University of Notre Dame

The Federalist Papers and America Today

Course Number: POLS 13181-6
Instructor: Sotirios Barber

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers in the late 1780s to persuade New Yorkers to ratify what is now the U.S. Constitution. These papers argued that the Constitution would enhance the liberty, the security, the dignity, and the happiness of Americans through the ages. This seminar will read the Federalist Papers to determine the extent to which their argument remains persuasive. This seminar is intended for students who are interested in problems like the commercialism of American life, the role of religion in politics, the nation’s growing income gap, the nation’s response to global warming, the decline of political leadership in America, government gridlock, and ideological polarization. The course is not designed either for students whose minds are closed or for students who are reluctant to “talk politics.”