This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "The Federalist Papers" by Alexander Hamilton. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.
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What are the key points of The Federalist Papers? What are The Federalist Papers discussion questions that can help deepen your understanding?
The Federalist Papers explores and defends the new U.S. Constitution. A study of The Federalist Papers includes studying federalism, separation of powers, and other key takeaways.
See the list of the 9 Federalist Papers discussion questions you need.
At the core of The Federalist Papers is the principle of federalism. People were concerned about how much power the central government was given under the new Constitution, but The Federalist Papers considers the balance of power between the national and state governments. Think about the proper balance between state and federal power with these Federalist Papers discussion questions.
- What did The Federalist Papers identify as the fundamental weakness of the Articles of Confederation?
- Explain the practical differences between a government that has the power to act on states, versus one that has the power to act on individuals.
- Why was the equal representation of the states under the Articles of Confederation problematic?
Explore Separation of Powers
The Federalist Papers covers in detail the three branches of government. The essays discuss the checks and balances that prevent any single branch from accumulating too much power. Explore why the separation of powers was so important with these three Federalist Papers discussion questions.
- What were the dangers of having the executive, legislative, and judicial authorities intermingled?
- How did the design of the Constitution protect against this?
- Provide one example of checks and balances created by the Constitution.
The Federalist Papers Discussion Questions
Unpack your main takeaways from The Federalist Papers.
- Why were Americans in the late 18th century so apprehensive about a strong central government?
- What do you think are the benefits of a centralized model of government versus a decentralized model?
- The Constitution was ratified over 225 years ago. What changes would you make to it?
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- The genius of the founding fathers in how they designed the United States Constitution
- Why it was critical for the United States to form a union rather than stay separated as colonies
- How Alexander Hamilton anticipated social issues that are still relevant today