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The Federalist Papers

4.4 out of 5 stars 638 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1936594405
ISBN-10: 1936594404
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren ... should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties." So wrote John Jay, one of the revolutionary authors of The Federalist Papers, arguing that if the United States was truly to be a single nation, its leaders would have to agree on universally binding rules of governance--in short, a constitution. In a brilliant set of essays, Jay and his colleagues Alexander Hamilton and James Madison explored in minute detail the implications of establishing a kind of rule that would engage as many citizens as possible and that would include a system of checks and balances. Their arguments proved successful in the end, and The Federalist Papers stand as key documents in the founding of the United States. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Review

Admirable introduction...Oxford University Press is to be congratulated on adding it to its collection of World's Classics. Howard Temperley, TLS --Howard Temperley, TLS
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Tribeca Books (December 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936594404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936594405
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (638 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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