Penn State

Michael B. Berkman - Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Political Science, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Federalist Papers

Author: Selected and edited by Roy P. Fairfield

Book Description:

I’m not sure when I first read any of the Federalist Papers, but I have long been fascinated by these arguments in defense of the underlying architecture of the American political system. I especially appreciate how some of the papers-- #10 and #51 stand out—effectively integrate so many aspects of American politics and government. We get in one short argument, for example, discussions of collective and individual interests, federalism and separated powers, the filtering approach to representation, and the importance of conflict. While so much contemporary Political Science is necessarily fragmented and specialized, I like to try to frame at least some of my own written work in the broad and integrative tradition of these critical papers. But even more immediately, I chose this book because I love to teach it, at least some of the selections. Students approach the Papers cautiously and at a distance because of the outdated language, but as we work together through the concepts and arguments, connections with contemporary politics come easily.

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