Federalist Papers

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Title page of The Federalist as a book publishing the essays in 1788 (note Roman numeral at bottom of page, year: MDCCLXXXVIII).[1]

The Federalist Papers were a series of articles published anonymously in a New York newspaper during 1787-1788 to encourage New York to ratify the U.S. Constitution. They were also collected as a book titled "The Federalist" published as 2 volumes in 1788 (see image) and reprinted in later years. These articles, 51 by Alexander Hamilton, 29 by James Madison and 5 by John Jay, are often used today in interpreting the Constitution. All three authors wrote the articles under the pen name "Publius".

A portion of the articles are undated, while the dated ones range from November 20, 1787 to April 4, 1788. Originally, they were numbered with Roman numerals but later reprinted with Arabic numerals.

The most famous article is Federalist No. 10 by James Madison, where he argues that a union of the States will better combat factions, even factions within an individual State.

In Federalist No. 78 by Alexander Hamilton, he explained why the federal judiciary should always be the "least dangerous" branch.

The full text of the Federalist Papers are available online.[2]


There were several major influences stated in the Federalist. Among them John Locke(Federalist 2), Montesquieu(Fed. 47), and important English works such as the Magna Carta, The Petition of Right, and the English Bill of Rights(Fed. 84).


  1. Roman numeral MDCCLXXXVIII totals as MDCC=1700 + LXXX=80 + VIII=8 or 1788.
  2. http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/

External links