The Accessible Federalist

This modern English version of sixteen of Publius’ most important essays is designed to set forth their argument in the clearest terms: the promise of the U.S. Constitution. Though The Federalist was itself written for the same purpose, the complexity of its prose and the meaning of several of its key terms have now passed out of currency—with the result that the original texts are now less able to communicate effectively to the uninitiated than they were when the first essays were published in 1787. Faithfully re-phrased for modern readers by an established and respected scholar of American political thought—and supplemented by quotations from the original texts—the selected essays included here offer today’s readers a judicious and effective first approach to The Federalist’s most important ideas.

“I assign students to read The Federalist so they will grasp the ideas. But too often they can’t get past the words. Adam Seagrave’s The Accessible Federalist will enable readers of all backgrounds to understand the ideas that shaped the Constitution. It will also spur many readers onward to study and appreciate the original texts. I hope it gets wide attention and classroom use.”

—James H. Read, College of Saint Benedict and St. John’s University

S. Adam Seagrave

Hackett Publishing, March 2017


Adam Seagrave received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and currently serves as Kinder Institute Associate Professor of Constitutional Democracy, Associate Professor of Political Science at MU, and managing editor of the journal American Political Thought. His first book, The Foundations of Natural Morality: On the Compatibility of Natural Rights and the Natural Law, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2014, and his second book, Liberty and Equality: The American Conversation, was published in 2015 by the University Press of Kansas. He has recently produced a modern re-phrasing of selected Federalist Papers entitled The Accessible Federalist (forthcoming from Hackett Publishing Co.), and he is also at work on a book project that will provide an account of “nature’s” relevance to American political thought and development.