The Mini-Federalist

For those who are unaware, the Federalist Papers is one of the greatest collections of political thought ever assembled. This was the original argument in favor of adoption of the U.S. Constitution, that was laid out in the newspapers of New York between late-1787 and mid-1788. Originally published anonymously by “Publius”, we now know that Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay were behind them (although sometimes we aren’t sure which ones specifically).

While they make great reading for nerds like me who are into this whole political science thing, they aren’t much read or understood by the general populace. There have been attempts over the years to put them onlinemake the language “friendlier”, or create audio versions, but another problem exists – there are 85 of these papers, and even though each is only a few pages long, it is hard to get through all of them.

I’d like to try to condense the ideas into a mini version, while translating the ideas into a more “modern” lexicon. So far as I can tell, no one has such a work online, and I think it would be a good exercise.

I’ve created a new category on the blog called “Mini-Federalist”, along with this permanent page to link to all of them in one place, and I hope to do a new entry regularly, going in order of the original papers. I accept that this will probably take a few years to complete. I welcome comments, questions, and criticisms as this will only make the final product better.

Here’s the completed list so far:

  • Mini-Federalist #1 – General Introduction (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #2 – Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence (Jay)
  • Mini-Federalist #3 – The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence (Jay)
  • Mini-Federalist #4 – The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence (Jay)
  • Mini-Federalist #5 – The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence (Jay)
  • Mini-Federalist #6 – Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the States (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #7 – The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Dissensions Between the States (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #8 – The Consequences of Hostilities Between the States (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #9 – The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #10 – The Same Subject Continued: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (Madison)
  • Mini-Federalist #11 – The Utility of the Union in Respect to Commercial Relations and a Navy (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #12 – The Utility of the Union In Respect to Revenue (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #13 – Advantage of the Union in Respect to Economy in Government (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #14 – Objections to the Proposed Constitution From Extent of Territory Answered (Madison)
  • Mini-Federalist #15 – The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #16 – The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #17 – The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #18 – The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union (Madison with some help from Hamilton, most likely)
  • Mini-Federalist #19 – The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union (Madison with some help from Hamilton, most likely)
  • Mini-Federalist #20 – The Same Subject Continued: The Insufficiency of the Present Confederation to Preserve the Union (Madison with some help from Hamilton, most likely)
  • Mini-Federalist #21 – Other Defects of the Present Confederation (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #22 – The Same Subject Continued: Other Defects of the Present Confederation (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #23 – The Necessity of a Government as Energetic as the One Proposed to the Preservation of the Union (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #24 – The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further Considered (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #25 – The Same Subject Continued: The Powers Necessary to the Common Defense Further Considered (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #26 – The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense Considered (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #27 – The Same Subject Continued: The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense Considered (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #28 – The Same Subject Continued: The Idea of Restraining the Legislative Authority in Regard to the Common Defense Considered (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #29 – Concerning the Militia (Hamilton)
  • Mini-Federalist #30 – Concerning the General Power of Taxation (Hamilton)

3 comments

  1. Cindy Hoover says:

    Hi Pete. My name is Cindy. Also attend Chapelgate. I’ve always, always wanted to read the Federalist Papers. They kept coming up as a possibility in a book club that I belonged to. (They kept being outvoted too) I’ve been intimidated by them. This looks like a great jumping in point. Thanks. Looking forward to reading your compilation.

  2. Cindy Hoover says:

    Hi again. OK, it took me this long to get back to the blog. I’m ready to start reading. A long day hiking-let’s see how I do. Like I said, I’ve always been intimidated. Yes, I think you should finish them. Ready, set, go. I plunge in. Thanks for your writing.

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