The Federalist Papers
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The Federalist, or Federalist Papers, was a series of 85 essays written to secure New York State ratification of the U.S. Constitution (text).
Appearing under the pseudonym “A Citizen of New York” and “Publius,” most of the essays appeared first in a New York newspaper and later in the papers of other states. Alexander Hamilton is credited with the authorship of 51 of the treatises, James Madison with 14, and John Jay with five. Historians still dispute whether Hamilton or Madison wrote the remaining 15. A two-volume collection of these writings was published in 1788.
The pro-Constitution (narrative) stance taken in the essays took on special urgency because of the perceived threat posed by Shays’ Rebellion, a matter of great concern to the wealthier segments of American society. The Federalist remains the most influential commentary on the fundamentals of republican government and is frequently cited in constitutional arguments today.
In Federalist No. 1, Hamilton sets the out the goals of the series:
Plato, in his Republic, offered a solution to the problem of ultimate authority. He recommended that complete power be given to an enlightened despot, who would rule in everyone's best interests. A couple of millenia later, and noting the scarcity of examples, James Madison, in The Federalist No. 10 offered the new U.S. constitution as the best alternative in an imperfect world. He acknowledged that factions will always exist and that the person in charge may not always be wise, so the checks and balances, along with the distribution of responsibilities to different levels of government, gave the best prospect of sound government.
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Quotes regarding The Federalist Papers.
By James Madison
The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.
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