The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers Themes


A major goal of the proposed constitution was to create a government with sufficient energy to rule effectively. By energy, the authors of the federalist papers essentially mean the power to address national problems and perform the proper functions of government.


The authors of the Federalist papers argue vigorously in defense of the need for a union of all thirteen states. In the early years of American independence, many in America wanted the states to become sovereign countries only loosely connected with one another. The Federalist argues that the liberty of Americans depends on them maintaining their national unity.

Delegated Authority

This is one of the central principles of republican government. Delegated authority refers primarily to the people giving the authority to make and implement laws to elected representatives.

Separation of Powers

A major goal of the Constitution’s authors was to ensure that no one branch of government had enough power to become tyrannical and violate the rights and liberties of the people. By distributing power among different branches of government, the founders hoped to prevent one branch from dominating all the others.

Checks and Balances

Closely related to the theme of separation of powers, checks and balances refers to the specific ability of the three branches of government to limit the use of powers by one another. Each branch is granted specific powers over the other two branches, with no one branch able to usurp power from its fellows.

Federal Government

Federal government refers to a separation of powers between a central, national government and inferior political entities. In the US, power and responsibility is shared between state governments and the national government.

Republican Government

The essence of republican government is representation in a legislature. The people elect representatives who then decide on public matters. Republican government was the ideal towards which the founders strove.