"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. 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."
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. 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."
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. 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.'" 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, 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. Madison is now acknowledged as the father of the Constitution—despite his repeated rejection of this 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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
Structure and content
In Federalist No. 1, Hamilton listed six topics to be covered in the subsequent articles:
- "The utility of the UNION to your political prosperity" – covered in No. 2 through No. 14
- "The insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union" –covered in No. 15 through No. 22
- "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
- "The conformity of the proposed constitution to the true principles of republican government" – covered in No. 37 through No. 84
- "Its analogy to your own state constitution" – covered in No. 85
- "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.
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.
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.
Modern approaches and interpretations
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[update], 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." 
The colors used to highlight the rows correspond to the author of the paper.
|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|
- 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.
- 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.
- ^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.
- ^Wills, x.
- ^Richard B. Morris, The Forging of the Union: 1781–1789 (1987) p. 309
- ^Furtwangler, 48–49.
- ^Gunn, Giles B. (1994). Early American Writing. Penguin Classics. p. 540. ISBN 0-14-039087-1.
- ^Furtwangler, 51–56.
- ^ abFurtwangler, Albert (1984). The Authority of Publius: A Reading of the Federalist Papers. Cornell Univ Pr. ISBN 978-0-8014-9339-3. , p.51
- ^ 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.
- ^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
- ^Wills, xii.
- ^Furtwangler, 20.
- ^Encyclopædia Britannica. (2007). Founding Fathers: The Essential Guide to the Men Who Made America. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
- ^Adair, 40–41.
- ^Adair, 44–46.
- ^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.
- ^Adair, 46–48.
- ^Adair, 48.
- ^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)
- ^Furtwangler, 21.
- ^Furtwangler, 22.
- ^Coenen, Dan. "Fifteen Curious Facts about The Federalist Papers". Media Commons. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
- ^Furtwangler, 23.
- ^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.
- ^Wills, 274.
- ^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.
- ^ 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 No.10 (1787)
The drafting of the Constitution -- even by so distinguished a gathering as those who participated in the Philadelphia convention -- did not ensure its adoption. In each state there were groups and interests opposing as well as supporting ratification. And as they had done in the years leading up to the Revolution, Americans took to their newspapers to express their views and to argue the merits and faults of the proposed new scheme of government.
Those who supported the Constitution took the name "Federalists," although it would have been more accurate to have called them "Nationalists," since their main argument centered on the need for a strong national government. Their opponents, known as the "Anti-Federalists," were in fact, the more truly federalist of the two, since they argued for a government based on a confederation of states. Because the Federalists won, history did not treat their opponents kindly, and until recently the Anti-Federalists were treated, in the words of one famous essay, as "men of little faith."
More recently, historians have re-examined the Anti-Federalist arguments, and discovered that they raised significant issues, such as the lack of a Bill of Rights and questions of limiting power so as to avoid tyranny. In fact, it was the Anti-Federalist arguments against the Constitution, as much as the advantages that the Federalists saw in the new scheme, that led the latter group to mount their own campaign to influence the people in favor of ratification.
The best known arguments in the debate appeared in a series of eighty-five newspaper essays published in New York and written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay under the pseudonym of "Publius." These essays are considered the most authoritative interpretation of the Constitution ever written, and even today are cited by scholars and jurists in their efforts to understand the meaning of the document.
The most famous of the essays was "The Federalist No.10," written by James Madison, in which he set forth the classic analysis of the republic. Opponents had argued that the United States was too large, and had too many groups, or "factions," to be ruled democratically by a single government. Madison acknowledged that there were in fact many groups in the country, and he lamented that they often seemed to be at each other's throats. Under classic constitutional theory, majoritarian rule should govern, and at the expense of minority rights.
Madison argued that the republican remedy embodied in the Constitution allowed the various factions sufficient room to express their views and to attempt to influence the government. Instead of the majority putting down minorities, the different interests would negotiate their differences, thus arriving at a solution in which the majority would rule but with due care and regard given to minorities. The very number of factions would preclude any one from exercising tyrannical control over the rest. And the medium in which this give and take would occur would be politics, the art of governing.
For further reading: Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (1969); George Wills, Explaining America: The Federalist (1981); S. Rufus Davis, The Federal Principle: A Journey through Time in Quest of Meaning (1978); Charles R. Kesler, ed., Saving the Republic: The Federalist Papers and the American Founding (1987); Herbert J. Storing, What the Anti-Federalists Were For (1981); and the classic Douglas Adair, "The Tenth Federalist Revisited," William & Mary Quarterly 8 (1951): 48.
The Federalist No.10
Among the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed Union, nonedeserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments, never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail therefore to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice and confusion introduced into the public councils, have in truth been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations. The valuable improvements made by the American Constitutions on the popular models, both ancient and modern, cannot certainly be too much admired; but it would be an unwarrantable partiality, to contend that they have as effectually obviated the danger on this side as was wished and expected. Complaints are every where heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, usually the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty; that our governments are too unstable; that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties; and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice, and the rights of the minor party; but by the superior force of an interested and over-bearing majority. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true. . . . These must be chiefly, if not wholly, effects of the unsteadiness and injustice, with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.
By a faction I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.
There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.
It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it is worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction, what air is to fire, an ailment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be a less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.
The second expedient is as impracticable, as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of Government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results: and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties. . . .
The inference to which we are brought is, that the causes of faction cannot removed; and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects.
If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote: It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government on the other hand enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest, both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good, and private rights, against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our enquiries are directed: Let me add that it is the great desideratum, by which alone this form of government can rescued from the opprobrium under which it has so long labored, and be recommended to the esteem and adoption of mankind.
By what means is this object attainable? Evidently by one of two only. Either the existence of the same passion or interest in a majority at the same time, must be prevented; or the majority, having such co-existent passion or interest, must be rendered, by their number and local situation, unable to concert and carry into effect schemes of oppression. If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together; that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.
From this view of the subject, it may be concluded, that a pure Democracy, by which I mean, a Society, consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the Government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert results from the form of Government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is, that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of Government, have erroneously supposed, that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.
A Republic, by which I mean a Government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure Democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure, and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.
The two great points of difference between a Democracy and a Republic are, first, the delegation of the Government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest: secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.
The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand to refine and the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice, will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such a regulation, it may well happen that the public voice pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good, than if pronounced by the people themselves convened for the purpose. On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may by intrigue, by corruption or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests of the people. The question resulting is, whether small or extensive Republics are most favorable to the election of proper guardians of the public weal; and it is clearly decided in favor of the latter by two obvious considerations.
In the first place it is to be remarked that however small the Republic may be, the Representatives must be raised to a certain number, in order to guard against the cabals of a few; and that however large it may be, they must be limited to a certain number, in order to guard against the confusion of a multitude. Hence the number of Representatives in the two cases, not being in proportion to that of the Constituents, and being proportionally greatest in the small Republic, it follows, that if the proportion of fit characters, be not less, in the large than in the small Republic, the former will present a greater option, and consequently a greater probability of a fit choice.
In the next place, as each Representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small Republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practise with success the vicious arts, by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to center on men who possess the most attractive merit, and the most diffusive and established characters.
It must be confessed, that in this, as in most other cases, there is a mean, on both sides of which inconveniencies will be found to lie. By enlarging too much the number of electors, you render the representative too little acquainted with all their local circumstances and lesser interests; as by reducing it too much, you render him unduly attached to these, and too little fit to comprehend and pursue great and national objects. The Federal Constitution forms a happy combination in this respect; the great and aggregate interests being referred to the national, the local and particular, to the state legislatures.
The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of Republican, than of Democratic Government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former, than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments, it may be remarked, that where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, a communication is always checked by distrust, in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary. . . .
The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States: a religious sect, may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it, must secure the national Councils against any danger from that source: a rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union, than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.
In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a Republican remedy for the diseases most incident to Republican Government. And according to the degree of pleasure and pride, we feel in being Republicans, ought to be our zeal in cherishing the spirit, and supporting the character of Federalists.
Source: Clinton Rossiter, ed., The Federalist Papers (1961), 77-84.
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