The summer of 1787 was a period of great change in America’s political development. The states had come to realize over the past six years since the Articles of Confederation were first ratified in 1781, that they were failing and that a change needed to be made if the United States wished to stay unified and functioning. In an attempt to find a solution a convention between the states was formed in May. However, after a month of debate factions had formed over two different plans, the Virginia plan, a plan which emphasized a strong national government over the state, and the New Jersey plan, a plan which in tune with the Articles attempted to maintain the confederation and triumph state rights. Hamilton on June 18th in an attempt to push the state delegates toward the Virginia plan presented a radically nationalistic plan which, while radical and critical, heavily influenced the development of the convention, most notably in reference to the executive branch.
Hamilton, as Madison reports, began his speech by addressing five key necessities that a government needs to function and how the Articles and the New Jersey plan fail to achieve these necessities. The first which he presents is that of interest. A government, Hamilton explains needs “an active and constant interest in supporting it.” He explains that this is not found within the states as “they constantly pursue internal interest adverse to those of the whole.” Hamilton than proceeds to point out in his commentary that love of power is an element that had consistently been ignored. While it may be a given that men have a natural love of power, the founders Hamilton point out seem to be forgetting that so to do the states, this vice, however, could be counteracted if oriented toward the union rather than each individual state. Hamilton lays out this sentiment, “The States have constantly shown a disposition rather to regain the powers delegated by them, than to part with more, or to give effect to what they had parted with . . .
It may be remarked, too, that the citizens have not that anxiety to prevent a dissolution of the General Government as of the particular governments.” In continuing Hamilton highlights the need for popular attraction, that is, a government must be capable of attracting the live of its citizens over that of their local governments. States Hamilton argues, pull away from unity and create a duality of interests. Another element which Hamilton highlights is the need of raw force within a government. Hamilton emphasizes this point by showing how if the inability to unify force, that is the power to defend the states, found under the Articles continues the states will inevitably fall into rebellion and be divided up by foreign powers. Hamilton explains: “A certain portion of military force is absolutely necessary in large communities . . . It is impossible. It amounts to a war between the parties. Foreign powers also will not be idle spectators. They will interpose; the confusion will increase; and a dissolution of the Union will ensue.” The final element necessary for government that Hamilton addresses, is that of influence.