Federalist No. 4

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Jay continues on his theme that Union offers greater security from foreign force.

We know there will always be bad reasons for war, but there are good reasons for war -- he at length describes some potential problems, all having to do with various trade disputes -- and he asks "whether one good government is not, relative to the object in question, more competent than any other given number."

First and foremost, a Union will "tend to repress and discourage" war rather than inviting it.

He again notes that Union can get the best men from all over. I am skeptical of this argument. Surely there must be sufficiently qualified men in each state or region. I think a greater case can be made that a federal government is more capable of keeping a calm head and averting war for reasons other than the relative quality of the personnel, and mostly having to do with what he mentioned in the previous article: distance diminishes passion.

He also mentions here that "the safety of the whole is the interest of the whole," and that it will keep the whole as the objective in treaties, while also considering the individual parts; and should any of those parts should need defense, the whole will mobilize to provide it, instead of each part looking out for itself.

As well, a unified armed force can be much more effective, being under one plan, one rule. He asks whether the British army would be as successful if it were four armies -- English, Scotch, Welsh, Irish -- instead of one. If America had 13, or even three or four, separate forces, could they adequately guard their shores? Would the others rise to help if one were in need? Maybe so, but it would become -- at best -- a serious logistical problem that a Union would not have to face.

And what if one inclined to favor Britain, and another to France? What then would become of America, each government being played off the other? It would be a "poor, pitiful figure" instead of the great nation it may become under Union.

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