Federalist No. 2

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Federalist No. 2
John Jay (Gilbert Stuart portrait).jpg
John Jay, author of Federalist No. 2
AuthorJohn Jay
SeriesThe Federalist
PublisherThe Independent Journal, New York Packet, Daily Advertiser
Publication date
October 31, 1787
Media typeNewspaper
Preceded byFederalist No. 1 
Followed byFederalist No. 3 

Federalist No. 2 is an essay written by John Jay, the second 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 where he 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 (i.e. such as military force).


The American Revolutionary War was damaging to the colonies, and despite the victory over England, the colonies were not prepared to run their own country. After the war, there was still a portion of the population which wanted to keep ties with England, who continued to question the ability of the colonies to govern themselves. As a colony of England there were benefits and drawbacks, excessive taxing created tension but there was security in having ties to one of the most powerful nations in the world. After the Revolutionary War, Britain and France still had a large influence along the North Atlantic coastline, and many were worried that one of the European powers would try to reclaim the United States.

The Federalist Papers were used to present answers to all of these questions and help form an orderly government. The essays made critical revisions of a then disorderly nation, and were published throughout 1787 and 1788 by John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton under the pen name of "Publius." The authors are among the Founding Fathers of America.

Jay's argument[edit]

Federalist Paper Two written by John Jay is entirely dedicated to unity. Jay argues that a strong union of the colonies would provide the best opportunity to prosper for centuries to come.

Jay begins his essay by addressing those who assume that dividing the United States of America is more beneficial than uniting the country.[3] He wants to emphasize to his skeptics that the nation will be governed by a strong but necessary system, and a division of the states into sovereignties would be unfavorable for the greater benefit.

Jay explains that a unified government is crucial in solving conflict within the country. Before the United States Constitution, 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.[4]

Jay asserted that a strong national 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, since separate states are not concerned for the safety of the whole country and their individual pacts with foreign countries would not help other states. A national 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 many states contributing soldiers and money, opposed to fragmented forces of sovereign states.[5]


  1. ^ "Federalist Papers - Facts & Summary - HISTORY.com". HISTORY.com. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  2. ^ "The Federalist 2 < The Complete Federalist Papers < 1786-1800 < Documents < American History From Revolution To Reconstruction and beyond". www.let.rug.nl. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "Federalist Papers Summary No. 2". www.teaparty911.com. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  4. ^ "10 reasons why America's first constitution failed". Constitution Daily. November 17, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  5. ^ "A Stronger Central Government - Archiving Early America". www.varsitytutors.com. Retrieved October 25, 2016.

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