Federalist No. 40

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James Madison

Federalist No. 40, authored by James Madison under the pen name Publius, is the fortieth of 85 essays. Titled "The Powers of the Convention to Form a Mixed Government Examined and Sustained", Madison explains the authority of the Constitutional Convention to create a new government. He concludes the paper as follows:

The sum of what has been here advanced and proved is, that the charge against the convention of exceeding their powers, except in one instance little urged by the objectors, has no foundation to support it; that if they had exceeded their powers, they were not only warranted, but required, as the confidential servants of their country, by the circumstances in which they were placed, to exercise the liberty which they assume; and that finally, if they had violated both their powers and their obligations, in proposing a Constitution, this ought nevertheless to be embraced, if it be calculated to accomplish the views and happiness of the people of America. How far this character is due to the Constitution, is the subject under investigation.

It was published on January 18, 1788.

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