The Federalist Papers

     Two weeks of reading and I’ve finally finished the Federalist Papers! From here I’ll be moving on to the Anti-Federalist Papers and Constitutional Convention Debates. I also plan on reading the best historical interpretations of the Constitution which would be Views of the Constitution by St. George Tucker (1803), New Views of the Constitution by John Taylor of Caroline (1823) and A View of the Constitution by William Rawle (1829). These texts are the most relevant examples of early 19th Century texts expounding the Constitution. What not to read: Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833) which attempted to rewrite the history of the Constitution and make it a nationalist document, rather than a federalist document. I will of course read it eventually just because, however it is definitely not ideal if you want accurate constitutional interpretation.
     As an aside, from reading the Federalist Papers, the interpretation by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison of the Constitution was completely reasonable, and if men of avarice had not rewrote the history of the Constitution and ultimately forced their view upon the American public through the Civil War, they would still stand correct today. However, although the anti-federalist view may not have been correct upon a realistic reading of the Constitution, it has proved to be strangely prophetic. For all the blustering by Hamilton and Madison that men of candor could not misinterpret certain Constitutional provisions as granting broad strokes of power, they clearly proved to be on the wrong side of history as we can see today. They should have been right. But, Alexander Hamilton himself led the charge to subverting the Constitution himself; so I guess he was adamant about proving himself wrong.


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