February 19, 1788 – Fishkill, NY




vanwyckhomestead-270x180In 1788, Fishkill, New York, was a well known and important city, having once served as the Capitol of New York State. It was also the home of the largest supply depot of the Continental Army. And Fishkill had its own newspaper, The New York Packet, later known as Louden’s New York Packet.

It was this newspaper, on Tuesday, February 19, 1788, that published another in a series of essays which were rapidly taking the country by storm. The essays were anonymous and while there was much speculation as to the authorship, only four or five people (not counting the writers themselves) in the entire nation could say with any certainty that they knew who the author – or authors – was. Even George Washington pretended to not know as he praised the essays and proclaimed, “Who is the author?” He had been directly told by the authors that they were, in fact, the authors.

The Federalist Papers, as the essays had become known, were “the best argument” in favor of ratification for the new Constitution. They were directed at the people of New York, as the debate swirled about the State, but in fact they reached the entire country. Published in bound volumes almost as soon as the ink dried, they became a prized possession of Americans from Maine to Georgia. Indeed they were a hit internationally as well. The French offered “honorary citizenship” to the authors, one of whom would later accept the honor.

For all their grandeur and importance in their day, they have lost a certain appeal to modern Americans. They are dismissed as “old ideas,” and even in the 1860’s some of the essays were… if not ignored, certainly given less priority because of who the author was. And it might surprise you which ones were relegated, given the state of things today.

That Tuesday morning, readers of the New York Packet  found two of the letters, numbers 56 and 57. Addressing the concerns over the House of Representatives, the author outlined his beliefs and argued that the House would be something very special and dear to the people as the primary defense of their liberties.

For myself, it is Federalist #57 that speaks loudest. It is written, as we now know, by James Madison. And it is here that we find the answer to the questions so often asked today as to where things “went wrong.” Madison and Hamilton knew and understood the dangers of politics and power against the liberty of the people. The argument of Federalist #57 is how to defend liberty against such incursions.

It remains my personal favorite of the Federalist Papers, and in it I find renewed belief that We the People choose our destiny.

Which is, after all, the very meaning of the word, Liberty.

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About FTB1(SS)

Plausibly Live is the Official Podcast of The Dave Bowman Show. From 2007 to 2015, Dave was the host of KFIV’s “Afternoons Live” (Later “The Dave Bowman Show”) and the Central Valley’s go-to man for insightful and entertaining analysis of the day's news and events. In 2015, Dave left radio to raise his son and helped to launch the Podcast 99 network (www.podcast99.org), which features voices and topics from all around the area, the nation, and the world, on a variety of subjects. Re-launching his own show as a podcast, Dave continues his look at the world around him, now without the constraints of terrestrial radio, but still with his eclectic mix of history and common sense. The primary feature element of Plausibly Live is Constitution Thursday, which since 2010 has been a weekly look at the history and impact of the US Constitution. Dave is a US Navy Submariner, a radio talk show host, father, baseball fan, avid reader and a frustrated writer. He has a passion for books, theology, submarines, coffee, tequila, 1970’s music (especially funk!) and is a ToTaL Star Trek geek. Dave being promoted to FTB2(SS) in 1986. Dave being promoted to FTB2(SS) in 1986. He was born in Oklahoma, grew up in Colorado, graduated from Ogden High School (Class of ’81) in Ogden, UT, served for eleven years in the US Navy Submarine fleet, was a Naval Instructor and as a Ballistic Missile Fire Control Technician, he achieved the rank of FTB1(SS) through sorcery and favoritism, but would have been happy staying an FTB2(SS) for life. He was trained as a targeting specialist and Battle Stations Missile Fire Control Supervisor aboard USS Michigan SSBN-727(G) and was trained on two Fire Control Systems, the Mk 98 Mod 0 TRIDENT and the Mk 88 Mod 1 POSEIDON. Later he served as a part of the Fleet Combat Training Center Dam Neck Auxiliary Security Force, which sounds impressive but was really just bait for Seal Team 6 and any Iraqi terrorists who happened to land on the beach in Virginia. He later attended Seminary in Atlanta, GA, then served as a pastor for five years before realizing the massive error of his ways. He then worked in non-Profit management until 2006 when he was hired to do sports for a local talk radio show, eventually moving into the host position in September of 2007. In the fall of 2008, after years of questioning and study, Dave completed the process of conversion to Judaism. In 2009 Dave married Cami, and in 2010 they were blessed with their son, Benjamin, to go along with four daughters, one son-in-law and three grandchildren. In the summer of 2017, Dave and Cami relocated “back home” to Silverdale, WA, where Dave had been stationed when they first met in 1985. From September 2007 to January 2015 Dave was heard each weekday from 3pm to 6pm (Pacific) on Power Talk 1360AM & 1280 in Modesto & Stockton, CA. Today, you can hear his Podcast Show, Plausibly Live, on The Dave Bowman Show website or on The Podcast 99 Network Page.

Posted on February 16, 2017, in Article I, Constitution, Federalist Papers, Ratification and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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