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Federalist No. 7: Is Disunion among the States a Hidden Source of Strength?


Daniel L. Smith is an assistant professor of public budgeting and financial management in the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. His research focuses on state government budgeting and financial management, especially the budgetary implications of state fiscal institutions and fund management.


Federalist Nos. 6 and 7 address the problems of disunion that led the founders to imagine a stronger national government, arguing that the states were and would continue to be a source of unyielding conflict without national supremacy. This essay asks how the states have adjusted to the Constitution under the Tenth Amendment and posits that the states are a hidden source of energy toward good government in their own right.