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Friday, 29 April 2011 12:29

Federalist Papers and the Right of "Self-Defense"

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The growing unrest among state legislatures and the zeal of millions of Americans to restore the balance between the federal and state governments (principally through the restoration of the sovereignty of the states) is presaged by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay in the seminal work of American political philosophy: the Federalist Papers.

In at least two locations in the Federalist Papers the authors define the purpose of government in terms of the protection of property. In Federalist 10, James Madison explains that the differences in the faculties of men is the source of the rights of property and that “the protection of these faculties is the first object of government.” Again in Federalist 54 Madison states that “government is instituted no less for protection of the property than of the persons of individuals.” It is interesting at this point to note that one of the first goals of a socialist or communist regime is to eliminate private ownership of property.  

Comparison of this view of the purpose of government with that of John Locke can establish at least a very strong Lockean influence upon the philosophy of the Federalist at a fundamental and integral level, namely the purpose of government.  

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