Alex Aichinger
Kirsten Andersen
Brent Barksdale
Jim Couture
Andrew Downey
Natalie Farr
Joe Giardiello
Bret Hrbek
Sang Mi Kim
Ramesh Ponnuru
Tom Scerbo
Dorothy Seese
Jason Soter

Senate Candidate Bob Franks of New Jersey

Myriam Marquez is a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel

The Federalist Revisited

The Federalist is a series of 85 essays written between 1787 and 1788 in defense of the proposed Constitution. The essays were written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay under the name "Publius." The goal of The Federalist was to explain the institutions established by the Constitution and to outline the general relationship between the American people and the federal government. In doing this, Publius sought to convince us that the proposed Constitution and the resulting government not only conformed to the true principles of republicanism but will also ensure our twin goals of limited government and ordered liberty. In addition to defining and defending the proposed republican government, Publius also attempts to give us a "constitutional morality." That is The Federalist cites certain standards of behavior which we must adopt to render the system outlined by the Constitution a workable system.

The purpose of this "occasional" column is not to provide a comprehensive discussion of the 85 essays. Rather it is analyze our contemporary political and social debate in light of Publius' teachings. There is, in my opinion, a very wide divergence in our public discussion of our political and social institutions and environment and that very same discussion in The Federalist. For example, most modern commentaries point out the need for a strong, policy-oriented presidency. Yet Publius argues for a dependent presidency, dependent on the Congress. The American people, or at least the media, lament the inability of Congress and the President to "govern" and cite continual delays and bickering in the legislative process. Yet, The Federalist defends this very delay in passing legislation. Our political parties are criticized for being too much alike and are urged to adopt readily identifiable ideological positions. Publius argues for just the opposite in his writings. We are told that we must amend the Constitution to include "gay rights", the "rights of the unborn", the right to prescription medicine, the right to all manner of things. However, these demands run counter to what The Federalist defines as republican government and constitutionalism. Daily we are told to "celebrate our diversity." Yet, Publius urges us to celebrate our commonality. Members of the Christian Coalition and urge us to bring religion into politics. Publius, while recognizing the importance of religion, cautions us that religion and politics can be a dangerous mix. The vital distinction between a republic and a democracy is becoming increasingly blurred. Yet, this distinction and maintaining it, The Federalist informs us, is central to our political success. These and many other contemporary debates will form the subject of "The Federalist Revisited."

It is my hope that highlighting portions of The Federalist will serve to renew and inform our contemporary discussion of politics and society.

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