The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics) Info

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A DOCUMENT THAT SHAPED A NATION
An authoritative
analysis of the Constitution of the United States and an enduring
classic of political philosophy. 

Written by Alexander
Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers
explain the complexities of a constitutional government—its
political structure and principles based on the inherent rights of man.
Scholars have long regarded this work as a milestone in political
science and a classic of American political theory.
 
Based
on the original McLean edition of 1788 and edited by noted historian
Clinton Rossiter, this special edition includes:
 

Textual notes and a select bibliography by Charles R. Kesler

Table of contents with a brief précis of each essay

Appendix with a copy of the Constitution cross-referenced to The
Federalist Papers
● Index of Ideas that lists the major
political concepts discussed
● Copies of The Declaration of
Independence and Articles of Confederation

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics):

1

January 27, 2018

This Publication only contains 18 of the 85 Federalist Essays.
I guess I’m a little confused. There are supposed to be 85 essays in the Federalist but this book only has 18. I don’t see a description of the book that warns of this. Am I missing something? The introduction talks about all 85 essays as if they are all in this publication. Nothing in the product discription warns that this publication only contains an abreviated list of the essays.
5

January 24, 2017

Only selected papers, not all of them.
It should be noted this does not include ALL of the Federalist Papers. It is a selected few, which I didn't notice when I bought it. I wanted them all sor study purposes, so I got another paperback with all 86 papers for 1/2 the price at a bookstore.
4

Jun 10, 2007

Read the Federalist Papers. Then, just for kicks, switch on Hannity & Colmes, or Crossfire, or read USA Today... and then ask yourself, WHAT THE FUCKING CHRIST HAPPENED TO THIS COUNTRY? Then crawl into a corner and whimper for eight hours straight. (That's what I did.)
5

August 29, 2018

A great resource with all 85 papers!
Most books with the Federalist Papers that I could find only had a selection of them included. This book contains all 85 and also lists who wrote them and when they were published (if that information is available). It also has a fairly decent Table of Contents so you can easily find the paper you're looking for. The constitution is also included at the beginning which some people might find handy. Overall exactly what I was looking for. Would buy again.
5

Feb 25, 2012

With all the talk in political discourse these days about "what the US Founding Fathers intended", I felt it was time to go straight to the source. If you've ever had similar thoughts, this is the place to start. This work is long - around 22 hours of Librivox audio - and written in archaic, ornate English. But anyone reading it will be immediately impressed by its scholarship and depth. It also gives a clear picture of what said Founding Fathers were up against - unbridled, often unprincipled, With all the talk in political discourse these days about "what the US Founding Fathers intended", I felt it was time to go straight to the source. If you've ever had similar thoughts, this is the place to start. This work is long - around 22 hours of Librivox audio - and written in archaic, ornate English. But anyone reading it will be immediately impressed by its scholarship and depth. It also gives a clear picture of what said Founding Fathers were up against - unbridled, often unprincipled, and outright rude opposition to pretty much every last bit of the Constitution at every turn. This series of essays was painstakingly written to try and convince the country that, while the new Constitution was not and could not be perfect, it was urgently needed to get the Union government functional, and that it was perhaps the best that could be done, given an imperfect world and us imperfect humans. The writers of the new Constitution were clearly trying their utmost to create a government and society as fair, conflict-free and well-functioning as they could manage. Interesting how slaves were reluctantly counted, in a compromise with the South, as having 3/5 the personhood of a free-born man. Really, every American, and anybody interested in how power, justice, and societies work, should read this carefully. It's left me a little tired, but happy and satisfied. ...more
5

April 26, 2016

“The Federalist Papers:” essential reading for anyone wishing to explore the American Constitution and system of government.
“The Federalist Papers” (more correctly called “The Federalist”) is a series of 85 essays that seek to explain the United States Constitution and the American system of government. Written between 1787 and 1788 by Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, these documents were published in order to persuade citizens to vote in favor of ratifying the Constitution.

I think “The Federalist Papers” rank alongside the Constitution and Declaration of Independence as the most important documents in American history. They are absolutely essential reading for anyone wishing to explore and understand how and why the American system of government works the way it does. Because they’re written in a style common to 18th century writers, “The Federalist Papers” can frequently be tedious to read. (Nobody will ever accuse Hamilton, Madison, or Jay of having a particularly lively or interesting writing style.)

However stilted their writing style, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay’s arguments are clear, cogent and persuasive. They are of immeasurable help in providing readers with a clear understanding of what the framers of the Constitution intended, and how the Federal system of American government works.

This particular edition of "The Federalist Papers" is specially prepared for use on Kindle devices. There is no explanatory introduction by legal scholars or political pundits. Nor are there any endnotes or footnotes. Readers are permitted to read these essays as they were written, and to form their own judgments about what they've read. Most highly recommended.
5

November 10, 2013

Worth reading by EVERYONE
I decided to read The Federalist Papers after a certain Supreme Court Justice whom I admire greatly recommended them as the one book everyone in High School should read. Once I started reading the Papers, I began to question this recommendation: Can someone with only a High School education even UNDERSTAND these papers? It took me as long to read The Federalist Papers as it did War and Peace. And War and Peace is more than 8 times as long!

So, the question is, should YOU bother reading these Papers? What relevance do they have to you today? What about to the foreign (i.e. non-American) reader? Well. Let me simply say this: I can think of no more significant work showing the insights of America's Founding Fathers than these Papers. The wisdom and vision of America's Founding Father's is absolutely astounding: Although these papers were written more than 200 years ago, its authors anticipated many of the challenges America faces today and built in safeguards against them into the Constitution. The political balance of power (between the judiciary, the legislature, and executive departments) is thoroughly examined, and the results of these analyses are deftly presented by the authors in the most powerful ways possible. Each of these 85 papers stands on its own merits as a considerable achievement. Together, they form a monument to the greatness of America's Founding Fathers and the enduring strength offered by its Constitution.

Whether you are American or not you should read these Papers. The wisdom of America's Founding Fathers was not for their time, or only for America: It is for ALL TIME, and EVERYONE. Anyone wanting to understand America's Constitution will come away in awe of it (as I did) after reading these papers. Is it perfect? No. But I can think of no country whose Constitution was as exquisitely well balanced as America's, and that has served it so well, and for so long. The Federalist Papers are a TREASURE whose wisdom needs to be shared with all mankind. While this version of The Federalist Papers sells for free, its contents are priceless. Unequivocally recommended to EVERYONE. 5/5
5

Feb 27, 2011

Praise God I'm an American. One should not be able to graduate public high schools without mastery of Basic Economics & The Federalist Papers.
1

November 12, 2017

Not what it says
In the description it says, "This book features edited highlights of the essays". This isn't the case for the hard copy edition. It doesn't even have half of the papers in this edition. Returned
3

Jun 17, 2013

Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without restraint.
Like any educated American who hasn’t already read this book, this classic has long been on my reading list. Nevertheless, even amongst us haughty literati, I suspect that this book is a Mark Twain kind of classic—one that we wish to have read, but don’t look forward to actually reading. It certainly was that way for me. Philistine that I am, the idea Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without restraint.
Like any educated American who hasn’t already read this book, this classic has long been on my reading list. Nevertheless, even amongst us haughty literati, I suspect that this book is a Mark Twain kind of classic—one that we wish to have read, but don’t look forward to actually reading. It certainly was that way for me. Philistine that I am, the idea of leafing through 500 pages of articles by this country’s founding fathers did not exactly give me goosebumps.

I’m afraid that my fears were partially borne out by this book. It was not terribly pleasant. And if I am to be honest, I must shamefacedly admit that I often found these articles dreadfully dull. One obstacle to my reading pleasure simply came from the style of writing. These pieces were written in great haste, over the span of a year, by harried men who were not professional thinkers or writers. As a result, this book can often feel a bit haphazard and disorganized. Several papers seem as though they were dashed off between breakfast and lunch; the arguments tumble forward in a torrential outpouring of frenetic scribbling. The prose, too, was often cramped, bloated, and opaque:
The circumstances of the body authorized to make the permanent appointments would, of course, have governed the modification of a power which related to the temporary appointments; and as the national Senate is the body whose situation is alone contemplated in the clause upon which the suggestion under examination has been founded, the vacancies to which it alludes can only be deemed to respect those officers in whose appointment that body has a concurrent agency with the President.
Another disappointment was simply the method of argumentation. The words “probably” and “likely” do a great deal of work in these papers. The authors are constantly making light of certain possibilities and boldly predicting others. This rhetorical device is seldom convincing. Who knows what the future will bring? A related technique is to use what Dawkins calls the “argument from personal incredulity.” This is when an author says things like “It is impossible for me to believe,” or “I cannot even imagine this to be so,” and the like. Again, the author is using the seeming likelihood of a certain outcome as an argument; but unfortunately for us reality doesn't care what we find easy to believe, or what we think likely to happen.

So because the arguments employed were not based on either philosophical principles or empirical data, I was often left cold. In fact, I was frequently reminded of a criticism Bertrand Russell made of St. Thomas Aquinas. Russell did not consider Aquinas to be a great philosopher because Aquinas began with his conclusions, which he got from Aristotle and the Bible, instead of following his logic wherever it led. Similarly, the authors of these papers started with their conclusion—that we should ratify the Constitution—and then grasped for arguments, like a lawyer defending his client. Of course, that’s the nature of propaganda; but it isn’t very intellectually stimulating.

Aside from the writing and the rhetoric, a third barrier to a pleasant reading experience for me was simply the subject-matter. Many of these essays get into the nitty-gritty of the proposed administration. It often felt as if I were reading a proposal to reorganize a department at work rather than a book of political philosophy. I’m sure if I wasn’t such a troglodyte I would have gotten more out of these managerial niceties; but as I am still thoroughly lodged under a rock, I frequently found it impossible to focus. My eyes would get blurry; my brain would turn off; and I would read several pages on autopilot before realizing that I wasn’t absorbing a thing.

Alright, so I’ve discussed all the negatives. But despite all I’ve said, I still think this book is well worth reading. Madison’s essays, in particular, were for me the real highlight, even though they only comprised about a third of this book. Compared with Hamilton, Madison is much more of a theorist. His famous Federalist No. 10 is as deep as anything in Montesquieu, Marx, Machiavelli, or any other political philosopher whose name starts with an M. What’s more, he struck me as more widely learned, often making reference to ancient history as illustrations. And to be fair, the indefatigable Hamilton, though often tiresome, is not without his moments of greatness. He at least possesses the merit of being diligent and thorough.

Yet the real treat, I’d argue, is not reading the articles themselves, but reading the Constitution afterwards. By the time you get to the very end of The Federalist Papers, and turn to that slim founding document in the very back, you will have spent a dozen or more hours interpreting, defending, and exploring these 10 humble pages, tucked away like an appendix. Every sentence in the Constitution has been explained, clarified, and justified with excruciating care. And as a result, it was as if I was reading it for the first time—which is worth some literary boredom and headache, if you ask me.
...more
5

May 26, 2016

You an American?
Must read if you didn't in school. Even if you aren't an American it will provide a better understanding of our nation and the thinking of The Founders. Hmmm... maybe Congress should read this again... or for the first time.
5

Aug 31, 2007

First, I'm going to begin with a bitch.
THIS "BOOK" WAS NOT WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER HAMILTON. IT IS NOT A BOOK. IT IS A COMPILATION OF SEVERAL ESSAYS WRITTEN UNDER THE PSEUDONYM "PUBLIUS" AND THE AUTHOR(S) WERE ANONYMOUS FOR A LONG TIME.
The true authorship of these was only known several years after the fact. And took several decades after the authors had been determined to finalize exactly who wrote what.
Furthermore, virtually ever copy includes at least a copy of the Bill of Rights, Declaration First, I'm going to begin with a bitch.
THIS "BOOK" WAS NOT WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER HAMILTON. IT IS NOT A BOOK. IT IS A COMPILATION OF SEVERAL ESSAYS WRITTEN UNDER THE PSEUDONYM "PUBLIUS" AND THE AUTHOR(S) WERE ANONYMOUS FOR A LONG TIME.
The true authorship of these was only known several years after the fact. And took several decades after the authors had been determined to finalize exactly who wrote what.
Furthermore, virtually ever copy includes at least a copy of the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and (if you're very lucky) The Articles of confederation.
None of the US foundational documents were conceivably written by Alexander Hamilton. However, he did write the vast majority of the Federalist Papers.

There are hundreds of printings of this work. The copy I read well over 200 times (well, the first 30 of the federalists or so, anyway) was a deep red mass market paperback. I can't remember the publisher. There was a publisher that made all its mass market "classic" paperbacks in deep red for awhile. It had the lovely disintegrating acidic paper, and the binding was just starting to fall apart as I slugged the bottle of champagne and vowed to not read the work again until I was 30.

Anyway, this is an incredible book if you're willing to read it well. That means at least one week for one paper. I'm not kidding. It benefits very much from close reading.

All the hype is true, but reading it poorly makes it sound like pithy bullshit. Follow the terminology in the paper, and put together the relationships between all terms. Anyway, read it. ...more
5

July 10, 2018

It contains all of the papers that I didn't receive ...
It contains all of the papers that I didn't receive from the The Complete Federalist and anti Federalist book I purchased before. Now I can read all of them!
5

March 29, 2017

A must read for any American
I've heard about the Federalist Papers and even have seen a few specific articles and quotes. It's even better to be able to read them all and get a fresh perspective on what was going on at the time our founding fathers were addressing the concerns of our new nation. It definitely sheds original light on the basic premises and intent of the constitution AT THE TIME IT WAS BEING RATIFIED. A must read for those who want to protect our constitution. Helps one understand what the first generation of Americans were thinking then to compare to the confusion of today.
5

Jan 13, 2009

Wow...This book has completely transformed my views and understanding of our government. The US constitution make so much more sense now that I have read its defense. It's also interesting to read some of the outlandish arguments that were propagated against this ingenious document. Not much has changed in American politics over the centuries. Our media, pundits, and politicians still banter in much the same way today as they did back in the 1780's.

I will admit that this book challenged me. The Wow...This book has completely transformed my views and understanding of our government. The US constitution make so much more sense now that I have read its defense. It's also interesting to read some of the outlandish arguments that were propagated against this ingenious document. Not much has changed in American politics over the centuries. Our media, pundits, and politicians still banter in much the same way today as they did back in the 1780's.

I will admit that this book challenged me. The arguments were hard to comprehend at times and I really had to bear down in order to gain some understanding. I also spent roughly one quarter of my reading time looking up words in the dictionary. Makes me regret the time I spent in front of the television or video games instead of sharpening my mind. Keep in mind that the Federalist Papers were originally published as a series of essays in a New York newspaper. In comparison, I believe that much of today's news has been watered down for a society that has little patience for a real, thorough debate of substantial issues. ...more
4

Aug 08, 2018

"The Federalist" is a collection of 85 essays published originally in New York state newspapers in 1787-1788 encouraging the ratification of the Constitution. The pseudonym Publius was used for the three intelligent authors--Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. The authors were responding to criticisms against the Constitution by the anti-Federalists who also wrote newspaper articles. (Some of the concerns of the anti-Federalists were addressed in the Bill of Rights in 1791.)

"The "The Federalist" is a collection of 85 essays published originally in New York state newspapers in 1787-1788 encouraging the ratification of the Constitution. The pseudonym Publius was used for the three intelligent authors--Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. The authors were responding to criticisms against the Constitution by the anti-Federalists who also wrote newspaper articles. (Some of the concerns of the anti-Federalists were addressed in the Bill of Rights in 1791.)

"The Federalist" discussed the need for a strong central government which included a standing army and taxation, the weakness of the current Articles of Confederation, the structure of the branches of government under the new Constitution, checks and balances, separation of powers, and the ratification process. There is some repetition of ideas in the essays since "The Federalist" was not written as a book originally.

The framers of the Constitution came from small and large states, and from urban and rural areas. Some states had many areas of commerce and industry where others were mostly agricultural. Some states supported slavery, but others wanted to outlaw it. Some of the Founding Fathers wanted a strong central government, but others were more concerned with states rights. The Constitution may not be perfect, but it was quite an accomplishment considering the different interests of the various states and the willingness to compromise. "The Federalist" helped the people understand the Constitution in 1787, and is still consulted by the courts today. ...more
4

Jan 27, 2019

First and foremost let me just say, God Bless These United States of America.

Significance of this book is beyond a 5. Enjoyability is below a 3. Hence I’ll meet in the middle and give it a 4.

If your going into reading this thinking it’s going to be awesome, you’re wrong. It’s a full time job and it’s extraordinarily difficult, however difficult it may be it is essential reading. These men were brilliant and I am incredibly thankful they existed at the Time they did to allow us the future we First and foremost let me just say, God Bless These United States of America.

Significance of this book is beyond a 5. Enjoyability is below a 3. Hence I’ll meet in the middle and give it a 4.

If your going into reading this thinking it’s going to be awesome, you’re wrong. It’s a full time job and it’s extraordinarily difficult, however difficult it may be it is essential reading. These men were brilliant and I am incredibly thankful they existed at the Time they did to allow us the future we live in. The fact that all these men existed in this place at the same time to create such an all star team is nothing short of divine providence.

I agree with so much of the reviews I’ve seen here on Goodreads on TFP, it should be mandatory education from 1-8 and all thru high school. The youth would benefit tremendously to know how much blood, sweat, and tears was poured into creating the nation we all so thoroughly enjoy today. Not only should this education be taught in school but the foundation of this education should be laid at home to our children long before they arrive.

As difficult as this book was to read, and so utterly boring most of the time I absolutely loved it and I highly encourage anyone thinking about reading it do so with earnest expedience.

“Accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands … may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” (Madison, #47)

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” (Madison, #51)

“Whatever fine declarations may be inserted in any constitution respecting it, must altogether depend on public opinion, and on the general spirit of the people and of the government.” (Hamilton, # 84) ...more
4

Aug 25, 2008

4.0 stars. One of the most important works of American political science and philosophy, this collection of arguments detailing the benefits and advantages of the federal system as envisioned by the founding fathers is a must read to understand the beginnings of the republic.
1

December 28, 2017

Incomplete, heavily edited edition
This is an incomplete set of the Federalist Papers. Only 18 are included with a superficial set of introductions. Looks nice on the cover but not what it claims.These were selected and edited by R. B. Bernstein, which is not obvious from the presentation.
0

Nov 27, 2008

I don't know who's a bigger jackass: me, for never having so much as peeped at these, or the grownps at all the various schools I've attended, for not even once suggesting I should.

Actually, that's a lie. I totally do know.
5

Dec 05, 2018

We can all probably think of certain books we "should have read" during high school, or college, and somehow never did. For me, the collection of short essays that make up The Federalist Papers was one of those books. Since I love my country and am an ardent believer in her Constitution, my lengthy delay in reading TFP is both ironic and embarrassing. Now, however, my conscience is assuaged and I appreciate the Constitution, and the complicated path to its birth, all the more.

The Federalist We can all probably think of certain books we "should have read" during high school, or college, and somehow never did. For me, the collection of short essays that make up The Federalist Papers was one of those books. Since I love my country and am an ardent believer in her Constitution, my lengthy delay in reading TFP is both ironic and embarrassing. Now, however, my conscience is assuaged and I appreciate the Constitution, and the complicated path to its birth, all the more.

The Federalist Papers is a collection of 85 essays, published in newspapers over a span of several months in 1787-1788. Authored mostly by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, with a few by John Jay, the papers were published anonymously under the pen name Publius. Their purpose was to make a comprehensive, detailed and compelling case for the adoption and ratification of a new United States Constitution to supersede the existing Articles of Confederation.

The 18th century intellectual arguments put forth in these essays make some demands on the reader (this is not a beach read), but it is time well invested. The adoption of a new Constitution was controversial, and surrounded with much energetic debate (including similar essays published by the Anti-Federalists). Accordingly, the three writers of the Federalist Papers went to great lengths to make the case for the foundations of what is now our current system of government.

As you read, you will see the varying currents of ideas that gradually became our executive, legislative and judicial branches. There are many historical references to republics and political systems from centuries past, and the essays are a great tutorial in making a reasoned argument and defending it. Fascinating reading about the birth and evolution of the greatest of republics! ...more
2

Feb 07, 2017

HAMILTON WROTE THE OTHER FIFTY-ONE

[edit--I haven't actually read this book, I just felt like commenting that]
3

Nov 20, 2007

It's hard to rate a book like this. On the one hand, it's one of the foundational writings of American history; on the other hand, it's boring. Much of it is, anyway. Reading it seemed like such a good idea when I first picked it up at Barnes & Noble two or three years ago. I still think it's a book every American should read. I'm just glad I'm finished.
I was encouraged by what emerged as the worldview of these authors, as in this excerpt from Federalist 37, written by James Madison, as he It's hard to rate a book like this. On the one hand, it's one of the foundational writings of American history; on the other hand, it's boring. Much of it is, anyway. Reading it seemed like such a good idea when I first picked it up at Barnes & Noble two or three years ago. I still think it's a book every American should read. I'm just glad I'm finished.
I was encouraged by what emerged as the worldview of these authors, as in this excerpt from Federalist 37, written by James Madison, as he reflected on the forces that brought together the United States:
"It is impossible, for the man of pious reflection, not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty Hand, which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution."
And there's this response to spin from Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 36:
"They can answer no other end than to cast a mist over the truth."
Madison, Hamilton and John Jay had a robust vocabulary that would offer challenging words for any spelling bee. Among the words they used:

nugatory
excrescent
apothegm
mutability
animadversion

...more
2

February 2, 2018

Missing most of the papers!
This book does not have all of the papers. I needed ALL of the federalist papers for my class and it skips a whole bunch of them.

The following is every paper that is missing:

3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83

That said, it’s a very beautiful looking book and cover, and that is the only reason why this book is not one star
5

Jan 19, 2009

During South by Southwest 2003, I saw a movie called The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The movie is about President Chavez in Venezuela and the failed coup attempt on his presidency. In the background coverage of his presidency, the filmmakers recounted how as President, he encouraged his citizens to read their brand new constitution and learn it. They interviewed some Venezuelans who did not know to read, but had learned to read by reading their constitution.[return][return]I was touched by During South by Southwest 2003, I saw a movie called The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The movie is about President Chavez in Venezuela and the failed coup attempt on his presidency. In the background coverage of his presidency, the filmmakers recounted how as President, he encouraged his citizens to read their brand new constitution and learn it. They interviewed some Venezuelans who did not know to read, but had learned to read by reading their constitution.[return][return]I was touched by this, but then I thought "how many Americans can say they've read the Constitution?" My guess is probably not many. And those that have only did it for school and have since forgotten much of what they learned. Personally, I remember having to memorize the Bill of Rights for a class, but that's about it.[return][return]In a time when Congress is passing legislation that infringes upon the rights guaranteed us by our Constitution, it's important now more than ever that we read and understand it. And the Federalist Papers are a great way to learn what the founders were thinking when shaping the Constitution and to learn the issues they were concerned about in the structure of our government. ...more

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