Introduction: Beyond Madisonian Federalism

Max. M Edling

in A Revolution in Favor of Government

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195148701
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835096 | DOI:
Introduction: Beyond Madisonian Federalism

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The aim of this book is described as to search for answers as to why the US Constitution was adopted. Like most other studies of this topic, it focusses on the Federalist argument, although it also takes the Antifederalist opposition into account. However, the conclusions reached deviate sharply from the mainstream interpretation of the Federalist persuasion in that the study aims to challenge the Madisonian interpretation of Federalism in two ways: it goes beyond the interpretation of The Federalist Papers of 1787–88 and James Madison's pre‐Convention writings to analyze a much broader sample of Federalist and Antifederalist writings; and based on this broader reading, it provides a new interpretation of what the Constitution and the Federalist argument were about. The major finding presented is that the Federalist argument was not a protoliberal call for minority rights and limited government but an argument about state formation or state building. The first two sections of the introduction discuss Madison's thoughts and writings on the Federalist dilemma, and the problems of the traditionalist interpretation of the Federalist position; the last two sections give an outline of the structure of the book and describe its intended audience.

Keywords: Antifederalism; Federalism; James Madison; protoliberalism; state formation; US Constitution; USA

Chapter.  4665 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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