Literature Study GuidesThe Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers | Study Guide

Alexander Hamilton

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Alexander Hamilton

Years Published



Primary Source


Political Science

At a Glance

The Federalist Papers comprises 85 political essays published between October 1787 and May 1788 in various New York City newspapers. Despite their multiple authorship—Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison—the essays exhibit a remarkable consistency in content, style, and tone. Written to encourage ratification of the newly drafted Constitution of the United States, the document establishes a framework for a stronger, more effective national government. The Federalist Papers are read today for the authors' penetrating insights into the nature of republican government, as well as for their sensitivity to history and their skillful handling of persuasive argument and counterargument.

About the Title

The title The Federalist Papers refers to the authors' strong advocacy of the ratification of the new Constitution of the United States. Supporters favoring an energetic federal government were called Federalists at the time. Those opposing the adoption of the Constitution were called Anti-Federalists.


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