Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Alexander Hamilton’s first Federalist Paper endorses ratification of the proposed constitution. His unifying point is that the use of reason—in the form of the people’s "reflection and choice"—will lead to the truth, whereas their use of passion will lead to ruin. Hamilton attempts to persuade his readers to make the correct decision by reminding them of the sheer importance of the matter. He suggests that "good men" will want to make the correct choice in light of their "true interests" (33), while the adversaries of the Constitution will be ruled by passions, deceit, and even weak minds. He frankly warns his readers against "any impressions other than those which may result from the evidence of truth" (35); he offers them a chance to join him on the right side of the issue, which he implies he has arrived at by knowledgeable deliberation. Finally, Hamilton courts his audience by implying that they will use reason to reach the truth.