The Federalist Papers

After the Constitutional Convention, the new proposed Constitution was sent to the states to be ratified. However, the form of government laid out in the historic document was not without opponents. Many worried that without a bill of rights, the newly independent American colonists would fall under another oppressive government. 

Because they each took part in creating the document, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison took it upon themselves to convince the people of New York to ratify the Constitution. They wrote a series of essays, 85 in total, explaining their vision for the new proposed government and responding to critics.

The essays were published anonymously in two New York newspapers, the Independent Journal and the New York Packet, under the pseudonym "Publius."

Today, these essays are known as the Federalist Papers. They are not binding law, but they are often used to help interpret the Constitution. The Supreme Court often references these documents when they try to determine the intentions of those who drafted the Constitution, known as the Framers. 

Was this helpful?