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The Fedarlist Papers - Ed Millican

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Within the pages of One United People: The Federalist Papers and the National Idea, author Ed Millican dissects not only The Federalist piece by piece, but scrutinizes numerous works of other authors in regards to the papers written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. As a result, a strong conclusion asserts that the motives of The Federalist was to create a sturdy nation-state but above all, that American polity is far more complex than pluralism and a free-market economy.

The very last statement in the book reads, "The Federalist, the blueprint of the American nation." This statement alone can summarize the opinion of author Ed Millican as well as many others, but many pages before that is written, the author goes on to examine and explain the many ideas surrounding Publius, including the numerous interpretations of The Federalist, as well as the political objectives of the work as well. However, instead of merely stating the facts and then contributing his opinion, Millican breaks each part of Publius, including the founding fathers who created the pen name, their individual contributions, as well as what exactly a nation-state is. With the help of a significant amount of evidence, Milican continues to assert that Publius was entirely a nationalist and believed heavily in the Lockean ideals that people want to be a unified nation. The very first chapter comes on strong by giving examples of the many interpretations of Publius. Millican then either counters these arguments or accommodates them to his own conclusions. Afterwards, Publius' mission in pre-Constitutional America is discussed, as well as the idea that The Federalist indeed had Nationalistic tendencies. The next section of the book contributes to perhaps the most appealing aspect of the whole book. Because the concept of the nation-state was brought up in the previous chapter, Millican elaborates on exactly what a nation-state is, as well as historical examples of the evolution of central regimes, but moreover the condition of the United States at the time The Federalist was in print. This provided an excellent introduction into what becomes the lion's share of the book, which was Hamilton, Madison, and Jay's contribution and actions in their respective volumes of The Federalist. This is unique because virtually every attempt at the motives of these works have only taken pieces of The Federalist and used, at most, a handful of essays of the 85 that collectively make up the collection. Millican, however, goes through the entire gamut, beginning the Jay and his 5 contributions, and then going back and forth between Hamilton and Madison respectively, and categorized their most significant motives chapter by chapter. Finally, the author recalls earlier chapters that hinted of Publius' nationalism mixed with Lockean liberalism, and concludes the book with "The Significance of The Federalist" where everything is essentially summarized, including a final reminder of the author's opinion of the work. "It," concludes Milican, "asserts an ideal of positive, strong, centralized governmentÐ'..." I gathered the author wanted not only to show the significance of The Federalist, but to prove that it is expressing a message that "American tradition is more complex and inclusive than it is frequently presumed to be."

If had to maintain one opinion about the book's strengths, it would be that it is very "complete." To explain, every possible argument, for or against Millican's interpretation of The Federalist, is considered and then commented on thoroughly. Also, the book is written in a way that is approachable without any extensive knowledge of political science, much less the works of Hamilton, Madison, and Jay. I can use myself as an example of this contention; my knowledge of political science was limited to the general education received in grade school. However, any terms or events that would otherwise be unknown were thoroughly explained. As a result, a very believable assertion is made on behalf of the author that is not only sustained with copious amounts of evidence, but above all is understood. Millican did an excellent job of considering the audience in his work including answering any questions which may arise during its interpretation and leaving the reader with an opinion and only an opinion of the book. For that matter, the strengths of the book far overshadow the weaknesses. Of course, being of the subject of political science, an acquired taste is needed to be genuinely interested in the book and make it a page-turner. I, myself, have not yet acquired such taste. However, the more practical approach taken by Millican made it easier to read. In my opinion, the book was more a curriculum that could be approached in a linear fashion, similar to a classroom lecture, rather than a scholarly thesis that is hard to encounter, if at

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