Federalist No. 32

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Alexander Hamilton

Federalist No. 32, authored by Alexander Hamilton under the pen name Publius, is the thirty second of 85 essays titled "The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the General Power of Taxation".

It was published on January 2, 1788.

Partial nationalization

In Federalist 32 Hamilton writes about three areas of exclusive jurisdiction by the federal government:

First, Washington D.C.
Second, taxation.
Third, naturalization.(or, immigration)

He wrote that "An entire consolidation of the States into one complete national sovereignty would imply an entire subordination of the parts; and whatever powers might remain in them, would be altogether dependent on the general will. But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States."

By this he means that the powers of taxation were nationalized; taken away from the states. In other Federalist papers the power of making treaties is discussed; this is another power nationalized away from the states. However, as Madison writes in Federalist No. 39 and the 10th Amendment re-affirms, the states retain almost all of the functions they had under the previous system. There are literally thousands of things a government is capable of doing at any time, yet the Enumerated Powers is a list of merely 19 objects.

Judicial use

Along with Federalist 81 and 78, Federalist 32 remains one of the most cited papers by the courts.[1]


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