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".
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.
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).
- Roman numeral MDCCLXXXVIII totals as MDCC=1700 + LXXX=80 + VIII=8 or 1788.