Federalist No. 2

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John Jay, author of Federalist No. 2

Federalist No. 2 is an article written by John Jay as the second essay of The Federalist Papers, a series of 85 essays arguing for the ratification of the United States Constitution. These essays, written by Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, were published under the pseudonym "Publius".[1] Federalist No. 2, titled "Concerning Dangers From Foreign Force and Influence",[2] was published on October 31, 1787, as the first of five essays written by Jay. In it, Jay addresses the advantages of a unified government over separate sovereignties. He discusses how an undivided country enforces laws with more efficiency, resolves conflicts, and gives better protection from foreign influences, such as military force.


The American Revolutionary War was very tough on the colonies, and despite the victory over England, the colonies were not prepared to run their own country. They forced their mother country of England out and now they were on their own. There were people that were strongly against the colonies to be a free nation as the question was how would they handle everything. Being dependent on England for many years had its positives and negatives. Although there were much more negatives of British rule, such as obeying British orders and paying their taxes, more problems arose as the colonies detached themselves from England. They were not on the same level, militarily, with other European nations such as Britain and France. Specifically those two powerful countries had a large influence along the North Atlantic coastline. Many were worried that one of the European powers would try to come back to the United States. This would cause our nation to return to its colonial status or limitation of American sovereignty. It was time to take matters into their own hands and the decisions that were to be made for the future split the colonies apart. That was the moment in American history when the Federalist Papers came into play. They were documents that made critical advancements of a then disorderly nation. The documents which are basically publications of essays that were published throughout 1787 and 1788 by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton under the pen name of "Publius." The authors are now famously referred to as the Founding Fathers of America for their noticeable contributions. Federalist Paper Two written by John Jay is entirely dedicated to unity. Jay argues that a strong Union of American States would give the best opportunity to strive and survive for centuries to come.[3]

Jay's argument[edit]

Jay begins his article by remarking that his argument addresses those that assume that dividing the United States of America is more beneficial than uniting the country.[4] He wants to emphasize to nonbelievers that the nation will be governed by a strong but necessary system.

He explains that a unified government is crucial in solving conflict within the country. Before the Constitution was in effect, many states had their own foreign policies and their own currencies which "made trade between states and other countries extremely difficult". In addition, the government had no power to tax the states which meant that the government had little money to pay back debts resulting from the Revolutionary War.[5] Jay asserted that a strong central government would ease these discords with a unitary foreign policy, monetary system, and equal, fair tax on all citizens.

He also argues that a unified government would better protect the country from foreign influences, such as war. Separate states are not concerned for the safety of the whole country and their individual pacts with foreign countries would not help other states; it may even harm other states if one state decides to call upon its foreign ally to invade its neighbors. A central government would make alliances and create a policy that benefits all of the country. Moreover, a unified nation will have a better and stronger military, with so many states to contribute soldiers and money to fund the program, the country will have a superior army as opposed to fragmented forces.[6]


  1. ^ "Federalist Papers - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.com". HISTORY.com. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  2. ^ "The Federalist 2 < The Complete Federalist Papers < 1786-1800 < Documents < American History From Revolution To Reconstruction and beyond". www.let.rug.nl. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 
  3. ^ Hamilton, Alexander; Madison, James; Jay, John; Goldman, Lawrence (2008-10-09). The Federalist Papers. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780192805928. 
  4. ^ "Federalist Papers Summary No. 2". www.teaparty911.com. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  5. ^ "10 reasons why America’s first constitution failed". Constitution Daily. 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2016-10-24. 
  6. ^ "A Stronger Central Government - Archiving Early America". www.varsitytutors.com. Retrieved 2016-10-25. 

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