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The Federalist Papers Summary

Updated on July 20, 2013

Federalist Papers Cover

Cover of the Federalist Papers
Cover of the Federalist Papers | Source

The Federalist Papers Background

  1. The Federalist Papers are a long series of eighty five articles, and essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution
  2. The federalist papers were written and authored by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay between 1787-1788.
  • a large majority of the essays seventy-seven to be exact were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet papers between October of 1787 and August of 1788.
  • The entirety of these paper including the eight others, are called The Federalist Paper or The New Constitution, was officially and completely published in two volumes in 1788 after the last papers were published in the Independent Packet and the New York Packet.

James Madison

One of the main authors of the federalist papers
One of the main authors of the federalist papers | Source

Alexander Hamilton


John Jay


Notes and summary on some of the most important of the papers.

The three authors and writers of the Federalist papers had greater plans and intentions in mind for the betterment of the Constitution and subsequently the right of american citizens.

  • Federalist paper #1 It was published on October 27, 1787 and has been frequently The essay rejected the current government in favor of the new constitution thus becoming an outline fore the rest of the documents.
  • Federalist paper #10 authored by James Madison argues for the ratification of the United States Constitution. Federalist 10 also argues that the current government is not the the founders of the old constitution as well as the founding father intended. The essay is the most famous of the Federalist Papers, along with Federalist paper 51, also written by James Madison, it is among one of the most highly thought of American political writings.
  • Federalist paper #14 is an essay by James Madison, and It addresses a major objection of the Anti-Federalists to the proposed United States Constitution: that the sheer size of the United States would make it impossible to govern justly as a single country.
  • Federalist paper #39 is an essay by James Madison and it was originally entitled "The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles." And thus like many of the essays before and after this this one, it was published under the pseudonym of Publius meaning in Latin extracts or USS as translated in English, and was released to the public view on January 18, 1788. In the thirty-ninth paper Madison attempts to describe the nature of the United States government as proposed by the Constitution, and rather than being a strictly national or federal constitution, it is argued that the government should be a hybrid of both national and federal.
  • Federalist paper #49 is another essay by James Madison, and was published on February 2, 1788. The Paper was originally is entitled; "Method of Guarding against the Encroachments of Any One Department of Government by Appealing to the People through a Convention." This particular federalist essay conveys and compels the allotment of the federalist papers. Which begins by attempting to establish and argue the logic in the idea of allowing the people to appeal through the use of a convention. However the paper then explains that it would be unworkable and quite contradictory to the proposed Constitution.
  • Federalist paper #51 was written by James Madison and published on Wednesday, February 6, 1788. It is one of the most famous among the Federalist Papers, federalist paper fifty one addresses means by which appropriate checks and balances can be created in government and also advocates a separation of powers within the national government. One of the most important narrated ideas in it is essay comes form this James Madison quote that hereby states that, "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition."
  • Federalist paper #68 was written by Alexander Hamilton and published on March 12, 1788, it was originally entitled "The Mode of Electing the President," thus it can be inferred by the quote prior that the argument made in this essay by Hamilton expresses his idea of a more defined process for selecting the Chief Executive of the United States of America. Hamilton sought to exert influence over the Constitutional Convention so that his thoughts of selecting a president could be ratified and did this by drafting what would become the United States Constitution.
  • Federalist paper #70 is an essay by Alexander Hamilton and was published on March 15, 1788. The essay was originally released has follows, "The Executive Department Further Considered", This particular essay of the federalist papers is the fourth in a series of essays discussing the powers and limitations of the Executive branch of the government. Hamilton argues in the essay that a plural executive branch, having more than one president, a quote from the essay read has follows "tends to conceal faults, and destroy responsibility" furthermore, the essay also states that a singular president, would need to be better be suited to wield the full potential of his power in a quick and efficient way.
  • Federalist paper #72 is an essay by Alexander Hamilton and was published on March 19, 1788. In this Federalist paper Alexander Hamilton argues that re-eligibility is essential to presidential or executive power. He believed that the executive power of the Presidency must and always attract the most ambitious individuals. And thus re-eligibility must be ensured and that they would not attempt to extend their term in office unconstitutionally
  • Federalist paper #78 is an essay by Alexander Hamilton,The essay was published on May 28, in the year of 1788 and first appeared in a newspaper the Federalist paper of seventy eight was originally entitled as, "The Judiciary Department." Where most of the contemporary readers at the time would have seen and read it. It was written to justify the structure of the judiciary system under the proposed Constitution of the United States. In particular, and it addresses, that by the Anti-Federalists over the scope and power would make a joke of the federal judiciary.
  • Federalist paper #84 is an essay written by Alexander Hamilton, it was published on July 16, July 26, and August 9, 1788. Entitled "Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Considered and Answered”. also federalist paper eighty four is notable for presenting the idea that a Bill of Rights was not a necessary component of the proposed United States Constitution. The United States Constitution, when originally written, did not specifically protect the rights of the people. It is alleged that many Americans at the time opposed the inclusion of a bill of rights because of its foreign nature.

Arguments of the Federalists

  1. Both James Madison and Alexander Hamilton expressed their heavy reservations about Thomas Jefferson's, George Mason's and several others insistence that the Constitution be amended by the Bill of Rights. And It wasn't because they had little concern with guarantees of liberty, it was actually quite to the contrary they were concerned about the loss of liberties.
  2. The separation church and states and the ratification of three branches of government would to more evenly distribute power.
  3. A. Hamilton's argument about the federalist paper was that Congress can only do what the Constitution specifically gives it authority to do and Powers not granted to government belong to the people and the states. Alexander Hamilton also argued that a Bill of Rights would "contain various exceptions to powers not granted”.
  4. The documents currently in place gave the national government too much power at the expense of the states—especially the power to tax and make war—privileged landholding aristocrats, and created a virtual monarchy in the presidency, a feigned democracy if you will.
  5. Federalists argued that it would be better to list none of the the rights since the untied stated couldn't protect them all and that it is dangerous to list them since they would only protect those specific rights.

Background on the anti-federalists

  • The Anti-Federalism/Anti-Federalists movement refers to a group movement that opposed the ratification of a stronger U.S. federal government and subsequently later opposed the ratification of the Constitution of 1787.

The Strongest arguments of the Anti-Federalists

  1. One of their main arguments was that new ratification of The Constitution gave the federal government too much power and the people weren't represented by it.
  2. They also argued that there was no Bill of Rights in the Constitution, and the people's rights must be written down to be guaranteed.
  3. There were also some other, less pressing arguments that were brought up, such as the ratification process, which only took 9 out of 13 had to ratify, and some thought all 13 states should have to ratify for the Constitution to go into effect.
  4. Also, some didn't like the fact that there was not any mention of God in the Constitution. Though many of the representatives were angry that their's and other states couldn't print their own money.
  5. They felt strong discontent about going back to a strong central government because if the government got too strong it could become a monarchy,thus causing rebellions since they had just gotten out of one.
  6. The previous constitution had been called the Articles of Confederation, and gave state governments more authority thus the the revisions to the constitution got Anti-Federalists worried, among other things they also argued that the position of president might eventually evolve into a monarchy much like Britain.
  7. The Anti-Federalists were composed of diverse elements, in conjunction with those protesting the Constitution because they thought that a stronger national government threatened the sovereignty and prestige of the states, localities, and individuals included in that nation. Also those that claimed a new centralized, power disguised as "monarchic" that would only replace the despotism of Great Britain with the government.


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