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Brutus AC-15 - History

Brutus AC-15 - History

Brutus

Marcus Junius Brutus (85?-42 B. C.) was a Roman politician and one of Caesar's assassins.

(AC-15: dp. 2000; 1. 332'6"; b. 41'6"; dr. 22'11"; s. 10 k.;
cpl. 80; a. 4 6-pdr.)

Brutus (AC-15) was built In 1894 by J. Readhead and Sons, South Shields-on Tyne, England, as Peter Jeb8en; purchased by the Navy at San Francisco 21 April 1898; and commissioned 27 May 1898, Lieutenant V. L. Cottman in command.

Having towing equipment, Brutus took the monitor Monterey in tow and departed San Diego 11 June 1898. Having towed that vessel more than 3700 miles, Brutus arrived at Manila 4 August after brief stops enroute. On 9 March 1899 she returned to Mare Island Navy Yard and was assigned to the Pacific Station. Leaving Mare Island 2 April 1899 she made her way across the Pacific, via Samoa and Honolulu, to Guam where she served at times as station ship (13 August 1899-28 March 1901). Returning to the Atlantic, via the Orient and Mediterranean, Brutus reached New York 6 August 1901 and went out of commission there 29 August 1901.

Commencing 1 November 1901 she operated under contract as a fleet auxiliary fuel ship for special service having a merchant complement (Naval Auxiliary Service). Her services were assigned to the Asiatic Fleet, 1903-07, and during 28 December 1905-9 July 1906 she towed the Dewey Drydock to the Philippines. She was attached to the Atlantic Meet between 1907 and 1916. In 1913-14 she supplied vessels patrolling in Mexican waters. In 1915 she loaded cargo and stores to service the vessels of the Navy in the Mediterranean and Near East and served as a towing vessel for target practice while there.

In April 1916 Brutus was transferred to the Pacific Station, based at Mare Island Navy Yard. At the beginning of World Wal- I her officers and crew were taken into the Naval Reserve. On 24 April 1917, bound for Mexican waters, she was stranded on Cerros Island during a fog. She was floated after ten days; towed to San Diego for temporary repair; and was later towed to Mare Island Navy Yard for permanent repairs. When ready for service, in addition to her special duties, she convoyed a subchaser flotilla in Mexican waters and patrolled there. Late in 1918 Brutus participated in the Alaska Red Cross Influenza Relief Expedition, returning with passengers and cargo in January 1919. Thereafter, she served with the Train, Pacifle Meet, until dispatched a year later with coal and supplies to the Naval Station, Tutuila, Samoa. In March 1920 she departed Samoa enroute to Honolulu with MS Oregon in tow. Returning to base, she continued her duties during another year, making several calls at Puget Sound Navy Yard to load ammunition for delivery to the Fleet. She was decommissioned 17 August 1921 and sold 29 July 1922.


Brutus descended from one of the most prestigious families in all of Rome. Brutus’s ancestor, Lucius Junius Brutus, assisted in the overthrow of an Etruscan king who ruled Rome. Lucius literally had the moniker “the founder of the Roman Republic.” Does this mean that bringing down dictators was just a family tradition in Brutus’s family?

Wikimedia Commons

Brutus AC-15 - History

USS Brutus a few years before World War I
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class: BRUTUS (AC-15)
Design Cargo, 1894
Displacement (tons): 2,000 light, 6,550 max
Dimensions (feet): 332.5' oa, 321.5' pp x 41.5' wl x 22.9' max
Original Armament: 2-6pdr (1898)
Later armaments: 1-6pdr (1902)
none (1911)
4-6pdr (1916/17)
Complement 95 (1920)
Speed (kts.): 10
Propulsion (HP): 1,200
Machinery: Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw

Construction:

AC Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
15 BRUTUS 3 Jun 98 J. Readhead & Sons -- Feb 94 27 May 98

Disposition:
AC Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
15 BRUTUS 17 Aug 21 -- 29 Jul 22 Sold --

Class Notes:
PETER JEBSEN, a part awning deck cargo ship, was built by John Readhead & Sons, South Shields, England in 1894 for Bergh & Helland of Bergen, Norway. She traded under the Norwegian flag.

On 12 Mar 98 the U.S. Secretary of the Navy appointed a Naval Board on Auxiliary Cruisers to select and purchase civilian vessels for Navy use in the impending war with Spain. The Board initially focused on potential auxiliary cruisers and on tugs and yachts, but in early April the Navy Department ordered it to secure additions to the Navy's fleet of colliers. Between 2 Apr 98 (SATURN) and 30 Jun 98 (NERO) the Navy acquired twenty cargo ships for use as colliers. Navy authorities at San Francisco negotiated the purchase of the ship from L. F. Chapman & Co. (possibly an intermediary), probably during a port call there, and the Navy commissioned her as BRUTUS on 27 May 98 at the Mare Island Navy Yard. The final purchase documents were dated 3 Jun 98. The Navy rated her cargo coal capacity as 4,850 tons.

BRUTUS began her Navy career by towing the monitor MONTEREY (Monitor No. 6) from San Diego, Calif., to Manila Bay in the Philippines between June and August 1898. Except for brief periods out of commission between cruises she was in continual use during the next two decades carrying Navy cargoes all over the world. From 1903 to 1917 she was manned by a merchant marine crew, initially made up of Chinese nationals. Between December 1905 and July 1906 BRUTUS, CAESAR, GLACIER, and the tug POTOMAC towed the DEWEY drydock from Chesapeake Bay to Manila. On 24 Apr 17 she ran aground on Cerros Island near San Diego in a heavy fog. Refloated ten days later, she was repaired at the Mare Island Navy Yard. BRUTUS was designated AC-15 when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20. The Navy Department placed her on the sale list on 28 Mar 22.


The bloody meeting

Once Caesar entered the chamber, the assassins descended upon him. First to strike was Tillius Cimber, who pulled at Caesar's robe as a signal to the killers. Chaos descended. Caesar fought to run from his murderers, but was overwhelmed. Other senators not involved in the plot sprinted away. Finally, the former dictator succumbed to his many wounds.

Unfortunately, none of the 60 assassins had any idea what to do after killing Caesar. The Ancient History Encyclopedia wrote Brutus spoke from a platform to calm the situation, and believed the death of Caesar would bring about the old Roman spirit. They failed to take into account the public's love for Caesar. As his body was paraded, people wept. Caesar's trusted lieutenant Marc Antony brokered a deal with the Senate to keep all of Caesar's laws, but provide amnesty for the killers. They would not be arrested, but any changes to positions or laws they wanted would not be granted.

The public hated the idea. Many of the conspirators were practically run out of Rome. Brutus left for Crete, while Decimus stayed with the army. Cassius held power in Asia, so he bided his time there. Many thought they were safe but, with the ascendance of Caesar's chosen successor, Octavian, things quickly went south. Octavian wanted to be emperor, and he did agree that the assassins were given leniency. One of Octavian's first actions was to declare the assassins enemies of Rome, and the republic descended into Civil War.


Important Passages

The first question that presents itself on the subject is, whether a confederated government be the best for the United States or not? Or in other words, whether the thirteen United States should be reduced to one great republic, governed by one legislature, and under the direction of one executive and judicial or whether they should continue thirteen confederated republics, under the direction and control of a supreme federal head for certain defined national purposes only?

This government is to possess absolute and uncontrollable power, legislative, executive and judicial, with respect to every object to which it extends, for by the last clause of section 8th, article 1st, it is declared “that the Congress shall have the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution, in the government of the United States or in any department or office thereof.” And by the 6th article, it is declared “that this constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and the treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby anything in the constitution, or the law of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” It appears from these articles that there is no need of any intervention of the state governments, between the Congress and the people, to execute anyone power vested in the general government and that the constitution and laws of every state are nullified and declared void, so far as they are or shall be inconsistent with this constitution, or the laws made in pursuance of it, or with treaties made under the authority of the United States.


Brutus XV

This essay continues an argument Brutus introduced in Brutus XIV, where he maintained “that the supreme court under this constitution would be exalted above all other power in the government, and subject to no control.” Here Brutus explains this position and discusses the dangers arising from giving the judiciary its power to review and decide on the Constitutionality of the actions of the other branches. He points out that 1) “There is no power above them that can correct their errors or control their decisions,” 2) “they cannot be removed from office or suffer a diminution of their salaries, for any error in judgment or want of capacity,” and 3) “the power of this court is in many cases superior to that of the legislature.” To prove the last point, Brutus says that “the supreme court . . . have a right, independent of the legislature, to give a construction to the constitution and every part of it, and there is no power provided in this system to correct their construction or do it away.”

Brutus warns: “Men placed in this situation will generally soon feel themselves independent of heaven itself.”

Some of Brutus’s claims seem far-fetched — for example, that the framers designed the judiciary to advance a project “to abolish entirely the state governments, and to melt down the states into one entire government.” He goes on to suggest that Congress and the Court might collude to complete this project. However, in elaborating this theory, Brutus illuminates tendencies of the court on which we might well reflect today: “Their decisions on the meaning of the constitution will commonly take place in cases which arise between individuals, with which the public will not be generally acquainted one adjudication will form a precedent to the next, and this to a following one. These cases will immediately affect individuals only so that a series of determinations will probably take place before even the people will be informed of them. In the mean time all the art and address of those who wish for the change will be employed to make converts to their opinion.” Undoubtedly, Brutus’s argument about the threat to the state governments suggests some of the reasons that, shortly after the ratification of the Constitution, Congress would include in the Bill of Rights the tenth amendment, which reserves rights to the states or the people.

Source: Herbert J. Storing, ed., The Complete Anti-Federalist, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981) 2:437-442.

I said in my last number, that the supreme court under this constitution would be exalted above all other power in the government, and subject to no control. The business of this paper will be to illustrate this, and to show the danger that will result from it. I question whether the world ever saw, in any period of it, a court of justice invested with such immense powers, and yet placed in a situation so little responsible. Certain it is, that in England, and in the several states, where we have been taught to believe, the courts of law are put upon the most prudent establishment, they are on a very different footing.

The judges in England, it is true, hold their offices during their good behavior, but then their determinations are subject to correction by the house of lords and their power is by no means so extensive as that of the proposed supreme court of the union. — I believe they in no instance assume the authority to set aside an act of parliament under the idea that it is inconsistent with their constitution. [1] They consider themselves bound to decide according to the existing laws of the land, and never undertake to control them by adjudging that they are inconsistent with the constitution — much less are they vested with the power of giving an equitable construction [2] to the constitution.

The judges in England are under the control of the legislature, for they are bound to determine according to the laws passed by them. But the judges under this constitution will control the legislature, for the supreme court are authorized in the last resort, to determine what is the extent of the powers of the Congress they are to give the constitution an explanation, and there is no power above them to set aside their judgment. The framers of this constitution appear to have followed that of the British, in rendering the judges independent, by granting them their offices during good behavior, without following the constitution of England, in instituting a tribunal in which their errors may be corrected and without adverting to this, that the judicial under this system have a power which is above the legislative, and which indeed transcends any power before given to a judicial by any free government under heaven.

I do not object to the judges holding their commissions during good behavior. I suppose it a proper provision provided they were made properly responsible. But I say, this system has followed the English government in this, while it has departed from almost every other principle of their jurisprudence, under the idea, of rendering the judges independent — which, in the British constitution, means no more than that they hold their places during good behavior, and have fixed salaries — they have made the judges independent, in the fullest sense of the word. There is no power above them, to control any of their decisions. There is no authority that can remove them, and they cannot be controlled by the laws of the legislature. In short, they are independent of the people, of the legislature, and of every power under heaven. Men placed in this situation will generally soon feel themselves independent of heaven itself. Before I proceed to illustrate the truth of these assertions, I beg liberty to make one remark — Though in my opinion the judges ought to hold their offices during good behavior, yet I think it is clear, that the reasons in favor of this establishment of the judges in England, do by no means apply to this country.

The great reason assigned, why the judges in Britain ought to be commissioned during good behavior, is this, that they may be placed in a situation, not to be influenced by the crown, to give such decisions, as would tend to increase its powers and prerogatives. While the judges held their places at the will and pleasure of the king, on whom they depended not only for their offices, but also for their salaries, they were subject to every undue influence. If the crown wished to carry a favorite point, to accomplish which the aid of the courts of law was necessary, the pleasure of the king would be signified to the judges. And it required the spirit of a martyr, for the judges to determine contrary to the king’s will. — They were absolutely dependent upon him both for their offices and livings. The king, holding his office during life, and transmitting it to his posterity as an inheritance, has much stronger inducements to increase the prerogatives of his office than those who hold their offices for stated periods, or even for life. Hence the English nation gained a great point, in favor of liberty. When they obtained the appointment of the judges, during good behavior, they got from the crown a concession, which deprived it of one of the most powerful engines with which it might enlarge the boundaries of the royal prerogative and encroach on the liberties of the people. But these reasons do not apply to this country, we have no hereditary monarch those who appoint the judges do not hold their offices for life, nor do they descend to their children. The same arguments, therefore, which will conclude in favor of the tenor of the judge’s offices for good behavior, lose a considerable part of their weight when applied to the state and condition of America. But much less can it be shown, that the nature of our government requires that the courts should be placed beyond all account more independent, so much so as to be above control.

I have said that the judges under this system will be independent in the strict sense of the word: To prove this I will show — That there is no power above them that can control their decisions, or correct their errors. There is no authority that can remove them from office for any errors or want of capacity, or lower their salaries, and in many cases their power is superior to that of the legislature.

1st. There is no power above them that can correct their errors or control their decisions — The adjudications of this court are final and irreversible, for there is no court above them to which appeals can lie, either in error or on the merits. — In this respect it differs from the courts in England, for there the house of lords is the highest court, to whom appeals, in error, are carried from the highest of the courts of law.

2d. They cannot be removed from office or suffer a diminution of their salaries, for any error in judgment or want of capacity.

It is expressly declared by the constitution, — “That they shall at stated times receive a compensation for their services which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”

The only clause in the constitution which provides for the removal of the judges from office, is that which declares, that “the president, vice-president, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” By this paragraph, civil officers, in which the judges are included, are removable only for crimes. Treason and bribery are named, and the rest are included under the general terms of high crimes and misdemeanors. — Errors in judgment, or want of capacity to discharge the duties of the office, can never be supposed to be included in these words, high crimes and misdemeanors. A man may mistake a case in giving judgment, or manifest that he is incompetent to the discharge of the duties of a judge, and yet give no evidence of corruption or want of integrity. To support the charge, it will be necessary to give in evidence some facts that will show, that the judges committed the error from wicked and corrupt motives.

3d. The power of this court is in many cases superior to that of the legislature. I have showed, in a former paper, that this court will be authorized to decide upon the meaning of the constitution, and that, not only according to the natural and obvious meaning of the words, but also according to the spirit and intention of it. In the exercise of this power they will not be subordinate to, but above the legislature. For all the departments of this government will receive their powers, so far as they are expressed in the constitution, from the people immediately, who are the source of power. The legislature can only exercise such powers as are given them by the constitution, they cannot assume any of the rights annexed to the judicial, for this plain reason, that the same authority which vested the legislature with their powers, vested the judicial with theirs — both are derived from the same source, both therefore are equally valid, and the judicial hold their powers independently of the legislature, as the legislature do of the judicial. — The supreme court then have a right, independent of the legislature, to give a construction to the constitution and every part of it, and there is no power provided in this system to correct their construction or do it away. If, therefore, the legislature pass any laws, inconsistent with the sense the judges put upon the constitution, they will declare it void and therefore in this respect their power is superior to that of the legislature. In England the judges are not only subject to have their decisions set aside by the house of lords, for error, but in cases where they give an explanation to the laws or constitution of the country, contrary to the sense of the parliament, though the parliament will not set aside the judgment of the court, yet, they have authority, by a new law, to explain a former one, and by this means to prevent a reception of such decisions. But no such power is in the legislature. The judges are supreme — and no law, explanatory of the constitution, will be binding on them.

From the preceding remarks, which have been made on the judicial powers proposed in this system, the policy of it may be fully developed.

I have, in the course of my observation on this constitution, affirmed and endeavored to show, that it was calculated to abolish entirely the state governments, and to melt down the states into one entire government, for every purpose as well internal and local, as external and national. In this opinion the opposers of the system have generally agreed — and this has been uniformly denied by its advocates in public. Some individuals, indeed, among them, will confess, that it has this tendency, and scruple not to say, it is what they wish and I will venture to predict, without the spirit of prophecy, that if it is adopted without amendments, or some such precautions as will ensure amendments immediately after its adoption, that the same gentlemen who have employed their talents and abilities with such success to influence the public mind to adopt this plan, will employ the same to persuade the people, that it will be for their good to abolish the state governments as useless and burdensome.

Perhaps nothing could have been better conceived to facilitate the abolition of the state governments than the constitution of the judicial. They will be able to extend the limits of the general government gradually, and by insensible degrees, and to accommodate themselves to the temper of the people. Their decisions on the meaning of the constitution will commonly take place in cases which arise between individuals, with which the public will not be generally acquainted one adjudication will form a precedent to the next, and this to a following one. These cases will immediately affect individuals only so that a series of determinations will probably take place before even the people will be informed of them. In the mean time all the art and address of those who wish for the change will be employed to make converts to their opinion. The people will be told, that their state officers, and state legislatures are a burden and expense without affording any solid advantage, for that all the laws passed by them, might be equally well made by the general legislature. If to those who will be interested in the change, be added, those who will be under their influence, and such who will submit to almost any change of government, which they can be persuaded to believe will ease them of taxes, it is easy to see, the party who will favor the abolition of the state governments would be far from being inconsiderable. — In this situation, the general legislature, might pass one law after another, extending the general and abridging the state jurisdictions, and to sanction their proceedings would have a course of decisions of the judicial to whom the constitution has committed the power of explaining the constitution. — If the states remonstrated, the constitutional mode of deciding upon the validity of the law, is with the supreme court, and neither people, nor state legislatures, nor the general legislature can remove them or reverse their decrees.

Had the construction of the constitution been left with the legislature, they would have explained it at their peril if they exceed their powers, or sought to find, in the spirit of the constitution, more than was expressed in the letter, the people from whom they derived their power could remove them, and do themselves right and indeed I can see no other remedy that the people can have against their rulers for encroachments of this nature. A constitution is a compact of a people with their rulers if the rulers break the compact, the people have a right and ought to remove them and do themselves justice but in order to enable them to do this with the greater facility, those whom the people choose at stated periods, should have the power in the last resort to determine the sense of the compact if they determine contrary to the understanding of the people, an appeal will lie to [3] the people at the period when the rulers are to be elected, and they will have it in their power to remedy the evil but when this power is lodged in the hands of men independent of the people, and of their representatives, and who are not, constitutionally, accountable for their opinions, no way is left to control them but with a high hand and an outstretched arm. [4]

Study Questions

A. Why does Brutus think that the Supreme Court is the most dangerous branch?

B. Compare and contrast the case made by Brutus that the Supreme Court is the most dangerous branch with the case made by Publius in Federalist 78 that the Supreme Court is the least dangerous branch.


Brutus I

“Brutus,” a New York Antifederalist, or opponent of the proposed Constitution (generally assumed to have been Robert Yates, a New York delegate to the Constitutional Convention), anticipated by two weeks the opening paragraph of Federalist 1, also addressed to the people of New York. As would “Publius” — author of The Federalist, a collection of newspaper essays published in New York City defending the Constitution — he introduced his own first essay with the observation that “the most important question that was ever proposed to your decision, or to the decision of any people under heaven, is before you.” Nothing less than “the dignity of human nature” and the blessings of liberty are at stake. Brutus then argues that “although the government reported by the convention does not go to a perfect and entire consolidation, yet it approaches so near to it, that it must, if executed, certainly and infallibly terminate in it.” The necessary and proper clause, the supremacy clause, and the judicial power have the potentiality to transform America from a system of confederated states into a “complete consolidated government.” Anticipating the distinction between a democracy and a republic in Federalist 10 and 63, and agreeing that a representative government is to be preferred to a pure democracy, Brutus then argued that, contrary to the wisdom of the French political theorist Montesquieu (whose Spirit of the Laws was widely read among the Framers) and contrary to the experience of history, the Framers have given us “an extensive republic” rather than a confederation of small republics. A “free republic” over “such vast extent” of territory is impracticable because, in time, the people will become “acquainted with very few of their rulers” and lose “confidence” in, and control over, the government.

Brutus voiced a concern shared by many Americans: Could a widely dispersed and diverse people be united under one government without sacrificing the blessings of liberty and self-government? Brutus’ powerful arguments prompted Federalists to articulate a more thorough explanation of what the Constitution meant and why it should be ratified.

Source: Herbert J. Storing, ed., The Complete Anti-Federalist (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981), 2:363-372.

To the Citizens of the State of New-York.

When the public is called to investigate and decide upon a question in which not only the present members of the community are deeply interested, but upon which the happiness and misery of generations yet unborn is in great measure suspended, the benevolent mind cannot help feeling itself peculiarly interested in the result.

In this situation, I trust the feeble efforts of an individual, to lead the minds of the people to a wise and prudent determination, cannot fail of being acceptable to the candid and dispassionate part of the community. Encouraged by this consideration, I have been induced to offer my thoughts upon the present important crisis of our public affairs.

Perhaps this country never saw so critical a period in their political concerns. We have felt the feebleness of the ties by which these United States are held together, and the want of sufficient energy in our present confederation, to manage, in some instances, our general concerns. Various expedients have been proposed to remedy these evils, but none have succeeded. At length a Convention of the states has been assembled, they have formed a constitution which will now, probably, be submitted to the people to ratify or reject, who are the fountain of all power, to whom alone it of right belongs to make or unmake constitutions, or forms of government, at their pleasure. The most important question that was ever proposed to your decision, or to the decision of any people under heaven, is before you, and you are to decide upon it by men of your own election, chosen specially for this purpose. If the constitution, offered to [your acceptance], be a wise one, calculated to preserve the invaluable blessings of liberty, to secure the inestimable rights of mankind, and promote human happiness, then, if you accept it, you will lay a lasting foundation of happiness for millions yet unborn generations to come will rise up and call you blessed. You may rejoice in the prospects of this vast extended continent becoming filled with freemen, who will assert the dignity of human nature. You may solace yourselves with the idea, that society, in this favored land, will fast advance to the highest point of perfection the human mind will expand in knowledge and virtue, and the golden age be, in some measure, realized. But if, on the other hand, this form of government contains principles that will lead to the subversion of liberty — if it tends to establish a despotism, or, what is worse, a tyrannic aristocracy then, if you adopt it, this only remaining asylum for liberty will be [shut] up, and posterity will execrate your memory. . . .

With these few introductory remarks I shall proceed to a consideration of this constitution:

The first question that presents itself on the subject is, whether a confederated government be the best for the United States or not? Or in other words, whether the thirteen United States should be reduced to one great republic, governed by one legislature, and under the direction of one executive and judicial or whether they should continue thirteen confederated republics, under the direction and control of a supreme federal head for certain defined national purposes only?

This inquiry is important, because, although the government reported by the convention does not go to a perfect and entire consolidation, yet it approaches so near to it, that it must, if executed, certainly and infallibly terminate in it.

This government is to possess absolute and uncontrollable power, legislative, executive and judicial, with respect to every object to which it extends, for by the last clause of section 8th, article 1st, it is declared “that the Congress shall have power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution, in the government of the United States or in any department or office thereof.” And by the 6th article, it is declared “that this constitution, and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and the treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution, or law of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” It appears from these articles that there is no need of any intervention of the state governments, between the Congress and the people, to execute any one power vested in the general government, and that the constitution and laws of every state are nullified and declared void, so far as they are or shall be inconsistent with this constitution, or the laws made in pursuance of it, or with treaties made under the authority of the United States. — The government then, so far as it extends, is a complete one, and not a confederation. It is as much one complete government as that of New-York or Massachusetts, has as absolute and perfect powers to make and execute all laws, to appoint officers, institute courts, declare offences, and annex penalties, with respect to every object to which it extends, as any other in the world. So far therefore as its powers reach, all ideas of confederation are given up and lost. It is true this government is limited to certain objects, or to speak more properly, some small degree of power is still left to the states, but a little attention to the powers vested in the general government, will convince every candid man, that if it is capable of being executed, all that is reserved for the individual states must very soon be annihilated, except so far as they are barely necessary to the organization of the general government. The powers of the general legislature extend to every case that is of the least importance — there is nothing valuable to human nature, nothing dear to freemen, but what is within its power. It has authority to make laws which will affect the lives, the liberty, and property of every man in the United States nor can the constitution or laws of any state, in any way prevent or impede the full and complete execution of every power given. The legislative power is competent to lay taxes, duties, imposts, and excises — there is no limitation to this power, unless it be said that the clause which directs the use to which those taxes, and duties shall be applied, may be said to be a limitation but this is no restriction of the power at all, for by this clause they are to be applied to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States but the legislature have authority to contract debts at their discretion they are the sole judges of what is necessary to provide for the common defense, and they only are to determine what is for the general welfare: this power therefore is neither more nor less, than a power to lay and collect taxes, imposts, and excises, at their pleasure not only the power to lay taxes unlimited, as to the amount they may require, but it is perfect and absolute to raise them in any mode they please. No state legislature, or any power in the state governments, have any more to do in carrying this into effect, than the authority of one state has to do with that of another. In the business therefore of laying and collecting taxes, the idea of confederation is totally lost, and that of one entire republic is embraced. It is proper here to remark, that the authority to lay and collect taxes is the most important of any power that can be granted it connects with it almost all other powers, or at least will in process of time draw all other after it it is the great mean of protection, security, and defense, in a good government, and the great engine of oppression and tyranny in a bad one. This cannot fail of being the case, if we consider the contracted limits which are set by this constitution, to the late governments, on this article of raising money. No state can emit paper money — lay any duties, or imposts, on imports, or exports, but by consent of the Congress and then the net produce shall be for the benefit of the United States. The only mean therefore left, for any state to support its government and discharge its debts, is by direct taxation and the United States have also power to lay and collect taxes, in any way they please. Every one who has thought on the subject, must be convinced that but small sums of money can be collected in any country, by direct taxes[ hence,] when the federal government begins to exercise the right of taxation in all its parts, the legislatures of the several states will find it impossible to raise monies to support their governments. Without money they cannot be supported, and they must dwindle away, and, as before observed, their powers [will be] absorbed in that of the general government.

It might be here shown, that the power in the federal legislative, to raise and support armies at pleasure, as well in peace as in war, and their control over the militia, tend, not only to a consolidation of the government, but the destruction of liberty. — I shall not, however, dwell upon these, as a few observations upon the judicial power of this government, in addition to the preceding, will fully evince the truth of the position.

The judicial power of the United States is to be vested in a supreme court, and in such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The powers of these courts are very extensive their jurisdiction comprehends all civil causes, except such as arise between citizens of the same state and it extends to all cases in law and equity arising under the constitution. One inferior court must be established, I presume, in each state at least, with the necessary executive officers appendant thereto. It is easy to see, that in the common course of things, these courts will eclipse the dignity, and take away from the respectability, of the state courts. These courts will be, in themselves, totally independent of the states, deriving their authority from the United States, and receiving from them fixed salaries and in the course of human events it is to be expected, that they will swallow up all the powers of the courts in the respective states.

How far the clause in the 8th section of the 1st article may operate to do away all idea of confederated states, and to effect an entire consolidation of the whole into one general government, it is impossible to say. The powers given by this article are very general and comprehensive, and it may receive a construction to justify the passing almost any law. A power to make all laws, which shall be necessary and proper, for carrying into execution, all powers vested by the constitution in the government of the United States, or any department or officer thereof, is a power very comprehensive and definite, and may, for ought I know, be exercised in a such manner as entirely to abolish the state legislatures. Suppose the legislature of a state should pass a law to raise money to support their government and pay the state debt, may the Congress repeal this law, because it may prevent the collection of a tax which they may think proper and necessary to lay, to provide for the general welfare of the United States? For all laws made, in pursuance of this constitution, are the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of the different states to the contrary notwithstanding. — By such a law, the government of a particular state might be overturned at one stroke, and thereby be deprived of every means of its support.

It is not meant, by stating this case, to insinuate that the constitution would warrant a law of this kind or unnecessarily to alarm the fears of the people, by suggesting, that the federal legislature would be more likely to pass the limits assigned them by the constitution, than that of an individual state, further than they are less responsible to the people. But what is meant is, that the legislature of the United States are vested with the great and uncontrollable powers, of laying and collecting taxes, duties, imposts, and excises of regulating trade, raising and supporting armies, organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, instituting courts, and other general powers. And are by this clause invested with the power of making all laws, proper and necessary, for carrying all these into execution and they may so exercise this power as entirely to annihilate all the state governments, and reduce this country to one single government. And if they may do it, it is pretty certain they will for it will be found that the power retained by individual states, small as it is, will be a clog upon the wheels of the government of the United States the latter therefore will be naturally inclined to remove it out of the way. Besides, it is a truth confirmed by the unerring experience of ages, that every man, and every body of men, invested with power, are ever disposed to increase it, and to acquire a superiority over every thing that stands in their way. This disposition, which is implanted in human nature, will operate in the federal legislature to lessen and ultimately to subvert the state authority, and having such advantages, will most certainly succeed, if the federal government succeeds at all. It must be very evident then, that what this constitution wants of being a complete consolidation of the several parts of the union into one complete government, possessed of perfect legislative, judicial, and executive powers, to all intents and purposes, it will necessarily acquire in its exercise and operation.

Let us now proceed to inquire, as I at first proposed, whether it be best the thirteen United States should be reduced to one great republic, or not? It is here taken for granted, that all agree in this, that whatever government we adopt, it ought to be a free one that it should be so framed as to secure the liberty of the citizens of America, and such an one as to admit of a full, fair, and equal representation of the people. The question then will be, whether a government thus constituted, and founded on such principles, is practicable, and can be exercised over the whole United States, reduced into one state?

If respect is to be paid to the opinion of the greatest and wisest men who have ever thought or wrote on the science of government, we shall be constrained to conclude, that a free republic cannot succeed over a country of such immense extent, containing such a number of inhabitants, and these increasing in such rapid progression as that of the whole United States. Among the many illustrious authorities which might be produced to this point, I shall content myself with quoting only two.

The one is the Baron de Montesquieu, Spirit of the Laws, [1] Chap. xvi. Vol. I [Book VIII]. “It is natural to a republic to have only a small territory, otherwise it cannot long subsist. In a large republic there are men of large fortunes, and consequently of less moderation there are trusts too great to be placed in any single subject he has interest of his own he soon begins to think that he may be happy, great and glorious, by oppressing his fellow citizens and that he may raise himself to grandeur on the ruins of his country. In a large republic, the public good is sacrificed to a thousand views it is subordinate to exceptions, and depends on accidents. In a small one, the interest of the public is easier perceived, better understood, and more within the reach of every citizen abuses are of less extent, and of course are less protected.” Of the same opinion is the Marquis Beccarari. [2]

History furnishes no example of a free republic, anything like the extent of the United States. The Grecian republics were of small extent so also was that of the Romans. Both of these, it is true, in process of time, extended their conquests over large territories of country and the consequence was, that their governments were changed from that of free governments to those of the most tyrannical that ever existed in the world.

Not only the opinion of the greatest men, and the experience of mankind, are against the idea of an extensive republic, but a variety of reasons may be drawn from the reason and nature of things, against it. In every government, the will of the sovereign is the law. In despotic governments, the supreme authority being lodged in one, his will is law, and can be as easily expressed to a large extensive territory as to a small one. In a pure democracy the people are the sovereign, and their will is declared by themselves for this purpose they must all come together to deliberate, and decide.

This kind of government cannot be exercised, therefore, over a country of any considerable extent it must be confined to a single city, or at least limited to such bounds as that the people can conveniently assemble, be able to debate, understand the subject submitted to them, and declare their opinion concerning it.

In a free republic, although all laws are derived from the consent of the people, yet the people do not declare their consent by themselves in person, but by representatives, chosen by them, who are supposed to know the minds of their constituents, and to be possessed of integrity to declare this mind.

In every free government, the people must give their assent to the laws by which they are governed. This is the true criterion between a free government and an arbitrary one. The former are ruled by the will of the whole, expressed in any manner they may agree upon the latter by the will of one, or a few. If the people are to give their assent to the laws, by persons chosen and appointed by them, the manner of the choice and the number chosen, must be such, as to possess, be disposed, and consequently qualified to declare the sentiments of the people for if they do not know, or are not disposed to speak the sentiments of the people, the people do not govern, but the sovereignty is in a few. Now, in a large extended country, it is impossible to have a representation, possessing the sentiments, and of integrity, to declare the minds of the people, without having it so numerous and unwieldy, as to be subject in great measure to the inconveniency of a democratic government.

The territory of the United States is of vast extent it now contains near three millions of souls, and is capable of containing much more than ten times that number. Is it practicable for a country, so large and so numerous as they will soon become, to elect a representation, that will speak their sentiments, without their becoming so numerous as to be incapable of transacting public business? It certainly is not.

In a republic, the manners, sentiments, and interests of the people should be similar. If this be not the case, there will be a constant clashing of opinions and the representatives of one part will be continually striving against those of the other. This will retard the operations of government, and prevent such conclusions as will promote the public good. If we apply this remark to the condition of the United States, we shall be convinced that it forbids that we should be one government. The United States includes a variety of climates. The productions of the different parts of the union are very variant, and their interests, of consequence, diverse. Their manners and habits differ as much as their climates and productions and their sentiments are by no means coincident. The laws and customs of the several states are, in many respects, very diverse, and in some opposite each would be in favor of its own interests and customs, and, of consequence, a legislature, formed of representatives from the respective parts, would not only be too numerous to act with any care or decision, but would be composed of such heterogeneous and discordant principles, as would constantly be contending with each other.

The laws cannot be executed in a republic, of an extent equal to that of the United States, with promptitude.

The magistrates in every government must be supported in the execution of the laws, either by an armed force, maintained at the public expense for that purpose or by the people turning out to aid the magistrate upon his command, in case of resistance.

In despotic governments, as well as in all the monarchies of Europe, standing armies are kept up to execute the commands of the prince or the magistrate, and are employed for this purpose when occasion requires: But they have always proved the destruction of liberty, and [are] abhorrent to the spirit of a free republic. In England, where they depend upon the parliament for their annual support, they have always been complained of as oppressive and unconstitutional, and are seldom employed in executing of the laws never except on extraordinary occasions, and then under the direction of a civil magistrate.

A free republic will never keep a standing army to execute its laws. It must depend upon the support of its citizens. But when a government is to receive its support from the aid of the citizens, it must be so constructed as to have the confidence, respect, and affection of the people. Men who, upon the call of the magistrate, offer themselves to execute the laws, are influenced to do it either by affection to the government, or from fear where a standing army is at hand to punish offenders, every man is actuated by the latter principle, and therefore, when the magistrate calls, will obey: but, where this is not the case, the government must rest for its support upon the confidence and respect which the people have for their government and laws. The body of the people being attached, the government will always be sufficient to support and execute its laws, and to operate upon the fears of any faction which may be opposed to it, not only to prevent an opposition to the execution of the laws themselves, but also to compel the most of them to aid the magistrate but the people will not be likely to have such confidence in their rulers, in a republic so extensive as the United States, as necessary for these purposes. The confidence which the people have in their rulers, in a free republic, arises from their knowing them, from their being responsible to them for their conduct, and from the power they have of displacing them when they misbehave: but in a republic of the extent of this continent, the people in general would be acquainted with very few of their rulers: the people at large would know little of their proceedings, and it would be extremely difficult to change them. The people in Georgia and New-Hampshire would not know one another’s mind, and therefore could not act in concert to enable them to effect a general change of representatives. The different parts of so extensive a country could not possibly be made acquainted with the conduct of their representatives, nor be informed of the reasons upon which measures were founded. The consequence will be, they will have no confidence in their legislature, suspect them of ambitious views, be jealous of every measure they adopt, and will not support the laws they pass. Hence the government will be nerveless and inefficient, and no way will be left to render it otherwise, but by establishing an armed force to execute the laws at the point of the bayonet — a government of all others the most to be dreaded.

In a republic of such vast extent as the United-States, the legislature cannot attend to the various concerns and wants of its different parts. It cannot be sufficiently numerous to be acquainted with the local condition and wants of the different districts, and if it could, it is impossible it should have sufficient time to attend to and provide for all the variety of cases of this nature, that would be continually arising.

In so extensive a republic, the great officers of government would soon become above the control of the people, and abuse their power to the purpose of aggrandizing themselves, and oppressing them. The trust committed to the executive offices, in a country of the extent of the United-States, must be various and of magnitude. The command of all the troops and navy of the republic, the appointment of officers, the power of pardoning offences, the collecting of all the public revenues, and the power of expending them, with a number of other powers, must be lodged and exercised in every state, in the hands of a few. When these are attended with great honor and emolument, as they always will be in large states, so as greatly to interest men to pursue them, and to be proper objects for ambitious and designing men, such men will be ever restless in their pursuit after them. They will use the power, when they have acquired it, to the purposes of gratifying their own interest and ambition, and it is scarcely possible, in a very large republic, to call them to account for their misconduct, or to prevent their abuse of power.

These are some of the reasons by which it appears, that a free republic cannot long subsist over a country of the great extent of these states. If then this new constitution is calculated to consolidate the thirteen states into one, as it evidently is, it ought not to be adopted.

Though I am of opinion, that it is a sufficient objection to this government, to reject it, that it creates the whole union into one government, under the form of a republic, yet if this objection was obviated, there are exceptions to it, which are so material and fundamental, that they ought to determine every man, who is a friend to the liberty and happiness of mankind, not to adopt it. I beg the candid and dispassionate attention of my countrymen while I state these objections — they are such as have obtruded themselves upon my mind upon a careful attention to the matter, and such as I sincerely believe are well founded. There are many objections, of small moment, of which I shall take no notice — perfection is not to be expected in any thing that is the production of man — and if I did not in my conscience believe that this scheme was defective in the fundamental principles — in the foundation upon which a free and equal government must rest — I would hold my peace.

Study Questions

A. Does Brutus make a strong case for the momentousness of the choice facing Americans? For example, is the appeal to the wisdom of Montesquieu and the experience of history persuasive? With which powers of the new government is Brutus here especially concerned? Why does Brutus believe that a republic as large as the one proposed by the Constitution will lead to tyranny?

B. Compare and contrast Brutus’ arguments with those of Publius concerning 1) what is at stake in Federalist 1, 2) the status of Montesquieu – in Federalist 9, and 3) the case for the extended republic in Federalist 10.


Brutus AC-15 - History

Isaac , like his

father Abraham , attempted to

Isaac ’s God-given prosperity,

Jehoram of Israel succeeds Ahaziah

Jehoram of Judah ‘becomes king,’

Uzziah (Azariah) succeeds Amaziah

The activities of colonization by

In the second stage, northern parts of

and the epic poems, "Iliad" and

and beginning with Sargon II (eighth

to appear in Assyrian inscriptions. -

Those days the "Constitution"

was instituted by Lycurgus of

government were gradually put in

of the Alcmaeonid members, Megacles (632? bc ), a certain

murder but returned during the ascendancy

of Solon (early 6th century) to lead a

Nebuchadnezzar (II) becomes

Jeremiah writes Lamentations

Cyrus(559-530 B.C.E.) is believed

battle in 530 B.C.E., though the details

obscure. Prior to his death, his son Cambyses II

evidently became coregent with him, succeeding to the

in an unsuccessful invasion of Attica

from their base in Boeotia.

rebuilding the fire-damaged temple of Apollo at Delphi

when the Spartans, largely at the

inally drove out the Peisistratids in 510.

Two years later 510 B.C.E. Cleisthenes introduced a program of constitutional reforms that greatly furthered the development of Athenian democracy .

The policy followed by this opportunistic family during the next generation is obscure. They were suspected of collusion with the Persians at the Battle of Marathon (490), but the direct-line descendants were considerably less prominent after the Persian Wars . Both Alcibiades and Pericles , however, were descended from the family through their mothers. Spartan demands at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War for the expulsion of the Alcmaeonids were provocations directed at Pericles.

The Ionian Revolt, and associated revolts in Aeolis , Doris , Cyprus and Caria , were military rebellions by several Greek regions of Asia Minor against Persian rule, lasting from 499 BC to 493 BC. At the heart of the rebellion was the dissatisfaction of the Greek cities of Asia Minor with the tyrants appointed by Persia to rule them, along with the individual actions of two Milesian tyrants, Histiaeus and Aristagoras . The cities of Ionia had been conquered by Persia around 540 BC, and thereafter were ruled by native tyrants, nominated by the Persian satrap in Sardis . In 499 BC, the tyrant of Miletus, Aristagoras, launched a joint expedition with the Persian satrap Artaphernes to conquer Naxos , in an attempt to bolster his position. The mission was a debacle, and sensing his imminent removal as tyrant, Aristagoras chose to incite the whole of Ionia into rebellion against the Persian king Darius the Great .

In 498 BC, supported by troops from Athens and Eretria , the Ionians marched on, captured, and burnt Sardis. However, on their return journey to Ionia, they were followed by Persian troops, and decisively beaten at the Battle of Ephesus . This campaign was the only offensive action by the Ionians, who subsequently went on the defensive. The Persians responded in 497 BC with a three pronged attack aimed at recapturing the outlying areas of the rebellion, but the spread of the revolt to Caria meant that the largest army, under Daurises, relocated there. While initially campaigning successfully in Caria, this army was annihilated in an ambush at the Battle of Pedasus . This resulted in a stalemate for the rest of 496 BC and 495 BC.

By 494 BC the Persian army and navy had regrouped, and they made straight for the epicenter of the rebellion at Miletus. The Ionian fleet sought to defend Miletus by sea, but was decisively beaten at the Battle of Lade , after the defection of the Samians . Miletus was then besieged, captured, and its population was brought under Persian rule. This double defeat effectively ended the revolt, and the Carians surrendered to the Persians as a result. The Persians spent 493 BC reducing the cities along the west coast that still held out against them, before finally imposing a peace settlement on Ionia which was generally considered to be both just and fair.

The Ionian Revolt constituted the first major conflict between Greece and the Persian Empire , and as such represents the first phase of the Greco-Persian Wars . Although Asia Minor had been brought back into the Persian fold, Darius vowed to punish Athens and Eretria for their support of the revolt. Moreover, seeing that the myriad city states of Greece posed a continued threat to the stability of his Empire, according to Herodotus, Darius decided to conquer the whole of Greece. In 492 BC, the first Persian invasion of Greece , the next phase of the Greco-Persian Wars, began as a direct consequence of the Ionian Revolt.


Brutus, the Noble Conspirator

A meticulously researched, beautifully written biography of Julius Caesar’s high-minded assassin.

Marcus Junius Brutus is one of the great names of Roman history. Central to the notorious conspiracy that resulted in the assassination of the dictator Julius Caesar on the Ides of March 44 BC, Brutus gave brief hope to those who longed for the restoration of republican government. Yet by August of the same year he was on his way from Italy to the Greek east a little over two years later he had committed suicide in the face of defeat at the hands of Mark Antony and Octavian at the Battle of Philippi. Civil war did not come to an end with the death of Brutus, but now it was merely a conflict between rival dynasts. The republican system was dead.

Roman aristocrats of this period were acutely aware of the virtues of their ancestors. Brutus himself claimed descent on his father’s side from Lucius Junius Brutus, who expelled Tarquin the Proud in 509 BC and was one of the two consuls for the first year of the Roman republic. Tracing the lineage of his mother, Servilia, Brutus could point to Servilius Ahala, who in 439 BC killed Spurius Maelius on the grounds that he was aspiring to tyranny. Yet in Brutus’ own time it was not always so easy to decide who represented the better cause. When civil war broke out in 49 BC, Brutus was an instinctive supporter of the senate in its opposition to the demands of Julius Caesar. Yet to do so meant serving under a man – Pompeius Magnus – who had murdered Brutus’ father when Brutus was no more than five and whom Brutus had openly attacked for his subversion of the republican constitution. If Caesar represented a worse cause still, he was also so close an intimate of Servilia that rumours circulated in antiquity that he was Brutus’ true father.

After Pompey’s defeat at the battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, Brutus was among the first to make his peace with Caesar. He worked to secure reconciliation between the warring parties and in 46 BC accepted the governorship of Cisalpine Gaul. By 44 BC he was serving as urban praetor, a magistracy second in authority only to the consulship, and he must have seemed to Caesar a reliable friend and associate. Yet Caesar’s ever more nakedly monarchical mode of government and pretensions to divinity could not but alienate those who had hoped that he would restore the old order after years of chaos. Brutus, Cassius and their fellow conspirators could see only one way forward: assassination. They styled themselves liberators but others saw them as traitors and parricides. Either way, their success was shortlived and their hopes died with them.

Kathryn Tempest’s life of Brutus is both meticulously researched and elegantly constructed. This is no hagiography nor is it a desecration. Brutus’ high-minded philosophy and determination to treat his fellow Romans justly are as much in evidence as his dubious financial dealings on Cyprus and his brutal subjection of the people of Xanthus. Incisively analytical when confronted with contradictions in the ancient sources, Tempest nevertheless avoids the temptation to present too univocal a picture of her subject. She recognises the complexity of his personality and his actions and shows how they relate to the confusion of the times in which he lived.

Tempest writes as clearly as she thinks. She also empowers the reader to engage closely with the evidence two detailed appendices, extensive endnotes and a full and up-to-date bibliography round off the study. Generous in her acknowledgement of the contributions of her peers, she avoids needless rancour and disputation. This is a valuable contribution to the field, which deserves to be widely read.

Brutus: The Noble Conspirator
Kathryn Tempest
Yale University Press
314pp £25


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