James Madison, Hamilton’s major collaborator, later President of the United States.
Alexander Hamilton, author of the majority of The Federalist Papers.
John Jay, author of five of The Federalist Papers, later became the first Chief Justice of the United States.
Here is the Federalist Papers a must read in understanding the Constitution of the United States of America. Books one and two. Free.
Courtesy of Wikipedia 2018
The Federalist (later known as The Federalist Papers) is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the pseudonym “Publius” to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. The first 77 of these essays were published serially in the Independent Journal, the New York Packet, and The Daily Advertiser between October 1787 and April 1788. A two-volume compilation of these 77 essays and eight others was published as The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787 by publishing firm J. & A. McLean in March and May 1788. 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.
“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 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.”
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, 37–58 and 62–63)
John Jay (5 articles: No. 2–5 and 64).
In a span of ten months, a total of 85 articles were written by the three men. 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. Madison, who is now acknowledged as the father of the Constitution—despite his repeated rejection of this honor during his lifetime, 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. 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. 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.” Hamilton also encouraged the reprinting of the essays 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.
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 22, 1788 and was titled The Federalist Volume 1. 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 Federalist 37–77 and the yet to be published Federalist 78–85 was released on May 28. The last eight papers (Federalist 78–85) were republished in the New York newspapers between June 14 and August 16, 1788.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.”
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.” 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.
Opposition to the Bill of Rights
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.
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. 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”. The matter was further clarified by the Ninth Amendment.
Federal judges, when interpreting the Constitution, frequently use The Federalist Papers as a contemporary account of the intentions of the framers and ratifiers. 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). By 2000, The Federalist had been quoted 291 times in Supreme Court decisions.
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.” 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.”
Lloyd, Gordon. “Introduction to the Federalist”. teachingamericanhistory.org. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
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.
Jackson, Kenneth T. The Encyclopedia of New York City: The New York Historical Society; Yale University Press; 1995. p. 194.
The Federalist Papers. Toronto: Bantam Books. 1982.
Richard B. Morris, The Forging of the Union: 1781–1789 (1987) p. 309
Gunn, Giles B. (1994). Early American Writing. Penguin Classics. p. 540. ISBN 0-14-039087-1.
Furtwangler, Albert (1984). The Authority of Publius: A Reading of the Federalist Papers. Cornell Univ Pr. ISBN 978-0-8014-9339-3., p.51
Nos. 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.
Banning, Lance James Madison: Federalist, note 1.
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.
Encyclopædia Britannica. (2007). Founding Fathers: The Essential Guide to the Men Who Made America. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
Encyclopædia Britannica. (2007). Founding Fathers: The Essential Guide to the Men Who Made America. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Henry Cabot Lodge, ed. (1902). The Federalist, a Commentary on the Constitution of the United States. Putnam. pp. xxxviii–xliii. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
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.
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).
Mosteller and Wallace.
Fung, Glenn, The disputed federalist papers: SVM feature selection via concave minimization, New York City, ACM Press, 2003. (9 pg pdf file)
Coenen, Dan. “Fifteen Curious Facts about The Federalist Papers”. Media Commons. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
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.
Jeffrey Tulis (1987). The Rhetorical Presidency. Princeton University Press. p. 30. ISBN 0-691-02295-X.
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.
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).
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.
Chernow, Ron. “Alexander Hamilton”. Penguin Books, 2004. (p. 260)
Arthur, John (1995). Words That Bind: Judicial Review and the Grounds of Modern Constitutional Theory. Westview Press. p. 41. ISBN 0-8133-2349-5.
Madison to Thomas Ritchie, September 15, 1821. Quoted in Furtwangler, 36.
Max Farrand, ed. (1911). The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Yale University Press.
One 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.
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.
Summarized in “Inference in an Authorship Problem”. Journal of the American Statistical Association 58:302 (June, 1963), pp. 275–309. (Full text via JSTOR.)
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.
Heriot, Gail, Are Modern Bloggers Following in the Footsteps of Publius (and Other Musings on Blogging By Legal Scholars), 84 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1113 (2006).
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.