A Rare Anti-Federalist Newspaper from December 1787, Signed in Type “Brutus”, Which Sought to Counter the Federalist Papers and Alexander Hamilton

These original printings are scarce, this one from a publication in Massachusetts prior to ratification of the Constitution

The Federalist (later known as The Federalist Papers) is a collection of 85 articles and essays written under the pseudonym “Publius” by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of these essays were published serially in the Independent Journal, the New York...

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A Rare Anti-Federalist Newspaper from December 1787, Signed in Type “Brutus”, Which Sought to Counter the Federalist Papers and Alexander Hamilton

These original printings are scarce, this one from a publication in Massachusetts prior to ratification of the Constitution

The Federalist (later known as The Federalist Papers) is a collection of 85 articles and essays written under the pseudonym “Publius” by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of these essays were published serially in the Independent Journal, the New York Packet, and The Daily Advertiser between October 1787 and August 1788. They were written to contest charges made by the antifederalists, who were publishing their own essays.

A native of Schenectady, New York, Robert Yates was a well-educated lawyer. A strong supporter of independence, he served on the Albany Committee of Safety and in the provincial congress. He played a key role in drafting the first constitution for New York State. A determined opponent of the Constitution, Yates left the Philadelphia convention in protest. With his fellow delegate John Lansing, Jr., he wrote a joint letter to Governor Clinton that detailed the dangers of a centralized government and the illegitimacy of the Constitutional Convention. He worked vigorously against ratification when the state convention met, and it is thought that he is the likely author of a series of letters, signed “Brutus” and “Sydney,” that criticized the Constitution. Like Madison and Hamilton, Yates took personal notes at the convention.

The Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser, Volume XIX, Number 998, published in Boston by Adams and Nourse. A full, front-page printing of Brutus III, signed in type. In this essay, Brutus, anticipating Federalist 55, attempts to show that in the Constitution “the powers are not properly deposited, for the security of public liberty.” He is a firm supporter of the position that “representation in government should be in exact proportion to the numbers” of people. Thus he is upset with 1) the 3/5 provision in the scheme of representation in the House, 2) equal representation for the States in the Senate, 3) the insufficiency in the number of representatives to be elected, 4) the lack of provision for a “resemblance” of the “true likeness of the people” in the assembly, 5) the probability that only the “rich” and “well born” will be represented, and 6) things will get worse. In short, “the representation is merely nominal—a mere burlesque; and that no security is provided against corruption and undue influence.”

The debate in Massachusetts continued, and the state finally ratified in early February.

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