"Publius" and The Federalist Papers

Publius The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers are a set of 85 essays on in support of ratifying a Constitution published anonymously under the pseudonym of "Publius," one of the first two consuls of the Roman republic. The essays, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, were published in print paper to persuade the public of the need to strenghten the confederation of individual states with a binding document. 

The central theme is the fear of anarchy of factional interests impeding government from action.

Federalist 63: "As far as antiquity can instruct us on this subject...in Sparta, the annual representatives of the people were found an overmatch for the senate for life, continually gained on its authority and finally drew all power into their own hands." The Tribunes of Rome who were the representatives of the people prevailed, it is well known, in almost every contest with the senate for life, and in the end gained the most complete triumph over it" (Madison, 387).

Federalist 18: "Had Greece, says a judicious observer of her fate, been united by a stricter confederation and preserved in her union she would never have worn the chains of Macedon; and might have proved a barrier to the vast projects of Rome" (Hamilton, 120). 

Federalist 45: On the Archaen League and Lycian Confederacy in Greece uniting states: "We know that the ruin of one of them proceeded from the incapacity of the federal authority to prevent the dissensions, and finally the dissunion, of the subordinate authorities. These cases are the more worthy of our attention as the external causes by which the component parts were pressed together were much more numerous and powerful than in our case..." (Madison, 287).

By nature, James Madison was not a Federalist, yet he collaborated with Jay and Hamilton to publish works to inspire the republic to form a more perfect union that would be truly unified under the proposed Constitution of the federal government. He was sensitive to the fear of tyrannical central authority of the legislature, so he wrote that the federal government would be exercised "principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part be connected" (Madison, 289).

States' rights would be extended "to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the state" (Madison, 289).

Reforms of Democratic-Republicans at the Convention however, led John Adams to fear that the Constitution was not mixed government, but was corrupted into being "to all intents and purposes, in virtue, in spirit, and effect, a democracy." "The specter of a new Athens hung ominously over Adams's head" (Richard, 83). For Federalists, the fear of mob-rule in democracy and lack of a powerful, aristocratic senate to bind the states, was paramount in their objectives for reform.