Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October of 1787 and August 1788. A compilation of these and eight others, called The Federalist; or, The New Constitution, was published in two volumes in 1788 by J. and A. McLean. The series' correct title is The Federalist; the title The Federalist Papers did not emerge until the twentieth century.

The authors of The Federalist Papers wanted to influence the vote in favor of ratifying the Constitution.

However, the authors of the Federalist papers also had a greater plan in mind. According to Federalist 1:

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.

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."

At the time of publication, the authorship of the articles was a closely guarded secret, though astute observers guessed that Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay were the likely authors. Following Hamilton's death in 1804, a list that he drew up became public; it claimed fully two-thirds of the essays for Hamilton, including some that seemed more likely the work of Madison (Nos. 49-58, 62, and 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: nos. 1, 6–9, 11–13, 15–17, 21–36, 59–61, and 65–85)
  • James Madison (26 articles: nos. 10, 14, 37–58 and 62–63)
  • John Jay (5 articles: 2–5 and 64).
  • Nos. 18–20 were the result of a collaboration between Madison and Hamilton.

The authors used the pseudonym "Publius", in honor of Roman consul Publius Valerius Publicola. While some historians credit Thomas Jefferson's influence, it is Madison who often now receives greater foundational credit as the father of the Constitution despite his repeated rejection of the honor during his lifetime. 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. 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.

There are many highlights among the essays of The Federalist. 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. 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 a memorable essay often quoted for its justification of government as "the greatest of all reflections on human nature."

Read more about Federalist Papers:  Structure and Content, Complete List

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Federalist Papers - Complete List
... The colors used to highlight the rows correspond to the author of the paper ... # Date Title Author 1 October 27, 1787 General Introduction Alexander Hamilton 2 October 31, 1787 Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence John Jay 3 November 3, 1787 The Same Subject Continued Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence John Jay 4 November 7, 1787 The Same Subject Continued Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence John Jay 5 November 10, 1787 The Same Subject Continued Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence John Jay 6 November 14, 1787 Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the States Alexander Hamilton 7 November 15, 1787 The Same Subject Continued Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the States Alexander Hamilton 8 November 20, 1787 The Consequences of Hostilities Between the States Alexander Hamilton 9 November 21, 1787 The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection Alexander Hamilton 10 November 22, 1787 The Same Subject Continued The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection James Madison 11 November 24, 1787 The Utility of the Union in Respect to Commercial Relations and a Navy Alexander Hamilton 12 November 27, 1787 The Utility of the Union In Respect to Revenue Alexander Hamilton 13 November 28, 1787 Advantage of the Union in Respect to Economy in Government Alexander Hamilton 14 November 30, 1787 Objections to the Proposed Constitution From Extent of Territory Answered James Madison 15 December 1, 1787 The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union Alexander Hamilton 16 December 4, 1787 The Same Subject Continued The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union Alexander Hamilton 17 December 5, 1787 The Same Subject Continued The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union Alexander Hamilton 18 December 7, 1787 The Same Subject Continued The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union James Madison 19 December 8, 1787 The Same Subject Continued The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union James Madison 20 December 11, 1787 The Same Subject Continued The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union James Madison 21 December 12, 1787 Other Defects of the Present Confederation Alexander Hamilton 22 December 14, 1787 The Same Subject Continued Other Defects of the Present Confederation Alexander Hamilton 23 December 18, 1787 The Necessity of a Government as Energetic as the One Proposed to the Preservation of the Union Alexander Hamilton 24 December 19, 1787 The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further Considered Alexander Hamilton 25 December 21, 1787 The Same Subject Continued The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further Considered Alexander Hamilton 26 December 22, 1787 The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense Considered Alexander Hamilton 27 December 25, 1787 The Same Subject Continued The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense Considered Alexander Hamilton 28 December 26, 1787 The Same Subject Continued The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense Considered Alexander Hamilton 29 January 9, 1788 Concerning the Militia Alexander Hamilton 30 December 28, 1787 Concerning the General Power of Taxation Alexander Hamilton 31 January 1, 1788 The Same Subject Continued Concerning the General Power of Taxation Alexander Hamilton 32 January 2, 1788 The Same Subject Continued Concerning the General Power of Taxation Alexander Hamilton 33 January 2, 1788 The Same Subject Continued Concerning the General Power of Taxation Alexander Hamilton 34 January 5, 1788 The Same Subject Continued Concerning the General Power of Taxation Alexander Hamilton 35 January 5, 1788 The Same Subject Continued Concerning the General Power of Taxation Alexander Hamilton 36 January 8, 1788 The Same Subject Continued Concerning the General Power of Taxation Alexander Hamilton 37 January 11, 1788 Concerning the Difficulties of the Convention in Devising a Proper Form of Government James Madison 38 January 12, 1788 The Same Subject Continued, and the Incoherence of the Objections to the New Plan Exposed James Madison 39 January 18, 1788 The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles James Madison 40 January 18, 1788 The Powers of the Convention to Form a Mixed Government Examined and Sustained James Madison 41 January 19, 1788 General View of the Powers Conferred by the Constitution James Madison 42 January 22, 1788 The Powers Conferred by the Constitution Further Considered James Madison 43 January 23, 1788 The Same Subject Continued The Powers Conferred by the Constitution Further Considered James Madison 44 January 25, 1788 Restrictions on the Authority of the Several States James Madison 45 January 26, 1788 The Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered James Madison 46 January 29, 1788 The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared James Madison 47 January 30, 1788 The Particular Structure of the New Government and the Distribution of Power Among Its Different Parts James Madison 48 February 1, 1788 These Departments Should Not Be So Far Separated as to Have No Constitutional Control Over Each Other James Madison 49 February 2, 1788 Method of Guarding Against the Encroachments of Any One Department of Government James Madison 50 February 5, 1788 Periodic Appeals to the People Considered James Madison 51 February 6, 1788 The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments James Madison 52 February 8, 1788 The House of Representatives James Madison 53 February 9, 1788 The Same Subject Continued The House of Representatives James Madison 54 February 12, 1788 The Apportionment of Members Among the States James Madison 55 February 13, 1788 The Total Number of the House of Representatives James Madison 56 February 16, 1788 The Same Subject Continued The Total Number of the House of Representatives James Madison 57 February 19, 1788 The Alleged Tendency of the New Plan to Elevate the Few at the Expense of the Many James Madison 58 February 20, 1788 Objection That The Number of Members Will Not Be Augmented as the Progress of Population Demands Considered James Madison 59 February 22, 1788 Concerning the Power of Congress to Regulate the Election of Members Alexander Hamilton 60 February 23, 1788 The Same Subject Continued Concerning the Power of Congress to Regulate the Election of Members Alexander Hamilton 61 February 26, 1788 The Same Subject Continued Concerning the Power of Congress to Regulate the Election of Members Alexander Hamilton 62 February 27, 1788 The Senate James Madison 63 March 1, 1788 The Senate Continued James Madison 64 March 5, 1788 The Powers of the Senate John Jay 65 March 7, 1788 The Powers of the Senate Continued Alexander Hamilton 66 March 8, 1788 Objections to the Power of the Senate To Set as a Court for Impeachments Further Considered Alexander Hamilton 67 March 11, 1788 The Executive Department Alexander Hamilton 68 March 12, 1788 The Mode of Electing the President Alexander Hamilton 69 March 14, 1788 The Real Character of the Executive Alexander Hamilton 70 March 15, 1788 The Executive Department Further Considered Alexander Hamilton 71 March 18, 1788 The Duration in Office of the Executive Alexander Hamilton 72 March 19, 1788 The Same Subject Continued, and Re-Eligibility of the Executive Considered Alexander Hamilton 73 March 21, 1788 The Provision For The Support of the Executive, and the Veto Power Alexander Hamilton 74 March 25, 1788 The Command of the Military and Naval Forces, and the Pardoning Power of the Executive Alexander Hamilton 75 March 26, 1788 The Treaty Making Power of the Executive Alexander Hamilton 76 April 1, 1788 The Appointing Power of the Executive Alexander Hamilton 77 April 2, 1788 The Appointing Power Continued and Other Powers of the Executive Considered Alexander Hamilton 78 May 28, 1788 (book) June 14, 1788 (newspaper) The Judiciary Department Alexander Hamilton 79 May 28, 1788 (book) June 18, 1788 (newspaper) The Judiciary Continued Alexander Hamilton 80 June 21, 1788 The Powers of the Judiciary Alexander Hamilton 81 June 25, 1788 and June 28, 1788 The Judiciary Continued, and the Distribution of the Judicial Authority Alexander Hamilton 82 July 2, 1788 The Judiciary Continued Alexander Hamilton 83 July 5, 1788, July 9, 1788 and July 12, 1788 The Judiciary Continued in Relation to Trial by Jury Alexander Hamilton 84 July 16, 1788, July 26, 1788 and August 9, 1788 Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Considered and Answered Alexander Hamilton 85 August 13, 1788 and August 16, 1788 Concluding Remarks Alexander Hamilton ...
Original Meaning - Practice
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Supremacy Clause - Federalist Papers
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