The Federalist Papers were written as a series of newspaper columns promoting certain political ideas that the writers wanted to see embodied in the Constitution then being written and argued in Philadelphia. The second of these papers was written by John Jay, and in it he argued that the people of the new country had been for some time definable as one people, that they saw themselves as members of one country, and that the Constitution should recognize and encourage this by the creation of a federal system that would bind the people together more fully. In doing so, he is countering those who see the members of the different states as having unique qualities which differentiates them from members of the other states, and he uses these reasons as a rationale for why there should be a strong federal system. The anti-Federalists promoted states rights over federal rights, while the Federalists sought a stronger central government. Jay is on the side of a strong central government in this passage. Jay assumes that Americans were one people, an idea challenged at the time and one challenged since by historical events such as the Civil War and by political analysts of various stamps.
Jay also notes the differences while indicating that he does not see them as being as important as what holds the people together. He notes that the people are of different denominations and backgrounds, but in spite of these differences the people have acted as one nation for some time:
To all general purposes we have uniformly been one people; each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection. As a nation we have made peace and war; as a nation we have vanquished our common enemies; as a nation we have formed alliances, and made treaties, and entered into various compacts and conventions with foreign states.
Jay says that the people developed a federal form of government from an early time and h...