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The Federalist: A Commentary on the Constitution of the United States (Modern Library Classics) Paperback – September 11, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0375757860 ISBN-10: 0375757864

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (September 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375757864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375757860
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (441 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #662,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The work known as The Federalist was initially published as newspaper installations throughout 1787 and 1788. The "Gideon" edition was published in 1818 and includes corrections to earlier editions by James Madison and Hamilton. This version includes those texts plus a new introduction, notes, a glossary, and the complete Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, and U.S. Constitution with cross references. A high-quality, scholarly edition for a great price.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"The best commentary on the principles of government which was ever written."
--Thomas Jefferson

Customer Reviews

This is the best edition of the Federalist Papers.
Chitown Reader
All in all, this is one of the best book bargains on the market, that rare coincidence where best edition meets mass-market paperback.
Stephen
Yet, this political writing is the very best American political thinking in U.S. History.
James E. Egolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

619 of 631 people found the following review helpful By James E. Egolf VINE VOICE on April 16, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The new edition of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS edited by Clinton Rossiter and co. is probably the best paperback edition. Rossiter and Charles Kesler did a good job in presenting these papers, and their explanations and notes make this book clear for readers. THE FEDERALIST PAPERS alone are an important source of serious political thinking. In an age of almost unbridled political power, corruption, empire buidling, etc. THE FEDERALIST PAPERS are important reminder of what a Free Republic (not an empire) should be.

THE FEDERALIST PAPERS were written by Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), John Jay (1745-1829), and James Madison (1751-1835). Due to concerns about the New York State legislators ratifying the The U.S. Constitution, these papers were journal pieces written to New York journals and newspapers to convince both the residents and state legislators to ratify The U.S. Constitution. One should note there were other published articles supporting ratification of The U.S. Constitution and other articles can be read in a text titled FRIENDS OF THE CONSTITUTION.

What is alarming about THE FEDERALISTS PAPERS is that they were written for most readers. If one were to write such articles these days, most Americans would not read them nor comprehend them. This is a sad commentary on Americans regarding serious political writing regarding their birthright. If THE FEDERALIST PAPERS were assigned to high school kids, whoever would make such an assignment would be fired or worse.

THE FEDERALIST PAPERS give important explanations of the separation of powers, limits of each branch of the central government (The Federal Government), and how political power should be used within severe limitations. These articles were a brilliant attempt to mitigate fears that The U.S.
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195 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Stephen on November 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
and the Mentor Federalist Papers keep getting better. Yes, that's right. They actually managed to improve on it. The great new additions include the Declaration, the Articles, and an excellent new introduction by Charles Kessler. I think the killer feature for new readers will be the notes in the back, which, if you (like me) are shaky in your Greek history (and the finer points of European), do a great job of explaining allusions and references by the Papers. Be sure to use this feature -- there's no indication in the text that a note exists, but you should just look if you're unsure of a historical setting (or something similar), and there probably will be one.
On the minus side, I do miss Rossiter's introduction. It wasn't as good for laying out the plan of the work, but it should have been included (along with Kessler's) for its excellent overview of the contemporary situation and the philosophy behind the papers. Also, I feel that Rossiter's contents were slightly better than Kessler's. And, the page numbers are changed, invalidating older references to them. But all in all it's an improvement, and certainly the Mentor edition is the only one to have. Period. It's the one used by at least some of the Supreme Court Justices, and it retains that single dominating feature, Rossiter's cross-referenced Constitution (and index of ideas).
As for the Papers themselves, of course, they need no review. They are the first and ultimate Constitutional commentary, and fascinating reading besides. As literature they stand out for the exceptional style (all the more remarkable considering the haste in which they were written) and clear thinking, and more than any other book they define how the U.S. _should_ work.
All in all, this is one of the best book bargains on the market, that rare coincidence where best edition meets mass-market paperback. What are you waiting for?
-Stephen
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103 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Chitown Reader VINE VOICE on May 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the best edition of the Federalist Papers. It includes many extras, but especially useful is the text of the US Constitution with cross-references to specific pages of the Federalist Papers referring to that provision. I highly recommend the Federalist Papers generally, and more specifically this edition to anyone wishing to know more about the founding and ratification of the Constitution.
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82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Christian Thoma on August 24, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the reviewers below challenges the notion that the US was ever a Democracy, however, he (apologies if it's a 'she') is viewing the Federalist Papers from the perspective of modern times, and that is a fallacy in reviewing this work, but fortunately it's an instructive fallacy.

The issue with the Federalist Papers is that although it is the leading arguments for the creation of a more centralized government (to replace the Articles of Confederation which seemed inpractible), not all of these arguments were adopted in the Constitution, and some that were did not survive very long. As a result, you may get the wrong impression that the Federalist Papers=the Constitution. Remember, Hamilton's party, the Federalists, did not survive much longer after the defeat of Adams by Jefferson in the 1800 election. The populism of Jefferson and Madison were the ultimate winners *at the time*.

And my *at the time* comment is important. Nowadays the federal government of the US holds a superior and decisive position in the governing of its people; this has not always been the case. In the early-to-mid 19th century, federal power was severely limited when it came to internal affairs; most of the government was conducted at the local level, with some county and state control thrown in where applicable. So *at the time*, the fact that the Senate had 2 members from each state (and appointed by the state legislature) regardless of population was *not* a measure that was anti-democratic in purpose. Democracy existed because the government was predominantly local and the people were predominantly involved in its affairs.
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The Federalist: A Commentary on the Constitution of the United States (Modern Library Classics)
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