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Reading the Federalist Papers in a Time of Discord

  • Elm Institute Library (map)

When Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay attempted to defend the new U.S. Constitution in the Federalist Papers, they did so against a backdrop of deep disagreement between rivalrous emerging parties, mutual suspicion, intimidation, name-calling, and even political violence. In addition to offering a blueprint for the new federal system, the Federalist Papers also provide a sustained meditation on the deliberative process itself, both its occasional prospects and its enduringly fragile nature. This talk explores that meditation, particularly what the authors of the Federalist Papers called the "lesson in moderation" that all participants in a public debate should learn, and how best to make what they called "an argument open to all."

Lunch will be provided. Spaces are limited; those wishing to attend should RSVP here.

Derek Webb ‘98 is an Associate at Sidney Austin LLP in the Supreme Court and Appellate and Commercial Litigation and Disputes practice groups.

Earlier Event: September 17
Beauty and the Arts
Later Event: September 26
The Theology of Liberalism