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Edling argues that during the Constitutional debates, the Federalist were most concerned with building a state able to act vigorously in defense of American national interests. By transferring the powers of war making and resource-extraction from states to the national government, the U.S. Constitution created a nation-state invested with all the important powers of Europe's eighteenth-century 'fiscal-military states'. However, the political traditions and institutions of America were incompatible with a strong centralized government based on the European pattern. To secure the Constitution's adoption, the Federalists needed to build a very different state. The administration they designed made limited demands on citizens and entailed sharp restrictions on the physical presence of the national government in society. The Constitution was the Federalists' promise of the benefits of governemnt without its costs. The Federalist proposed statecraft rather than strong central authority as the solution to governing.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195148701
ISBN-10: 0195148703
Format: Hardback
(242mm x 164mm x 26mm)
Pages: 352
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 9-Oct-2003
Country of Publication: United States

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