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The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics; 1St Edition edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451528816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451528810
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) was born in the West Indies and served during the War of Independence as a captain. His military brilliance was recognized, and he was sent on several important military commissions. He was George Washington’s secretary and aide-de-camp and in 1787 become a Member of the Constitutional Convention. From 1789 to 1795 he was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and in 1801 he held the casting vote against Burr and for Jefferson. He fought a duel with Burr and died the next day.
James Madison (1751-1836) was the fourth President of the United States and become known as the ‘father’ of the Constitution because of his influence in planning it and drawing up the Bill of Rights. He was Secretary of State under Jefferson, and his main achievement in this role was the purchase of Louisiana from the French. He lived in Montpelier, Virginia, for eighty-five years, two of which he spent on the governor’s council. He was elected President in 1809 and again in 1812. During his terms in office he worked to abolish slavery, to disestablish the Church and to seek peace, although under his command the war against Britain resulted in a U.S. triumph.
John Jay (1745-1829) served the new nation in both law and diplomacy and established important judicial precedents as first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A New York attorney from 1768, he won a wide reputation with The Address to the People of Great Britain, which stated the claims of the colonists. He did not sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776 but helped to ensure its approval in New York. In 1789 he was appointed the first U.S. Chief Justice and shaped the Supreme Court procedures. The Jay Treaty of 1794 with Great Britain made him unpopular, and his hopes of succeeding Washington as President faded. After a spell as Governor of New York he retired to a farm, where he spent twenty-seven uneventful years.

Customer Reviews

This book should be required reading for every high school graduate.
Sareinhart
The Federalist Papers are rightly considered one of the most authoritative explanations of the provisions of the Constitution in existence.
John C. Mckee
The new edition of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS edited by Clinton Rossiter and co. is probably the best paperback edition.
James E. Egolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

596 of 608 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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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By C. Baker VINE VOICE on July 10, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Federalist Papers is probably the most seminal discourse on the U.S. Constitution that has ever been written. While there are occasional inconsistencies and undoubtedly many of the founding fathers that took part in the Constitutional Convention and favored adoption of the Constitution would disagree with some of its contents, it is vital reading if one hopes to understand the original intent of the founders.
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74 of 79 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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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Charles McVey on August 2, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Before the ratification of the Constitution of 1787, three of its Framers, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, published a series of articles called The Federalist in a New York paper under the pen name of "Publius." These articles are now published as The Federalist Papers. Publius' intent was to defend the proposed Constitution by explaining its overall integrity and the republican government it would establish. Ironically, one of Publius' intents was to defend the Constitution against the argument it was too weak to withstand those who would subvert republicanism in favor of some form of aristocratic domination.

Sadly, not many read this work, despite the fact that it is one of the few documents that define what the founders' intent really was. This omission has not stopped many from espousing their (lack of) knowledge of that intent. The casual reader can be put off by the size of the work, 85 articles, and the seriousness of the articles. This work was intended for serous people. However, one can approach it with a pen and yellow highlighter and LEARN its wisdom or the more casual reader can let the Introduction guide them to the pieces that interest them.

These casual readers will learn The Federalist Papers are divided into two divisions, each with different themes. The first division addresses the issue of a "firm" and "well-constructed" Union as opposed to a lose confederation of states. This division then addresses how the constitution is protected from the founders' anticipated accidental and intentional threats and answers: what the respective purposes of the Union and the Constitution are; what should be done with society's will; the problem of politics; and even the issues of taxes and maintaining an army.
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