‘A nation without a national government is an awful spectacle.’
In the winter of 1787-8 a series of eighty-five essays appeared in the New York press; the purpose of the essays was to persuade the citizens of New York State to ratify the Constitution of the United States. The three authors – Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay – were respectively the first Secretary of the Treasury, the fourth President, and the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in American history. Each had played a crucial role in the events of the American Revolution;
together they were convinced of the need to weld thirteen disparate and newly-independent states into a union. Their essays make the case for a new and united nation, governed under a written Constitution that endures to this day.
The Federalist Papers are an indispensable guide to the intentions of the founding fathers who created the United States, and a canonical text in the development of western political thought. This new edition pays full attention to the classical learning of their authors and the historical examples they deploy.
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