
- IV. Aristocracy, where whole sovereignty is permanently in the hands of a few for life or hereditary.
- V. Monarchy, where the whole sovereignty is in the hands of one man for life or hereditary.
- VI. Mixed government, where these three principles unite.
- I.Consequence, the proposed government a representative democracy.
- 1. House of Representatives directly chosen by the people for two years.
- 2. Senate indirectly chosen by them for six years.
- 3. President indirectly chosen by them for four years.
- ☞ Thus legislative and executive representatives of the people.
- 4. Judicial power, representatives of the people indirectly chosen during good behavior.
- 5.All officers indirect choice of the people.Ⅾ Constitution revocable and alterable by the people.
- I. This representative democracy as far as is consistent with its genius has all the features of good government. These features are:
- 1. An immediate and operative representation of the people, which is found in the House of Representatives.
- 2. Stability and wisdom, which is found in the Senate.
- 3. A vigorous executive, which is found in the President.
- 4.An independent judicial, which is found in the Supreme Court, etc.☞ A separation of the essential powers of government. Ascertain the sense of the maxim:One department must not wholly possess the powers of another.
Montesquieu.= British Government.
- II. Departments of power must be separated, yet so as to check each other.
- 1. Legislative.
- 2. Legislative executive.
- 3. Judicial legislative.
- 4.Legislative judicial.☞ All this done in the proposed Constitution.
- 1. Legislative in the Congress, yet checked by negative of the executive.
- 2. Executive in the President, yet checked by impeachment of Congress.
- 3. Judicial check upon legislative, or interpretation of laws.
- 4. And checked by legislative through impeachment.
- I. Can such a government apply to so extensive a territory?
- II. Despotic government for a large country to be examined.
- I. Full House of Representatives chosen every second year, etc.
- II. Senate for six years by Legislatures.
- Rotation every two years.
- Probable increase.
- III. Executive manner of appointment.
- Negotiation of treaties.
- Nomination of officers.
- IV. Judicial power. Constitution of judges.
- Extent of powers.
- Inferior courts.
- Trial by jury.
- Criminal cases.
- I. To provide revenue for the common defence.
- II. To regulate commerce.
- III. To declare war.
- IV. To raise and support armies.
- V. Admission of new States.
- VI. Disposal of property.
- I. To prohibit importation of slaves prior to 1808.
- II. Account to be rendered of expenditure of moneys.
- III. No State shall emit bills of credit under ex-post-facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant title of nobility.
- IV. Definition of treason.
- V. Guaranty of republican governments.