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The Federalist Papers | Study Guide

Alexander Hamilton

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James Madison, Essay 51 hat is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. Sources: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow,, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn, Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different by Gordon S. Wood Copyright © 2018 Course Hero, Inc. Enlightenment Influences Enlightenment thinkers influenced the authors’ ideas. Struggle for Ratification The authors worried the Constitution would not be ratified. Articles of Confederation Problems with a weak central government led to the Constitution. Context John Jay (1745–1829) Lawyer; helped negotiate treaty to end Revolutionary War; contributed only five letters; became first Supreme Court chief justice James Madison (1751–1836) Known as Father of the Constitution; strong supporter of Federalism; wrote two of the best-known letters; became fourth president Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) Revolutionary War veteran; fiercely Federalist; became the country’s first secretary of the Treasury; killed in a duel Key Figures Concerned that the Constitution did not adequately protect individual liberty, the Anti-Federalists opposed adopting the Constitution. Once the Constitution was ratified, they influenced passage of the Bill of Rights—the first 10 amendments—which includes such rights as freedom of speech and religion. BILL OF RIGHTSratified December 15, 1791 Opposition The government must be stronger than it was under the Articles of Confederation. Strength of the Federal Government Splitting power between three branches ensures that no one has too much power. Separation of Powers A united federal government would limit factions and provide national defense. Importance of the Union When the U.S. Constitution was proposed, some people worried it gave the federal government too much power. Three Founding Fathers—Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay—anonymously wrote this series of letters to the public to champion this new approach to government. Making the Case for the Constitution MAIN IDEAS English Original Language 1787–88 Years Published Alexander Hamilton, James Madison & John Jay Authors The Federalist Papers History Primary Source

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