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The Federalist. Vol. 1, 1788. First edition

To win support for the new Constitution after the 1787 Convention, Alexander Hamilton orchestrated a series of newspaper essays. Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison wrote them under a common pen name, “Publius.” In 1788, the 85 essays were republished in two volumes as The Federalist Papers. Thomas Jefferson acquired this volume once owned by Hamilton’s wife, Elizabeth.

Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress

The Federalist. Vol. 1, 1788. First edition

Strengthening the Union

The Articles of Confederation united the thirteen original states but lacked centralized authority for foreign diplomacy, commerce, national defense, and arbitration. In 1787, at the Constitutional Convention called to address those weaknesses, James Madison of Virginia argued that a balance of centralized government and states’ rights was essential to a lasting republic. The Convention produced a new agreement of union embodying those principles––the United States Constitution which was ratified by the states.