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In September 1787, a series of persuasive and skillfully argued essays began appearing in New York newspapers urging approval of the newly drafted Constitution of the United States, the ratification of which was being hotly debated in state legislatures. Most of these essays bore the mysterious signature of a certain "Publius," later revealed to be the collective nom de plume of Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. By May 1788, a total of eighty-five articles had been published and they were then collected in a book entitled The Federalist.
Through clear, logical exposition and elegant language, The Federalist essays made a forceful case for strong, representative federal government as defined by the Constitution. Hamilton, Jay, and Madison argued that to protect itself against foreign threat and domestic strife the United States needed a unifying federal government to look after the interests of the new nation as a whole. They also emphasized the importance of federal government for maintaining an efficient and healthy economic system, and they exposed the obvious inadequacies of the much weaker Articles of Confederation, which the Constitution was designed to replace.
Today historians rank The Federalist among our nation's most important historical documents. These fascinating essays bring to life the political drama surrounding the ratification of the Constitution, while providing insights into the minds of some of America's greatest political thinkers and their interpretation of America's founding charter. This edition includes the complete text of the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, along with a highly detailed index.
The Federalist Papers are by far the most significant resource for historical argument in construing the U.S. Constitution. J. R. Pole has given us a new edition that winningly combines his exceptional mastery of the politics of the Federalist period with an acute appreciation of the historical and philosophical background of the Papers. In crisp, lucid English prose he provides guidance for students--including lawyers, journalists, and judges--who want to understand the context within which the Federalist Papers were created. There is no more important work of American political philosophy; there is no one better to explicate its historical and political sources than J. R. Pole; it is unlikely there will be a better edition than his. --Philip Bobbitt, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
This edition will surely replace existing editions. The quality, accuracy and thoroughness of the annotation is quite impressive. Many notes are nice little essays in themselves. This edition will make a significant contribution to the scholarship on The Federalist. I always thought it a splendid idea and the execution shows off Professor Pole's erudition with subtlety and grace. --Joyce Appleby, UCLA
A first-rate edition. Ideally suited for classroom use in colleges, graduate schools, and law schools. The notes are valuable and enlightening, the Introduction is a model of concise and illuminating prose, and the volume is handsomely designed and superbly indexed. This will be the edition of choice for anyone seeking to teach The Federalist. --R. B. Bernstein, New York University Law School
Posted October 15, 2010
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