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Seminar paper from the year 2008 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,7, RWTH Aachen University, course: American Non-Fiction, language: English, abstract: The eighty-five essays, today commonly referred to as The Federalist Papers,
were written in 1787 and 1788 in order to help in securing the ratification of the
proposed United States Constitution in the State of New York. Although the essays
were all signed Publius, they were written by three men of different background and,
to some extent, different political ideas. John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James
Madison have contributed to the Papers in different quantity. Due to an illness Jay
has contributed only five articles. Hamilton’s and Madison’s contributions are not
always easy to separate but most scholars ascribe twenty-nine articles to Madison
and fifty-one to Hamilton. The authorship of essays “18-20, 49-58, and 62-63 was
the subject of heated historical controversy for more than a century and a half,
because both Hamilton and Madison allegedly claimed authorship of these essays.”
The object of this paper is to analyze the rhetorical approach of Madison and
Hamilton in selected papers. Also, an attempt will be made to determine if, and to
what extent their rhetorical style and political ideas are distinguishable even under
the joint guise of Publius.
The analysis will be undertaken on the examples of four selected papers – No. 10,
54, 84 and 85, which were chosen as representatives of the respective author’s style,
since a detailed analysis of all 85 papers would be to extensive for a term paper.
Contributions by John Jay are deliberately left out since they consist of only 5 papers
which are arguably among the less important ones. Federalist No.10 was chosen as the most famous of Madison’s contributions due to
its prominence within the scholarly debate and the prevailing significance of the
problem discussed in the essay – the dangers or factions within a republic system.
No. 54 was chosen as an example of disputed authorship and due to its treatment of
the complex problem of slavery in regard to the number of Representatives of Southern States. A special interest lies in the author’s approach to distinguish the
slaves status of being ‘people’ and ‘property’ at the same time. No. 84 was chosen
due to Hamilton’s interesting rhetorical treatment of and political stance on the bill of
rights. No. 85 was chosen because of its importance as a conclusion to the complete
work and arguments of the whole body of texts. [...]