The Federalist Papers and the Birth of a Nation

The Federalist Papers and the Birth of a Nation

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The American Revolution will always be a source of nationalistic pride for Americans. It represented the era where the freedoms and liberty of the common man fought against tyranny and an oppressive government. What many people overlook is the five year period which defined what the new country would become politically and socially. As the framework for the Constitution was being debated, these factors played a role in how the Federalists saw the future of the fledgling country. Through examining the Federalist papers and comparing their ideology with the Constitution born of it, it is clear that the Constitution created and safeguarded the rights of citizens while maintaining an informal class system.
The system of established individual rights is most commonly thought of in the form of the Bill of Rights, which accompanies and amends the Constitution to defend certain explicit rights of the people the document neglected to specify. As many of the elite men of the time had done, the Founding Fathers were students of the Enlightenment and the period of personal liberties that had grown out of these idealists. The inherent rights of man brought about by men like Locke were that of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. The Federalists addressed these items in paper number 84 which is one of the clearest indicators of the beliefs in the new multi-layered system could be a free one. As believers in that ethos of government, the Federalists fought against the Bill of Rights in what they saw as something that could be used to limit rights rather than granting them more freedoms. As Hamilton points out that the Citizens of the country “do ordain and establish this Constitution” as a “recognition of popular rights” (Hamilton 5...


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...ility to expand and not limit the rights of the people to what was expressed in the Bill of Rights and sought to make a more universal impact on the freedom in society. They also wanted to create a social structure that would be balance with the power vested in the positions of authority so that society could be stratified but not dominated. Having 500 years of British constitutional history to draw upon, the Federalists were able to create a charter that took the functional elements of British democracy and create a society with more opportunity for freedom and advancement. Based on these points it is clear that the Constitution was an instrument that both preserved individual liberty and maintained social order.


Works Cited
Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, John Jay, and Clinton Rossiter. The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics). New York: Signet Classics, 2003.

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