The Essays Urging Ratification Of The Constitution Were Known As

The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers were a series of eighty-five essays urging the citizens of New York to ratify the new United States Constitution. Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, the essays originally appeared anonymously in New York newspapers in 1787 and 1788 under the pen name "Publius." The Federalist Papers are considered one of the most important sources for interpreting and understanding the original intent of the Constitution.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875

This collection contains congressional publications from 1774 to 1875, including debates, bills, laws, and journals.

  • Elliot's Debates is a five-volume collection compiled by Jonathan Elliot in the mid-nineteenth century. The volumes remain the best source for materials about the national government's transitional period between the closing of the Constitutional Convention in September 1787 and the opening of the First Federal Congress in March 1789.
  • Farrand's Records gathered the documentary records of the Constitutional Convention into four volumes, three of which are included in this online collection, containing the materials necessary to study the workings of the Constitutional Convention. The notes taken at that time by James Madison, and later revised by him, form the largest single block of material other than the official proceedings. The three volumes also include notes and letters by many other participants, as well as the various constitutional plans proposed during the convention.
  • The Making of the U.S. Constitution is a special presentation that provides a brief history of the making of the Constitution followed by the text of the Constitution itself.

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789

This collection contains 277 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution.

George Washington Papers

The complete George Washington Papers collection from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 65,000 documents.

The Washington Papers include the following references to the Federalist Papers:

  • George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, November 10, 1787, "I thank you for the Pamphlet and for the Gazette contained in your letter of the 30th Ult. For the remaining numbers of Publius, I shall acknowledge myself obliged, as I am persuaded the subject will be well handled by the Author."
  • George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, August 28, 1788, "As the perusal of the political papers under the signature of Publius has afforded me great satisfaction, I shall certainly consider them as claiming a most distinguished place in my Library."

Search Washington's papers using the word "Publius" to locate additional documents related to the Federalist Papers.

James Madison Papers, 1723 to 1859

James Madison (1751-1836) is one of 23 presidents whose papers are held in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. The Madison Papers consist of approximately 12,000 items.

  • James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, August 10, 1788. Partly in Cipher, "I believe I never have yet mentioned to you that publication. It was undertaken last fall by Jay, Hamilton, and myself. The proposal came from the two former. The execution was thrown, by the sickness of Jay, mostly on the two others. Though carried on in concert, the writers are not mutually answerable for all the ideas of each other, there being seldom time for even a perusal of the pieces by any but the writer before they were wanted at the press, and sometimes hardly by the writer himself."
  • James Madison to Jacob Gideon, Jr., January 28, 1818, "I send you a Copy of the 1st. Edition of the “Federalist,” with the names of the writers prefixed to their respective numbers."

Search the Madison papers using terms such as "Publius" or "Federalist" to locate additional documents related to this topic.

Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606 to 1827

The complete Thomas Jefferson Papers from the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 27,000 documents.

  • Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, November 18, 1788, Sent with Two Plans for Funding Foreign Debt, "With respect to the Federalist, the three authors had been named to me. I read it with care, pleasure & improvement, and was satisfied there was nothing in it by one of those hands, & not a great deal by a second. It does the highest honor to the third, as being, in my opinion, the best commentary on the principles of government which ever was written." [transcription]

Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years

In honor of the Manuscript Division's centennial, its staff has selected for online display approximately ninety representative documents spanning from the fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.

American Treasures of the Library of Congress - The Federalist

James Madison's Federalist no. 10 is one of the most important and enduring statements of American political theory. Its reasoned statement explains what an expanding nation might do if it accepted the basic premise of majority rule, a balanced government of three separate branches, and a commitment to balance all the diverse interests through a system of checks and balances.

Creating the United States

This online exhibition offers insights into how the nation’s founding documents were forged and the role that imagination and vision played in the unprecedented creative act of forming a self–governing country. The exhibition includes a section on Creating the United States Constitution that contains images from Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Federalist Papers.

Madison's Treasures

Includes Thomas Jefferson's annotated copy of the Federalist Papers.

The federalist: a collection of essays, written in favour of the new Constitution, as agreed upon by the Federal convention, September 17, 1787, in two volumes. New-York: Printed and sold by J. and A. M'Lean ..., 1788.

December 12, 1745

John Jay, one of the nation's founding fathers, was born on December 12, 1745, to a prominent and wealthy family in the Province of New York.

March 16, 1751

James Madison, "Father of the Constitution" and fourth president of the United States, was born on March 16, 1751.

September 17, 1787

Members of the Constitutional Convention signed the final draft of the Constitution on September 17, 1787.

October 27, 1787

Known as the Federalist Papers, 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.

December 15, 1791

The new United States of America adopted the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, confirming the fundamental rights of its citizens on December 15, 1791.

July 11, 1804

On July 11, 1804, political antagonists and personal enemies Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met on the heights of Weehawken, New Jersey to settle their longstanding differences with a duel. The participants fired their pistols in close succession. Burr's shot met its target immediately, fatally wounding Hamilton and leading to his death the following day. Burr escaped unharmed.

The Federalist Papers, The Avalon Project at Yale Law School

The Founders' Constitution, University of Chicago Press and the Liberty Fund

Our Documents, Federalist Papers, No. 10 & No. 51, National Archives and Records Administration

Adair, Douglass. "The Authorship of the Disputed Federalist Papers." William & Mary Quarterly 1, no. 2 (April 1944): 97-122.

-----. "The Authorship of the Disputed Federalist Papers: Part II." William & Mary Quarterly 1, no. 3 (July 1944): 235-264.

Cooke, Jacob E., ed. The Federalist. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1961. [Catalog Record] [Full Text]

Dietze, Gottfried. The Federalist: A Classic on Federalism and Free Government. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. [Catalog Record]

Duvall, Edward D. The Federalist Companion: A Guide to Understanding the Federalist Papers. Gilbert, Ariz.: Fremont Valley Books, 2011. [Catalog Record]

Morris, Richard B. Witnesses at the Creation: Hamilton, Madison, Jay, and the Constitution. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1985. [Catalog Record]

Rossiter, Clinton L., ed. The Federalist Papers: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay. New York: Mentor, 1999. [Catalog Record]

Taylor, Quentin P., ed. The Essential Federalist: A New Reading of the Federalist Papers. Madison, Wis.: Madison House, 1998. [Catalog Record]

Ball, Lea. The Federalist--Anti-Federalist Debate over States' Rights: A Primary Source Investigation. New York: Rosen Central Primary Source, 2005. [Catalog Record]

constitutional scavenger hunt

Father of the Constitution?
Essays urging ratification during NY ratification debates?
Two author of the Federalist Papers?
John Jay and Alexander Hamilton
How many states had to ratify the constitution to make it go into effect?
Nine (Article I Section 2)
Last 2 states to ratify after the Constitution went in aeffect?
How often is the number of congressional districts per state determined?
Every 10 years (Article 1 Section 2)
How were slaves to be counted when determining the number of congressional districts?
3/5ths of a person (Article 1 Section 2)
Who has the sole power of impeachment?
House of Reps. (Article I Section 3)
Who has the power to try officials who have been impeached?
Senate (Article I Section 3)
When the president is impeached who presides at the trial?
Chief of Justice (Article I Section 3)
A writ of habeas corpus may not be suspended except when?
Cases of rebellion/ invasion of public safety (Article I Section 9)
Name one limit on the States
States can not coin money (Article I Section 10)
Name 2 congressional limits on the President.
impeachment and 2/3 votes overrules veto (Article I Section 7 & 9)
Which article of the Constitution defines the powers of the President?
What office mentioned in the Constitution must a person be a natural-born citizen?
President (Article II Section I)
Name 3 powers of the president as stated in the Constitution
Commander in Chief, make treaties, appoint ambassadors (Article II Section 2)
What branch(es) of the federal government are responsible for est. lower federal courts?
Legislative Branch (Article I Section 8)
What is the Vice-President's only constitutional responsibility?
President of the Senate (Article I Section 3)
What is the condition concerning the nature of state governments as stated in the Constitution?
Must be republican form of Government (Article IV Section 4)
What is the only crime defined by the Constitution?
Treason ( Article III Section 3)
What is required to convict a person for treason?
Testimony of 2 witnesses of the same act or open confession in court (Article III Section 3)
How does article VI resolve possible conflicts between state and federal laws?
State laws must follow Federal laws (Article VI Section 3)
What does article VI say about giving religious tests to candidates for public office?
Religious test are unconstitutional (Article VI Section 3)
When is it possible for another constitutional convention like the Convention of 1789?
When 2/3 of congress and 3/4 of the states agree. (Article V Section 5)
Can the president introduce, ratify, or veto a constitutional amendment?
What are the first 10 amendments called?
Name three of the 5 basic right in the 1st Amendment
Freedom of speech, press, and assembly
Name 5 rights guaranteed to all citizens in the Bill of Rights
To keep and bear arms,freedom from search and seizure, trial by jury, speedy trial, no cruel or unusual punishment
What does the 10th Amendment say about the delegation of power to the states?
Powers not delegated to the U.S. nor prohibited too the states, are reserved to the states.
Which Amendment est. a federal income tax?
the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote passed in what year?
People who fought for the passage of the 19th Amendment were called?
20th Amendment states that if the President-elect dies before the beginning of their term, who becomes president?
The Vice President-elect (section 3)
Name the only Amendment the repeals another Amendment
What is the purpose of the most recent Amendment?
Amendment 21: give compensation to legislature
The argument "anyone old enough to fight for this country is old enough to vote" secured the passage for what amendment?
What is the term served by a member of the House of Reps.?
2 years (Article I Section 2)
What is the term served by a member of the Senate?
6 years (Article I Section 3)

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