AbstractsPolitical Science

"The Federalist" and the classical foundations of the American Republic

by Christopher Broschart

Institution: Rutgers University
Department: History
Degree: MA
Year: 2013
Keywords: Federalist
Record ID: 1994845
Full text PDF: http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.1/rucore10002600001.ETD.000068661


This paper examines the classical themes and ancient historical examples presented through the Federalist Papers of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. The Federalist Papers represent a lucid sample of early American political theory, and the ideologies of three prominent founders. The study focuses on the Greco-Roman states within those essays that were deemed analogous or relevant to the American Confederacy under the Articles of Confederation, or were used to promote a new federal union under the Constitution. This paper also analyzes the formation of mixed governance constitutions, a vital construction for the creation of modern nations, as the idea progressed through the classical writers Plato, Aristotle, Polybius, and Cicero. Through this analysis, the influences of the Greek and Roman classics are shown to be a formative element in the formation of the American Republic. By reestablishing and reasserting the Classics into the political ideology of that time, insight into the creation of a new Constitution through the combined insight of the Federalist becomes readily apparent. The first section presents an introduction to the Federalist, and the ratification debates of 1787-88. Section two covers the classical influences to American history. The third section is a brief overview of five current works relating to this scholarship. Section four comprises the analysis of the five sections of the Federalist Papers as outlined by Alexander Hamilton. The final section of this paper investigates the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Polybius and Cicero to discover the evolution and creation of theories of mixed constitutions.