The relationship between the Federalist Papers and the Constitution

Over the last couple of years the Federalist Papers have been referenced by armchair politicians (and Supreme Court Judges) in their efforts to justify certain political agendas.

It is important to know that the Federalist Papers are NOT:
– the Constitution, nor
– an amendment to the Constitution, nor
– a supplement to the Constitution.

But rather the Federalist Papers were Topics of Debate (essays published in newspapers in the late 1780’s) during the development of the Constitution . And as they were topics of debate, some of the points from those essays were agreed to ( by the other Constitutional Convention participants and the debating public), but other points were disapproved.

If you find something in the Federalist Papers, that happens to not be in the Constitution, there is a reason for it: it was disapproved by the collective of the Constitution authors … in other words, they specifically don’t want it in the Constitution. … it was voted out!

However, if you insist on quoting certain parts of the Federalist Papers to justify your political agenda, then be sure to also quote these things as well:

  • Federalist No. 2: “the people must cede to (the government) some of their natural rights”
  • Federalist No. 84: “… bills of rights … are not only unnecessary … but would even be dangerous.”

Recklessly quoting these is misleading, and not understanding that these papers were debate points is where you may be going wrong.


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