The Federalist Papers are a collected series of essays that originally appeared in New York newspapers from 1787-1788, during the period of debate and ratification for the new Constitution. In them, the series’ three authors–Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay–very clearly explain the nature of the Constitution and how it was to be implemented.
Their authority is, of course, unimpeachable. Hamilton would become the first Secretary of the Treasury. Jay would become the first Chief Justice of the United States. And Madison, the primary architect of the Constitution itself, would go on to become our 4th president.
Here are some of our most auspicious Founders’ answers to ten pressing issues of the present day:
1. Is America a multicultural society, or a basically homogeneous Christian nation?
Answered by John Jay: “Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country, to one united people, a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs…” –Federalist #2
2. Should American government be more Democratic (populist) or Republican (representative) in nature?
Answered by James Madison: “A pure Democracy, by which I mean, a Society, consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischief of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole….A Republic, by which I mean a Government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking.” –Federalist #10