Acton Institute Powerblog

Why the Federalist Papers Still Matter

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Even at America’s top schools, says Peter Berkowitz, graduates leave without reading our most basic writings on the purpose of constitutional self-government:

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of The Federalist for understanding the principles of American government and the challenges that liberal democracies confront early in the second decade of the 21st century. Yet despite the lip service they pay to liberal education, our leading universities can’t be bothered to require students to study The Federalist—or, worse, they oppose such requirements on moral, political or pedagogical grounds. Small wonder it took so long for progressives to realize that arguments about the constitutionality of ObamaCare are indeed serious.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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Comments

  • Roger McKinney

    I never knew the papers existed until long after graduating from college. There is a reason academics keep the papers a secret: they want to promote the idea that the Constitution is an out-dated irrelevant document. Many have said they think it stupid to chain ourselves to a 300 year old piece of paper when we are much smarter than the writers of that document. 

  •  The federalist papers are great because they create context.  I also like to read the “anti-federalist” papers for some great counterpoints.  Again, this helps build context.  The interesting thing about the both papers is how relevant it still is today as well as how many predictions come to fruition.