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The Federalist Papers [Anglais] [Poche]

Alexander Hamilton , James Madison , John Jay , Clinton Rossiter , Charles R. Kessler

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Biographie de l'auteur

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) was born in the West Indies and served during the War of Independence as a captain. His military brilliance was recognized, and he was sent on several important military commissions. He was George Washington’s secretary and aide-de-camp and in 1787 become a Member of the Constitutional Convention. From 1789 to 1795 he was the first Secretary of the Treasury, and in 1801 he held the casting vote against Burr and for Jefferson. He fought a duel with Burr and died the next day.
James Madison (1751-1836) was the fourth President of the United States and become known as the ‘father’ of the Constitution because of his influence in planning it and drawing up the Bill of Rights. He was Secretary of State under Jefferson, and his main achievement in this role was the purchase of Louisiana from the French. He lived in Montpelier, Virginia, for eighty-five years, two of which he spent on the governor’s council. He was elected President in 1809 and again in 1812. During his terms in office he worked to abolish slavery, to disestablish the Church and to seek peace, although under his command the war against Britain resulted in a U.S. triumph.
John Jay (1745-1829) served the new nation in both law and diplomacy and established important judicial precedents as first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A New York attorney from 1768, he won a wide reputation with The Address to the People of Great Britain, which stated the claims of the colonists. He did not sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776 but helped to ensure its approval in New York. In 1789 he was appointed the first U.S. Chief Justice and shaped the Supreme Court procedures. The Jay Treaty of 1794 with Great Britain made him unpopular, and his hopes of succeeding Washington as President faded. After a spell as Governor of New York he retired to a farm, where he spent twenty-seven uneventful years.

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Première phrase
AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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596 internautes sur 608 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Serious Political Thinking 16 avril 2006
Par James E. Egolf - Publié sur
The new edition of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS edited by Clinton Rossiter and co. is probably the best paperback edition. Rossiter and Charles Kesler did a good job in presenting these papers, and their explanations and notes make this book clear for readers. THE FEDERALIST PAPERS alone are an important source of serious political thinking. In an age of almost unbridled political power, corruption, empire buidling, etc. THE FEDERALIST PAPERS are important reminder of what a Free Republic (not an empire) should be.

THE FEDERALIST PAPERS were written by Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), John Jay (1745-1829), and James Madison (1751-1835). Due to concerns about the New York State legislators ratifying the The U.S. Constitution, these papers were journal pieces written to New York journals and newspapers to convince both the residents and state legislators to ratify The U.S. Constitution. One should note there were other published articles supporting ratification of The U.S. Constitution and other articles can be read in a text titled FRIENDS OF THE CONSTITUTION.

What is alarming about THE FEDERALISTS PAPERS is that they were written for most readers. If one were to write such articles these days, most Americans would not read them nor comprehend them. This is a sad commentary on Americans regarding serious political writing regarding their birthright. If THE FEDERALIST PAPERS were assigned to high school kids, whoever would make such an assignment would be fired or worse.

THE FEDERALIST PAPERS give important explanations of the separation of powers, limits of each branch of the central government (The Federal Government), and how political power should be used within severe limitations. These articles were a brilliant attempt to mitigate fears that The U.S. Constitution would give far too much power to the the central or federal government.

The late Clinton Rossiter had a useful suggestion for those who did not want to read all 85 of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS. He suggested that the best numbers were 1,2,6,9,10, 14, 15, 16,23, 37, 39,47, 49, 51, 62, 70, 78, 84, and 85. Those readers who read these numbered papers would probably want to read the remainder.

This newer paperback edition of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS has some valuable features to help the reader navigate complex political thinking. The U.S. Constitution is placed in the end of the book with page numbers of the book whereby the authors of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS refer to that section of the U.S. Constitution. This gives clarity as to exactly what the authors were arguing regarding specific sections of the proposed U.S. Constitution. Another important feature of this edition of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS consists of the notes. The men who wrote THE FEDERALIST PAPERS were learned men who had seriously studied history and political thought. The notes explain the examples of Ancient Greek and Roman History used to make some of the arguments. These notes also refer to examples of Renaissance and English History which were also used to make good arguments from historical examples. One could get first rate learning experience of Ancient Greek and Roman History as well as a better view of European Renaissance and English History.

Readers should not forget that the authors of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS were responding to the Anti-Federalists and their articles titled THE ANTI-FEDERALIST PAPERS. Too often the Anti-Federalists are referred to as obstrcutionists and narrow minded men. This is simply not true. The ANTI-FEDERALIST PAPERS were as well written and brilliantly argued as THE FEDERALIST PAPERS.
One should note that one of the major objections of the Anti-Federalists to ratification of The U.S. Constitution was that it did not contain a Bill of Rights. The Federalists took this argument seriously. Basically, one could argue that without the Anti-Federalists, there would have been no Bill of Rights. Ergo, without The Bill of Rights, there would have been no U.S. Constitution. The Anti-Federalists were very important in the ratification of The U.S. Constitution.

Anyone who wants to define who Americans should be should read THE FEDERALIST PAPERS. They should also read THE ANTI-FEDERALIST PAPERS and read clear, informed, and well written political theory from men who could actually think. Most political hacks and too many American citizens are not even vaguely aware of this important political writing. Yet, this political writing is the very best American political thinking in U.S. History. This reviewer highly recommends the Rossiter-Kesler edition of THE FEDERALIST PAPERS and other editions of THE ANTI-FEDERALIST PAPERS.
66 internautes sur 69 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Vital to Understanding the US Constitution 11 juillet 2004
Par C. Baker - Publié sur
The Federalist Papers is probably the most seminal discourse on the U.S. Constitution that has ever been written. While there are occasional inconsistencies and undoubtedly many of the founding fathers that took part in the Constitutional Convention and favored adoption of the Constitution would disagree with some of its contents, it is vital reading if one hopes to understand the original intent of the founders.
74 internautes sur 79 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Contention and a Suggestion 25 août 2006
Par Christian Thoma - Publié sur
One of the reviewers below challenges the notion that the US was ever a Democracy, however, he (apologies if it's a 'she') is viewing the Federalist Papers from the perspective of modern times, and that is a fallacy in reviewing this work, but fortunately it's an instructive fallacy.

The issue with the Federalist Papers is that although it is the leading arguments for the creation of a more centralized government (to replace the Articles of Confederation which seemed inpractible), not all of these arguments were adopted in the Constitution, and some that were did not survive very long. As a result, you may get the wrong impression that the Federalist Papers=the Constitution. Remember, Hamilton's party, the Federalists, did not survive much longer after the defeat of Adams by Jefferson in the 1800 election. The populism of Jefferson and Madison were the ultimate winners *at the time*.

And my *at the time* comment is important. Nowadays the federal government of the US holds a superior and decisive position in the governing of its people; this has not always been the case. In the early-to-mid 19th century, federal power was severely limited when it came to internal affairs; most of the government was conducted at the local level, with some county and state control thrown in where applicable. So *at the time*, the fact that the Senate had 2 members from each state (and appointed by the state legislature) regardless of population was *not* a measure that was anti-democratic in purpose. Democracy existed because the government was predominantly local and the people were predominantly involved in its affairs.

Thus my contention; now for the suggestion: if your project is strictly to research the creation of the US Constitution, than the Federalist Papers by themselves are fine. If, however, you are more interested in how the Constitution affected American society at that time, I would recommend that you start by reading de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America", and working backwards. The immediate results of the Constitution are best expressed in de Tocqueville (he toured the United States and published his work in Europe within 50 years of the ratification) because its not the causes of the Constitution he is discussing, but its effects. After you have completed Democracy in America, then you'll be able to approach the Federalist (and of course the Anti-Federalist) Papers with the understanding of what worked, what didn't, and maybe what we need to work again for.
29 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Understanding The Founders Reasoning 3 août 2005
Par Charles McVey - Publié sur
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Before the ratification of the Constitution of 1787, three of its Framers, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, published a series of articles called The Federalist in a New York paper under the pen name of "Publius." These articles are now published as The Federalist Papers. Publius' intent was to defend the proposed Constitution by explaining its overall integrity and the republican government it would establish. Ironically, one of Publius' intents was to defend the Constitution against the argument it was too weak to withstand those who would subvert republicanism in favor of some form of aristocratic domination.

Sadly, not many read this work, despite the fact that it is one of the few documents that define what the founders' intent really was. This omission has not stopped many from espousing their (lack of) knowledge of that intent. The casual reader can be put off by the size of the work, 85 articles, and the seriousness of the articles. This work was intended for serous people. However, one can approach it with a pen and yellow highlighter and LEARN its wisdom or the more casual reader can let the Introduction guide them to the pieces that interest them.

These casual readers will learn The Federalist Papers are divided into two divisions, each with different themes. The first division addresses the issue of a "firm" and "well-constructed" Union as opposed to a lose confederation of states. This division then addresses how the constitution is protected from the founders' anticipated accidental and intentional threats and answers: what the respective purposes of the Union and the Constitution are; what should be done with society's will; the problem of politics; and even the issues of taxes and maintaining an army. All of these together described the function of government as defined by the Constitution.

In the second division, The Federalist Papers move from the basic function of government to the structure of the American government and using that structure to secure society's common good, the people's happiness, and the public good. All this is accomplished using a moderate tone that makes the reader part of the discourse and not the object of a lecture. This is a constitution aimed at the public in many ways.

So at heart, The Federalist Papers is a guide to the Constitution intended for the casual reader, a reader who can pick and chose those elements that are meaningful.
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Alexander Hamilton's Greatest Work (with help from James Madison). 31 janvier 2006
Par Epops - Publié sur
"The Federalist" is a compilation of articles that appeared in the New York newspapers in 1787 and 1788, written in support of the document that had been approved by the Constitutional Convention that had met in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787. The authors, writing anonymously under the pseudonym "Publius" (after Publius Valerius Publicola, the quasi-legendary First Consul of the Roman Republic), were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, all well-known political figures in the American Revolutionary period. The Constitution had actually been ratified by the time the articles began to appear, but they served to explain to the public the nature of their new government. They have served that function very well ever since. They are now considered to be a definitive statement of the practical issues involved in establishing popular consensual representative government.

Ironically, Hamilton was not nearly as enthusiastic about the new Constitution in private as he was in the pages of "The Federalist". For example, he believed the President should be elected for life, and for that reason throughout his life he was called a "monarchist" by his political enemies.

Another irony is that Hamilton persuaded the American people to accept a Constitution that was and continues to be much more conservative in outlook than are the majority of the American people. He succeeded at this because Americans, like Hamilton, sensed that a conservative governmental structure, with a strong executive, was essential to our security as a fledgling nation-state in a world dominated by hostile and predatory military monarchies. The desperately vulnerable state of the early American Republic comes through vividly in Hamilton's writing, informed no doubt by his heroic Revolutionary War service as George Washington's personal aide. The attachment of Americans to our Constitution as a source of our strength and security continues unabated today.

"Publius" was writing for the average citizen of his day, who either could read himself or was read to - newspapers were usually passed from hand to hand for weeks after publication in those days. But he doesn't write down to his audience. He justifiably assumes that having been through a prolonged and bloody war for their independence the average American citizen was extremely interested in preserving that hard-won liberty, and in the structure of the government that would help them do it.

However, the language is of the late 18th century, and takes some getting used to. These papers should be read one at a time, over a period of months or years. The topics covered are as timely as today's headlines: The limits of presidential power, the independence of the judiciary, the role of government in society.

My favorite quotation from "The Federalist" is not by Hamilton, but by Madison, although I'm sure Hamilton agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment: (from The Federalist No. 51) "But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary."

"The Federalist" is one of three basic texts of American government. The other two are Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" and Lord Bryce's "The American Commonwealth".

These three books together will provide an educated person with a solid understanding of the nature of the American system of government.
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