The Federalist Papers

On this day in 1787, the first of eighty-five essays, collectively known as The Federalist Papers, appears in New York newspaper, the Independent Journal.

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Papers under the pen name “Publius.”
The aim was to provide the rationale for ratification of Constitution. Thirty-eight of the forty-one delegates signed our founding document at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in September.

Newspapers around the country reprinted the essays, then a bound edition of The Federalist essays was published in 1788.

Next, what follows are a few examples of faith found in The Federalist Papers.
(The personal faith of each of the authors is highlighted in previous Our Lost Founding posts.)

Federalist No. 2

Providence has in a particular manner blessed [America] with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants.”

“I have as often taken notice that 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, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.”

“This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.”

Federalist No. 37

“The real wonder is that so many difficulties should have been surmounted, and surmounted with a unanimity almost as unprecedented as it must have been unexpected. It is impossible for any man of candor to reflect on this circumstance without partaking of the astonishment. It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”

Federalist No. 43

“[T]he great principle of self-preservation… the transcendent law of nature and of nature’s God, which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which all such institutions must be sacrificed.”


The Federalist Papers


President James Madison

On this day in 1711 (by the old style Julian calendar) David Hume is born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

So what does that have to do with Our Lost Founding?

David Hume died on August 25, 1776, early on in the American Revolution. Still, his essay, “Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth,” impacted Founding Father James Madison as he wrote “Federalist No. 10.” Several notable Founders wrote the Federalist Papers in favor of ratifying the Constitution. In essence, Madison argued that creating a large republic would mitigate tyranny of the majority.

James Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution and the Father of the Bill of Rights. He was also the fourth President of the United States.


Madison instructs:
“A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.”


On June 20, 1785, James Madison wrote “To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia A Memorial and Remonstrance”:

“It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, who enters into any subordinate Association, must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the General Authority; much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign.”

James Madison

Also, on this day in 1865, John Wilkes Booth is killed 12 days after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.