The Federalist Papers
Welcome to our Federalist Papers e-text. The Federalist Papers were written and published during the years 1787 and 1788 in several New York State newspapers to persuade New York voters to ratify the proposed constitution.
In total, the Federalist Papers consist of 85 essays outlining how this new government would operate and why this type of government was the best choice for the United States of America. All of the essays were signed "PUBLIUS" and the actual authors of some are under dispute, but the general consensus is that Alexander Hamilton wrote 52, James Madison wrote 28, and John Jay contributed the remaining five.
The Federalist Papers remain today as an excellent reference for anyone who wants to understand the U.S. Constitution.
We have three ways to browse the Federalist Papers. Thee first two are both in numerical order. Frames make it slightly easier to flip back and forth between different pages. The third is by author.
Other important documents of the period:
These Federalist Papers Web pages were originally created by Rob Knautz and replace his version hosted online from 1996 to 2000. The raw text files used for this project come from Project Gutenberg. Please read the disclaimer attached to the original data if you intend to reproduce it. Many other historic texts are also available from the Gutenberg archives.
The copy of the Federalist Papers that is pictured above is a first edition in the collection of the Library of Congress. It was originally owned by Alexander Hamilton's wife, Elizabeth, who gave it to her sister, Angelica Church, from whom her friend, Thomas Jefferson, acquired it. Apparently relying on information supplied by Madison, Jefferson assigned the pseudonymous "Publius" essays to Hamilton, Madison, and Jay in a list on the flyleaf of this volume. Click here to e-mail the image as a "virtual postcard."