Todd Estes is a professor and former chair of the history department at Oakland University. His research concentrates on early U.S. political history and political culture, and he is the author of The Jay Treaty Debate, Public Opinion, and the Evolution of Early American Political Culture (2006) and many journal articles and book chapters among other publications. He is currently researching a book on the ratification debate, tentatively entitled "The Campaign for the Constitution: Political Culture and the Ratification Contest." He has won a couple of teaching prizes, including the Oakland University Teaching Excellence Award.
While they are a feature in every history and government textbook, THE FEDERALIST PAPERS had almost no influence on the ratification debate in 1787-88 at all. Not only were they published almost exclusively in New York, the powerful ideas they contained had scant influence on the actual debate that took place in the newspapers and ratifying conventions. This lecture examines this historical anomaly and discusses when and how this series reached its canonical status in spite of this inconvenient fact.