By Sanford Levinson
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Extra info for An Argument Open to All: Reading "The Federalist" in the 21st Century
F e der a l i st 6 Humankind as “Ambitious, Vindictive, and Rapacious” I n vivid prose and muscular argument, Publius makes even clearer his skepticism that a world of competing disunited states—here he is envisioning the collapse of the “United States” into separate entities—can provide a basis for anything other than endless war. ” There is no notion of what has come to be called “American exceptionalism” with regard to basic human character. indb 26 8/18/15 6:25:18 PM f e der a l i st 6 27 but the underlying structure of human nature remains as a constant for Publius.
All it could do was to issue “requisitions” against the states, basically a plea for voluntary payment of dues to remain in the Union. Many states behaved as the United States did for many years with regard to its dues to the United Nations. “Not this year, thank you,” was often the response, and, like the UN, the Confederation government could do nothing other than complain. Since the Constitution solved this problem, only historians remain interested in the operation of the requisition system.
Absent a move to unity, one can expect only continued warfare, and even in times of “peace,” endless fear of renewed hostilities. Moreover, in the twenty-ﬁrst century, we live, for better and worse, under a much broader notion of “neighborhood” than did de Mably or his American admirer. ” This belief has undergirded American foreign policy from Woodrow Wilson’s time through Franklin Roosevelt to George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Rosato is among the political scientists who ﬁnd the theory to be disconﬁrmed by what Publius called the “lessons of .