Test: LSAT Reading

Adapted from “Federalist No. 11” by Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay (1788)

The importance of the Union, in a commercial light, is one of those points about which there is least room to entertain a difference of opinion, and which has commanded the most general assent of men who have any acquaintance with the subject. This applies as well to our intercourse with foreign countries as with each other.

There are appearances to authorize a supposition that the adventurous spirit, which distinguishes the commercial character of America, has already excited uneasy sensations in several of the maritime powers of Europe. They seem to be apprehensive of our too great interference in that carrying trade, which is the support of their navigation and the foundation of their naval strength. Those of them which have colonies foresee the dangers that may threaten their American dominions from the neighborhood of States, which have all the dispositions, and would possess all the means, requisite to the creation of a powerful marine. Impressions of this kind will naturally indicate the policy of fostering divisions among us and of depriving us of an active commerce in our own bottoms. This would answer the threefold purpose of preventing our interference in their navigation, of monopolizing the profits of our trade, and of clipping the wings by which we might soar to a dangerous greatness.

If we continue united, we may counteract a policy so unfriendly to our prosperity in a variety of ways. By prohibitory regulations extending throughout the States, we may oblige foreign countries to bid against each other for the privileges of our markets. This assertion will not appear chimerical to those who are able to appreciate the importance of the markets of three millions of people to any manufacturing nation, and the immense difference there would be to the trade and navigation of such a nation between a direct communication in its own ships and an indirect conveyance of its products and returns to and from America in the ships of another country. Suppose, for instance, we had a government in America capable of excluding Great Britain from all our ports; what would be the probable operation of this step upon her politics? Would it not enable us to negotiate, with the fairest prospect of success, for commercial privileges of the most valuable and extensive kind in the dominions of that kingdom? When these questions have been asked, upon other occasions, they have received a plausible, but not a solid or satisfactory answer. It has been said that prohibitions on our part would produce no change in the system of Britain, because she could prosecute her trade with us through the medium of the Dutch, who would be her immediate customers and paymasters for those articles which were wanted for the supply of our markets. But would not her navigation be materially injured by the loss of the important advantage of being her own carrier in that trade? Would not the principal part of its profits be intercepted by the Dutch, as a compensation for their agency and risk?

A mature consideration of the objects suggested by these questions will justify a belief that in such a state of things, our trade would derive the most substantial benefits. Such a point gained from the British government, and which could not be expected without an equivalent in exemptions and immunities in our markets, would be likely to have a correspondent effect on the conduct of other nations, who would not be inclined to see themselves altogether supplanted in our trade.

A further resource for influencing the conduct of European nations toward us, in this respect, would arise from the establishment of a federal navy. There can be no doubt that the continuance of the Union under an efficient government would soon put it in our power to create a navy which, if it could not vie with those of the great maritime powers, would at least be of respectable weight if thrown into the scale of either of two contending parties. This would be more peculiarly the case in relation to operations in the West Indies. Our position is, in this respect, a most commanding one. And if to this consideration we add that of the usefulness of supplies from this country in the prosecution of military operations in the West Indies, it will readily be perceived that a situation so favorable would enable us to bargain with great advantage for commercial privileges. A price would be set not only upon our friendship, but upon our neutrality. By a steady adherence to the Union we may hope, erelong, to become the arbiter of Europe in America, and to be able to incline the balance of European competitions in this part of the world as our interest may dictate.

1.

The author’s primary argument in the fifth paragraph is that __________.

The British will always seek to interfere in American affairs, so the wisest course of action for the United States is to seek the allegiance of the other European nations against the British.

American economic growth cannot reach its full potential until the United States takes full control over the European colonies in the West Indies, and to do this the United States needs to create a modern and dynamic navy.

The geographic proximity of the United States to the West Indies will allow America to act as a commanding and arbitrating force in European affairs in the Western hemisphere.

The United States has great need to establish a powerful and modern naval force to meet the potential threats of European invasion or interference.

Without the friendship of Britain, and the rest of the European powers, the United States cannot hope to maximize its commercial potential.

1/40 questions

0%

Access results and powerful study features!

Take 15 seconds to create an account.
Start now! Create your free account and get access to features like:
  • Full length diagnostic tests
  • Invite your friends
  • Access hundreds of practice tests
  • Monitor your progress over time
  • Manage your tests and results
  • Monitor the progress of your class & students
By clicking Create Account you agree that you are at least 13 years old and you agree to the Varsity Tutors LLC Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors