Sign in  |  Register

The New Criterion

The New Criterion is probably more consistently worth reading than any other magazine in English.
- The Times Literary Supplement

Features

February 2011

The wisdom of “The Federalist”

by Harvey Mansfield

On the balance between saftey & strength in the thinking of Publius.

The wisdom of the American Founders does not come to us in authoritative phrases such as “Confucius says” or in what we have unfortunately come to call our “values,” but mostly in the form of a Constitution. The Constitution has been best explained to us in The Federalist, a series of papers first written for New York newspapers by three defenders of it—Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. These papers contain arguments against opponents of the Constitution intended for the immediate debate over its ratification in that state in 1787–8 and also for a wider audience in the future who would read them as a book. They were neither official statements of the meaning of the Constitution nor private interpretations but somewhere in between, and, over the years, they have acquired a semi-official status both from the prominence of their authors and the quality of their explanations.

The ...

This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase

Subscribe to TNC (Print and Online editions)

Subscribe to TNC (Online only)

Purchase article credit and clip this article

If you already have an account login first

Harvey Mansfield is a Professor of Government at Harvard University. 


more from this author

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 February 2011, on page 9

Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-wisdom-of--ldquo-The-Federalist-rdquo--6928

E-mail to friend


The New Criterion

By the author

Machiavelli’s enterprise

by Harvey Mansfield

Machiavelli's philosophical musings on truth are just as important as his work on politics.

A new kind of liberalism: Tocqueville's “Recollections”

by Harvey Mansfield

On the defense of politics through the disparagement of philosophy.

You might also enjoy

The second assassin

by Edward Jay Epstein

Was JFK killed because America planned to assassinate Castro?

Team players

by Denis Donoghue

On Shakespeare's collaborations with other writers

All in the family

by Bruce Bawer

On the life and work of Marianne Moore

Most popular

view more >

Subscribe to our newsletter!

* indicates required

Webcasts

Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
Roger Kimball introduces The Kennedy Phenomenon, a conference presented by The New Criterion on Tuesday, November 19.


The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
Roger Kimball reads Peter Collier’s paper on oft-overlooked unsavory details of the Kennedys' lives. Much of the paper is drawn from Collier’s book, coauthored with David Horowitz, The Kennedys: An American Drama.


The Kennedy Phenomenon: "The Many Misjudgments of Richard Hofstadter"
Fred Siegel discusses his new book The Revolt against the Masses and the myriad oversights of the historian Richard Hofstadter.

Weblog