The 85 essays known as the Federalist Papers were originally published as letters in New York newspapers 1787-1788. This guide serves as an index to the letters in the historic newspapers and a list of holdings at the Library of Congress.
Heather C. Thomas, Reference Librarian, Serial & Government Publications Division
Created: April 24, 2019
Last Updated: May 4, 2022
Although known as the Federalist Papers, the 85 essays urging the ratification of the Constitution were originally a series of letters written for publication in New York newspapers. Those newspapers did not identify the essays as the Federalist Papers, but rather preceded them with headings that read “The Federalist No. I,” “The Federalist No. II,” and so on.
Written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, the essays originally appeared anonymously under the pseudonym "Publius." The Federalist essays did not consistently appear in any one newspaper, but rather were first printed in one, then another paper.
The first essay was published on October 27, 1787 in The Independent Journal, or The General Advertiser, edited by John McLean. Subsequent essays appeared in The Independent Journal and three other New York newspapers—The New-York Packet, edited by Samuel and John London; The Daily Advertiser, edited by Francis Childs; and The New York Journal and Daily Patriotic Register, edited by Thomas & Greenleaf.
Although the intention was to publish on Tuesday in The New-York Packet, on Wednesday in The Independent Journal, on Thursday in The Daily Advertiser, and on Saturday in The Independent Journal, the plan was not consistently followed. And not all of the 85 essays were published in all four newspapers. For example, the The Independent Journal, or The General Advertiser was the one newspaper to publish all 85 essays, while the The Daily Advertiser only published essays no. 1 through no. 51.
This guide serves as an index to the Federalist essays in the historic newspapers where they appeared, as well as a list of holdings of those newspapers at the Library of Congress.