Last Updated on August 20, 2022 by Constitutional Militia
Federalist Papers: Inconclusive as to the meaning of any constitutional provision.
Considering the tumultuous circumstances in which they found themselves, even the most prominent figures among the Framers and Founders did not necessarily think through and craft their statements about the Constitution as circumspectly (or perhaps as honestly) as they might have done had they been consciously writing “for the ages” in the quiescent solitude of their own libraries.
Even such an artfully composed compendium as The Federalist Papers contains veins of tendentious political propaganda and mutually conflicting passages that unfavorably distinguish it from an objective and even-handed academic analysis of the Constitution. For example, in:
Of these two, then, who was correct: Hamilton—who proposed Militia, the effective portions of which would be composed merely of “select corps”; or Madison, who presumed (as any Virginian of that era would have) that the Militia would always be “composed of the body of the people, trained to arms”? Could the Militia powers and duties of the General Government and the States allow such mutually contradictory results? Or perhaps should the statements of Hamilton and Madison be reconciled by reference to the pre-constitutional practice—with which they both were surely familiar—of creating special units within the Militia (such as “Minutemen” and “Rangers”) to which were tolled off the men most capable of performing arduous duties, with other men assigned to less-rigorous ordinary service, yet with all of them at least minimally trained for any tasks they might be called upon to fulfill in an emergency?