College Essay Examples

Early Colonial Governmental Policies that are Still in Use Today

A policy is a set of decisions coined and implemented by the government. Policies determine how the law is structured. They determine who and how various government procedures are performed. Policies provide the framework, efficiency, explicitness, and consistency on how the government should operate. The policies outline the objects of government and give the path that leaders should follow to achieve the objectives making government operations more efficient and effective (Jaeger, 360). In this paper, we discuss the policies conceived by our forefathers still in use today.

The Constitution

In the federalist paper, one of the authors, Alexander Hamilton, was highly critical of the system of government that existed then. At this moment in time, the US government was guided by the Articles of Confederation. The Congress of the Confederation had all the power of the present three arms of government. He coins democracy when he states that the nation’s fate should not be the responsibility of a few individuals. The decisions that affect the people the most should be left in their hands (Hamilton et al. 1). The constitution was forged as a tool to unite the American people. A constitution together with leaders the people had chosen for themselves was an exceptional idea. The constitution is still the bedrock of United States law till now (Maggs, 801) 

In the Federalist paper No. 2 written by John Jay, it is clear that he is for the unification of the American states. He starts the paper by addressing those who thought dividing the country was a good idea. He highlights that a great system will govern the country, and division would not be beneficial. The unification would end the war between the states and improve trade because of the streamlining of policies, taxes, and currencies (Hamilton et al. 5). The current constitution has unified laws and policies on taxes, and all member states use a common currency.


In the Federalist paper No. 30, it is clear that the national government then was unable to raise the required taxes to support its activities because it was dependent only on duties imposed on imports. Hamilton believed the Articles of confederation lacked critical taxing power, which made it impossible to acquire loans. The system in place then had weaknesses, forcing the government to rely on allocations and requisitions from the individual states. The states were afraid that internal taxing would render them too broke to support their activities, and Hamilton clarified that the states were closer to the people and benefited more from the government’s revenue-raising plans. The federal government could not depend on custom duties alone, and there needed to be an internal federal tax (Hamilton et al. 145).

Federal and State Laws

The Federalist paper No. 45, written by James Madison under the alias Publius, was published in 1788. He argued that the balance of power between the state and federal governments was best for the people. The state governments were afraid that the federal government would have too much power and overthrow them, which according to Hamilton, was impossible because the relationship was symbiotic. The states would lose power because of the constitution, but this was important if the union was to be maintained. He suggests that the federal government would play a more significant role in times of war, but the state governments will be more powerful (Hamilton et al. 237). In 1789 the federal government, through the constitution, was given the power to collect and regulate internal taxes, regulate trade between the states, build an army and arbitrate legal discourse. The state has repeatedly rendered the federal powers null and void from this day, and the 10th amendment has always protected the power granted to the state and federal government to this day since 1791 (Tillman, 601).

Separation of Powers

The Federalist paper no. 47 addresses the need for the constitution and disagreement over the separation of powers to change citizens’ perception about the constitution. He seeks to clarify the separation of powers between the three arms of government; the executive, the judiciary, and the legislature would be elucidated properly in the constitution. He argued that the accumulation of the power of the three arms in the same, few hands was tyranny. He explained that the different arms would work together because they were all interconnected. No government arm had complete power over the other, but the roles would be blended just enough (Hamilton et al. 249). The blending of roles helped to diversify the ideas heard in parliament and promoted democracy, essentially guaranteeing liberty. The federal government has the executive arm (President and about 5 million workers), the legislature ( House of Representatives and Senate), and the judiciary (the courts). Their roles and responsibilities have been highlighted under Articles I, II, and III (Ketcham, 303).

The President’s Powers

The Federalist paper No. 69 by Hamilton explained the responsibilities of the executive. He explained that the president’s power would not be the same as that of the King of Great Britain, Anti-Federalists’ primary concern (Hamilton et al. 355). He stated that the president was responsible for maintaining the army. Still, his powers over the army were limited by an Act of Congress, which is in line with powers defined in the constitution under the Legislative Branch’s powers under Section 8 Article 1. The president would grant pardons except in impeachment trials as in Article II of the constitution. The president would have a vast amount of power but would receive advice from the Senate on foreign relations; therefore, foreign relations would be democratic. The president appoints the Supreme Court Judges and officers, but the endorsement of the congress is required. The power to pardon offenses is granted to the President under Article II, Section II of the constitution (Tillman, 601).


In Federalist Paper No. 80, Hamilton highlights the situations where the federal laws can countermand state laws. He states that the federal courts are responsible for ensuring that the laws are interpreted uniformly and should have sovereignty over cases involving foreign nationals and other countries. The federal courts also settle disputes between one state and the other cause the federal judges were the only ones impartial in such cases. Article IV of the US constitution shows that the state laws and enactments are minor compared to the federal laws and treaties (Ketcham, 302).


There are many sources of law, but the ones that had the highest impact were the ones written by the colonialists who were confident that the United States of America was possible. They brought the constitution to life, separated the federal and state laws, defined the president’s powers, and forged the rules on taxation. Without the colonialists and their policies, America would not be what it is today; a unified nation

Works Cited

Hamilton Alexander, James Madison, and John Jay. The federalist papers. Yale University Press, 2009.

Jaeger, Paul T. “Constitutional principles and e-government: An opinion about possible effects of federalism and the separation of powers on e-government policies.” Government Information Quarterly 19.4 (2002): 357-368.

Ketcham, Ralph. The anti-federalist papers and the constitutional convention debates. Penguin, 2003.

Maggs, Gregory E. “A concise guide to the Federalist Papers as a source of the original meaning of the United States Constitution.” BUL Rev. 87 (2007): 801.

Tillman, Seth Barrett. “The Federalist Papers as Reliable Historical Source Material for Constitutional Interpretation.” W. Va. L. Rev. 105 (2002): 601.

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By Sandra Arlington

Sandra Arlington is a contributing writer to the Motley Fool. Having written for various online magazines, such as Ehow and LiveStrong, she decided to embark on a travel blog for the past 10 years. She is also a regular contributor to My Essay Writer.

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