Why High Schoolers Should Read the Federalist Papers

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I am currently reading the Federalist Papers at this moment. I wondered why I didn’t get the chance to read it in my high school government class, even though I was taking a dual enrollment college course. Was time constraints a reasonable excuse? Maybe. We did have to cover the Constitution, current political events (like the 2016 Presidential primary), court cases, federalism, and the levels of courts within the judicial system. Half the time I was looking forward to college or worried about my senior project which everybody has to do to graduate. I could not correctly tell you the difference between a district court and a circuit court (my main weak point in class!). 

One day, I was following a Turning Point USA contributor named Morgan Zegers and seeing her stories on Instagram. She was advertising a new podcast called Freedom Papers which covers each one of the eighty five papers of the Federalist Papers. Each episode, I loved her analysis of these papers but she encouraged us to not be bystanders, and get a copy of the book to follow along with her and come to our own conclusions. By reading the Federalist Papers, I got a proper understanding of the context in which the constitution formed, as well as what both Anti-Federalists and Federalists compromised on to make a Republic government work.

One stance I have solidified on is that we should never break up into smaller countries under any circumstances. There are a minority of states that are deep red or deep blue in the United States. According to Federalist paper No. 8, states that separate into different confederacies would make our enemies’ tasks of destroying us easier. We live as a divided nation ideologically, which is China’s goal without wasting lives and treasure. If we make a national divorce, we would certainly be weaker in the eyes of both our allies and enemies. We will have to worry about borders with our neighbors.

Another stance that was solidified through reading is how the United States Constitution is the best document laying out a government that will last many centuries and protect individual rights. As a Orthodox Christian, my human dignity and life depends on God alone. The Constitution should be read as is, with no wiggle room for any other interpretation. Currently, politicians want to throw away the Constitution because they think it is bad. We have a society corrupted by multiple generations of public school education that distorted understanding of the U.S. Constitution, and thus hate America out of ignorance of true American history. More often not taught the connection between the Constitution and the present moment. 

The combination of people pursuing degrees that would leave them in deep debt and unemployed, in addition to removing God from the classroom, Americans seek the government as their Savior for every problem they have (including COVID vaccine mandates or mask mandates), instead of a higher power to help them. When we forsake the U.S. Constitution, we also forget the proper checks and balances of the three branches of government. Originally, the legislative branch had way more power than now. Congress has handed too much power to the executive branch, where executive orders can become law. The executive branch of the government has grown so large with a swollen bureaucracy that unelected people like Dr. Fauci can dictate how we should treat COVID with little individual liberty.

Political debate is at risk of not happening today. The writing style of Publius, or the combination of John Jay’s, Alexander Hamilton’s and James Madison’s writing styles help make civilized policy debate the norm, instead of character assassination or creating war for personal gain. Today’s left wing politicians attack people based on personal traits when there are no viable ideas that are tested in the arena of the federal government. Also, we resort to physical fighting when we no longer endorse civil conversation about. In the summer of 2020, after George Floyd’s death, there was chaos in the street and people in the media and left-wing activists were justifying riots by labeling them “peaceful protests,” because they were angry about police brutality, despite cases like George Floyd being rare. If we were an “enlightened republic,” which we're not, we would not believe the media's lies. Thus, arriving at the rational conclusion that George Floyd was a criminal, high on drugs, and would have let the jury in court declare the Derek Chauvin, the police officer that blocked Floyd’s airways in his neck, guilty.

Hopefully you are inspired to read the Federalist papers, or tell your children to read it if you are a parent and become enlightened on concepts and reasoning behind the Constitution. As Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is just but one generation away from extinction.”

Bio: Dana Hjelm has a B.S. in biology from Westmont College but is a polymath with equal interest in history, religion, performing arts, reading, science and math. She has a love for all kinds of creatures, both plants and animals. She is an Orthodox Christian. She loves running, golf and dancing as her hobbies.

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