EDITOR'S NOTE & INTRODUCTION
The essays were attributed to "Publius," referring to Publius Valerius Publicola, the great defender of the ancient Roman Republic. The essays, however, were actually written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. Appearing in a number of New York newspapers in 1787 and 1788, the essays were addressed to people of the State of New York,
The essays were written and published in order to refute the Antifederalists' arguments against ratification of the proposed U.S. Constitution and to persuade the voters of New York to elect a pro-Federalist state convention -- a state convention in which a majority of the delegates would, for and in the name of the State of New York, vote to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
The essays explained the principles of the proposed Constitution and how the Framers expected the new U.S. national government to operate under the constitutional document they had drawn up. The essays argued for a strong and stable central government for the American nation, a central government that would, they admitted, circumscribe, to a significant degree, the powers of the separate state governments.
The Federalist is widely regarded as the best and most authoritative commentary on the Constitution of the United States and how it is to be properly interpreted. A classic of Western political theory, The Federalist is the outstanding American contribution to the literature on constitutionalism, the rule of law, balanced government, political representation, republicanism, and federalism.
With the possible exception of James Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, The Federalist is the best and most reliable source for discerning the purposes and intentions of the American Founding Fathers in drafting and proposing the United States Constitution
Almon Leroy Way Jr.