Skip to content

Was A Series Of Essays Promoting Ratification Of The Constitution

"The Federalist" redirects here. For the website, see The Federalist (website). For other uses, see Federalist (disambiguation).

The Federalist (later known as The Federalist Papers) is a collection of 85 articles and essays written under the pseudonym "Publius" by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of these essays were published serially in the Independent Journal, the New York Packet, and The Daily Advertiser between October 1787 and August 1788. A two-volume compilation of these and eight others was published in 1788 as The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787.[1][2] The collection was commonly known as The Federalist until the name The Federalist Papers emerged in the 20th century.

Though the authors of The Federalist foremost wished to influence the vote in favor of ratifying the Constitution, in "Federalist No. 1", they explicitly set that debate in broader political terms:

It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.[3]

"Federalist No. 10", in which Madison discusses the means of preventing rule by majority faction and advocates a large, commercial republic, is generally regarded as the most important of the 85 articles from a philosophical perspective; it is complemented by "Federalist No. 14", in which Madison takes the measure of the United States, declares it appropriate for an extended republic, and concludes with a memorable defense of the constitutional and political creativity of the Federal Convention.[4] In "Federalist No. 84", Hamilton makes the case that there is no need to amend the Constitution by adding a Bill of Rights, insisting that the various provisions in the proposed Constitution protecting liberty amount to a "bill of rights". "Federalist No. 78", also written by Hamilton, lays the groundwork for the doctrine of judicial review by federal courts of federal legislation or executive acts. "Federalist No. 70" presents Hamilton's case for a one-man chief executive. In "Federalist No. 39", Madison presents the clearest exposition of what has come to be called "Federalism". In "Federalist No. 51", Madison distills arguments for checks and balances in an essay often quoted for its justification of government as "the greatest of all reflections on human nature."

According to historian Richard B. Morris, they are an "incomparable exposition of the Constitution, a classic in political science unsurpassed in both breadth and depth by the product of any later American writer."[5]



The Federal Convention sent the proposed Constitution to the Confederation Congress, which in turn submitted it to the states for ratification at the end of September 1787. On September 27, 1787, "Cato" first appeared in the New York press criticizing the proposition; "Brutus" followed on October 18, 1787.[6] These and other articles and public letters critical of the new Constitution would eventually become known as the "Anti-Federalist Papers". In response, Alexander Hamilton decided to launch a measured defense and extensive explanation of the proposed Constitution to the people of the state of New York. He wrote in Federalist No. 1 that the series would "endeavor to give a satisfactory answer to all the objections which shall have made their appearance, that may seem to have any claim to your attention."[7]

Hamilton recruited collaborators for the project. He enlisted John Jay, who after four strong essays (Federalist Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5), fell ill and contributed only one more essay, Federalist No. 64, to the series. He also distilled his case into a pamphlet in the spring of 1788, An Address to the People of the State of New-York; Hamilton cited it approvingly in Federalist No. 85. James Madison, present in New York as a Virginia delegate to the Confederation Congress, was recruited by Hamilton and Jay, and became Hamilton's major collaborator. Gouverneur Morris and William Duer were also apparently considered; Morris turned down the invitation, and Hamilton rejected three essays written by Duer.[8] Duer later wrote in support of the three Federalist authors under the name "Philo-Publius", or "Friend of Publius".

Hamilton chose "Publius" as the pseudonym under which the series would be written. While many other pieces representing both sides of the constitutional debate were written under Roman names, Albert Furtwangler contends that "'Publius' was a cut above 'Caesar' or 'Brutus' or even 'Cato.' Publius Valerius was not a late defender of the republic but one of its founders. His more famous name, Publicola, meant 'friend of the people.'"[9] It was not the first time Hamilton had used this pseudonym: in 1778, he had applied it to three letters attacking fellow Federalist Samuel Chase. Chase's patriotism was questioned when Hamilton revealed that Chase had taken advantage of knowledge gained in Congress to try to dominate the flour market.


At the time of publication the authorship of the articles was a closely guarded secret, though astute observers discerned the identities of Hamilton, Madison, and Jay. Following Hamilton's death in 1804, a list that he had drafted claiming fully two-thirds of the papers for himself became public, including some that seemed more likely the work of Madison (No. 49–58 and 62–63). The scholarly detective work of Douglass Adair in 1944 postulated the following assignments of authorship, corroborated in 1964 by a computer analysis of the text:

  • Alexander Hamilton (51 articles: No. 1, 6–9, 11–13, 15–17, 21–36, 59–61, and 65–85)
  • James Madison (29 articles: No. 10, 14, 18–20,[10] 37–58 and 62–63)
  • John Jay (5 articles: No. 2–5 and 64).

A total of 85 articles were written by the three men in a span of ten months under the pseudonym "Publius" because it recalled the founder of the Roman Republic, and using it implied a positive intention.[9] Madison is now acknowledged as the father of the Constitution—despite his repeated rejection of this honor during his lifetime.[11] Madison became a leading member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia (1789–1797), Secretary of State (1801–1809), and ultimately the fourth President of the United States.[12] Hamilton, who had been a leading advocate of national constitutional reform throughout the 1780s and represented New York at the Constitutional Convention, in 1789 became the first Secretary of the Treasury, a post he held until his resignation in 1795. John Jay, who had been secretary for foreign affairs under the Articles of Confederation from 1784 through their expiration in 1789, became the first Chief Justice of the United States in 1789, stepping down in 1795 to accept election as governor of New York, a post he held for two terms, retiring in 1801.


The Federalist articles appeared in three New York newspapers: The Independent Journal, the New-York Packet, and the Daily Advertiser, beginning on October 27, 1787. Although written and published with haste, The Federalist articles were widely read and greatly influenced the shape of American political institutions.[13] Between them, Hamilton, Madison and Jay kept up a rapid pace, with at times three or four new essays by Publius appearing in the papers in a week. Garry Wills observes that the pace of production "overwhelmed" any possible response: "Who, given ample time could have answered such a battery of arguments? And no time was given."[14] Hamilton also encouraged the reprinting of the essay in newspapers outside New York state, and indeed they were published in several other states where the ratification debate was taking place. However, they were only irregularly published outside New York, and in other parts of the country they were often overshadowed by local writers.[15]

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, 1788, the New York publishing firm J. & A. McLean announced that they would publish the first thirty-six essays as a bound volume; that volume was released on March 2 and was titled The Federalist. New essays continued to appear in the newspapers; Federalist No. 77 was the last number to appear first in that form, on April 2. A second bound volume containing the last forty-nine essays was released on May 28. The remaining eight papers were published in the New York newspapers between June 14 and August 16.[16]

A 1792 French edition ended the collective anonymity of Publius, announcing that the work had been written by "MM Hamilton, Maddisson E Gay", citizens of the State of New York. In 1802, George Hopkins published an American edition that similarly named the authors. 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.[17]

The first publication to divide the papers in such a way was an 1810 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". In 1818, 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.[18]

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 1863, 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.[19]

Modern scholars generally use the text prepared by Jacob E. Cooke for his 1961 edition of The Federalist; this edition used the newspaper texts for essay numbers 1–76 and the McLean edition for essay numbers 77–85.[20]

Disputed essays[edit]

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. 49–58, with Nos. 18–20 being products of a collaboration between him and Hamilton; No. 64 was by John Jay. 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 1810 printing that was the first to make specific attribution for the essays.[21]

Madison did not immediately dispute Hamilton's list, but provided his own list for the 1818 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." A known error in Hamilton's list—Hamilton incorrectly ascribed No. 54 to John Jay, when in fact, Jay wrote No. 64—provided some evidence for Madison's suggestion.[22]

Statistical analysis has been undertaken on several occasions to try to ascertain the authorship question based on word frequencies and writing styles. Nearly all of the statistical studies show that the disputed papers were written by Madison, although a computer science study theorizes the papers were a collaborative effort.[23][24][25]

Influence on the ratification debates[edit]

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 12. 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.[26] Further, by the time New York came to a vote, ten states had already ratified the Constitution and it had thus already passed—only nine states had to ratify it for the new government to be established among them; the ratification by Virginia, the tenth state, placed pressure on New York to ratify. In light of that, Furtwangler observes, "New York's refusal would make that state an odd outsider."[27]

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".[28]

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."[29] Probably of greater importance to the Virginia debate, in any case, were George Washington's support for the proposed Constitution and the presence of Madison and Edmund Randolph, the governor, at the convention arguing for ratification.

Structure and content[edit]

In Federalist No. 1, Hamilton listed six topics to be covered in the subsequent articles:

  1. "The utility of the UNION to your political prosperity" – covered in No. 2 through No. 14
  2. "The insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union" –covered in No. 15 through No. 22
  3. "The necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed to the attainment of this object" – covered in No. 23 through No. 36
  4. "The conformity of the proposed constitution to the true principles of republican government" – covered in No. 37 through No. 84
  5. "Its analogy to your own state constitution" – covered in No. 85
  6. "The additional security which its adoption will afford to the preservation of that species of government, to liberty and to prosperity" – covered in No. 85.[30]

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. 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: No. 21 through No. 36 by Hamilton, No. 37 through 58 by Madison, written while Hamilton was in Albany, and No. 65 through the end by Hamilton, published after Madison had left for Virginia.[31]

Opposition to the Bill of Rights[edit]

The Federalist Papers (specifically Federalist No. 84) are notable for their opposition to what later became the United States Bill of Rights. 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. 84, feared that such an enumeration, once written down explicitly, would later be interpreted as a list of the only rights that people had[citation needed].

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. 84, asserting that a government unrestrained by such a bill could easily devolve into tyranny. 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.[32] In the final paper Hamilton offers "a lesson of moderation to all sincere lovers of the Union, and ought to put them on their guard against hazarding anarchy, civil war, a perpetual alienation of the States from each other, and perhaps the military despotism of a successful demagogue".[33] The matter was further clarified by the Ninth Amendment.

Modern approaches and interpretations[edit]

Judicial use[edit]

Federal judges, when interpreting the Constitution, frequently use The Federalist Papers as a contemporary account of the intentions of the framers and ratifiers.[34] They have been applied on issues ranging from the power of the federal government in foreign affairs (in Hines v. Davidowitz) to the validity of ex post facto laws (in the 1798 decision Calder v. Bull, apparently the first decision to mention The Federalist).[35] By 2000[update], The Federalist had been quoted 291 times in Supreme Court decisions.[36]

The amount of deference that should be given to The Federalist Papers in constitutional interpretation has always been somewhat controversial. As early as 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall noted in the famous case McCulloch v. 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."[37] In a letter to Thomas Ritchie in 1821, he stated that "the legitimate meaning of the Instrument must be derived from the text itself; or if a key is to be sought elsewhere, it must be not in the opinions or intentions of the Body which planned & proposed the Constitution, but in the sense attached to it by the people in their respective State Conventions where it recd. all the authority which it possesses." [38][39]

Complete list[edit]

The colors used to highlight the rows correspond to the author of the paper.

  Alexander Hamilton

  John Jay

  James Madison

1October 27, 1787General IntroductionAlexander Hamilton
2October 31, 1787Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and InfluenceJohn Jay
3November 3, 1787The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and InfluenceJohn Jay
4November 7, 1787The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and InfluenceJohn Jay
5November 10, 1787The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and InfluenceJohn Jay
6November 14, 1787Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the StatesAlexander Hamilton
7November 15, 1787The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the StatesAlexander Hamilton
8November 20, 1787The Consequences of Hostilities Between the StatesAlexander Hamilton
9November 21, 1787The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and InsurrectionAlexander Hamilton
10November 22, 1787The Same Subject Continued: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and InsurrectionJames Madison
11November 24, 1787The Utility of the Union in Respect to Commercial Relations and a NavyAlexander Hamilton
12November 27, 1787The Utility of the Union In Respect to RevenueAlexander Hamilton
13November 28, 1787Advantage of the Union in Respect to Economy in GovernmentAlexander Hamilton
14November 30, 1787Objections to the Proposed Constitution From Extent of Territory AnsweredJames Madison
15December 1, 1787The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the UnionAlexander Hamilton
16December 4, 1787The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the UnionAlexander Hamilton
17December 5, 1787The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the UnionAlexander Hamilton
18December 7, 1787The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the UnionJames Madison[10]
19December 8, 1787The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the UnionJames Madison[10]
20December 11, 1787The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the UnionJames Madison[10]
21December 12, 1787Other Defects of the Present ConfederationAlexander Hamilton
22December 14, 1787The Same Subject Continued: Other Defects of the Present ConfederationAlexander Hamilton
23December 18, 1787The Necessity of a Government as Energetic as the One Proposed to the Preservation of the UnionAlexander Hamilton
24December 19, 1787The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further ConsideredAlexander Hamilton
25December 21, 1787The Same Subject Continued: The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further ConsideredAlexander Hamilton
26December 22, 1787The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense ConsideredAlexander Hamilton
27December 25, 1787The Same Subject Continued: The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense ConsideredAlexander Hamilton
28December 26, 1787The Same Subject Continued: The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense ConsideredAlexander Hamilton
29January 9, 1788Concerning the MilitiaAlexander Hamilton
30December 28, 1787Concerning the General Power of TaxationAlexander Hamilton
31January 1, 1788The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the General Power of TaxationAlexander Hamilton
32January 2, 1788The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the General Power of TaxationAlexander Hamilton
33January 2, 1788The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the General Power of TaxationAlexander Hamilton
34January 5, 1788The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the General Power of TaxationAlexander Hamilton
35January 5, 1788The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the General Power of TaxationAlexander Hamilton
36January 8, 1788The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the General Power of TaxationAlexander Hamilton
37January 11, 1788Concerning the Difficulties of the Convention in Devising a Proper Form of GovernmentJames Madison
38January 12, 1788The Same Subject Continued, and the Incoherence of the Objections to the New Plan ExposedJames Madison
39January 18, 1788The Conformity of the Plan to Republican PrinciplesJames Madison
40January 18, 1788The Powers of the Convention to Form a Mixed Government Examined and SustainedJames Madison
41January 19, 1788General View of the Powers Conferred by the ConstitutionJames Madison
42January 22, 1788The Powers Conferred by the Constitution Further ConsideredJames Madison
43January 23, 1788The Same Subject Continued: The Powers Conferred by the Constitution Further ConsideredJames Madison
44January 25, 1788Restrictions on the Authority of the Several StatesJames Madison
45January 26, 1788The Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments ConsideredJames Madison
46January 29, 1788The Influence of the State and Federal Governments ComparedJames Madison
47January 30, 1788The Particular Structure of the New Government and the Distribution of Power Among Its Different PartsJames Madison
48February 1, 1788These Departments Should Not Be So Far Separated as to Have No Constitutional Control Over Each OtherJames Madison
49February 2, 1788Method of Guarding Against the Encroachments of Any One Department of GovernmentJames Madison[40]
50February 5, 1788Periodic Appeals to the People ConsideredJames Madison[40]
51February 6, 1788The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different DepartmentsJames Madison[40]
52February 8, 1788The House of RepresentativesJames Madison[40]
53February 9, 1788The Same Subject Continued: The House of RepresentativesJames Madison[40]
54February 12, 1788The Apportionment of Members Among the StatesJames Madison[40]
55February 13, 1788The Total Number of the House of RepresentativesJames Madison[40]
56February 16, 1788The Same Subject Continued: The Total Number of the House of RepresentativesJames Madison[40]
57February 19, 1788The Alleged Tendency of the New Plan to Elevate the Few at the Expense of the ManyJames Madison[40]
58February 20, 1788Objection That The Number of Members Will Not Be Augmented as the Progress of Population Demands ConsideredJames Madison[40]
59February 22, 1788Concerning the Power of Congress to Regulate the Election of MembersAlexander Hamilton
60February 23, 1788The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the Power of Congress to Regulate the Election of MembersAlexander Hamilton
61February 26, 1788The Same Subject Continued: Concerning the Power of Congress to Regulate the Election of MembersAlexander Hamilton
62February 27, 1788The SenateJames Madison[40]
63March 1, 1788The Senate ContinuedJames Madison[40]
64March 5, 1788The Powers of the SenateJohn Jay
65March 7, 1788The Powers of the Senate ContinuedAlexander Hamilton
66March 8, 1788Objections to the Power of the Senate To Set as a Court for Impeachments Further ConsideredAlexander Hamilton
67March 11, 1788The Executive DepartmentAlexander Hamilton
68March 12, 1788The Mode of Electing the PresidentAlexander Hamilton
69March 14, 1788The Real Character of the ExecutiveAlexander Hamilton
70March 15, 1788The Executive Department Further ConsideredAlexander Hamilton
71March 18, 1788The Duration in Office of the ExecutiveAlexander Hamilton
72March 19, 1788The Same Subject Continued, and Re-Eligibility of the Executive ConsideredAlexander Hamilton
73March 21, 1788The Provision For The Support of the Executive, and the Veto PowerAlexander Hamilton
74March 25, 1788The Command of the Military and Naval Forces, and the Pardoning Power of the ExecutiveAlexander Hamilton
75March 26, 1788The Treaty Making Power of the ExecutiveAlexander Hamilton
76April 1, 1788The Appointing Power of the ExecutiveAlexander Hamilton
77April 2, 1788The Appointing Power Continued and Other Powers of the Executive ConsideredAlexander Hamilton
78May 28, 1788 (book)
June 14, 1788 (newspaper)
The Judiciary DepartmentAlexander Hamilton
79May 28, 1788 (book)
June 18, 1788 (newspaper)
The Judiciary ContinuedAlexander Hamilton
80June 21, 1788The Powers of the JudiciaryAlexander Hamilton
81June 25, 1788 and
June 28, 1788
The Judiciary Continued, and the Distribution of the Judicial AuthorityAlexander Hamilton
82July 2, 1788The Judiciary ContinuedAlexander Hamilton
83July 5, 1788,
July 9, 1788 and
July 12, 1788
The Judiciary Continued in Relation to Trial by JuryAlexander Hamilton
84July 16, 1788,
July 26, 1788 and
August 9, 1788
Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Considered and AnsweredAlexander Hamilton
85August 13, 1788 and
August 16, 1788
Concluding RemarksAlexander Hamilton

See also[edit]



  • Adair, Douglass. Fame and the Founding Fathers. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1974. A collection of essays; that used here is "The Disputed Federalist Papers".
  • Frederick Mosteller and David L. Wallace. Inference and Disputed Authorship: The Federalist. Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1964.
  • Furtwangler, Albert. The Authority of Publius: A Reading of the Federalist Papers. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1984.
  • Wills, Gary. Explaining America: The Federalist, Garden City, NJ: 1981.

Further reading[edit]

  • Everdell, William R.The End of Kings: A History of Republics and Republicans, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
  • Meyerson, Michael I. Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World, New York: Basic Books, 2008.
  • Dietze, Gottfried. The Federalist: A Classic on Federalism and Free Government, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1960.
  • Epstein, David F. The Political Theory of the Federalist, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1984.
  • Gray, Leslie, and Wynell Burroughs. "Teaching With Documents: Ratification of the Constitution", Social Education, 51 (1987): 322–24.
  • Kesler, Charles R.Saving the Revolution: The Federalist Papers and the American Founding, New York: 1987.
  • Patrick, John J., and Clair W. Keller. Lessons on the Federalist Papers: Supplements to High School Courses in American History, Government and Civics, Bloomington, IN: Organization of American Historians in association with ERIC/ChESS, 1987. ED 280 764.
  • Schechter, Stephen L. Teaching about American Federal Democracy, Philadelphia: Center for the Study of Federalism at Temple University, 1984. ED 248 161.
  • Scott, Kyle. The Federalist Papers: A Reader’s Guide (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2013) 202 pp.
  • Sunstein, Cass R. The Enlarged Republic – Then and Now, New York Review of Books, (March 26, 2009): Volume LVI, Number 5, 45.
  • Webster, Mary E. The Federalist Papers: In Modern Language Indexed for Today's Political Issues. Bellevue, WA: Merril Press, 1999.
  • White, Morton.Philosophy, The Federalist, and the Constitution, New York: 1987.
  • Zebra Edition. The Federalist Papers: (Or, How Government is Supposed to Work), Edited for Readability. Oakesdale, WA: Lucky Zebra Press, 2007.

External links[edit]

An advertisement for The Federalist, 1787, using the pseudonym "Philo-Publius"
James Madison, Hamilton's major collaborator, later President of the United States
John Jay, author of five of The Federalist Papers, later became the first Chief Justice of the United States
  1. ^The Federalist: a Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787, in two volumes (1 ed.). New York: J. and A. McLean. 1788. Retrieved March 16, 2017 – via Library of Congress. 
  2. ^Jackson, Kenneth T. The Encyclopedia of New York City: The New York Historical Society; Yale University Press; 1995. p. 194.
  3. ^The Federalist Papers. Toronto: Bantam Books. 1982. 
  4. ^Wills, x.
  5. ^Richard B. Morris, The Forging of the Union: 1781–1789 (1987) p. 309
  6. ^Furtwangler, 48–49.
  7. ^Gunn, Giles B. (1994). Early American Writing. Penguin Classics. p. 540. ISBN 0-14-039087-1. 
  8. ^Furtwangler, 51–56.
  9. ^ abFurtwangler, Albert (1984). The Authority of Publius: A Reading of the Federalist Papers. Cornell Univ Pr. ISBN 978-0-8014-9339-3. , p.51
  10. ^ abcdNos. 18, 19, 20 are frequently indicated as being jointly written by Hamilton and Madison. 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." Adair, 63.
  11. ^Banning, Lance James Madison: Federalist, note 1.
  12. ^See, e.g. Ralph Ketcham, James Madison. New York: Macmillan, 1971; reprint ed., Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998. See also Irving N. Brant, James Madison: Father of the Constitution, 1787–1800. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1950.
  13. ^Encyclopædia Britannica. (2007). Founding Fathers: The Essential Guide to the Men Who Made America. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
  14. ^Wills, xii.
  15. ^Furtwangler, 20.
  16. ^Encyclopædia Britannica. (2007). Founding Fathers: The Essential Guide to the Men Who Made America. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  17. ^Adair, 40–41.
  18. ^Adair, 44–46.
  19. ^Henry Cabot Lodge, ed. (1902). The Federalist, a Commentary on the Constitution of the United States. Putnam. pp. xxxviii–xliii. Retrieved February 16, 2009. 
  20. ^Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison (Jacob E. Cooke, ed., The Federalist (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1961 and later reprintings). ISBN 978-0-8195-6077-3.
  21. ^Adair, 46–48.
  22. ^Adair, 48.
  23. ^Jeff Collins, David Kaufer, Pantelis Vlachos, Brian Butler and Suguru Ishizaki, "Detecting Collaborations in Text: Comparing the Authors' Rhetorical Language Choices in the Federalist Papers" Computers and the Humanities 38 no. 1 (Feb. 2004).
  24. ^Mosteller and Wallace.
  25. ^Fung, Glenn, The disputed federalist papers: SVM feature selection via concave minimization, New York City, ACM Press, 2003. (9 pg pdf file)
  26. ^Furtwangler, 21.
  27. ^Furtwangler, 22.
  28. ^Coenen, Dan. "Fifteen Curious Facts about The Federalist Papers". Media Commons. Retrieved December 5, 2012. 
  29. ^Furtwangler, 23.
  30. ^This scheme of division is adapted from Charles K. Kesler's introduction to The Federalist Papers (New York: Signet Classic, 1999) pp. 15–17. A similar division is indicated by Furtwangler, 57–58.
  31. ^Wills, 274.
  32. ^Jeffrey Tulis (1987). The Rhetorical Presidency. Princeton University Press. p. 30. ISBN 0-691-02295-X. 
  33. ^Harvey Flaumenhaft, “Hamilton's Administrative Republic and the American Presidency,” in The Presidency in the Constitutional Order, ed. Joseph M. Bessette and Jeffrey Tulis (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1981), 65–114.
  34. ^Lupu, Ira C.; "The Most-Cited Federalist Papers". Constitutional Commentary (1998) pp. 403+; using Supreme Court citations, the five most cited were Federalist No. 42 (Madison) (33 decisions), Federalist No. 78 (Hamilton) (30 decisions), Federalist No. 81 (Hamilton) (27 decisions), Federalist No. 51 (Madison) (26 decisions), Federalist No. 32 (Hamilton) (25 decisions).
  35. ^See, among others, a very early exploration of the judicial use of The Federalist in Charles W. Pierson, "The Federalist in the Supreme Court", The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 33, No. 7. (May 1924), pp. 728–35.
  36. ^Chernow, Ron. "Alexander Hamilton". Penguin Books, 2004. (p. 260)
  37. ^Arthur, John (1995). Words That Bind: Judicial Review and the Grounds of Modern Constitutional Theory. Westview Press. p. 41. ISBN 0-8133-2349-5. 
  38. ^Madison to Thomas Ritchie, September 15, 1821. Quoted in Furtwangler, 36.
  39. ^Max Farrand, ed. (1911). The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Yale University Press. 
  40. ^ abcdefghijklOne of twelve "disputed papers" to which both Madison and Hamilton laid claim. Modern scholarly consensus leans towards Madison as the author of all twelve, and he is so credited in this table. See Federalist Papers: Disputed essays. See Adair, 93: "The disputed numbers of The Federalist claimed by both Hamilton and Madison are Numbers 49 through 58 and Numbers 62 and 63.

The Federalist Papers, a group of 85 essays promoting the ratification of the Constitution, appeared in New York newspapers in 1787 and 1788. Taken together, the essays form a powerful defense of the new theory of government that for a time hung in the balance.

The Constitutional Convention produced its final draft of the Constitution and submitted it to the 13 Colonies for approval in September, 1787. The Constitution itself stipulated that in order to become law, the new framework of government had to gain the approval of nine of the 13 Colonies. New York, as a colony with one of the largest populations, had considerable influence. Some states quickly ratified the Constitution; other states were more deliberate in their consideration.

Federalists like Alexander Hamilton and John Jay saw a need for promotion of the Constitution in New York, especially after newspapers there printed anonymous letters arguing against the Constitution's ratification. A few New York newspapers published a letter from "Cato," on September 27, 1787, and a letter from "Brutus" three weeks later. Other letters from "Cato" and "Brutus" followed in the next several months. The authors of the letters are generally thought to have been George Clinton ("Cato") and Robert Yates ("Brutus"). Both "identities" took their names from famous Romans, both opponents of Julius Caesar.

In response, Hamilton and Jay, along with James Madison (who, unlike Hamilton and Jay, was from Virginia, not New York), chose the name "Publius," after a Roman aristocrat who led the overthrow of the Roman monarchy in 509 B.C.

Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution, on December 7, 1787. Pennsylvania and New Jersey followed later that month. Georgia and Connecticut ratified in January, 1788. Massachusetts followed the following month, with Maryland (April) and South Carolina (May) also ratifying later that year. When New Hampshire ratified, on June 21, 1788, the Constitution was declared in effect. Virginia voted for ratification in June, and New York did the same the following month. North Carolina, in 1789, and Rhode Island, in 1790, became the last of the 13 Colonies to vote for ratification.

At the time of the publication of The Federalist No. 1, on October 27, 1787, no states had voted for ratification. Hamilton and other Federalists wanted New York to voice its approval because the colony had one of the largest populations in the 13 Colonies. So issues of The Federalist began appearing, along with more of the "Cato" and "Brutus" letters. For the better part of the next year, more essays of The Federalist, each one arguing in favor of the Constitution and some its components or ideas. Hamilton wrote nearly two-thirds of the 85 essays. Jay wrote just a few, writing four of the first five but then falling ill and writing just one more. Madison wrote the rest, including several in collaboration with Hamilton.

The Federalist appeared regularly, as many as four times a week, for the better part of the next year in three newspapers, the Daily Advertiser, the Independent Journal, and the New-York Packet. In all, 77 of the 85 were published in newspapers; the others were published in a two-volume book form, in late 1788. The essays were also published in other colonies, in both newspapers and book form. (A French edition was published in 1792.)

Each essay began the same way, "To the People of the State of New York," and ended the same way, signed "Publius." The identity of "Publius" was not a complete secret. Many in New York and elsewhere knew that Hamilton, Jay, and Madison were behind the efforts of The Federalist. An 1802 book version named the authors for the first time. At times through the years since the essays first appeared and throughout the publication of subsequent editions, disputes over authorship have arisen. Historians have generally agreed on all of Jay's essays and most of the others. Both Hamilton and Madison claimed authorship of a few, and some scholars still disagree on the extent to which either or both contributed to specific essays.

The essays that make up The Federalist (as it was called until the 20th Century, when scholars beginning adding the word "Papers") generally had one central theme each, although some themes carried over into multiple essays. In the first essay, Hamilton laid out the six topics that would be covered:

1. "The utility of the UNION to your political prosperity"
2. "The insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union"
3. "The necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed to the attainment of this object"
4. "The conformity of the proposed constitution to the true principles of republican government"
5. "Its analogy to your own state constitution"
6. "The additional security which its adoption will afford to the preservation of that species of government, to liberty and to prosperity"

Essays 2–14 covered the first topic. Essays 15–22 covered the second topic. The third topic featured in essays 23–36. Numbers 37–84 covered the fourth topic. It was left to the final essay to cover the final two topics.