Quote of the Week - Archive

30 July - 5 August 2020

It has been urged, in different shapes, that a Constitution of the kind proposed by the convention cannot operate without the aid of a military force to execute its laws. This, however, like most other things that have been alleged on that side, rests on mere general assertion, unsupported by any precise or intelligible designation of the reasons upon which it is founded. As far as I have been able to divine the latent meaning of the objectors, it seems to originate in a presupposition that the people will be disinclined to the exercise of federal authority in any matter of an internal nature. Waiving any exception that might be taken to the inaccuracy or inexplicitness of the distinction between internal and external, let us inquire what ground there is to presuppose that disinclination in the people. Unless we presume at the same time that the powers of the general government will be worse administered than those of the State government, there seems to be no room for the presumption of ill-will, disaffection, or opposition in the people. I believe it may be laid down as a general rule that their confidence in and obedience to a government will commonly be proportioned to the goodness or badness of its administration.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper No.27

Context

I chose this quote in response to the same situation as the previous week's: of the Trump administration using federal force against protesters. I liked the suggestion at the end that civil disobedience may be the sign of a poor government.

23 July - 29 July 2020

The citizens of America have too much discernment to be argued into anarchy. And I am much mistaken, if experience has not wrought a deep and solemn conviction in the public mind, that great energy of government is essential to the welfare and prosperity of the community.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper No.26

Context

This quote was selected after I read a newspaper article about Federal police being sent in to Portland, Oregon, in an attempt by the Trump administration to quell demonstrations in the city. Trump had called protesters ‘anarchists’. Meanwhile, the administration had failed to control the spread of COVID-19, with over 140,000 deaths recorded in that week.