Read The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton James Madison John Jay Online


The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles encouraging the ratification of the United States Constitution. The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution, as they outline the philosophy and motivation for the proposed system of government. Hamilton, Madison and Jay wanted to encourage the ratification and also set the standardThe Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles encouraging the ratification of the United States Constitution. The Federalist Papers serve as a primary source for interpretation of the Constitution, as they outline the philosophy and motivation for the proposed system of government. Hamilton, Madison and Jay wanted to encourage the ratification and also set the standards for future interpretation of the Constitution. This book is essential for understanding the beginnings of the greatest democracy in the modern world....

Title : The Federalist Papers
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ISBN : 11016556
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 284 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Federalist Papers Reviews

  • Seth
    2019-01-19 07:29

    Read the Federalist Papers. Then, just for kicks, switch on Hannity & Colmes, or Crossfire, or read USA Today... and then ask yourself, WHAT THE FUCKING CHRIST HAPPENED TO THIS COUNTRY? Then crawl into a corner and whimper for eight hours straight. (That's what I did.)

  • Ally
    2019-01-13 04:48

    Praise God I'm an American. One should not be able to graduate public high schools without mastery of Basic Economics & The Federalist Papers.

  • Karen Chung
    2019-01-01 06:38

    With all the talk in political discourse these days about "what the US Founding Fathers intended", I felt it was time to go straight to the source. If you've ever had similar thoughts, this is the place to start. This work is long - around 22 hours of Librivox audio - and written in archaic, ornate English. But anyone reading it will be immediately impressed by its scholarship and depth. It also gives a clear picture of what said Founding Fathers were up against - unbridled, often unprincipled, and outright rude opposition to pretty much every last bit of the Constitution at every turn. This series of essays was painstakingly written to try and convince the country that, while the new Constitution was not and could not be perfect, it was urgently needed to get the Union government functional, and that it was perhaps the best that could be done, given an imperfect world and us imperfect humans. The writers of the new Constitution were clearly trying their utmost to create a government and society as fair, conflict-free and well-functioning as they could manage. Interesting how slaves were reluctantly counted, in a compromise with the South, as having 3/5 the personhood of a free-born man. Really, every American, and anybody interested in how power, justice, and societies work, should read this carefully. It's left me a little tired, but happy and satisfied.

  • Roy Lotz
    2018-12-27 03:47

    Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without restraint.Like any educated American who hasn’t already read this book, this classic has long been on my reading list. Nevertheless, even amongst us haughty literati, I suspect that this book is a Mark Twain kind of classic—one that we wish to have read, but don’t look forward to actually reading. It certainly was that way for me. Philistine that I am, the idea of leafing through 500 pages of articles by this country’s founding fathers did not exactly give me goosebumps. I’m afraid that my fears were partially borne out by this book. It was not terribly pleasant. And if I am to be honest, I must shamefacedly admit that I often found these articles dreadfully dull. One obstacle to my reading pleasure simply came from the style of writing. These pieces were written in great haste, over the span of a year, by harried men who were not professional thinkers or writers. As a result, this book can often feel a bit haphazard and disorganized. Several papers seem as though they were dashed off between breakfast and lunch; the arguments tumble forward in a torrential outpouring of frenetic scribbling. The prose, too, was often cramped, bloated, and opaque:The circumstances of the body authorized to make the permanent appointments would, of course, have governed the modification of a power which related to the temporary appointments; and as the national Senate is the body whose situation is alone contemplated in the clause upon which the suggestion under examination has been founded, the vacancies to which it alludes can only be deemed to respect those officers in whose appointment that body has a concurrent agency with the President.Another disappointment was simply the method of argumentation. The words “probably” and “likely” do a great deal of work in these papers. The authors are constantly making light of certain possibilities and boldly predicting others. This rhetorical device is seldom convincing. Who knows what the future will bring? A related technique is to use what Dawkins calls the “argument from personal incredulity.” This is when an author says things like “It is impossible for me to believe,” or “I cannot even imagine this to be so,” and the like. Again, the author is using the seeming likelihood of a certain outcome as an argument; but unfortunately for us reality doesn't care what we find easy to believe, or what we think likely to happen. So because the arguments employed were not based on either philosophical principles or empirical data, I was often left cold. In fact, I was frequently reminded of a criticism Bertrand Russell made of St. Thomas Aquinas. Russell did not consider Aquinas to be a great philosopher because Aquinas began with his conclusions, which he got from Aristotle and the Bible, instead of following his logic wherever it led. Similarly, the authors of these papers started with their conclusion—that we should ratify the Constitution—and then grasped for arguments, like a lawyer defending his client. Of course, that’s the nature of propaganda; but it isn’t very intellectually stimulating.Aside from the writing and the rhetoric, a third barrier to a pleasant reading experience for me was simply the subject-matter. Many of these essays get into the nitty-gritty of the proposed administration. It often felt as if I were reading a proposal to reorganize a department at work rather than a book of political philosophy. I’m sure if I wasn’t such a troglodyte I would have gotten more out of these managerial niceties; but as I am still thoroughly lodged under a rock, I frequently found it impossible to focus. My eyes would get blurry; my brain would turn off; and I would read several pages on autopilot before realizing that I wasn’t absorbing a thing.Alright, so I’ve discussed all the negatives. But despite all I’ve said, I still think this book is well worth reading. Madison’s essays, in particular, were for me the real highlight, even though they only comprised about a third of this book. Compared with Hamilton, Madison is much more of a theorist. His famous Federalist No. 10 is as deep as anything in Montesquieu, Marx, Machiavelli, or any other political philosopher whose name starts with an M. What’s more, he struck me as more widely learned, often making reference to ancient history as illustrations. And to be fair, the indefatigable Hamilton, though often tiresome, is not without his moments of greatness. He at least possesses the merit of being diligent and thorough.Yet the real treat, I’d argue, is not reading the articles themselves, but reading the Constitution afterwards. By the time you get to the very end of The Federalist Papers, and turn to that slim founding document in the very back, you will have spent a dozen or more hours interpreting, defending, and exploring these 10 humble pages, tucked away like an appendix. Every sentence in the Constitution has been explained, clarified, and justified with excruciating care. And as a result, it was as if I was reading it for the first time—which is worth some literary boredom and headache, if you ask me.

  • Greg
    2018-12-24 08:35

    First, I'm going to begin with a bitch. THIS "BOOK" WAS NOT WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER HAMILTON. IT IS NOT A BOOK. IT IS A COMPILATION OF SEVERAL ESSAYS WRITTEN UNDER THE PSEUDONYM "PUBLIUS" AND THE AUTHOR(S) WERE ANONYMOUS FOR A LONG TIME.The true authorship of these was only known several years after the fact. And took several decades after the authors had been determined to finalize exactly who wrote what.Furthermore, virtually ever copy includes at least a copy of the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and (if you're very lucky) The Articles of confederation.None of the US foundational documents were conceivably written by Alexander Hamilton. However, he did write the vast majority of the Federalist Papers.There are hundreds of printings of this work. The copy I read well over 200 times (well, the first 30 of the federalists or so, anyway) was a deep red mass market paperback. I can't remember the publisher. There was a publisher that made all its mass market "classic" paperbacks in deep red for awhile. It had the lovely disintegrating acidic paper, and the binding was just starting to fall apart as I slugged the bottle of champagne and vowed to not read the work again until I was 30.Anyway, this is an incredible book if you're willing to read it well. That means at least one week for one paper. I'm not kidding. It benefits very much from close reading.All the hype is true, but reading it poorly makes it sound like pithy bullshit. Follow the terminology in the paper, and put together the relationships between all terms. Anyway, read it.

  • Stephen
    2019-01-16 06:49

    4.0 stars. One of the most important works of American political science and philosophy, this collection of arguments detailing the benefits and advantages of the federal system as envisioned by the founding fathers is a must read to understand the beginnings of the republic.

  • Stephen
    2019-01-18 02:52

    Wow...This book has completely transformed my views and understanding of our government. The US constitution make so much more sense now that I have read its defense. It's also interesting to read some of the outlandish arguments that were propagated against this ingenious document. Not much has changed in American politics over the centuries. Our media, pundits, and politicians still banter in much the same way today as they did back in the 1780's.I will admit that this book challenged me. The arguments were hard to comprehend at times and I really had to bear down in order to gain some understanding. I also spent roughly one quarter of my reading time looking up words in the dictionary. Makes me regret the time I spent in front of the television or video games instead of sharpening my mind. Keep in mind that the Federalist Papers were originally published as a series of essays in a New York newspaper. In comparison, I believe that much of today's news has been watered down for a society that has little patience for a real, thorough debate of substantial issues.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-14 05:44

    I don't know who's a bigger jackass: me, for never having so much as peeped at these, or the grownps at all the various schools I've attended, for not even once suggesting I should.Actually, that's a lie. I totally do know.

  • Taft Babbitt
    2019-01-12 03:43

    This is a must read for any American. It will make you think and ponder about the complexities that our Founding Fathers had to address when forming our government. Too many people today comment on what should change in our government structure not appreciating the immaculate architecture the Founders put in place. The government of the USA is one of the greatest achievements in mankind’s history. Not something to be tampered with lightly. This book should have a class all to itself in High School or College and be mandatory.

  • Hadrian
    2019-01-01 10:38

    Shameful that I hadn't marked this as read yet. Attached are some thoughts copied from my notes, some of which are not entirely relevant, but still.Post-Revolution, the colonies experimented with Articles of Confederation. Flawed, replaced by modern Constitution. History of Republics as derived from ancient Greece, then Rome -> England. Rome became Tyranny, although Republic was lauded as mixed government between Aristocracy, Monarchy, and Democracy. Same with England after the Glorious Revolution.US was not only republic - Venice as a mercantile aristocratic Republic. Dutch as ad hoc mercantile republic w/ Stadholder. Switzerland as federal canton system. US as special because it was a mixed government, but w/o monarchy, was large, expanding and heterogeneous. All others were small and isolated, as Montesquieu had stated would be necessary for a republic's survival. US definitely became a republic, although not quite a total democracy in modern sense, as women did not become franchised until 1900s, POCs in 1960s. Capitalist social strata - nation ruled by lawyers.Hamilton, Madison and Jay use some of the former as historical examples. Federal union as preventing interstate anarchy, as these states and colonies would have dubious chances of surviving on their won. Done so through mutual restraint, separation of powers, executive command of military, first seen through Strategos of ancient Athens. No state had hegemony over others, even the bigger ones such as New York or Virginia, hence federal union of states made more appealing.Federal government superseding and managing states would also be most efficient at economic governance, and managing the military against outside factors - Spanish, British, etc. Powers of taxation. Fear of despotism, individualist tendencies, self-rule. Idea of popular sovereignty, derived from people, versus Westphalian sovereignty of authority and power alone. Engaged democracy, derived from Rousseau. Constitutional crises led to one of main factors leading to civil war - sectionalism - the rights of states to continue slavery, South feeling threatened due to sudden expansion to the west of free states. #10 as major paper against worries of 'factionalism and insurrection'. History between founding of Philadelphian system to Civil War marred by controversy and three Great Compromises over slavery. Hence one of the great flaws of the system between state and federal rule, and over the great crime of slavery. Calhoun, Disquisition, pro-slavery, nullification. Webster, majority rule. But little exposition seen of Hamilton's old position by the 1850s. Civil War ending the constitutional crisis. Federal union finally dominant. Most productive Congress in years now that the South is gone.And so forth. These papers are old, but far from irrelevant.

  • John
    2019-01-09 08:45

    It's hard to rate a book like this. On the one hand, it's one of the foundational writings of American history; on the other hand, it's boring. Much of it is, anyway. Reading it seemed like such a good idea when I first picked it up at Barnes & Noble two or three years ago. I still think it's a book every American should read. I'm just glad I'm finished.I was encouraged by what emerged as the worldview of these authors, as in this excerpt from Federalist 37, written by James Madison, as he reflected on the forces that brought together the United States:"It is impossible, for the man of pious reflection, not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty Hand, which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution."And there's this response to spin from Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 36:"They can answer no other end than to cast a mist over the truth."Madison, Hamilton and John Jay had a robust vocabulary that would offer challenging words for any spelling bee. Among the words they used:nugatoryexcrescentapothegmmutabilityanimadversion

  • Christopher
    2018-12-23 10:29

    Don't let the 3 star rating mislead you. This is a brilliant summation of the Constitution by three of the smartest Founding Fathers: Alexander Hamilton (first Secretary of the Treasury), James Madison (Father of the Constitution and fourth President of the U.S.), and John Jay (first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court). It is such a shame that there are so few political geniuses in government today. The breadth of their knowledge, particularly Madison's, boggles the mind. Except for the fact that they took the view that the Constitution didn't need a bill of rights (that was passed after the writing of these papers), you will find no better examination of the Constitution. But that is one of the problems with "The Federalist Papers," it examines the structure of the federal government in detail (brilliantly too), but most of today's Constitutional questions revolve around the amendments to the Constitution. So, if you were looking for the Founding Fathers' ideas about the meaning behind the second amendment, you better find a different book. The other problem with the book is that while the language is not archaic (yet), it is still difficult for the average reader to grasp. If you didn't get a high verbal score on the SATs, look for the version in modern English. So really, this is a great book to read for the serious political scientist, but the average reader should look for something easier or limit themselves to Papers 10 and 51.

  • Kelly
    2019-01-07 09:27

    During South by Southwest 2003, I saw a movie called The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The movie is about President Chavez in Venezuela and the failed coup attempt on his presidency. In the background coverage of his presidency, the filmmakers recounted how as President, he encouraged his citizens to read their brand new constitution and learn it. They interviewed some Venezuelans who did not know to read, but had learned to read by reading their constitution.[return][return]I was touched by this, but then I thought "how many Americans can say they've read the Constitution?" My guess is probably not many. And those that have only did it for school and have since forgotten much of what they learned. Personally, I remember having to memorize the Bill of Rights for a class, but that's about it.[return][return]In a time when Congress is passing legislation that infringes upon the rights guaranteed us by our Constitution, it's important now more than ever that we read and understand it. And the Federalist Papers are a great way to learn what the founders were thinking when shaping the Constitution and to learn the issues they were concerned about in the structure of our government.

  • Miss Clark
    2018-12-20 07:32

    Boring as all get out, practically put me to sleep and still I ended up liking this book. How could I not in some ways? It presents the arguments of three men, who if I certainly did not admire, can certainly respect their passionately held opinions and their hopes for what America could be. Also, it really helped me to better understand the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the historical context that resulted in some of the seemingly odd or unnecessary clauses and stipulations.And the sheer history of it! To understand that time and what people were concerned about. To think that hundreds and thousands of Americans read those same papers as they strove to chart the course of America's future and took them into account,as well as the Anti-Federalist papers (which I often lean toward). An important, if somewhat somnambulent, read for every American!

  • Hailey Hudson
    2019-01-15 08:43

    HAMILTON WROTE THE OTHER FIFTY-ONE[edit--I haven't actually read this book, I just felt like commenting that]

  • Patrice
    2019-01-03 05:54

    That I have not read this book before, that most of the people I know, including several lawyers, have never read the entire book, is an educational crime. I think it should be required reading in every high school.It is also very current. The issue of how strong a central government the US should have is still being debated daily. After reading this I think I come down a little on the side of the anti-federalists! I was surprised. But their worst predictions have come true. The federal government has grown in power beyond what even they imagined. Having just fought a war against an oppressive (British) governement I would have thought that they would have been more cautious. However, Hamilton grew up in the West Indies, I believe and I think that influenced his thinking. He seemed to want a government not so far from the British.But Madison was there to counter him, among others. I LOVE Madison. He feels much more "American" to me and what a brilliant mind. These were great philosophers. They were so well educated and understood all of the great ideas that had come before and created a country based on them. For the first time, a country was "created" based on ideas and principles. What a miracle. And yes, how exceptional America is.In the end I was reassured by the book. With all of the troubles, we have survived.Right now the nation seems to be in the Hamiltonian frame of mind. No fear of a huge and intrusive federal government. But thanks to the framers, mid term elections are on their way and things will hopefully swing us away from the direction in which things have been going.

  • Clif Hostetler
    2018-12-27 10:30

    The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 essays written in 1787 and 1788 to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. I found it to be the equivalent of reading a 600 paged legal brief written by an 18th century lawyer. Actually, that's exactly what it is. I found these lectures helpful in describing the debates that took place at the time these papers were written. I was impressed at the extent and variety of the arguments of "The Federalist Papers" in defending the proposed Constitution. I guess I can be thankful to live in a country where so much effort and care was put into forming the government.Here's my favorite quotation from The Federalist Papers:"Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob." — James Madison, Federalist No. 55 The following are copies of comments I made on our reading group's blog while reading The Federalist Papers. Posting them here without editing is easier that trying to write a review:Federalist No. 84Opposition to the Bill of RightsSince the Bill of Rights is considered very important to most Americans today, it is interesting to note the reasons why they were not included in the original constitution. 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. Lectures about Federalist and Anti-Federalist debate:Here's a link to information about twelve lectures about the Federalist Papers: No. 10Causes of factions and republican versus democratic governmentSome things I found of interest about No. 10 is that it mentions some to the causes of factions between citizens and discusses the differences between a democracy and a republic.I found the following quotation regarding disparity of wealth of particular interest in light of recent statistics showing that the disparity has become greater in recent years:”But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property.”Regarding democratic government, the following quotation is of interest:”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.”Note that “former” is referring to “republican” and “latter” is referring to "democratic" government.Free E-TextThe Library of Congress provides the Federalist Papers free as on-line e-text based on archives from Project Gutenberg from: Christopher Nov 12, 2011 10:13amI don't quite know what this amounts to:"as on-line e-text based on archives from Project Gutenberg.""Based on" seems to me to mean something like "created with the original as a starting point but different from the original." It seems to suggest that the Thomas version is different from the Gutenberg version. Is this the case? If so, what is the relationship of the Thomas text to the "original" Gutenberg text on which it is "based"? My Reply:If you go to the following link you will find a discussion of the fact that there are "many available versions of the papers."LINK TO DISCUSSION OF SOURCESI take this to mean that since multiple sources vary that some judgement is used by the compilers on what is made available for public downloading. Thus what the Library of Congress provides is what the scholars at Project Gutenberg have decided to make available. They have used the term "based on" to describe its source, and to explain why others may have a slightly different version.Questions and Answers about The Federalist PapersHere's A LINK to some interesting questions and answers about The Federalist Papers.Dates of When States Adopted the ConstitutionHere's A LINK to a listing of the dates that various states ratified the Constitution.Eleven of the thirteen States approved The Constitution by the summer of 1788. It's interesting to note that North Carolina did not enter the Union until Nov. 21, 1789 or a year later after the new government was well on its way. The first N.C. convention (July, 1788) refused, by a vote of 184 to 84, to ratify the Constitution because of the lack of a Bill of Rights and in the fear that the strong National government would in time overbear State authority.Rhode Island, which did not send delegates to the Constitutional Convention, was last of all by approving it on May 29, 1790, two years after the first eleven. By that time the new U.S.A. government began to deal with it as a foreign country and subjected it to taxes on its exports.How about the Anti-Federalist?In case you'd like the see the other side of the debate, the following is a link to a collection of the Anti-Federalist Papers:'s interesting to note that many of the very dire predictions made by the Anti-federalists have proven correct, although some took longer than others for their realization. On the other hand, if the Constitution had not been adopted the dire predicted consequences made by the Federalists would have probably been proven correct.Why were pseudonyms used?Here's LINK TO A LIST of pseudonyms used in the American constitutional debates. I can find no rational explanation why everybody (both Federalists and Anti-Federalists) used pseudonyms. Apparently it was simply established practice in the 18th and 19th centuries for political articles to be signed with pseudonyms. Since our book group has read "Plutarch's Lives," we are already familiar with Publius Valerius Publicola after which the Pseudonym "Plublius" was taken by Hamilton, Madison and Jay.Did the Federalists believe that the States had the right to secede?A little-known fact of the Constitution is that two of the largest states -- Virginia and New York -- made the right to withdraw from the union explicit in their acceptance of the Constitution. -Source-Also, Alexander Hamilton in paper 28 appeals to what he calls in his words “that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government and against the usurpation of the national rulers may be exerted by the states.” And then in paper 60 Hamilton refers to, “an immediate revolt of the great body of the people headed and directed by the state governments,” as the means of checking the central government. And in civil war or revolutionary language with a similar meaning is found in Madison’s later restatement of his claim that the states have a checking power over the national government. As Madison puts it in paper 46, “Ambitious encroachments of the federal government on the authority of the state governments would not excite the opposition of a single state or of a few states only, they would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened, plans of resistance would be concerted,” he says.The Madisonian RepublicThe following is a link to an edited excerpt from Lecture 7 “The Madisonian Republic” by Thomas L. Pangle, published as part of the series, “Great Debate: Advocates and Opponents of the American Constitution,” published by The Teaching Company.LINK TO LECTURE 7 TRANSCRIPTArgument over RepresentationThe following is a link to an edited excerpt from Lecture 8 “The Argument over Representation” by Thomas L. Pangle, published as part of the series, “Great Debate: Advocates and Opponents of the American Constitution,” published by The Teaching Company.LINK TO LECTURE 8 TRANSCRIPT

  • Debbie
    2018-12-21 05:54

    A must read.

  • Michael
    2019-01-17 08:56

    It's an understandable shame that more people don't want to read this. True, it's not all that entertaining. At times, it feels like reading the most boring parts of the Old Testament. It requires a lot from the reader. But it is such an important book to read in order to understand our government and why it was structured the way it was. And ultimately, it was structured the way it was in order to protect the people's liberties. Therefore, if we don't understand this, our liberties are at risk. And personally, I think that preserving our liberties is worth going through a few hundred pages of prose that is slightly less gripping than a Dan Brown novel. It only took me about a month to finish this book only reading it on one way of my subway trip every day. I don't think that that is too much to ask. Also, its unbelievable that it took 500 pages of explanation in order to get 11 pages of legislation (the Constitution) passed. The advocates for the Constitution left no stone unturned as they justified its adoption. These days, it seems like politicians are only willing to provide 11 pages of explanation to get 500 pages of legislation passed. They demand that our representatives vote on bills in order to get the chance to read them. We should learn something from the past and demand the same amount of explanation that our Founding Fathers demanded from Hamilton, Madison, and Jay.

  • Lisa
    2019-01-03 02:43

    I just finished this book after a long hiatus. It took me awhile to figure out a strategy for reading it, which for me turned out to be reading one chapter a day. Once I approached it that way, I found it to be fascinating, inspiring and eye-opening. Reading it now in the midst of so many debates about the proper role of each of the branches of government as they address domestic and international issues has been very interesting. The thoroughness of the analysis is very impressive. Madison, Jay and Hamilton had such a wealth of historical knowledge that they brought into their discussions, not just about the forms of various governments (ancient and contemporary), but how those forms played out in particular circumstances. One curious aspect of it though is a strange sort of naivete about the honesty and integrity of individuals who would be filling positions in government. Each of the authors goes to great lengths to describe the checks on less than admirable behavior, but at the same time argues that anyone called to any of these positions would have a certain nobility of character that would ensure acting in the best interests of all the people. Time has shown us over and over again that this is not the case. Even with that small contradictory element, I can't recommend this work more highly--I wish I had read it long ago, and would be interested in a reread of it with other folks.

  • Kar Wai Ng
    2019-01-20 07:37

    tl;dr: read papers #10 and #68 to understand how accurately the founders have predicted America today, yet despite all the ingenious systems they put in place, the Constitution was not able to prevent the Office of the President to 'fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications'.This is much like a 3.5 stars for it has a strong build-up of narration, but lacks the climatic ending one would have been waiting for, I am sorry to say -- despite the warnings, the feared outcome has been realised. The authors/framers have been visionary and accurate in envisioning the possible and insidious scenarios that will corrode the union (both under the Confederation and the then-upcoming Federal). At multiple points, the papers provide a brief walkthrough in history, where 'we may profit by their experience without paying the price which it cost them' -- and one would have thought that the posterity of the United States would have taken history lessons seriously. This is particularly resonating as a 2016 (post-election) read. It correctly predicted the main source of a divided nation, i.e. 'the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property', and the 'desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils', among others; and as such, the framers devised (and divided) the systems to contain mob rule, military tyrant, demagogue, usurpation of power within/between the governments etc. There are two key takeaways from this reading: (1) the 17th amendment and (2) Federalist Paper #68.(1) I was only made aware of 17th amendment halfway through the papers -- as it was becoming more and more curious that the description of the Senate is different from today. The entire government was drafted with the notion that the (federal) Senate is to be selected by State legislatures where Senators are sent to the Federal government as state representatives -- which makes sense as to why there will only be 2 Senators regardless of the size of the states. With the landscape changed, one should read the papers with regards to the legislature branch under two scenarios: the intended structure, and the current structure.(2) Paper 68 is a highlight, as Hamilton described the election of the POTUS using electoral college. It is now clear to me that the founders intended to add an insulated layer (the electoral college) to elect the POTUS, as a precaution to prevent mob rule (through direct election).P/s: if you are interested in benevolent dictatorship, paper #70 might interest you; the closest the founders wrote in favour of a strong executive to lead the nation.

  • Liss Capello
    2018-12-28 06:53

    This is the sort of book you read (or I read, anyway) because you think it'll be good for you, not because you expect it to be fun. Your literary lima beans, to better inform your understanding of American civics and provide insight into the motivations and thoughts of the much-referred-to-and-presumed-upon founding fathers. It's propaganda from the Federalist side of the movement, which is important to keep in mind, because although they won (we got this constitution ratified, yay!), and thereby established the government we have kept more or less intact to this day, their purpose in writing these was to justify the constitution and persuade others to join them in arguing for its adoption. Sometimes their arguments seem sketchy, or at least seem to glide over what might be legitimate complaints or counterarguments. However, in most cases, from a perspective 200+ years on, the things that seem to have been glaringly ill-conceived or missed are things that were either unthought-of at that period of time, or very difficult to conceive of when writing from the perspective of a nation that had just collectively risked everything in order to obtain liberty and franchise for its citizens. I feel certain that Alexander Hamilton and his contemporaries would have gaped in complete bewilderment at the prospect of a nation where only 1/3 of the citizens exercise their right to vote. Having just put their lives on the line, it would be literally unthinkable to them.To lightly touch on my actual reading experience, it's a dense, difficult read, in part because of the subject matter and in part because of the tone. Certain papers, particularly the ones that give elaborate and detailed lessons in ancient political systems of government (I'm looking at you, Madison) were particularly grueling. Many of the papers in the later half of the collection, however, proved insightful and very interesting, as they delved into the significance and arguments in favor of the particular structure of the various offices of the federal government. I treated this like a study assignment and demanded 4 papers a day from myself, allowing myself to read something fluffier with my remaining daily time, and that worked pretty well, although a few ultra-long papers still threw me off kilter.

  • Michael
    2019-01-04 06:53

    The Federalist Papers was a tough slog to get through, but, like mining for diamonds, it was worth it. There are no published records of the internal deliberations of the Founding Fathers in their development of the U.S. Constitution ---- the Federalist Papers is really our only intense summary of their thinking in why they put its various measures in it. With some input from John Jay, the Papers are overwhelmingly the product of two great men who would later be political opponents -- James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Nevertheless, on the Constitution, these two very different men came together, and crafted one of the greatest works in political thought. I think that, such as it is now, these United States are far from the Constitution --- due to modern developments of a constitutionally and economically ignorant citizenry; a craven, imperial President; a cowardly, short-sighted, selfish Congress; and last and, perhaps, most lethally, a Federal Court system that is out of touch, arrogant, politically active and ideological, unaccountable, constitutionally ignorant, and usurping of the power of legislation properly belonging to Congress. I don't think that the Papers are for the average reader. They are written largely in 18th Century terminology, but, even for their times, seem intended for a highly educated, well-informed audience. However, every law student and every judge should demonstrate mastery and understanding of them. Moreover, no politician aspiring to high federal office has any business in such unless they have read and understand the Federalist Papers in my opinion. They are the source code of our Federal Republic, and the ignorance of the body politic and of the courts are sending America on the road to damnation.

  • James
    2019-01-13 02:51

    It took me forever to get through this book—partly because I took extensive notes—but it was worth it.Hamilton, Madison and Jay wrote this series of esseys in defence of the U.S. Constitution, and it's a fantastic look at the philosophical insight that went into forming that document and structuring our government. They provide ideological support to show that the intent behind each decision was right. And they provide historical support to show that the logic behind each decision was sound. A good idea didn't just need a good motivation—it lso needed to actually work. ...I wish today's politicians were required to provide such compresenhive rational for their own decisions.The papers arn't perfect, of course. Hamilton comes across as condescending and arrogant, and the paper about the "partial personhood" of African Americans is deeply disturbing.But there are some timeless lines about the importance of individual liberty, the necessity of structure and the need for reins on power. And these papers will continue to be a reference for interpreting the Constitution and an example of what political discourse should look like into the future.I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, because it's dense. But if you're interested in government and liberty, there's a lot good to be found here.

  • Yogy TheBear
    2018-12-28 07:30

    As a non American I must say this was very good and interesting, the language was a little hard but not imposible for the able reader.I must say that the US is a lucky country !! It was borned out of a revolution but it was build in time of peace ! The people who build it were all educated and well read in history and politics, and the population of the States of those times were also very educated and smart !!The succes of this model of Guv is evident from the fact that it was coppied by many nations after it's formation !! The present idea of the modern state is actualy present in this pappers. The only problems with the countries that copied the US gov is that they did not understood what they copied and took bits and pices and alterated it to "suit" the coresponding national particularities...And this usualy resultated in a serrious disfunctional state...They should have read the Federalist Papers not just copy the Us constitution !!It may not be perfect what the Founding Fathers have created, the defects I am eager to examine in the famous Anti Federalist Papers, but it still stands as a marvolous system of guverment for a free country !!

  • Jeremy
    2019-01-17 07:42

    I think a lot of this is going to seem really obvious if you're an American who payed even a little bit of attention in your high school civics class, it's in the federalist papers that you really get the meat of the arguements for the structure and function of the Constitution. I guess I found it hard to get anything really new out of these, but that's probably because things like "checks and balances," " bi-cameral legislature," and "no ex-post facto" are already such well worn pieces of American political vocabulary. It's obviously an important body of writing since it more or less made the case for why the articles of confederation had to be scrapped for something stronger.And since Hamilton, Jay and Madison were actually trying to convince people, the writing style is very clear and concise. Also, it's a good thing to throw back into the face of stupid demagogues who go around screaming about how no one reads the constitution anymore.

  • Jeff
    2019-01-01 07:52

    I feel the need to be excessively verbose after spending several months on this cherished piece of US history. I couldn't help but wonder who took the time to read this in the eighteenth century, especially when the entire collection was first published in one volume! It was interesting to witness the different styles of the three writers known together as Publius. Hamilton especially could get quite passionate. At times entertaining, at times mundane; sometimes courteous and sometimes rude; The Federalist Papers, for me, did what the writers set out to do. Don't expect this to read like a book--it's not a story, but a collection of essays. Their creation must have been an "arduous enterprise," and in its incredible size and detail, proved how desperate the new nation was to move beyond the feckless Articles of Confederation.

  • Jeff Shelnutt
    2019-01-20 08:30

    We live in a time in history when the individual can't afford to be uninformed. If you want to know foundational American political philosophy, start with the Constitution and the Federalists Papers. Not only does this book give crucial insight into a timeless debate, but it draws the modern reader into keeping up with the intricate prose and penetrating analysis that characterized the writing style of the era. It should be required reading in every high school. I'm sure it was at one time.

  • Erik Graff
    2019-01-02 03:30

    The Federalist Papers, this very edition, were required reading for the U.S. History and Government course mandated for all students during their junior year at Maine Twp. H.S. South in Park Ridge, Illinois, along with such documents as The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, The Constitution of the United States of America, etc. The Constitution had, of course, also been required in junior high school along with that of the State of Illinois, but I much preferred the level of discussion in high school.

  • Szplug
    2019-01-19 10:53

    Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: Is there, anywhere, a higher quality discussion about the practicalities, implementation, and possible outcomes of various federal republican and democratic systems than in The Federalist Papers? I don't think so. Could three (OK, mostly two) people generate such intellectually stimulating, elegantly phrased, and thoughtfulness-inundated prose - such as would still enthrall readers several centuries after its date of composition - in today's political atmosphere? I don't think so.