(The following is taken from "How to Read the Federalist Papers," by Anthony A. Peacock, page 19 and following).
John Jay (1745–1829) was a New York lawyer of national stature and the oldest of the authors of The Federalist. For 6 years he served as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Alexander Hamilton viewed Jay as one of the most astute political and legal minds of his day.
John Jay wrote Federalist 2-5 and Federalist 64.
James Madison (1751–1836) has been heralded as the “father” of the Constitution.
To misunderstand Madison’s conduct and ideas is to misunderstand the Founding itself.
Madison attended the entirety of the Constitutional Convention and was influential in virtually every part of its deliberations.
His extensive education and intimate familiarity with both ancient and modern political thought would serve him well both at the Federal Convention and in his work on The Federalist.
Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) came from inauspicious beginnings.
Born financially destitute on the British island of Nevis in the Caribbean, after emigrating to America in 1772.
Hamilton, not only excelled academically at King’s College (now Columbia University), but wrote some of the most illuminating revolutionary writings while still in his twenties—writings that anticipated many of the arguments he would make in The Federalist.
The Federalist, you will remember, was written as though its authors were one person, who went by the name, Publius.
Although The Federalist has been cited for over two centuries as the definitive historical authority on the Constitution by politicians, jurists, and constitutional commentators, it is its significance as a work of political and constitutional theory that has been least appreciated.
Next Saturday we will begin looking at how the Federalist relates to constitutional government, human nature and American greatness.
Note: In the side bar on the right there will be links to all of the articles we'll study for The Federalist, so that you can browse back through them at your leisure.