This authoritative edition of the complete texts of the Federalist Papers, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution, and the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution features supporting essays in which leading scholars provide historical context and analysis.
An introduction by Ian Shapiro offers an overview of the publication of the Federalist Papers and their importance. In three additional essays, John Dunn explores the composition of the Federalist Papers and the conflicting agendas of its authors; Eileen Hunt Botting explains how early advocates of women’s rights, most prominently Mercy Otis Warren, Judith Sargent Murray, and Charles Brockden Brown, responded to the Federalist-Antifederalist debates; and Donald Horowitz discusses the Federalist Papers from the perspective of recent experiments with democracy and constitution-making around the world. These essays both illuminate the original texts and encourage active engagement with them.
"This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren ... should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties." So wrote John Jay, one of the revolutionary authors of The Federalist Papers, arguing that if the United States was truly to be a single nation, its leaders would have to agree on universally binding rules of governance--in short, a constitution. In a brilliant set of essays, Jay and his colleagues Alexander Hamilton and James Madison explored in minute detail the implications of establishing a kind of rule that would engage as many citizens as possible and that would include a system of checks and balances. Their arguments proved successful in the end, and The Federalist Papers stand as key documents in the founding of the United States.