Description

    [Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay]. The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, Agreed Upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. New York: Printed and Sold by J. and A. McLean, 1788. First collected edition, one of only 500 copies printed, thick paper issue. Volume II only. Small octavo. vi, 384 pages. Contemporary brown calf, spine ruled in gilt, gilt-lettered burgundy morocco label and green oval gilt morocco number label. Joints repaired and retouched, hinges repaired, some light wear to binding, spine just faintly sunned, lower corners of boards lightly bumped, endpapers a bit foxed with some stray ink markings, a few gutters slightly over-opened, several pages with creases at upper corners, pages 361 to 372 (six leaves) are on regular thin paper). Some toning, occasional foxing in text. The Michael Zinman copy with his booklabel on the front pastedown. Overall, a very good copy of one of the most important documents on the founding of the Constitution of the United States, and is among the most important political documents of the nascent United States. Church 1230. Evans 21127. Ford, Bibliography of the Constitution, 43. Ford, Bibliotheca Hamiltoniana, 17. Grolier 100 American, 19. Grolier, 100 English, 55. Howes H114. Printing and the Mind of Man 234. Sabin 23979. Streeter 1049.

    "These eighty-five essays on the Constitution, almost entirely written by Hamilton and Madison...and published in the New York newspapers under the name of 'Publius,' were a step in Hamilton's campaign to win over a hostile majority in New York for a ratification of the Constitution. To the people of the time the collected essays were little more than a huge Federalist pamphlet. A generation passed before it was recognized that these essays by the principal author of the Constitution and its brilliant advocate were the most authoritative interpretation of the Constitution as drafted by the Convention of 1787. As a commentary and exposition on the Constitution the influence of The Federalist has been profound" (Grolier, 100 American).

    "When Alexander Hamilton invited his fellow New Yorker John Jay and James Madison, a Virginian, to join him in writing the series of essays published as The Federalist, it was to meet the immediate need of convincing the reluctant New York State electorate of the necessity of ratifying the newly proposed Constitution of the United States. The eighty-five essays, under the pseudonym 'Publius', were designed as political propaganda, not as a treatise of political philosophy. In spite of this The Federalist survives as one of the new nation's most important contributions to the theory of government...The first number of The Federalist appeared on 27 October 1787 in The Independent Journal, or The General Advertiser and newspaper publication continued in this and three other papers, The New York Packet, The Daily Advertiser, and The New York Journal and Daily Patriotic Register, through number 77, 2 April 1788. The first thirty-six essays were published in book form on 22 March 1788 by J. and A. McLean of New York and a second volume containing essays 37-85 followed on 28 May. Thus numbers 78-85 were published in book form before they appeared in the popular press" (Printing and the Mind of Man).


    More Information:

    According to Bernstein (p. 237), "it is now agreed that Hamilton wrote Nos. 1, 6-9, 11-13, 15-17, 21-36, 59-61, and 65-86; that Madison wrote Nos. 10, 14, 18-20 (with reference to some material provided by Hamilton), 37-58, 62, and 63; and that Jay wrote Nos. 2-5 and 64."



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