First Edition of First Volume of "The Federalist Papers"Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. In Two Volumes. Vol. I. New-York: Printed and Sold by J. and A. M'Lean, 1788.
First edition of "the most famous and influential American political work" (Howes). Volume I only. Twelvemo (6.125 x 3.8125 inches; 156 x 97 mm.). vi, 227, [1, blank] pages. Bound without the initial blank leaf.
Bound by Rivière & Son (stamp-signed in gilt on the front turn-in) in full navy blue levant morocco. Covers with gilt double-rule border, spine paneled in gilt with five raised bands, gilt-lettered in two compartments, with place of publication and date in gilt at foot, board edges and turn-ins ruled in gilt, all edges gilt. Neatly rebacked, with original spine laid down. Upper corner of front cover renewed. Corners rubbed, with some recoloring. Front free endpaper splitting and reinforced with tissue. Free endpapers browned at the edges from turn-in glue. Pastedowns renewed. Title browned and backed with silk, with short tear to outer margin and small sliver of outer edge chipped away. Tiny tear (quarter-inch) to upper blank margin of G4 (pages 79/80), H2 (pages 87/88), and I6 (pages 107/108). Final leaf T6 (pages 227/228) with short tear (half-inch) to outer blank margin and tiny sliver chipped away at outer edge. Some light foxing and browning, as usual, slightly heavier at the beginning and end. Otherwise an excellent copy, internally very clean and crisp. Leaf P2 (pages 171/172) creased and so printed, with no loss.
Volume I contains Numbers 1-36.
"These eighty-five essays on the Constitution, almost entirely written by Hamilton and Madison (probably only five were by Jay) 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).
Church 1230. Evans 21127. Ford 33. Grolier, 100 American, 19. Grolier, 100 English, 55. Howes H114. Printing and the Mind of Man 234. Sabin 23979. Streeter 1049.
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