Federalist No. 5

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Jay continues, again, on his theme that Union offers greater security.

He starts off by entering more detail on the comparison of the Union to the union between Scotland and England, quoting Queen Anne. He adds, "We may profit by their experience without paying the price which it cost them." While their interests kept them unified, their differences kept them in conflict with each other, and "Should the people of America divide themselves into three or four nations, would not the same thing happen?"

Jay notes that even if you could have three or four confederacies begin on equal footing, they would eventually become unequal, necessarily. Likely, the North would become more powerful, which would make the South ditrust them, and vice versa, which would likely, eventually, lead to war.

Jay looks naive in retrospect, as the United States would end up in a nasty war of its own, in about 80 years. But even back then, the UK was not exactly unified in peace, and the members of the Constitutional Convention were well aware that if they were not careful, jealousies and uneven powers would tear them apart. And even though they came up with the Great Compromise to mitigate the chances of it, they knew it could happen anyway, and it did.

Who knows? Maybe disunion might have prevented war altogether, as we've averted any significant armed conflicts with Canada.

I am on board with Union as a way to protect from exterior threats, but I am not sold on it as a way to prevent interstate conflict, and the Great Compromise is evidence that this is not merely retrospective wisdom.

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