What Were the Federalist Papers?

The Federalist Papers were a series of essays published in several New York State newspapers during 1787 and 1788. These essays were designed to explain and argue for the developing United States Constitution, and came about partly in response to a group of essays critical of the Constitution.

The Federalist Papers were collected and published in book form in 1788. The writer, Publius, was later revealed to be a group pen name for Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay.

At first, the 85 essays were referred to as The Federalist. Only in the 20th century did scholars begin calling them The Federalist Papers.