Who wrote The Federalist Papers?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The authorship of the work in question was a secret at the time.  Historical scholarship reveals that work originally entitled The Federalist was the combined effort of James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton.  Each of them wrote different articles, or "papers," that later became known as "The Federalist Papers."  As the title indicates, the combined effort of the men was to espouse the Federalist position that the new national Constitution should assume.  At the time of writing, the schism that gripped the political framers rested between the federalists and the antifederalists.  The latter favored a decentralized form of government, or at the least a central government without a great deal of power.  They preferred the state governments possessing power that could act as a check against a rogue centralized government.  For the federalists, this was a recipe for disasters like Shays' Rebellion.  The federalist position was one whereby the federal government was needed to avoid crises in the nation's political governance.  Strong and meaningful federal government could avert disasters like Shays' Rebellion and allow the proper execution of governmental affairs better than a series of state governments, something that caused the nation's first constitution, The Articles of Confederation, to fail.

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