In the inaugural essay Hamilton asks the crucial question: can a people decide its own government from reflection and choice, or be doomed to government forced upon them. His hope of course is that the Constitution will be ratified, and in so being will realize reflection and choice. He announces the decision as among the most important in the world, and then spends a number of paragraphs diminishing the opposition as self-serving demagogues. He congratulates the readers on their own good sense, and then announces his program, to discuss: the utility of the union; the insufficiency of the Articles of Confederation; the need for a strong central government; how the proposed constitution conforms to basic republican principles; the analogy of the proposed constitution to the constitution of New York; and the means by which the new constitution will preserve liberty. The papers never get around to the last two topics until they receive cursory treatment in the final essay.

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