Federalist No. 69

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Alexander Hamilton

Federalist No. 69, authored by Alexander Hamilton under the pen name Publius, is the sixty ninth of 85 essays. Titled "The Real Character of the Executive", Hamilton explains that the President will be a single magistrate, and is not to be involved with domestic affairs.

It was published on March 14, 1788.


Several years after the founding of the country, fears started to arise regarding the threat from external forces. Having recently just lived under a meddling monarch, the Founders were not interested in re-creating the kind of centralized government that oppressed them for decades. However, many of them believed that long term, America could not afford to be a loose collection of sovereign republics lacking the ability to raise a standing army.[1] Their answer to these fears was a strong, vigorous executive at the head of a general government, but severely restricted by Delegated Powers and the Tenth Amendment to prevent as much as possible domestic meddling as the king once did.

In addition to a lengthy comparison with the King of Great Britain, Hamilton also compares the president to governors of states, such as New York and Massachusetts. He wrote: "the power of the President would be inferior to that of either the monarch or the governor", except of course in those cases where powers were specifically enumerated.

Among the powers granted to the executive include the veto, making treaties, pardons, and a role with commerce and currency.

Foreign affairs

In this paper, Hamilton explains that the President, while having a nominal similarity to the British King, would amount to nothing more than having supreme command over the military and naval forces.

Domestic affairs were to be solely under the purview of the Congress, and as commander in chief foreign affairs were the President's primary concern. A notable exception is the power of pardons.


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