Alan Johnson's Reviews > The Federalist: with Letters of Brutus

The Federalist by Alexander Hamilton
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's review
Aug 18, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: history-american-founding-era, law-constitutional, electoral-college

Although I read many of The Federalist essays decades ago, I have now read the present edition cover to cover, including the appended Antifederalist Letters of Brutus. The Federalist is rightly considered to be a masterpiece of American political thought. In many ways, it is also a major contribution to political philosophy generally.

There were, of course, two major flaws in the original Constitution of 1787: the notorious three-fifths clause (and related provisions implicitly recognizing slavery) and the lack of a bill of rights. The Federalist feebly attempted to justify these sins of commission and omission. Otherwise, the series of newspaper essays by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay in support of the then-proposed Constitution is outstanding.

I would not accept the view of The Federalist on federalism (and certainly not on slavery or the bill of rights) as the last word, particularly considering the vast changes in technology and industrialization since that agrarian era. But in many other respects, The Federalist can still speak to us today.
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Reading Progress

August 16, 2015 – Started Reading
August 18, 2015 – Shelved
August 18, 2015 – Shelved as: history-american-founding-era
August 18, 2015 – Shelved as: law-constitutional
September 9, 2015 – Finished Reading
December 21, 2016 – Shelved as: electoral-college

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