The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers Summary and Analysis of Essay 60

Summary

Hamilton responds to concerns that the power of the national government to determine the time, places, and manner of elections of representatives to the House might result in the elevation of the wealthy over the mass of the citizens. The fear seems to have been that the national government may conspire to hold elections in only parts of the states populated by the wealthy. This would presumably prevent lower income citizens from voting.

Hamilton rejects this fear on several grounds, including the fact that such places do not exist—that is, the rich are scattered throughout the states. Hamilton also argues that the American people would never tolerate such behavior by the national government. He furthermore asserts that the separation of powers between the House, the Senate and the president would make it much more difficult for the national government to conspire against the states. Each branch of the national government is elected by different populations—the House by the people, the senate by the state legislatures (though this was later changed by the 17th amendment) and the president by electors chosen by the people. Given the fact that each branch has such different sources of power, it would be highly unlikely for them to all represent a particular class of people or a particular set of interests.

Analysis

This paper illustrates the primacy of the separation of powers to the American form of government. Hamilton contends that, unlike other national governments, the American government is unlikely to fall into the control of a single class of citizens since there are numerous branches of government that must share power.

This paper furthermore reasserts Hamilton’s fundamental faith in the republican form of government. No usurpation of power by the national government would be possible because the people, motivated by a love for liberty and conscious of their rights, would not allow it. Finally, this paper captures the complicated operation of federalism, or separation of power between the states and the national government.

Hamilton concludes the paper by taking his opponents' arguments to their logical extreme. This tactic is an attempt to demonstrate the exaggerated and unreasonable fears of his opponents. He notes that even if the national government somehow succeeded in rigging elections, it would not even be necessary since they would presumably have gained enough power to usurp the rights of the people directly without recourse to elections.