[THE FEDERALIST PAPERS]. -- [HAMILTON, Alexander (1739-1802), James MADISON (1751-1836) and John JAY (1745-1829)]. The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed Upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. New York: John and Andrew M'Lean, 1788.
2 volumes, 12mo (162 x 94 mm). (Vol. II bound without a1 blank, title-page Vol. I with upper blank margin torn away with portion of old inscription and repaired [not affecting letterpress], faded contemporary inscription on front flyleaf Vol. I., scattered spotting, vol.2 bound without half-title [not issued in Vol. I].) Contemporary tree sheep (rebacked with endpapers renewed, a few small repairs, minor wear at edges, rear board creased).
"ONE OF THE NEW NATION'S MOST IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE THEORY OF GOVERNMENT" (PMM)
FIRST EDITION, collecting the 85 seminal essays written in defense of the newly drafted Constitution and published under the pseudonym "Publius" in various New York newspapers; the complete text of the Constitution, headed "Articles of the New Constitution," and the resolutions of the Constitutional Convention (signed in type by Washington) appear on pp.368-384 of vol.2.
"Justly recognized as a classic exposition of the principles of republican government" (R.B. Bernstein, Are We to be a Nation? The Making of the Constitution, 1987, p.242). The Federalist essays grew out of the heated pamphlet wars engendered by the question of the ratification of the Constitution. Hamilton enlisted John Jay and James Madison (a Virginia delegate) to collaborate on a series of essays supporting the new plan of government and refuting the objections of its detractors. "Hamilton wrote the first piece in October 1787 on a sloop returning from Albany...He finished many pieces while the printer waited in a hall for the completed copy" (R. Brookhiser, Alexander Hamilton: American, 1999, pp.68-69). Due to Jay's illness and Madison's return to Virginia, most of the 85 essays, in the end, were written by Hamilton. "Despite the hurried pace at which they worked--they ground out four articles nearly every week--what began as a propaganda tract, aimed only at winning the election for delegates to New York ratifying convention, evolved into the classic commentary upon the American Federal system" (F. McDonald, Alexander Hamilton: A Biography, p.107). Washington who had served as President of the Constitutional Convention, wrote that The Federalist "will merit the Notice of Posterity; because in it are candidly and ably discussed the principles of freedom and the topics of government, which will always be interesting to mankind." Church 1230; Evans 21127; Grolier American 19; PMM 234; Sabin 23979.