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Federalist Papers

The Federalist PapersThe Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles arguing for the ratification of the United States Constitution. They were first published serially from October 1787 to August 1788 in New York City newspapers. A compilation, called The Federalist, was published in 1788. The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution as understood at the time by the group known to hsitory as Federalists, as they outline the philosophy and motivation of the proposed system of government. The authors of The Federalist Papers also used the opportunity to interpret certain provisions of the constitution to:

1. Influence the vote on ratification, and,

2. Influence future interpretations of the provisions in question.

Note: One of the purposes of this website is to foster that discussion and to provide a link to the original documentation and meanings as used by the Founders.

The articles were written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, under the pseudonym Publius, in honor of the Roman consul Publius Valerius Publicola.

Madison is generally credited as the father of the Constitution and became the fourth President of the United States. Hamilton was an influential delegate at the Constitutional Convention, and later the first Secretary of the Treasury. John Jay would become the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Hamilton penned the majority of the papers, and Madison made several significant contributions to the series. Jay, who fell ill early in the project, wrote only five.
Federalist No. 10 and Federalist No. 51 are generally regarded as the most influential of the 85 article: Number 10 advocates for a large, strong republic and includes discussion on the dangers of factions, Number 51 explains the need for the separation of powers. Federalist Number 84 is also notable for its opposition to what later became the United States Bill of Rights. The whole series is cited by scholars and jurists as an authoritative interpretation and explication of the meaning of the Constitution as understood at the time of their composition by those favoring ratification.

 You can download a PDF copy of The Federalist Papers by clicking here.(1.8 mb)