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The Political Theory of The Federalist

In The Political Theory of  The Federalist,” David F. Epstein offers a guide to the fundamental principles of American government as they were understood by the framers of the Constitution. Epstein here demonstrates the remarkable depth and clarity of The Federalist’s argument, reveals its specifically political (not merely economic) view of human nature, and describes how and why the American regime combines liberal and republican values.

“While it is a model of scholarly care and clarity, this study deserves an audience outside the academy. . . . David F. Epstein’s book is a fine demonstration of just how much a close reading can accomplish, free of any flights of theory or fancy references.”—New Republic

“Epstein’s strength lies in two aspects of his own approach. One is that he reads the text with uncommon closeness and sensitivity; the other is an extensive knowledge of the European political thought which itself forms an indispensable background to the minds of the authors.”—Times Literary Supplement

244 pages | 5 3/4 x 9 | © 1984, 2007

History: American History

Political Science: American Government and Politics

Table of Contents




Government by Choice
     Force and Accident
     Fitness for Choice
     The American Mode


The Necessity of Energy
     "Upon Whom that Power Ought to Operate"
     Unlimited Powers and Limited Government
     The States


A Study of the Federalist 10
     The Problem of Faction
     Passions and Interests
     Legislative Judging
     Controlling the effects of Faction
     The Extended Sphere


Theoretical Uncertainty and Honorable Determination
     Republican Governement

Seperation of Powers
     Rule by Law
     Legislative Vortex
     The People
     "Ambition must be made to counteract Ambition"


     "Safe to the Liberties of the People": Represetation of the Whole
     "Useful to the Affairs of the Public": Representationn of the Parts


Good Government: The More Permanent Branchs
     Senatorial Stability
     Executive Energy
     Seperation Revised
     Responsability and Reputation
     Independent Judiciray

Conclusion: The Ambitious and the Partisans


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