The First In A Series Of Eighty-Five Essays By "Publius" Is Released

The first in a series of eighty-five essays by "Publius," the pen name of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, appeared in the New York Independent Journal on October 27, 1787.

"Publius" urged New Yorkers to support ratification of the Constitution approved by the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787.

Proponents of the new Constitution believed centralized government was essential for successful commercial and geographic expansion. Only a strong national government, they argued, could effectively negotiate with foreign countries, ensure free trade between states, and create a stable currency.

The Federalist essays addressed widespread concern that a national government, distanced from the people, would soon grow despotic. The essays eloquently and comprehensively argue that distributing power across the various branches of government provides checks and balances to the concentrated sovereignty of the federal government.

James Madison's essay "The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection" exemplifies the brilliance and startling originality of the Federalist. Published on November 23, 1787, it challenges the assumption that individual rights can be secured only in small countries with homogeneous populations.

The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles advocating the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788. A compilation of these and eight others, called The Federalist; or, The New Constitution, was published in two volumes in 1788 by J. and A. McLean. The series's correct title is The Federalist; the title The Federalist Papers did not emerge until the twentieth century.

The Federalist remains a primary source for interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, as the essays outline a lucid and compelling version of the philosophy and motivation of the proposed system of government. The authors of The Federalist wanted both to influence the vote in favor of ratification and to shape future interpretations of the Constitution. According to historian Richard B. Morris, they are an "incomparable exposition of the Constitution, a classic in political science unsurpassed in both breadth and depth by the product of any later American writer."

AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. ”

— Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1