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Books That Matter: The Federalist Papers

See what the 85 essays that make up The Federalist Papers can tell us about American government from its founding to today.
Books That Matter: The Federalist Papers is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 125.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Books that Matter: The Federalist Papers This was a study in high school. I needed a refresher on what was learned...but, mostly what wasn't. I see it in a whole new perspective now and how the Constitution could be misinterpreted today.
Date published: 2022-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Federalist papers Everyone should read this rather than listen to fools on tv telling you why and how our government is set up. the depth of info and the thoughts of the people involved is stellar. I was able to understand some of the how and why of our system better after this course.
Date published: 2022-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Every American should watch this series I was aware of the Federalist Papers, but I learned a lot here. Recently, I had seen people toss out little bits from the Federalist Papers to justify their various points-of-view. I now feel that I know a bit more about the topic--enough to tell a reasonable argument from nonsense. I thought the professor was very fair, and nonpolitical, in his presentation. In my opinion, the central theme was that the system created by the Constitution was designed to adjust depending on the will of the American people. People could choose more or less federal power through their choice of federal representatives to Congress, and they may change their minds at any time on this balance of power. He also explained the arguments that can be made for states' rights, particularly considering how much federal power has increased over time. The debate over federal power versus states' rights is a huge topic these days. The framers knew that the country would change and included language in the Constitution to modify it by way of amendments or by calling a new Constitutional Convention. Getting the Constitution ratified the first time was quite a feat. Doing so today would seem to be much more difficult.
Date published: 2022-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good presentation and scholarly lessons While educational, this course is a little repetitious and and takes too favorable a view of our political history . We have nothing resembling what the founders designed or intended . We have a federal government that does everything from taxing sawed-off shotguns to forcing states to enact seat belt laws . This isn't a matter of the citizens desiring more federal power ; It's the federal government subverting the Constitution . The Supreme Court in effect writes laws . The Congress exempts itself from laws . The president rules by executive order . We wage undeclared wars . We have 23 or so federal police departments . IRS audits and permits were used to attack political enemies and to suppress the TEA Party movement . To hear the professor tell it, things are pretty good ... There is no mention of Mark Levin and his proposed " Liberty Amendments " despite that book being popular and easily found on Amazon . I detect liberal bias .
Date published: 2022-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Great presentation and essential for understanding our Constitution.
Date published: 2022-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A practical rationale to the Federalists' mindset. Having read both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers, this provided a bit more clarity to the mindset of the Federalists. It's easy to understand their reasoning since the problems with financing the Revolution and what they saw going on in France.
Date published: 2022-07-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Prof. Hoffmann, supported by the guidebook, clearly lays out the intellectual basis for our government. He presents how the authors of the Federalist Papers made convincing arguments in support of many of the provisions of the US Constitution. The ideas of a changing democratic republic, balance of powers between the branches of government, and relationship between the states and Federal government are especially relevant in today's hyperpolitical climate.
Date published: 2022-07-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Books that Matter: The Federalist Papers Only annoying thing was the lecturer insisting on using feminine pronoume when referring in general to the President of the United States. Perhaps he is aware of a female President in our history but I am not. Clearly he teaches on a campus infected by political correctness rather than historical accuracy.
Date published: 2022-07-06
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Overview

Books That Matter: The Federalist Papers gives you the chance to delve into one of the most influential guides to the U.S. Constitution. Taught by acclaimed professor and legal scholar Joseph L. Hoffmann of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, these 12 thought-provoking lectures unpack the 85 brilliant essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay that serve essentially as the Bible of American government.

About

Joseph L. Hoffmann

Criminal law has become the sole province of the government acting on behalf of society as a whole, rather than on behalf of the crime victims.

INSTITUTION

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Joseph L. Hoffmann is the Harry Pratter Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where he has taught since 1986. He received a J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Washington School of Law. After law school, Professor Hoffmann clerked for the Honorable Phyllis A. Kravitch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and for then-associate justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court. Professor Hoffmann is a nationally recognized scholar in the fields of criminal law, criminal procedure, habeas corpus, and the death penalty. He was a co-principal investigator for the Capital Jury Project, the largest empirical project ever to study jury decision making in capital cases, and has been a consultant in criminal and death penalty cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. At Indiana University, Professor Hoffmann has been recognized with the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, the Leon H. Wallace Teaching Award, the Trustees’ Teaching Award, the Teaching Excellence Recognition Award, and the Gavel Award. Professor Hoffmann is the co-author of two of the leading casebooks used by law students across the United States: Defining Crimes and Comprehensive Criminal Procedure. In 2007, Professor Hoffmann appeared in the PBS series The Supreme Court.

By This Professor

Law School for Everyone
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Books That Matter: The Federalist Papers
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Books That Matter: The Federalist Papers

Trailer

A Blueprint for American Government

01: A Blueprint for American Government

Understanding The Federalist Papers starts with understanding who wrote them and why they were written. In this opening lecture, go back to 1787 to meet Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to find out what challenges they faced in communicating the need for the new U.S. Constitution.

34 min
A Democracy or a Republic?

02: A Democracy or a Republic?

The Framers of the Constitution believed pure democracy was something to be feared for the way it would lead to the rise of factions, which would in turn tear apart the system. Was it possible to create a new model that offered the benefits of representative democracy without the problems of factions? See how the Framers tackled this conflict.

34 min
A Federation or a Nation?

03: A Federation or a Nation?

When the Framers gathered in Philadelphia to write a new constitution, they essentially were representing a loose federation of nation-states. Their original charge was to modify the Articles of Confederation, but there was a solid case for a strong central government. Examine this dilemma and the compromises that Madison and Hamilton made.

35 min
American Federalism

04: American Federalism

Given all the conflicts and compromises of 1787, how did the American federal system come about? How did the Framers solve the issues of the day while preserving flexibility for the future? Review the enumerated powers of the federal government and see how power was balanced between the federal government and the states.

33 min
Dual Sovereignty

05: Dual Sovereignty

The system that emerged under the new constitution gave the federal government the ability to determine the scope of its own powers. What checks did the system place on the federal government? Who gets to decide when the federal government has violated its powers? Reflect on the powers of the states and the American people.

34 min
Popular Sovereignty and States’ Rights

06: Popular Sovereignty and States’ Rights

The idea of popular sovereignty—the power of the American people—reshaped the relationship between the states and the federal government. In this lecture, consider the ever-changing relationship of the states to the federal government. See how the institution of slavery was the catalyst for a crisis.

33 min
The Separation of Powers

07: The Separation of Powers

In Federalist Nos. 47 through 51, James Madison explains why the concept of “separation of powers” is so important for the future of the American government. Dig into these five amazing essays to understand what the familiar term “separation of powers” really means—and why he was so optimistic about America’s future.

32 min
The Federal Legislature

08: The Federal Legislature

James Madison believed the legislature posed the greatest threat to the integrity of the system the Framers had so carefully designed. In “Federalist No. 48,” “Federalist No. 51,” and elsewhere, he laid out warnings about the legislature seizing too much power, as well as the solution of a bicameral legislature. Delve into this thorny issue.

32 min
The President of the United States

09: The President of the United States

Shift your attention from the legislature to the chief executive, the single most powerful government official in the world today. But, as you will learn in your exploration of The Federalist Papers, the Framers had a different view of the presidency. Review Alexander Hamilton’s essays about the office and the powers of the president.

32 min
The Federal Judiciary

10: The Federal Judiciary

Round out your study of the branches of government with an in-depth look at the federal judiciary, one of the three branches of the federal government. The Framers believed the judiciary was the branch least likely to infringe on the liberty of the American people. Reflect on its role and its power, and then review the most important constitutional law case in American History: Marbury v. Madison.

33 min
The Evolution of American Federalism

11: The Evolution of American Federalism

The story of the Constitution is one of both stability and change. In this lecture, take a look at some of the most important ways the Constitution has evolved over the past 230 years. Consider whether the changes have largely honored the original spirit of the Constitution or broken faith with the vision of the Framers.

33 min
The Future of the United States Constitution

12: The Future of the United States Constitution

What does the future look like for America’s democratic republic? As you have seen, one of the most important trends has been the gradual increase in federal power, but the tension between federal and state power remains. Is there still a future for republican government? What might a Second Constitutional Convention look like? And would we want to find out?

35 min