James Madison, Ratification, and the Federalist Papers

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By National Constitution Center. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

September 17 is Constitution Day—the anniversary of the framers signing the Constitution in 1787. This week’s episode dives into what happened after the Constitution was signed—when it had to be approved by “we the people,” a process known as ratification—and the arguments made on behalf of the Constitution. A major collection of those arguments came in the form of a series of essays, today often referred to as The Federalist Papers, which were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay using the pen name Publius and published initially in newspapers in New York. Guests Judge Gregory Maggs, author of the article “A Concise Guide to The Federalist Papers as a Source of the Original Meaning of the United States Constitution,” and Colleen Sheehan, professor and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to The Federalist, shed light on the questions: What do The Federalist Papers say? What did their writers set out to achieve achieve by writing them? How do they explain the ideas behind the Constitution’s structure and design—and where did those ideas come from? And why is it important to read The Federalist Papers today?

Additional resources and transcript available in our Media Library at constitutioncenter.org/constitution.

Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

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