The Federalist Criticism: Anti-Federalists, Then And Now - Essay

Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison

Murray Dry (essay date 1987)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Dry, Murray. “Anti-Federalism in The Federalist: A Founding Dialogue on the Constitution, Republican Government, and Federalism.” In Saving the Revolution: The Federalist Papers and the American Founding, edited by Charles R. Kesler, pp. 40-60. New York: The Free Press, 1987.

[In the following essay, Dry analyzes The Federalist Papers as a response to particular Anti-Federalist arguments. Quoting from the Anti-Federalist tracts “Letters of Brutus” and “Letters of the Federal Farmer,” Dry highlights passages in The Federalist Papers that respond to them directly, focusing on issues of the definition of federalism, and limitations on...

(The entire section is 10981 words.)

Christopher M. Duncan (essay date 1995)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Duncan, Christopher M. “The Faith of the Federalists.” In The Anti-Federalists and Early American Political Thought, pp. 99-122. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1995.

[In the following excerpt, Duncan offers a highly critical view of The Federalist Papers, maintaining that its politics are underwritten with a cynical, Hobbesian view of human nature and a strong tendency toward elitism.]

we were under a necessity of either returning to the house, and by our presence enabling them to call a convention before our constituents could have the means of information, or time to deliberate on the subject, or by absenting...

(The entire section is 9791 words.)

Kathleen M. Sullivan (essay date 1997)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Sullivan, Kathleen M. “The Contemporary Relevance of The Federalist.” In New Federalist Papers: Essays in Defense of the Constitution, edited by Alan Brinkley, Nelson W. Polsby, and Kathleen M. Sullivan, pp. 7-14. New York: W. W. Norton, 1997.

[In the following essay, Sullivan defends the principles of The Federalist Papers from what she calls the new Anti-Federalists: proponents of states' rights and a weaker federal government. Sullivan acknowledges the differences in technology and society that affect some of Publius's basic assumptions about factions and centralized government, but nonetheless concludes that founders' advocation of Federalism remains the best...

(The entire section is 2128 words.)