Responding to opposition to a stronger central government, Founding Father Alexander Hamilton urged fellow citizens to ratify the Constitution in a series of essays called The Federalist. He recruited James Madison and John Jay, who believed his responsibilities as secretary of foreign affairs demanded greater authority than the Articles allowed.
Jay churned out essays two through five in ten days in before falling ill; after his recovery, he penned essay 64. Along with Hamilton’s and Madison’s work, seventy-seven of eighty-five total essays were published in New York newspapers between October 1787 and March1778 under the pseudonym “Publius.”
Pictured above, Jay’s essay three, entitled “The Same Subject Continued: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence,” addresses security from foreign hostilities and an analysis of “just” wars. Jay criticizes separate states as vulnerable to local conflicts and pressures and incapable of managing foreign policy.
The Newberry retains John Jay’s personal revisions of essay three, one of only four drafts of essays from The Federalist in existence. Hundreds of corrections within the manuscript provide a rare glimpse into the creation of enduring national principles as they were literally being penned by Jay’s own hand. The unified nation for which the writers of The Federalist strove eventually became one of America’s greatest strengths.