The original federalist papers are nearly lost in evolving language. The original writer's word usage, phraseology and general grammar are less clear in many instances than that of other founding documents. These can ramble. In the 21st century, they must be `translated/interpreted' for the reader like an ancient text.
Step back from the hyperbole and consider the originals in their text: 1. The language is obtuse in the 21st century. Language evolves rapidly in every dimension over 250 years. Language changes in significant ways between generations.
2. Webster's dictionary attempted to codify American English only in 1828. Webster's 'A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language', appeared in 1806 in the earliest attempt to standardize spelling. What % of the 21st century public would even know what a "Compendious" might be? None of Webster's effort to normalize English was in operation when the papers were written.
3. The federalist papers were written under pseudonyms in a rancorous political environment and attempted to elucidate high political, nearly utopian concept as free of politics as might be rendered from 1787-1788. There was limited, regional, common agreement on critical language terms among the 13 independent states, North to South and trust was lacking and overcompensated with abundant words. The various papers objectives was to establish an anonymous source structure to pull the wholly divergent southern and northern colonies into cohesion. The 85 papers were unbounded by linguistic convention and with words that often have diametric definitional usage in the 21st century.
4. 13 colonies, 13 micro-economies, 13 divergent global and domestic `customers', the whole of the 13 was driven by the imagined lucrative economics of the slave south and the embryonic manufacturing north. The North wasn't contributing economically on a southern scale, 13 colonies were each long anchored to specific British colonial ends for economic, religious, ethnic, and lordly landholder purposes. There simply was little other than `Western Hemisphere' and `mostly ex-British' to knit the 13 together. The Brits saw no unification profit, kept the colonies politically apart using 13 colonial governors to supervise royal profits as direct reports to the king.
5. There seems a better argument that 2, maybe 4 countries should emerge from out the 13. There's really no good reason that 13 new countries didn't emerge to be a European-like geography.
6. Tiny seaboard locked DE signed on to the constitution (30-0). NY barely joined by 3 votes and RI by 2 votes and MA by only 5%. It turned out that the North might have preferred a country without the South which meant 2 countries at least. The curious story behind the story is that in the 21st century lingo, it was raw racism. NY, MA & RI could not stand the partial slave headcount ... they wanted slaves to be non-people fearing the higher Southern populations would control the Fed even with the fractional-person compromise.
I've read all 85, or at last attempted to read all 85 several times before. They are obscure linguistic tomes to be honest and frustratingly difficult or even irrelevant in modern context.
I've tried (over 30 some years):
1. A straight numeric read - it presents iffy relevance from time and place soirees into irrelevance. Don't waste your time reading 1 thru 85. You'll die from boredom with the 5000 piece puzzle. 2. A reading by attributed author provides a peek at the author's worldview. But, that's not the whole of the `Papers'. 3. I rather reject that all 85 are material and worthy of the time to fumble through them. For at least 12, extrapolating the tenet beyond an insular rural, slave, Indian country is not all that creative and consigns the status quo in perpetuity. I can't draw a mental image of what was desired in some. You have to deep dive other history to understand the picayune issues.
Whoever ghost wrote this book for Beck did a good job assigning 7 superordinate arguments to the total:
1. The opportunity to create a wholly new order of consensual governance 2. Individual necessity to compromise 3. A `Republic' as difficult to retain as any form of governance ever undertaken in history 4. Balance of power 5. Minimum Federal, Maximum State rights (consistent with the desires of the majority of free colonies to compromise in a single agreement). Argue for why any Fed at all. 6. Taxation with representation 7. Strikingly, there are only 2 papers stridently `truth, justice and American way'.
In comparison to my previous attempts to `translate' the old Federalists, Beck's presentation makes cohesive sense.
The counter arguments from some reviewers here is `read them all' is a sort of a penury argument. The books writings are too obscure to the modern vernacular. Or, claims that this `book is bogus' cannot be forwarded without a rationale anchored in academic nuance of the papers in time and place. The general notion of significant states-rights and mini-fed is overwhelmingly obvious as the only solution that could result in the unanimous consent required for the US Constitution.
Maybe 50% of the Federalist papers are dead end ideas but they were written. Maybe 50% are good/interesting reading for the roots of that which was incorporated in the Constitution.
For this reader, this books attempt to render 'meaning' out of 'obscurity' is pretty dang good. If one considers in the last 100 years that out of 500,000 applications to the SCOTUS, we have 10,000 opinions of which <300 ref the Federalists (and that's since 1798), it's a .1% event that brings them to factor in modern constitutional law.
Excellent book that takes the Federalists Papers and explains them. The idea of America was based on the information contained in these papers. It is important that we understand how our county began so we can repair the damage to our Constitution and put America back on the correct path to freedom.