The Federalist Papers are a collection of 85 political essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay between 1787 and 1788. Though both Jay and Madison contributed articles to this publication, Alexander Hamilton was responsible for the majority of the content. Hamilton is credited with authoring 59 essays, Madison with 29, and Jay with 5.
Primarily, the inception of the Federalist Papers was a means to bolster support for the enactment of the Constitution of the United States. The authors chose to publish the entirety of the Federalist Papers in public journals and newspapers, albeit in the form of individual articles, in hopes that the dissemination of the ideas of the collective authors would both educate readers about the tenets of the Constitution, as well as influence them to accept its commencement.
Topics and principles addressed in the 85 essays that compile the Federalist Papers cover the entire spectrum of government, both addressing, as well as structuring, all three gubernatorial branches – executive, federal, and legislative.
Alexander Hamilton represented New York State at the Constitutional Convention, the national hearing that would decide the fate of the Constitution. He would later become the first Secretary of Finance. James Madison, a Virginia native would later become the fourth President of the United States. John Jay became the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Realizing the defects in monarchical rule, the authors of the Federalist Papers constructed a method of leadership that dispersed power, therefore disallowing a single ruling body an abundance of it. As a result, three gubernatorial factions of government were established: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch.
The Federalist Papers maintained that by distributing power throughout three branches of Government, rather than one totalitarian governing body, laws would be more specific, focused, and created in the interest of the citizens of that nation. The Federalist Papers are recognized for their implementation of a system comprised of checks and balances, which limits the decision-making power of a single faction.
For instance, the relationship between all appointed leaders, including the maintenance of that balance of power, falls under the scope of the executive branch headed by the President of the United States. The inception and the creation of laws are the responsibility of the legislative branch, which includes the Senate and Congress. Finally, the translation of those laws is controlled by the judicial system, which includes the Supreme Court.
As a result of the Federalist Papers, the governing bodies that create the laws are kept separate from the governing bodies that approve of them, as well as interpret them, thus avoiding consolidation of power or a monarchy.
Though no definitive assessment can be made in regards to the influence of the Federalist Papers over the decision to ratify the Constitution, the Federalist Papers outline the structural building blocks of a democratic nation.