The Federalist Papers
In the years after the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers had different ideas about how the American government should function. These ideas came to a head during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, in which delegates from the 13 states decided on whether or not to ratify a new constitution. Three politicians who were in favor of ratifying the Constitution - Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay - wrote essays about the benefits of the Constitution as well as their own theories of government. Over the course of about a year, 85 of these essays were published in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet. These essays, now called the Federalist Papers, spurred debate about the strength of the federal government relative to the states, the need for the set of amendments to the Constitution called the Bill of Rights, and the presence of checks and balances in the government. Today, historians and politicians alike recognize the Federalist Papers as among the most important documents concerning the foundation of the US Constitution and the ways in which its provisions should be interpreted.