In order to ascertain the cultural and literary significance of the “The Federalist”, an understanding of some small but significant United States history is in order. In 1787 the Constitutional Convention was to meet and determine the next pivotal step for the United States of America. What will be the governing body of this new republic and how should it strike forward on this great adventure. A team of framers set out to write what would become one the greatest documents in modern history.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (The Constitution of the United States)
To express the thoughts of the time and to spell out what the simple but robust preamble entail, one must reflect to the writings of John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison in “The Federalist”.
These collections of essays were written between the periods of 1787 to 1788. They were put to pen in an attempt to sway anti-Federalist to the ratification of the Constitution. As this new form of a federation was unheard of, a public decree was sent out to the largest delegation, New York. In the first fact that Coenen includes in his paper is that:
“In fact, the essays were written for publication in New
York newspapers, and those newspapers did not identify
the essays as The Federalist Papers.
Rather, the essays were preceded by headings that read
“The Federalist, No. 1,” “The Federalist, No. 2,” etc.
During 1788, two book volumes that collected the
essays appeared. (The first volume, published on March
22, 1788, included Nos. 1 through 36; the second
volume, published on May 28, 1788, included Nos.
37 through 85.) These books were titled simply The
Since this new government needed some explanation Hamilton, Alexander, and Jay set out to clarify what the intent was. “Just as the delegates regarded democracy with varying degrees of enthusiasm, so too did they differ in their understanding of the meaning and character of the very structures of government they were creating.” (Beeman)
Through out the years many have wondered what was the intent of the framers of the constitution? Is the constitution a living document or is it to be taken by literal word? In order to make these decisions one must look back and read what the intent was. An indepth reading of the “The Federalist” will give some insite into the humility of the framers and the struggles faced with the birth of a new nation. “The Federalist authors considered themselves as not just inheriting a tradition, but transforming it. A representative government based upon claims to certain inalienable rights and deriving its sovereignty from “we the people” created the possibility of the development...