It’s a bad idea.
The Federalist Papers weren’t an instruction manual for the Constitution. They were written with one specific purpose in mind: get the Constitution ratified.
Who needed to be convinced to support the Constitution?
People who wanted states rights, and saw the consolidated federal government created by the constitution as an echo of monarchical tyranny.
What does that mean for Hamilton, Madison, and Jay? Spinning every aspect of the Constitution so that it will be appealing to that mindset, or at least less threatening. Personal beliefs and doubts are squelched in order to convince the skeptical.
And what does that mean for you? Taking what’s written in those papers with a grain of salt. I’m not saying that the Federalist Papers are a packet of pretty lies; I am saying that you have to remember that it was written in order to sell something.
Sometimes, I’ll read someone declaring that Hamilton was a strict constructionist of the constitution, or that he had greater respect for the states than he’s portrayed as having. Whenever I see that, I think, “They’re going to cite the Federalist Papers or a speech Hamilton made when he was trying to get the Constitution ratified.” Almost inevitably, I’m right. And I’m not even someone who’s studied the Federalist Papers in depth! Hell, I actually haven’t them all! But, I do know that it’s no coincidence that Hamilton was at his most republican when he was trying to convince citizens who feared government power to support the Constitution.
Hamilton was even criticized for this: he gushed over the British government at the Constitutional Convention, but talked like a lover of states rights when he was trying to get it ratified. Got into a big fight with the other two New York delegates to the Convention when one implied suggested he was being deceptive.
Go ahead. Read the Federalist Papers. But look at the real-world political decisions that the figures were making; look at what was said in the secrecy of the Constitutional Convention, and in private letters. An advertisement for the Constitution is not where you go for the most genuine thoughts and feelings of the Founding Fathers on government.
Thomas Jefferson, 1815
*looks at what she just reblogged*
Did I ever tell you the story of my lost hat? ‘No.’ Well sir, I was saying at Bishop Madison’s in Williamsburg (he was not yet Bishop, by the way), and my hat was stolen out of a window in which I had laid it. It was about a mile from the house to the palace, and I was kept from going to the latter for two days, by the impossibility of getting a hat of any kind. At last, however, I obtained one from a little Frenchman who sold snuff—very coarse—an extremely small crown and broad brim, and it was a subject of great merriment to my friends.
—Nicholas P. Trist describes an anecdote told to him by James Madison
Was it really that improper to go out without a hat? Or did Madison have some kind of hat complex?
Thomas Jefferson on John Adams, to James Madison, 1787
Thanks TJ. XD
James Madison’s Wikipedia article ahahahahaha AHAHAHAHAHA
seriously though, skinny-dipping in the Crim Dell probably would’ve killed him