Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe For the World
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Aside from the Constitution itself, there is no more important document in American politics and law than the Federalist Papers—the series of pamphlets written by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison to explain the meaning of the proposed Constitution to the American people and persuade them of its importance. These papers provide a window into the framers’ thoughts on the most divisive issues of American government—the powers of the President, the dividing line between Congress’s authority and that of the states, the role of the Supreme Court, and the importance of the Bill of Rights. Liberty’s Blueprint offers an essential introduction to how the Federalist Papers were written, the philosophical thinking that shaped the Constitution, how the framers meant the various clauses to be understood, and why they are still vitally important today.
formal name of the Confiscation Act was “An Act for the Forfeiture and Sale of the Estates of Persons who have adhered to the Enemies of this State, and for declaring the Sovereignty of the People of this State, in respect to all Property within the same,” New York assembly, 3rd sess. 1779, chap. XXV, passed Oct. 22, 1779. 40 The Trespass Act: “An Act for granting a more effectual relief in cases of certain trespass,” New York assembly, 6th sess 1783, chap. XXXI, passed Mar. 17, 1783. 40
Constitution, art. 1, sec. 2. 158 While he did not express support: Madison did permit himself to condemn in emphatic language the “barbarism” of the international slave trade, which under article I, section 9 of the Constitution, could be prohibited in 1808. Federalist 42 (Madison). 159 “Publius had informed him”: William Smith to E. Rutledge, June 21, 1789, in South Carolina Historical Magazine 69: 6, 8 (South Carolina Historical Society, 1968), as quoted in Rakove, “The Original Intention
killed him . . . but that having undertaken the task, he was determined to accomplish it.” Throughout the early stages of the convention, Hamilton and Madison would meet and discuss the ongoing struggle to create the new governmental structure. They held long conversations during afternoon breaks in the proceedings. A particularly intriguing indication of their relationship can be seen in the notes Hamilton took during the convention. Compared with Madison’s notes of the convention, Hamilton’s
and “mutability” and “injustice” of state laws. To illustrate how states would “trespass” on the rights of other states, Madison even attacked the Mount Vernon Compact, whose approval in the Virginia legislature he had engineered. In Philadelphia, Madison criticized the compact for authorizing Virginia and Maryland to give “a preference to their own Citizens in cases where the Citizens of other States are entitled to equality of privileges by the Articles of Confederation.” Madison was
them, or I cannot sign the bill.” Hamilton was shocked. He would later say that he “had never dreamed of Washington’s doubting” the constitutionality of the law. Hamilton spent the next week preparing his response. On Monday, February 21, he wrote a panicked note to Washington, apologizing for not yet having completed his report. He pleaded that ever since Washington’s request he had been “sedulously engaged in it, but finds it will be impossible to complete it before Tuesday evening or Wednesday