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The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world… James Madison

British constitutional law is all tradition based on previous decisions and royal statutes. The Constitution of the United States of America was not originally so encumbered. It had more in common with ancient laws inscribed on stone tablets without being subject to the whim and caprice of dictatorial usurpations of its authority. There has always been a tension between those who rely exclusively on the opening sentences of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence while ignoring the end of that paragraph and the bill of particulars that follows – specific conditions that the Constitution was designed to remedy – and those who lean more heavily on the arguments set forward in The Federalist Papers. However, both are merely exercises in rhetoric and have no more force in law than sermons on the Ten Commandments have in moral judgements. In both cases the reader can only be safe – or saved – by referring to the original!

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The Federalist : a commentary on the Constitution of the United States Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay ; edited, with an introduction, by Robert Scigliano New York : Modern Library, 2000 Hardcover. lviii, 618 p. ; 20 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [607]-608) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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The series of essays that comprise The Federalist constitutes one of the key texts of the American Revolution and the republican system created in the wake of independence. Written in 1787 and 1788 by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to promote the ratification of the proposed Constitution, these papers stand as perhaps the most eloquent testimonial to democracy that exists.

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They describe the ideas behind the American system of government: the separation of powers; the organization of Congress; the respective positions of the executive, legislative, and judiciary; and much more. The Federalist remains essential reading for anyone interested in politics and government, and indeed for anyone seeking a foundational statement about republicanism and America.

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This edition of The Federalist is edited by Robert Scigliano, a professor in the political science department at Boston College. His introduction a different perspective on the historical context and meaning of The Federalist. Scigliano also offers his conjectures about the disputed authorship of several sections of this crucial work.

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