Publius and Persuasion
Cover of issue 31
Requires Subscription PDF

How to Cite

Publius and Persuasion: Rhetorical Readings of The Federalist Papers. (2002). The Political Science Reviewer, 31, 236-282.


Since its appearance in 1788 down to the present day, no praise has been too high, no tribute too exalted for The Federalist Papers. While written in the heat of the debate over ratifying the Constitution, the collection of eighty-five essays penned by "Publius" was almost instantly recognized as a work of great, even unprecedented merit. Thomas Jefferson, who was not uncritical of the handiwork of the Framers, nevertheless considered The Federalist "the best commentary on the principles of government which was ever written."1 George Washington, who had presided at the Federal Convention, correctly predicted that The Federalist would "merit the notice of Posterity."2 Even before the series of papers was completed and published as a single work, its pseudonymous author was praised as a "judicious and ingenious writer," whose "greatness is acknowledged universally," and who "in genius and political research, is not inferior to Gibbon, Hume, [or] Montesquieu.
Requires Subscription PDF