Skip to content

Alexander Hamilton: “The hope of impunity is a strong incitement to sedition; the dread of punishment, a proportionably strong discouragement to it.”


This quote comes from Federalist No. 27, published under the pseudonym “Publius” and later confirmed to be written by Alexander Hamilton. The paragraph continues,

Will not the government of the Union, which, if possessed of a due degree of power, can call to its aid the collective resources of the whole Confederacy, be more likely to repress the FORMER sentiment and to inspire the LATTER, than that of a single State, which can only command the resources within itself? A turbulent faction in a State may easily suppose itself able to contend with the friends to the government in that State; but it can hardly be so infatuated as to imagine itself a match for the combined efforts of the Union. If this reflection be just, there is less danger of resistance from irregular combinations of individuals to the authority of the Confederacy than to that of a single member.

It comes to mind from an article I have just read, which immediately disappeared from my iPhone– as such things often do. I re-located it by using Google: Alexander Hamilton “The hope of impunity” and it was the first item on the “found” list– a page from the Avalon Project at Yale, “The Federalist Papers No. 27”.

The Federalist Papers were written in support of the new Constitution which was being debated in Congress. Not many people know that there was a first version of the Constitution we so revere; this first version had many defects, many more than the version accepted on July 6, 1787. At any rate, the new Constitution had many detractors even though it was vastly better.

The Paper No. 27 continues a discussion of the assertion that a federal government would need a standing army in order to survive. Hamilton says it doesn’t, because the federal government would be better than any of the state governments. He didn’t operate during the historical period in which politicians were full-time employees of the federal, state, or local governments– nor during the period after which parties came to control the actions of full-time politicians.

Thus, he had no way of knowing (or anticipating) that the Senate would be beholden to the party that controls or controlled its President (or the party which is controlled by its former President)– which led to the impunity which *r*** now enjoys in his “retirement”.

You don’t need to be watching politics very closely to know that the news article (the one I couldn’t find) had to do with the Republican Senators’ reluctance to convict he-who-must-not-be-named after he was impeached for “inciting to insurrection.”

Since the riot/invasion of the Capitol on January 6 and the House vote to impeach, there have been a few significant revelations and occurrences. The biggest revelation was that T*’s campaign paid over $2.5 million to the people who organized the demonstration (that is, the presence of a huge number of lie-enabled anger-addled white men) on January 6.

The second-biggest was the revelation that T—- had tried to get a Mr. Clark, who was then a deputy Attorney General (AG) (for the civil division of the Department of Justice, DOJ), to take over from Mr. Rosen (the actual AG) and send a letter to the Georgia State Legislature demanding that they hold a vote to overturn the state’s Electoral College selection and choose a College delegation that would vote for Mr. T^^^^^– thereby annulling the votes of the people of Georgia.

This nefarious scheme was stopped only because the four highest-ranked members of the DOJ aside from Mr. Rosen all threatened to resign en masse.

The biggest occurrence, that happened only today, was that the Senate voted 55-45 against the proposition that a trial of Mr. ****p would be unconstitutional because he had already left office. Never mind that 1) he was impeached before he left office and 2) Mitch McConnell refused to call the Senate back into session two weeks early (he could have, with the minority leader’s agreement, called them in on January 13, the day the House impeached Him) and gave the earliest start date of a trial as 1 hr. after Mr. Biden would be inaugurated into the presidency.

Besides that, most constitutional scholars who are not Republican Senators agree that a person can be tried for an impeachment after they have left office; in part, because one of the potential objects of impeachment is to disqualify that person from ever holding office (nor any assignment of “trust or honor” within the US government) again.

So this is a political circus, not because the Democrats want it that way, but because the Republicans insist that it be that way. Which bodes ill for the future of the United States, as the next President who feels unmanly and/or unmoored from fact and ethics will simply incite another insurrection if things don’t go his (it’s always a him, I hope) way.

So Alexander Hamilton said it first: if you don’t convict **u** for his crimes, the next guy will be worse– and He will have a death-lock on the Republican Party until he dies (and possibly long afterwards).

PS I apologize for not posting more often, but I have been ill (no, it’s not THAT virus.) PPS I’m eligible for a vaccine but none is available. Go figure. PPPS Thanks for the kind words from the last two commenters, Gretel Hartley and SoundEagle; and thanks to SoundEagle, I now know what an “ochlocracy” is.

(my photo: cat named “Olive Oyl” at 9:17 (AM or PM?))

No comments yet

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: