The Essential Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers

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The Essential Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers

Editor: David Wootton
Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company
Copyright: 1999
Pages: 343
Cover Price: $ 9.95

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Here, in a single volume, is a selection of the classic critiques of the new Constitution penned by such ardent defenders of states rights and personal liberty as George Mason, Patrick Henry, and Melancton Smith; pro-Constitution writings by James Wilson and Noah Webster; and thirty-three of the best-known and most crucial Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. The texts of the chief constitutional documents of the early Republic are included as well.

David Wootton's illuminating Introduction examines the history of such "American" principles of government as checks and balances, the separation of powers, representation by election, and judicial independence—including their roots in the largely Scottish, English, and French "new science of politics." It also offers suggestions for reading The Federalist, the classic elaboration of these principles written in defense of a new Constitution that sought to apply them to the young Republic, along with the positions of the Anti-Federalists.

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Background Information

The United States Constitution is the written document by which both the federal government was instituted. Patrick Henry of Virginia gave several speeches during the American Revolution which are remembered even today. Noah Webster was an advocate of American education and the author of the first dictionary of American English. Alexander Hamilton was one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, the first Secretary of the Treasury and died in a duel with Aaron Burr. James Madison helped draft the Constitution, collaborated on the Federalist Papers and became Americ'as Fourth President. John Jay was a Founding Father, one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, and an early diplomat after whom several treaties are named. The Federalists were those like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams who felt that a strong central government in the new nation was essential to peace and prosperity. Anti-Federalists opposed the adoption of the Constitution that was produced in the 1787 Philadelphia convention.