The authors of the Federalist Papers were Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. They published the papers anonymously under the pseudonym Publius, an ancient Roman statesman who played a part in the founding of the Roman Republic.
The men wrote the 85 essays between October 1787 and August 1788. Historians assume Hamilton wrote most of the papers. Madison wrote 29 or more and Jay wrote five. The Daily Advertiser, The New York Packet and The Independent Journal newspapers published the papers.
The authors urged citizens of New York State to ratify the U.S. Constitution, which needed the approval of nine of 13 states. They said the Constitution would help preserve the union and give the federal government the power it needed to act well in the national interest.
Some observers feared a strong central government would be tyrannical and that the Constitution would give it too much power. The authors of the Federalist Papers argued against this idea.
Other writers published many other documents concerning the Constitution at the time, including documents called the Anti-Federalist Papers.
The states ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1790. Four years later the states ratified the Bill of Rights, which set out specific protections for citizens' rights that were not included in the Constitution.