The Federalist (Barnes & Noble Classics)

The Federalist (Barnes & Noble Classics)

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay

Language: English

Pages: 367

ISBN: 1781397481

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Federalist, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classic series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras.

A classic of American political thought, The Federalist is a series of eighty-five essays by three authors— Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay —the purpose of which was to gain support for the proposed new Constitution of the United States, a document that many considered too radical. Most of the “papers” were published in periodicals as the vote on approving it drew near. Without the support of these powerfully persuasive essays, the Constitution most likely would not have been ratified and America might not have survived as a nation.

Beginning with an assault upon the country’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, the authors of The Federalist present a masterly defense of the new system. Hamilton, Madison, and Jay—three of our most influential founders—comment brilliantly on issue after issue, whether it be the proper size and scope of government, taxation, or impeachment. Today lawmakers and politicians frequently invoke these commentaries, more than 200 years after they first appeared.

Written in haste and during a time of great crisis in the new American government, the articles were not expected to achieve immortality. Today, however, many historians consider The Federalist as the third most important political document in American history, just behind the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself. They have become the benchmark of American political philosophy, and the best explanation of what the Founding Fathers were trying to achieve.

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warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments;

they must descend to the level from which they were raised; there forever to remain unless a faithful discharge of their trust shall have established their title to a renewal of it. I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. This has always been deemed one of the

the same conclusion in respect to the constitutions of most of the other States. If it should be said that defects in the State constitutions furnish no apology for those which are to be found in the plan proposed, I answer that as the former have never been thought chargeable with inattention to the security of liberty, where the imputations thrown on the latter can be shown to be applicable to them also, the presumption is that they are rather the cavilling refinements of a predetermined

the laws, and that wherever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the Constitution. But this doctrine is not deducible from any circumstance peculiar to the plan of convention, but from the general theory of a limited Constitution; and as far as it is true is equally applicable to most if not all the State governments. There can be no objection, therefore, on this account to the federal judicature which will not lie against the local judicatures in general, and which

borderers; that they would neither love nor trust one another, but on the contrary would be a prey to discord, jealousy, and mutual injuries; in short, that they would place us exactly in the situations in when some nations doubtless wish to see us, viz., formidable only to each other. From these considerations it appears that those persons are greatly mistaken who suppose that alliances offensive and defensive might be formed between these confederacies, and would produce that combination and

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