The Federalist Papers

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Madison, who is now acknowledged as the father of the Constitution—despite his repeated rejection of this honor during his lifetime, [14] became a leading member of the U. House of Representatives from Virginia — , Secretary of State — , and ultimately the fourth President of the United States Although written and published with haste, The Federalist articles were widely read and greatly influenced the shape of American political institutions.

At times, three to four new essays by Publius appeared in the papers in a single week. Garry Wills observes that this fast pace of production "overwhelmed" any possible response: "Who, given ample time could have answered such a battery of arguments? And no time was given.

The Federalist Papers...Thanks to Alexander Hamilton

However, they were only irregularly published outside New York, and in other parts of the country they were often overshadowed by local writers. Because the essays were initially published in New York, most of them begin with the same salutation : "To the People of the State of New York". The high demand for the essays led to their publication in a more permanent form. On January 1, , the New York publishing firm J.

McLean announced that they would publish the first thirty-six essays as a bound volume; that volume was released on March 22, , and was titled The Federalist Volume 1. A second bound volume was released on May 28, containing Federalist Nos. A French edition ended the collective anonymity of Publius, announcing that the work had been written by "Mm.

Hopkins wished as well that "the name of the writer should be prefixed to each number," but at this point Hamilton insisted that this was not to be, and the division of the essays among the three authors remained a secret. The first publication to divide the papers in such a way was an edition that used a list left by Hamilton to associate the authors with their numbers; this edition appeared as two volumes of the compiled "Works of Hamilton".

Creating a nation

In , Jacob Gideon published a new edition with a new listing of authors, based on a list provided by Madison. The difference between Hamilton's list and Madison's formed the basis for a dispute over the authorship of a dozen of the essays. Both Hopkins's and Gideon's editions incorporated significant edits to the text of the papers themselves, generally with the approval of the authors.

In , Henry Dawson published an edition containing the original text of the papers, arguing that they should be preserved as they were written in that particular historical moment, not as edited by the authors years later. Modern scholars generally use the text prepared by Jacob E. Cooke for his edition of The Federalist ; this edition used the newspaper texts for essay numbers 1—76 and the McLean edition for essay numbers 77— The authorship of seventy-three of The Federalist essays is fairly certain. Twelve of these essays are disputed over by some scholars, though the modern consensus is that Madison wrote essays Nos.

The first open designation of which essay belonged to whom was provided by Hamilton who, in the days before his ultimately fatal gun duel with Aaron Burr , provided his lawyer with a list detailing the author of each number. This list credited Hamilton with a full sixty-three of the essays three of those being jointly written with Madison , almost three-quarters of the whole, and was used as the basis for an printing that was the first to make specific attribution for the essays. Madison did not immediately dispute Hamilton's list, but provided his own list for the Gideon edition of The Federalist.

Madison claimed twenty-nine numbers for himself, and he suggested that the difference between the two lists was "owing doubtless to the hurry in which [Hamilton's] memorandum was made out. Statistical analysis has been undertaken on several occasions in attempts to accurately identify the author of each individual essay.

After examining word choice and writing style, studies generally agree that the disputed essays were written by James Madison. However, there are notable exceptions maintaining that some of the essays which are now widely attributed to Madison were, in fact, collaborative efforts.

The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers were written to support the ratification of the Constitution, specifically in New York. Whether they succeeded in this mission is questionable. Separate ratification proceedings took place in each state, and the essays were not reliably reprinted outside of New York; furthermore, by the time the series was well underway, a number of important states had already ratified it, for instance Pennsylvania on December New York held out until July 26; certainly The Federalist was more important there than anywhere else, but Furtwangler argues that it "could hardly rival other major forces in the ratification contests"—specifically, these forces included the personal influence of well-known Federalists, for instance Hamilton and Jay, and Anti-Federalists, including Governor George Clinton.

In light of that, Furtwangler observes, "New York's refusal would make that state an odd outsider. Only 19 Federalists were elected to New York's ratification convention, compared to the Anti-Federalists' 46 delegates. While New York did indeed ratify the Constitution on July 26, the lack of public support for pro-Constitution Federalists has led historian John Kaminski to suggest that the impact of The Federalist on New York citizens was "negligible".

As for Virginia, which only ratified the Constitution at its convention on June 25, Hamilton writes in a letter to Madison that the collected edition of The Federalist had been sent to Virginia; Furtwangler presumes that it was to act as a "debater's handbook for the convention there", though he claims that this indirect influence would be a "dubious distinction".

The Federalist Papers - Wikipedia

Furtwangler notes that as the series grew, this plan was somewhat changed. The fourth topic expanded into detailed coverage of the individual articles of the Constitution and the institutions it mandated, while the two last topics were merely touched on in the last essay. The papers can be broken down by author as well as by topic.


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At the start of the series, all three authors were contributing; the first twenty papers are broken down as eleven by Hamilton, five by Madison and four by Jay. The rest of the series, however, is dominated by three long segments by a single writer: Nos. The Federalist Papers specifically Federalist No. The idea of adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution was originally controversial because the Constitution, as written, did not specifically enumerate or protect the rights of the people, rather it listed the powers of the government and left all that remained to the states and the people.

Alexander Hamilton , the author of Federalist No. However, Hamilton's opposition to a Bill of Rights was far from universal. Robert Yates , writing under the pseudonym "Brutus", articulated this view point in the so-called Anti-Federalist No. References in The Federalist and in the ratification debates warn of demagogues of the variety who through divisive appeals would aim at tyranny. The Federalist begins and ends with this issue. Federal judges, when interpreting the Constitution, frequently use The Federalist Papers as a contemporary account of the intentions of the framers and ratifiers.

Davidowitz to the validity of ex post facto laws in the decision Calder v.


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  6. Bull , apparently the first decision to mention The Federalist. The amount of deference that should be given to The Federalist Papers in constitutional interpretation has always been somewhat controversial. Maryland , that "the opinions expressed by the authors of that work have been justly supposed to be entitled to great respect in expounding the Constitution.

    No tribute can be paid to them which exceeds their merit; but in applying their opinions to the cases which may arise in the progress of our government, a right to judge of their correctness must be retained. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the website, see The Federalist website.

    For other uses, see Federalist disambiguation. Series of 85 essays arguing in favor of the ratification of the US Constitution.

    Title page of the first collection of The Federalist Alexander Hamilton. John Jay.


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    James Madison. Archived from the original on Retrieved New York: J. Archived from the original on — via Library of Congress. The Encyclopedia of New York City. New-York Historical Society. Yale University Press. Toronto: Bantam Books. Morris, The Forging of the Union: — p. Early American Writing. Penguin Classics. Anonymous Speech: Literature, Law and Politics. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.

    However, Adair concurs with previous historians that these are Madison's writing alone: "Madison had certainly written all of the essays himself, including in revised form only a small amount of pertinent information submitted by Hamilton from his rather sketchy research on the same subject. James Madison: Federalist , note 1. A bound edition, with revisions and corrections by Hamilton, was published in by printers J.

    An edition published by printer Jacob Gideon in , with revisions and corrections by Madison, was the first to identify each essay by its author's name. Because of its publishing history, the assignment of authorship, numbering, and exact wording may vary with different editions of The Federalist. Skip to main content. Cali Logo Placeholder. Search form Search. Business Associations. Civil Procedure. Commercial Transactions. Constitutional Law. Criminal Procedure.

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