The Federalist Papers

12 Oct, 2023 320 Political science

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay’s essays written in 1787/8 in support of the new US Constitution. They published these anonymously in New York as ‘Publius’ but, when it became known that Hamilton and Madison were the main authors, the essays took on a new significance for all states. As those two men played a major part in drafting the Constitution itself, their essays have since informed debate over what the authors of that Constitution truly intended. To some, the essays have proved to be America’s greatest contribution to political thought.

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  • Frank Cogliano 5 episodes
    Professor of American History at the University of Edinburgh and Interim Saunders Director of the International Centre for Jefferson Studies at Monticello
  • Kathleen Burk 11 episodes
    Professor Emerita of Modern and Contemporary History at University College London
  • Nicholas Guyatt 4 episodes
    Professor of North American History at the University of Cambridge

Reading list

  • To Begin the World Anew: The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders
    Bernard Bailyn (Knopf, 2003) Google Books →
  • Madison's Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention
    Mary Sarah Bilder (Harvard University Press, 2015) Google Books →
  • The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President
    Noah Feldman (Random House, 2017) Google Books →
  • The Second Creation: Fixing the American Constitution in the Founding Era
    Jonathan Gienapp (Harvard University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • The Federalist: The Gideon Edition
    Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison (eds. George W. Carey and James McClellan) (Liberty Fund, 2001) Google Books →
  • The Ideological Origins of American Federalism
    Alison L. LaCroix (Harvard University Press, 2010) Google Books →
  • The Federalist Papers
    James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay (Penguin, 1987) Google Books →
  • Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788
    Pauline Maier (Simon and Schuster, 2010) Google Books →
  • Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World
    Michael I. Meyerson (Basic Books, 2008) Google Books →
  • Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution
    Jack Rakove (Knopf, 1996) Google Books →
  • The Cambridge Companion to The Federalist
    Jack N. Rakove and Colleen A. Sheehan (Cambridge University Press, 2020) Google Books →

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Programme ID: m001r7sv

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Auto-category: 320.973 (Constitutional law–United States)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In 1787, New Yorkers began to read The Federalist Papers, a series of 85 anonymous essays in support of the new U.S. Constitution, which needed ratification.