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The Federalist, or Federalist Papers, is the name given to a series of 85 essays written in 1787–1788 by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. They argued in support of ratification of the US Constitution.

The papers are influential in that they influenced early nationalists like John Marshall and Joseph Story, but their impact on the ratification debate has been questioned by scholars like Kevin Gutzman.[1] Gutzman also argues that the essays written by Madison demonstrate that he was "very confused, or [...] attempting to obfuscate," in that his writings in The Federalist (particularly numbers 62 and 63) contradict what he wrote in his private correspondence and later public writings.[2]

Over the years, a number of editions of the Federalist have been printed. Most modern editions use the original text, as preserved in several early editions and the Dawson edition of 1863. However, the Gideon edition of 1818 incorporates many edits made by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, years after the original publication of the essays.


  1. Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution (2007), p. 38
  2. Gutzman, p. 39