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The Federalist Papers and American Short Stories
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The Federalist Papers and American Short Stories

CONTEXTUALIZTION: The Federalist Papers were published during 1787 through 1788. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay were the authors of the Federalist Papers all writing under the name Publius. The three authors wrote 85 essays all together, John Jay only contributing 5 of the essays, while Hamilton contributed 52 and Madison contributed 28. The papers were written after the Constitution was written to persuade the people of New York to ratify the Constitution. Arguing for the new government stance in the United States the papers clarify the Constitution and dive deeper into the specifics of the Constitution. The three authors wrote 85 essays all together, John Jay only contributing 5 of the essays. The essays talked of how the Bill of Rights could be viewed as the only rights the people of the United States have under the new Constitution. Arguing against any chance of the original constitution or amendments to the Constitution the essays state their defenses. The United States at this point is going through a time of transformation, going from being an English colony to being an independent state.

Madison was credited with being the Father of the Constitution and also was the fourth president of the United States. He therefore was fighting for the country in which he was a major part of the document in which the country became the leader. The essays are great evidence of the debate between the Federalist and Anti-Federalist during the time of the states ratification.

SALIENT POINTS: The Federalist Papers were a way for Madison, Hamilton and Jay to show their objection to the Bill of Rights and other political movements again the origins of the Constitution. As stated before the authors are writing to the people of New York to persuade the people to ratify the Constitution. Reading through the first essay one will find the topics of the essays in which Alexander Hamilton wants to get across. I propose, in a series of papers, to discuss the following interesting particulars: -- The utility of the UNION to your political prosperity -- The insufficiency of the present Confederation to preserve that Union -- The necessity of a government at least equally energetic with the one proposed, to the attainment of this object -- The conformity of the proposed Constitution to the true principles of republican government -- Its analogy to your own state constitution -- and lastly, The additional security which its adoption will afford to the preservation of that species of government, to liberty, and to property. The three authors all believed in the Constitution which was written about 10 years before the work of Publius was published, and the essays are proof of how much the authors wanted the new country to succeed under the Constitution.

INFULENCE ON THE SHORT STORY: The start of the American short story began right after the publication of the essays. Poe, Irving, Hawthorne and Cooper write short stories following the essays. The authors just listed are known as the first American short story writers and are credited with the first American literature. Since the Federalist Papers were essays written in favor of the new government many if the pieces of literature written in reaction were because they agreed or disagreed in a newspaper or periodical.

Many short stories were written about this time period but few if any are written about the actual essays. Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving for example talks about the transition period from the rule of the king to being an independent country, but says nothing about the Federalist Papers themselves.

CONNECTION TO OUR CLASS: The Federalist Papers are a major part of American history therefore can not be ignored when reading stories from this time on in American history. The Gray Champion and Rip Van Winkle are two stories read that have some connection to the Federalist Papers. In the Gray Champion the people see an old man who will fight for liberty from the rule of England. In this case the Federalist Papers are fighting for the rights of the people as well, but from a different source. And as stated above Rip Van Winkle is about the transition period between the rule of England to the leadership of the United States, this story was published about 30 years after the publication of the Federalist Papers which means that Irving would have had knowledge of the popular essays of the time.

Websites used to gather material:

http://www.law.emory.edu/index.php?id=3130
http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/
http://www.jmu.edu/madison/center/main_pages/
madison_archives/constit_confed/federalist/
fedpapers_intro.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalist_Papers
http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa01.htm





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