What We Are Doing & Why
After that hot and humid Philadelphia summer of 1787, members of the Convention at Independence Hall had in hand a written Constitution. It required the “ratification of the conventions of nine states,” however, “for the establishment of this Constitution between the states so ratifying the same.” And there was the rub: Many smart and able citizens started opposing the Constitution before the ink had dried on the final draft.
That’s when Alexander Hamilton leapt to action. He imagined a series of newspaper essays that would address, directly, the many critiques of the proposed Constitution of 1787 while explaining its many features and the good ends they were designed to achieve. It would be the greatest constitutional marketing campaign in history.
He enlisted two friends, John Jay and James Madison. Writing 85 short essays under a Roman pseudonym, Publius, and under the title, The Federalist Papers, Hamilton’s dream became real, eventually published in book form.
In the course of writing The Federalist Papers, Hamilton, Jay, and Madison did more than produce the single most authoritative guide to the articles and sections of the United States Constitution. They did more than persuade fellow citizens to ratify the United States Constitution.
They offered a philosophic analysis of human nature and a historic tour of human attempts to govern themselves, highlighting what worked, what didn’t, and what had never been tried. Most importantly, they provided a model of how to think like a free citizen, and how to think like a Constitutionalist.
Nothing is more pressing, today, than to remind United States citizens how to think like Constitutionalists, how to think like free human beings. That’s why we are dedicating the 2019 Vino & Veritas Club to a year-long study of that classic work of American political science, The Federalist Papers.
You need not be an expert in American history or Constitutional law to join us. You need only have an appetite for learning. And if you do join us, you’ll quickly learn why so many “experts” in American history and Constitutional law get so much wrong.
The discussions will be led by Thomas L. Krannawitter, Ph.D., who has been teaching The Federalist Papers for many years at places such as Claremont McKenna College, Hillsdale College, and George Mason University. It’ll be fun. It’ll be educational and conversational. It’s the kind of exercise in which all citizens should engage. As Hamilton, Jay, and Madison were models of Constitutional thinkers for their fellow citizens to see, study, and emulate, so let us be the same.
To boot, there will be wine. Join us, please.