30 April 2015

Federalist Papers - Western Territory

No. 7: The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the States
Author: Alexander Hamilton

Territorial disputes have at all times been found one of the most fertile sources of hostility among nations. We have a vast tract of unsettled territory within the boundaries of the United States. There still are discordant and undecided claims between several of them, and the dissolution of the Union would lay a foundation for similar claims between them all.

The Western territory was subjected to the jurisdiction of the king of Great Britain. At present, the Western territory is, by cession at least, if not by any anterior right, the common property of the Union. In the wide field of Western territory, therefore, we perceive an ample theatre for hostile pretensions, without any umpire or common judge to interpose between the contending parties. The circumstances of the dispute between Connecticut and Pennsylvania, respecting the land at Wyoming, admonish us not to be sanguine in expecting an easy accommodation of such differences.

No. 38: The Same Subject Continued, and the Incoherence of the Objections to the New Plan Exposed
January 15, 1788.
Author: James Madison

It is now no longer a point of speculation and hope, that the Western territory is a mine of vast wealth to the United States; and although it is not of such a nature as to extricate them from their present distresses, or for some time to come, to yield any regular supplies for the public expenses, yet must it hereafter be able, under proper management, both to effect a gradual discharge of the domestic debt, and to furnish, for a certain period, liberal tributes to the federal treasury.

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