American Studies 24, Section 1

Hamilton and the Federalist Papers (1 unit, P/NP)

Professor Richard Hutson
Monday 10:00-11:00, 204 Dwinelle Hall, Class number: 46771

The idea for the Federalist papers was Alexander Hamilton’s, and he wrote most of the papers, 51 of the 85. Hamilton invited James Madison (who became the fourth President of the U.S.) and John Jay to write the others. Hamilton and Madison offer various arguments to try to convince citizens that the newly designed Constitution for a federal government should be accepted and ratified by the state of New York and beyond. Do they convince you? As Jay notes in #2, this new constitution is to be “recommended” and debated. Such a plan for a federal constitution for a free people who understand the need of a government has to be argued for, because there was already a government of the Continental Congress that seemed to some as working very well. Discussion and debate belong intimately to such a republic, especially a liberal republic. We cannot read and discuss all of the 85 papers, but we can look carefully at a few of them and engage in discussion and debate. Obviously, the papers deal with serious and controversial issues. I want and expect discussion all of the time in every class. Students will be evaluated on attendance and participation in the discussion. There will be a short paper (5 pages) due at the end of the class.

Instructor Bio

I have taught in the English and American Studies Program for over forty years until my recent retirement. My specialty is American culture and history, with special focus on the U.S. between the Civil War and World War I. I have published a number of essays on American popular culture, especially on film produced before World War I.

I have taught courses on San Francisco detectives and courses on the history and place of San Francisco. I have also taught courses on California detective novels and films, featuring San Francisco and Los Angeles as places of special interest.

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