The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers Summary and Analysis of Essay 36


Hamilton responds to further criticisms of the constitution’s tax provisions. He rejects the claim that the national legislature will not have sufficient knowledge of local circumstances to impose taxes on the people directly. Representatives of each state will certainly have an adequate understanding of their constituent’s interests and circumstances in order to make an informed decision on taxation.

Hamilton also addresses concerns about how the national tax system would operate, especially when both states governments and the union have the authority to levy taxes. He asserts that both levels of government would be wise enough to avoid taxing items already taxed by the other. He also asserts that the national legislature will be able to use the state’s tax collecting apparatus to collect federal taxes. Finally, Hamilton argues that the proposed constitution will not lead to “double sets of revenue officers” or “double taxations” as had been feared.


This paper brings to a close the Federalist’s section in defense of the proposed constitution’s provisions for taxation. Hamilton addresses lingering fears and specific criticisms that had arisen regarding tax issues in very clear terms. He furthermore offers details on how tax collection would actually work in practice.

Most importantly, Hamilton closes the paper by recalling the central theme of “energy,” and reminding voters that in order for a government to be effective, it must have sufficient revenue. Life in America under the Articles had shown the futility of expecting states to reliably and consistently contribute funds to the national government. It was essential, according to Hamilton, that the national government have extensive powers to raise revenue directly without the interference of the states.